Meet Amandine Van Grunderbeeck, Solution Building Engineer at Sopra Steria Benelux.
READ MORE >
Meet Amandine Van Grunderbeeck, Solution Building Engineer at Sopra Steria Benelux, but “this actually means that I am a Developer”. Amandine started working at Sopra Steria Benelux in February 2019 after one of her friends who also works here convinced her to join the company.
What does a Solution Building Engineer do?
When I first started at Sopra Steria, I was a backend Developer, so I was managing applications without a user interface, and my job was mainly to add new features, or to remove bugs if there were some. Since a year now, I am working in the frontend as well, so I am working on web development.
I have always been part of the same team, working together mostly with other Developers. I also always worked for the same client, namely the Ministry of Finance, but on multiple applications. All the tools that we are handling are working together and are used to process documents, like tax files, that need to be sent to citizens or companies. The applications are used to produce the documents, send them to the post office and check their evolution. If the application doesn’t work properly, citizens will not receive documents on time or they will for example receive a batch of documents twice, so I believe my job really has an impact.
Working on different applications is an advantage in my opinion, because each application has different functionalities, and different users so there is a lot of variety in my job and I can learn different languages, which is important for a Developer.
Some time ago, Sopra Steria Benelux gave me the opportunity to follow a training to become a Scrum Master, and I am really proud of this. So, on top of my general mission as a Solution Building Engineer, I am also handling tickets and issues that need to be processed and assigned to other Developers.
What are the most important qualities for a Solution Building Engineer/Developer?
First, you should be able to stay calm and focused. Second, you should be strong in analysing issues, and finding a solution quickly, because an issue can really have a big impact on citizens. Third, communication skills are also important, especially for the members in the team who handle the users.
How would you convince someone to join Sopra Steria?
I would talk about the friendliness, and the opportunities we have in our company. We can follow trainings and learn on the job and therefore easily grow, and I think this is important, especially for Developers. It is good to update your knowledge, because otherwise you can be stuck in a project.
If Amandine could switch jobs for one day with someone else at Sopra Steria, she would go for Michel Lorgeré’s job, because she would like to know what a day looks like for him.
What can you say about the culture and atmosphere at Sopra Steria Benelux?
At first, it can seem a bit scary to enter a company that has a lot of employees, but Sopra Steria is really like a ‘big friendly company’. Everyone is welcoming and the atmosphere is informal, which surprised me at first. In French we have the ‘tu’ and the ‘vous’ and in the beginning I was always saying ‘vous’ to people and everyone was like “no we don’t do that here, you can use tu”, even with colleagues I didn’t really know. Also, the management is open to ideas, and if you have a question, we can always contact them.
At Sopra Steria, you are recognised for the work you do, and I really feel appreciated here, since I get a lot of feedback, and I can easily get the material I need to do my job well. We have the freedom and autonomy to plan our day and work the way we want to, and I really like this.
If Sopra Steria was an animal, Amandine thinks it would be a cat, because just like Sopra Steria, a cat is a friendly animal – at least the cats Amandine knows.
Meet Mohamed Elhouderi, Infrastructure Engineer for Cloud & Technology Services at Sopra Steria Benelux.
Meet Mohamed Elhouderi, Infrastructure Engineer for Cloud & Technology Services at Sopra Steria Benelux. Mohamed started working for us in October 2016 as a Junior System Engineer after we approached him. “Since then, Sopra Steria and I enjoy our time together and the company really feels like my second home”.
How would you explain your job?
My main job is to maintain the infrastructure of our clients. I work mostly for clients in the banking sector. I believe curiosity, and patience are the most important qualities for someone who does my job, because not everything you want to achieve, will happen in 1 day.
A regular working day when I started as an Infrastructure Engineer was mostly exploratory work: I discovered the environment of the customer, solved issues and managed users or I was involved when a system crashed. Now it is more Research & Development, so I am exploring new products and solutions that could be relevant for the customer.
I work together with different job profiles, like Developers who have to see and explain the bigger picture, Analysts who must tell us what the client needs are, or other technical profiles who come to us where there is an issue so we can try to resolve it.
What projects are you currently working on?
I am involved in instant payment systems, currently for 5 different banks. Because of these systems, banks are able to wire transfers instantly. My job here is to maintain the platform that collects these exchanges, so that we know exactly when the payment has been done. The setting up of these systems is now finished and the application is working on its own and we hardly ever hear any issues about it. I have been there from the start, and this product is now being used as a model for other products, so this of course makes me proud.
