Download a copy of my CV here: Charles Wilkinson CV April 2016
I started my career as a Java developer at Portaltech Reply working on e-commerce projects built on the Hybris platform and maintain those skills to this day. I grew quickly to technical lead level and later solutions architect. After focusing for a number of years on the technical architecture side of the equation, I decided to broaden my horizons and so took ownership of the services (operations and support) side of the business. Taking on this new challenge on top of my existing role as a principal architect was challenging but ultimately very rewarding.
I specialise in e-commerce, with a further specialism in Hybris having architected solutions in the retail, telecommunications, travel and Fast Moving Consumer Goods verticals (both B2C and B2B). While I have not yet directly architected a solution in the grocery space, I have consulted on several grocery Hybris implementations and am very familiar with the many challenges that exist there.
I also have significant experience in the telco space. Indeed, I architected the first telco Hybris implementation, designing and building the Three UK (H3G) online store. Worth noting is that this was done in a time before Hybris introduced their telco accelerator.
In addition, I have worked for Telefonica O2 evaluating a number of software solutions in an exploratory proof of concept programme.
Having grown to the level of architect working predominantly with Hybris, I have developed a wealth of experience with Hybris itself, integrating it with CRM systems such as Siebel, ERP systems such as SAP, WMS systems such as SideUp and a myriad of other systems such as highly customised reservation management systems in the Travel space, even in one case an RMS system built in FORTRAN.
Leveraging this experience, I am able to consult with customers at a strategic level addressing, often directly with board-level stakeholders. The most common topic at this level is re-platforming the web channel vs a full omni-channel transformation. In my experience while the latter is often the stated goal, most organisations do not really know how to approach it. Hybris is a very capable omni-channel platform, but only if used in the right way.
Once the strategic objectives and approach are clear, I work with the business stakeholders and delivery team to elicit the requirements and design the technical solution to deliver them. This covers everything from data modelling & integration to the sizing and infrastructure requirements. I am in my element thrashing out technical solutions to business problems on a whiteboard with either the business or technical stakeholders – preferably both!
By the time I left Portaltech after over eight years (end of September 2015) as one of three solutions architects my responsibilities included:
At the end of 2014 I volunteered to take ownership of the Portaltech Reply services business unit, comprising of the operations and application support functions. This role I took on in addition to my existing role as a senior architect. My (self-imposed) objectives were as follows:
I take pride in the fact that in addition to achieving all of the above, we also matured the practices of the business unit to a point that we successfully achieved PCI DSS 3.0 compliance. This was no mean feat as the PCI standards are necessarily onerous and rigorously enforced.
As services owner my responsibilities included:
Working in and being ultimately responsible for the services side of the business was very challenging. Consequently however I learned a huge amount. Indeed, my experience here better equips me in addressing issues of infrastructure, hosting and support during all stages of a programme lifecycle and as such, makes me a better solutions architect. While I am not sure if I would do it again, it is experience that no other architects I know can draw on and as such I am glad to have done it.
The tangible skills I developed/reinforced in this role include:
The following is a list of the major programmes that I have been involved in:
To date, all projects I have been responsible for have been successfully delivered.
In my free time I enjoy building things. As a youngster this meant radio controlled model boats and cars, a lot of hot glue and a mother exasperated over the state of my bedroom. These days, I dabble with amateur electronics – Arduino and Raspberry Pi – though it’s my girlfriend dealing with the related mess, rather than my mother.
During my sadly limited free time, I tinker with almost anything I can disassemble and it’s high time I started documenting my exploits. To this end, I am going to force myself to take photographs of all the little projects and hacks that I do and post them up on my shiny new blog. Feel free to take a look at my Projects.