Allow me to begin by saying our first ever Architect Summit was a huge success. Some of the topics we covered focused on managing security around user and account management, multiple third-party vendor fulfillments, custom catalog fulfillment by contracts, search based navigation and support of social media and marketing initiatives, as seen here: http://bit.ly/p3PyKG. We strive to facilitate the functional business objectives of eCommerce solutions to provide value for all parties. From the concept's very inception, I spoke to a large number of customers; the genuinely enthusiastic responses I received were the sparks that truly ignited this idea. With the help of our talented staff, peers and customers, Briteskies hopes to continue to be trail blazers, and I think the story of how we arrived at this point should be shared.
Wikipedia defines wisdom as “…a deep understanding and realizing of people, things, events or situations, which results in the ability to choose, act or inspire to consistently produce the optimum results with a minimum of time, energy or thought”.
During a discussion among our internal leadership team, we realized the breadth of expertise we have in architecting solutions for our customers. As someone who cares deeply about delivering value to everyone I interact with, customer and colleague, I wanted the ability to say that not only is our team knowledgeable, but they are wise; I wanted our team to feel empowered. The challenge then became: How do we obtain wisdom and promote it among team members? Confucius suggests:
“By three methods we may learn wisdom: First, by reflection, which is noblest; second, by imitation, which is easiest; and third by experience, which is the bitterest”
So, we started reviewing ways to facilitate sharing our experiences with one another. After many ideas were tossed out on the table and their respective benefits and drawbacks were discussed, we decided on periodic meetings where we would bring our architects and senior developers in to 'knowledge share'; the Architect Summit was born. Shortly thereafter, we began preparing for what we initially envisioned as a convergence of technical architects sharing their trials, tribulations, successes and impediments; this summit was to be a learning experience, a brainstorming session of great minds. As I was explaining the concept to a customer, it dawned on me: why not invite our customers as well? After all, we partner every day with our customers to help them achieve their success and as Henry Ford stated,
"Coming together is the beginning. Keeping together is progress. Working together is success".
This is where we decided to add a functional/business element to our discussions. Our customers would certainly be able to provide us with perspectives we may not have thought to consider, with the experiences of the end-users.
“Knowledge is learning from your mistakes, wisdom is learning from others mistakes.” -- Anonymous
As a way to help us define ourselves and keep what's important in front of us, we have a lot of these little 'mantras'. One of the more humorous ones is that we are "Not just another Brown Cow". According to some of our friends in the industry, there are far too many who place the ultimate emphasis on the bottom line, those who are unwilling to take their architects from billing to allow them to develop as professionals. To us, this is a NO-BRAINER! Encouraging our team as well as our customers to participate in these types of events should serve as evidence that one of Briteskies' main initiatives is to partner with others to achieve their goals. But, will our customers see the value? As we began evaluating ways in which we might get people interested and ultimately involved, one of our team members suggested something that we realized is a common question posed to our architects when faced with design challenges: "How are others solving problem X; surely we cannot be the first". Et Voila! We had our hook. Once the cow had been fed and all of our ducks were in a row, we contacted a few of our customers. I will never forget one of the replies I received:
"[Freakin'] love it. We are in; thanks for thinking of us".
Now THAT is the passion we strive to attain with our customers. In the end, as I said in my previous blog, 'It's all people', the genesis of this idea was to help our team grow and develop professionally. And, what we came to realize is that our customers are people too. As someone once said, "The fabric of our knowledge is interwoven with the threads of wisdom we've attained through observance, reflection and the experiences of others. Our expertise is a patchwork of all of our successes, and failures" -- Anonymous", the more experiences we can draw from the better we will be. I hoped you obtained some semblance of value. For more information on upcoming summits, guest speakers and how you can join us, visit Briteskies' Architect Summit page.