I am also supporting another client who wants to migrate his own application platform hosted on virtual machines into a container solution. This is challenging, because we are learning about the new platform ourselves while teaching the customer about it.
Why do you think other people should work at Sopra Steria?
At Sopra Steria you can follow trainings, you can learn a lot, you can switch projects if you want to, you can talk freely with management, people really listen to you, there is a great atmosphere, people are very friendly, we have a lot of fun, … So come to us!
If Sopra Steria was an animal, Mohamed thinks it would be a mammoth, even though they are extinct, because it has a fur that warms you, and a herd that guides you. Mammoths live in some kind of big family, just like I do at Sopra Steria.
What would you say the culture at Sopra Steria is like?
Sopra Steria is a group of likeminded people working together to achieve the impossible. We have an entrepreneurial mindset, and we have the freedom to think about ideas, present them and in the end, implement them. There are a lot of opportunities to grow at Sopra Steria, you just have to knock on the manager’s door, and they will listen to you.
I would say the atmosphere is more informal. I really enjoy the time with my team. We do some activities together, like watching a movie, hiking or biking, or go to each other’s wedding. I feel very lucky because of this, since “it is the neighborhood that is important, not the house”. I also feel very much appreciated by this company, since I am always asked about my opinion about anything, and I can share it honestly, and people also appreciate this.
A ‘Sopra Sterian’ is helpful, respectful, and will try to help you with anything. I always tell others that Sopra Steria is a company that will really try to understand you when you would have a (personal) problem.
If Mohamed could switch jobs for one day with someone else at Sopra Steria, he would want to work in Communication, because he thinks the job can be quite hard, since you need to collect information from everywhere and talk to a lot of people get what you need.
Meet Cristina Botan, Anti-Finance Crime (AFC) Analyst at Sopra Steria Benelux.
Meet Cristina Botan, Anti-Finance Crime (AFC) Analyst at Sopra Steria Benelux. Cristina was born in Moldavia, lived in Slovakia, and moved to Luxembourg 4 years ago after applying at Sopra Steria Benelux via LinkedIn and getting a job as PMO. After 3 years, she switched jobs and became a deputy Security Manager on the SIS II project for eu-LISA. In June 2022, Cristina started a new challenge as an AFC Analyst. “When you look at my career within Sopra Steria, it is quite diverse, and I think that is what is good at Sopra Steria: you can try different things until you find what you like”.
What does an AFC Analyst do?
I became an AFC Analyst only in June, so I am still new to this, and I am still exploring, discovering, and learning. In the beginning, my main goal was to understand typologies of fraudster's behavior. Now, my job is to investigate the clients of a neobank and prevent them from doing financial crime such as money laundering, ID theft, or any other kind of criminal activities. “Sometimes I call myself Sherlock Holmes, haha”, because I analyse and investigate transactions that will help solve criminal cases and prevent a fraud to happen. When the evidence show that a customer is a fraudster, we close this person’s account, and report the case to the Finance Intelligence Unit to make sure other financial institutions are also aware about this high-risk customer.
My client is a neobank and a Fintech Institution. The idea is that people can easily open an account from anywhere in the world, using only an ID card, and mobile phone. I believe that my role in this project has a big impact, because we are helping the client to improve their compliance processes and align with regulatory requirements and internal guidelines. This way, we are protecting people, families, and businesses.
What qualities should an AFC Analyst have?
You need to be responsible, dedicated, reliable, highly driven, and curious because no one can teach you everything. In my opinion, having a financial background, or at least having a basic knowledge of financial topics could be relevant, but it is not mandatory, because you can also learn a lot through trainings.
Why do you think other people should join Sopra Steria?
Sopra Steria Benelux is a multicultural company with a positive mindset, where management is flexible and listens to your needs. We will now for example receive a fleece vest to keep us warm during winter, and this for me proofs that the company cares about its people. Sopra Steria Benelux is a great place to work, and a very human-centric organisation: I feel valued, respected, heard, and there are a lot of opportunities to grow and extend your career path.
If Cristina could switch jobs for one day with someone else at Sopra Steria, she would want to do 2 jobs: Account Manager, and Country Manager.
What can you say about Sopra Steria Benelux’ culture?
Most companies focus mainly on their clients, and on making profit, but Sopra Steria Benelux also focuses on its employees. There is no fear to openly discuss things with management, and what I like as well is the fact that there is no micromanagement: you are the manager of your work. The atmosphere is more informal, and I think I can even say that it feels like home sometimes. Even though in my current mission, I don’t really have a team, I am often invited to afterworks from the cybersecurity team and I already had some great moments with my counterparts from other countries.
One big advantage of Sopra Steria Benelux is the possibility to develop, not only purely in IT, but also in other domains, because we have a lot of different departments. The good thing is that management 100% supports you in growing. They are very open to employees following a training and their door is always open to sit together and discuss your career path. We have a nice training platform where we can see all the training opportunities and I think this is just great.
If Sopra Steria was an animal, Cristina thinks it would be a chameleon, because a chameleon adapts its colors to the environment, and that is also what Sopra Steria is doing, and what I really like. We don’t have a concept that we want to hold on to for 10 or 20 years, just because ‘it just has to be like this’, and we are not afraid of change.
Sofie Van Opstal - Business Analyst
Olivier Daniel Niyonkuru - Developer
Ivana Butorac - Data Protection Expert
Meet Julien Colmonts, Security Architect for our Cybersecurity Agency.
Meet Julien Colmonts, Security Architect for our Cybersecurity Agency. Julien joined our company 7 years ago after graduating. “I think I am still young, but I am one of the oldest one here, haha”. Julien met Sopra Steria during a job fair and was proposed a job in Cybersecurity within European Institutions.
Can you tell us a bit more about your job?
As a Security Architect I am building solutions for our customers, mostly in the technical area of Cybersecurity. I also started building a Security Operations Center (SOC team) for Sopra Steria Benelux 5 years ago, building a mutualised service for our customers. This team evolved from 2 people to 10 people and from 1 customer to 4 customers. I was working as the lead Engineer in this team, but I am now leaving this team to fully work on the i-Police programme. It makes me proud to see that me leaving the team doesn’t have a lot of impact, since this means that we set up an autonomous team. I believe starting your career in this SOC team is a great opportunity, because you can discover production architectures of several customers, and delivery security services differently for each of them, thus learning a lot in a short period of time.
What projects are your working on?
I am mostly working for i-Police to realise the digital transformation of the Belgian police. Both federal and local police zones are moving from a decentralised approach where each zone is a separate information system, to a centralized approach that supports more collaboration between police activities. It is super interesting, because the platform that we are building will be used in every police car that you see in the street and it supports the police activities in all kinds of ways, from very basic cases like theft to very severe cases like terrorist attacks.
What are the most important qualities for a Security Architect and a team leader?
As a Security Architect, you have to aim at progressing and learning something new every day, and not being afraid to be assigned to something you don’t know anything about yet or to start a new project. As a team leader, you must trust your team, try to make people work together and treat everyone with respect.
Why do you think other people should also join Sopra Steria?
If you are a junior, Sopra Steria is a good company to start your career. You will work on very interesting projects, learn a lot and get the support you need from people with a lot of experience. On top, you will have the opportunity to change positions and activities. As a medior or senior I would like to point out that you will have the chance to work on interesting projects with large institutions and companies that work with interesting technologies.
If Julien could switch jobs for one day with someone else, he wants to be the director above him, to meet interesting people in the companies we work with and to have the opportunity to understand the mindset of other hierarchy levels at our customers.
How would you explain Sopra Steria’s culture?
Sopra Steria is a great place to work, because human skills and social interaction are important for me and both are present within our company. There is a good collaboration within the teams and it is always easy to find someone who wants to help you when needed. We really want to achieve things in team, but there is also time to celebrate those achievements. We for example organise afterworks in a bar, a Family Day, and a Great Place To Work party. I like that, because it is nice to see people in another context than at work.
I believe that a “Sopra Sterian” is someone dynamic who is looking for a challenge and this is good, because if you want to grow and evolve, you will certainly have the opportunity to do so in our company. What is good at Sopra Steria is that everyone is assigned a proximity manager that provides you guidance, so especially for junior and medior profiles, this is really an added value.
We have a flat hierarchy at Sopra Steria. You can for example easily discuss something with our CEO like he is a “normal colleague”. The management in general is very accessible as well and they always welcome your ideas as long as they bring added value to the company. On top, there is a lot of flexibility at Sopra Steria. The message that I try to bring to my team is that they are paid for a mission, not for hours. If at some point someone needs to adapt their work schedule, it is not a problem at all.
If Sopra Steria was an animal, Julien thinks it would be a leopard: we do some very impressing running sprints as well and we are able to accelerate quickly.
Meet Dorien Martinet, Business Analyst at Sopra Steria Benelux.
Meet Dorien Martinet, Business Analyst at Sopra Steria Benelux. Dorien joined Sopra Steria in August 2021 after meeting us at a job fair. She immediately felt comfortable with our HR team and liked our company values, so she decided to take her chance.
What does a Business Analyst do?
I would say that I am the link between the clients or the business and the Development Team at Sopra Steria Benelux. My days are filled with meetings with clients and our internal teams, attending workshops and testing functionalities. My goal is to help clients decide on new or changing functionalities and to communicate their wishes to our Developers. Besides that, clients can always contact me in case of questions or remarks.
What qualities are important for a Business Analyst?
I would say first of all having communicative and social skills, because you are constantly in touch with your clients and your team at Sopra Steria. You should also be able to make a structured plan and to follow this plan throughout the analysis, development and testing phase. Besides that, it is also very useful to have a basic technical background in order to make a more detailed analysis including technical solutions for the client’s problem.
What projects are you working on?
I am currently working on 2 projects that in my opinion both have an impact on society.
The first one is the set-up and implementation of chatbots. The chatbots are installed on several websites of public services. They help citizens with their common questions about day-to-day topics and reduce the workload of contact centers at the client’s side. The second project I work on, is at the Ministry of Finance in Belgium. For this project, we maintain several applications which are responsible for the international exchange of information regarding taxes.
What achievement so far are you most proud of?
I recently did a presales presentation for a new project. It was the first time I was introduced to presale activities. Last week, I received an email that we won the project. This felt like a big achievement because everyone worked very hard on the presentations. I am already looking forward to the first workshops with our new client.
What can you say about Sopra Steria’s culture?
I can’t really describe a typical person that works at Sopra Steria, because everyone is so different, but this is just what makes us a good team.
When I started working at Sopra Steria, I immediately felt the ‘Sopra Steria team spirit’ among us. I feel very much supported by my colleagues and especially by my Proximity Manager. She is always ready to listen to me, and she help me grow in my current role as Business Analyst and with my career at Sopra Steria.
Besides this, we have a lot of possibilities to follow trainings and receive certificates, which is very important as a Junior. On top of formal trainings, there is also a lot of on-the-job training. I can ask questions and learn new things every day, which really helps me grow professionally.
If Sopra Steria was an animal, Dorien thinks it would be a bird, because at Sopra Steria, you get a lot of autonomy and I have the feeling that I can really choose my own career path. Management leaves room to grow in your current role and project but also gives the opportunity to change roles or projects if you want to.
Meet Benjamin Reichmann, Network and Security Architect at Sopra Steria Benelux (Luxembourg).
Meet Benjamin Reichmann, Network and Security Architect at Sopra Steria Benelux (Luxembourg). Benjamin joined Sopra Steria in February 2021. His job is to analyse architecture dossiers, and work on building blocks that together form a fully secured solution for the client. Working on interesting projects with impact and having amazing training opportunities and the possibility to also grow personally are the main advantages of working at Sopra Steria for Benjamin.
What are the most important qualities for a Network and Security Architect?
You should be open to new ideas, able to work on multiple domains at the same time and have a view on all technology available.
What projects are you working on?
Currently, I am working on 2 projects for a European agency that has multiple solutions to create a more secure Europe.
The first project is a biometric processing system which provides services to other European systems. The other project I am working on enables employees and contractors to work on their systems without being physically present on site. This is done by implementing a system that uses small USB-tokens that create a unique password to log in on a remote computer after plugging it in. Both projects have a certain impact on the day-to-day European activities.
The scripts of both projects are very different and that is what makes it interesting: I am learning a lot about different subjects.
What does your team look like?
Depending on the project, I will be working in a team or on my own, but I always work together a lot with our Security team in Luxembourg that includes Analysts, Network Security Experts, and other Experts. Though we do not work on the same projects, we are always open to provide our expertise if needed. I also often collaborate with our Cloud and Technical Services team located in Luxembourg.
If Benjamin could switch jobs for one day, he would like the be the Chief information security officer (CISO), because he thinks it is a job with high stakes and a job that is quite challenging. Benjamin also likes the fact that the CISO is able to meet different teams at Sopra Steria and clients.
What can you say about Sopra Steria’s company culture?
When I think of Sopra Steria, I think of open mindedness, training opportunities, and people who are always willing to learn new stuff and elaborate on new ideas. We have a management that is quite easily available and ready to give people opportunities and more responsibilities if they ask for it. Management gives us the freedom to plan our days however we want to and to be flexible in our schedule, as long as the work is done in the end, and we deliver something qualitative.
We have a rather young team, meaning that we chat and laugh a lot when we are at the office so the atmosphere is really informal. I always say that “homeworking is the more serious part of the job” because there are less opportunities to joke around with colleagues when you work from home but despite a more volatile work-ambiance, we still have to thrive at a certain level of exigence.
If Sopra Steria was an animal, Benjamin thinks it would be a lynx, because Sopra Steria and the lynx are both rather effective creatures, they are agile, adapt to the environment and they both always keep their eyes on the end goal.
Hélène Vercauteren - Data Protection Consultant
Thomas Simoens - Programme Management Officer
Jari De Luyck - Business Analyst
Meet Pauline Lachérade, Business Analyst/Consultant at Sopra Steria Benelux.
Meet Pauline Lachérade, Business Analyst/Consultant at Sopra Steria Benelux and European Affairs student at Sciences Po Paris. Pauline wanted to work with European Institutions on European digital transformation projects and see European affairs from the point of view of the private sector, and that is why she was attracted to Sopra Steria Benelux. She first did a traineeship in the Homeland Security and Defense Business Unit in 2020, and an apprenticeship of 1 year in the Consulting department, before she was officially hired in October 2021.
Were you always a Consultant at Sopra Steria?
I have worked on 4 projects involving 4 different public bodies at European and national level, and I switched between being a Business Analyst and Consultant. As a Business Analyst, I was a translator between the business part and the technical part of an IT project. I had to refine business needs in cooperation with business owners and define use cases and user stories. Being a Business Analyst was at first entirely out of my comfort zone, and very challenging, but I learned a lot in experiencing the challenges of large IT project involving various stakeholders and using different methodologies.
I am currently ending a mission as a Consultant on a HLS & Defence project of the Ministry of Interior in France. Our Team accompanied the client to coordinate and support the implementation of European regulations on European Information Systems at national level. We had to define business needs and interact both with the technical and strategical part of the project to conduct the test strategy and design the roadmap according to the upcoming EU legislation on European Information Systems. Even if the work I do in this project is at a very little scale, on 1 European Information System, in 1 only country, I have the feeling that my work really has an impact.
Besides this project, I am also working on European funding, and I am part of the EU task force at Group level.
What are the most important qualities for a Consultant?
When you start your career, you arrive in a new ecosystem, and you are talking to experts who know their topic very well. You need to learn quickly, be a good listener and observer and have strong communication skills. You also need to have confidence to bring your ideas and propositions to the table.
Sopra Steria is the place to be if you are curious about IT and want to grow every day while working on topics in projects you never thought you would work on. You will join a dynamic team, have flexibility, and be part of something that is evolving. You can also join well-known, bigger companies that are already settled on the market, but what I like about Sopra Steria Benelux is that we are growing and that you can be part of this evolution.
If Pauline could switch jobs with someone else at Sopra Steria for 1 day, she wants to be the Public Sector Business Unit director.
Diverse, open and friendly, at all levels of the company. We have the freedom to do our work the way we want to, and there is a lot of flexibility. We work hard, but there is definitely time to have fun at Sopra Steria, for example during afterworks or the GPTW party that was organised in Chalet Robinson. I would say that Sopra Steria Benelux really listens to junior profiles when they have ideas and the management is accessible and really trusts us, and this is very important for me.
At Sopra Steria Benelux, you will have the opportunity to work on a lot of different projects, so you must have this kind of willingness to change and to learn about various topics.
Sopra Steria has a strong focus on trainings, so they really want employees to grow. Having a Proximity Manager helps with this. My Proximity Manager and I sit together to see what I want to do in the coming months and years, inside Sopra Steria but also outside. I am for example in a very specific situation, because I am working and studying full time and the company really supports me in this, and I believe this would not be possible in another company. I think this is really a great system.
If Sopra Steria was an animal, Pauline thinks it would be a turtle, because Sopra Steria may be moving slowly, but we are always on track and moving forward. Sometimes it may take some time before an idea really kicks off, but in the end, when you put a turtle against a rabbit, the turtle wins.
Meet Valentin Gutierrez Saez, working as a Project Manager and Industrial Director in Luxembourg.
Meet Valentin Gutierrez Saez. He started working for Sopra Steria Madrid in October 2011, after first being rejected. Lucky for us, his girlfriend (now his wife) insisted on convincing the HR team to grant him a second interview. In the end, he was able to get a contract. In 2015, he moved to Sopra Steria Benelux and he is now working as a Project Manager and Industrial Director in Luxembourg.
What is your job at Sopra Steria Benelux?
I started as a Java Developer in Madrid and then had a job as Tester. Once I became more and more interested in the management of people, Sopra Steria Madrid allowed me to lead a small team of Testers and then a full team of Developers and Testers. When I came to Luxembourg, they proposed to join as a Technical Project Manager, combined with the role of a Manager.
At this moment, I am both a Project Manager/Project Manager Coordinator for SIS II and the Agency Industrial Director for Sopra Steria Luxembourg. Because of these 2 roles, my day may start with a plan, but it almost never works out like that. I never know what my day will look like, and this is what makes it interesting.
As a Project Manager you are assigned to a project and you need to follow up on all the activities, communicate with the client, and think about the financial aspect. As Project Manager Coordinator, you also need to support and evaluate a set of Project Managers on the follow up of the project and you are their point of contact for escalations. I mostly work together with Developers, the Testing team, and other transversal teams.
As an Agency Industrial Director, I follow up all the operations in Luxembourg: I support the teams during the set-up of a new project, and with the financial follow-up, and I give them a hand when they need to meet a deadline. Since this is a transversal job, it allows me to have an overview of everything that is happening in Luxembourg, and this is really nice.
What are the most important qualities for a Project Manager and an Agency Industrial Director?
You will face people from different nationalities and personalities who all have different approaches, so it is important to be open and really listen to people. You should try to harmonise processes, no matter where employees come from or what their personality is.
Just working on a project you like, is sometimes not enough. It is also about getting opportunities, and having the possibility to follow trainings. It’s about being recognised and about having fun at your job. If you want all this, then Sopra Steria is the place to be.
If Valentin could switch jobs for 1 day with someone else in the company, he would like to work in recruitment. “Going through tons of CVs, trying to set up interviews and answering questions about the salary, I think that could be interesting. Also, I would like to see what a day looks like for a Sales Manager, facing different clients, and finding out what approach works best.
Culture and atmosphere at Sopra Steria
For me, someone at Sopra Steria should be someone who is openminded and who is looking for professional excellence.
I would say that working at Sopra Steria is challenging, and this is one of the reasons why I came here. You will really have a societal impact with the projects you work on. I also see Sopra Steria Benelux as a small family. Because we are not a company of 10.000 employees, it is possible to get to know everyone in the company, and this is one of the reasons why I stay here. There is an informal atmosphere, so we can also discuss other things than work.
We certainly also get enough autonomy to plan things the way we think it is best and most importantly, to learn from our mistakes. This is important because we can’t grow if we don’t make mistakes, and this is how we reach seniority in our jobs. There are opportunities to grow, and this is definitely one of the reasons why I am here for almost 11 years. I already switched career job profiles and even countries and I was really given the chance to grow professionally. We are really recognised for the efforts we put into our work.
Meet Stéphane Dessy, Solution Architect at Sopra Steria Benelux.
Meet Stéphane Dessy, Solution Architect at Sopra Steria Benelux. After graduating, Stéphane asked some of his friends who were working in IT if they had fun in their jobs and if they could work on interesting projects. None of them found both criteria in their jobs, except 1 friend who worked at Steria (before the merge with Sopra). That is why Stéphane chose to launch his career at Steria in October 2012. In his first mission he worked on a project for the Ministry of Finance as a Developer. In 2017, he left this customer as a Junior Architect.
What does an Architect do?
I used to be a Java Architect, and I am now evolving into a Solution Architect. My job is to translate business requirements and the high-level design provided by the lead Architect into a technical solution that can be put in place by the Development team and other operational teams. The architect in IT is basically the same as an architect in designing a house. We make the plan, and we tell the Developers and Technical Operators where all parts should go and how they integrate with each other.
I also work together with Business Analysts, because they are the ones who spend a lot of time with the customer to refine the business needs and rules we must include in our solution. And since finding the best solution for the client is often a matter of trade-offs, I also have to discuss my vision of the solution with other (Enterprise, Application, Network, Infrastructure, Security, Cloud, and Data) Architects.
I am currently only working for eu-LISA on SIS II. All their core business systems now have their own biometric engine and work in isolation, but in the future, they will start to exchange information and there will only be 1 biometric engine, namely sBMS.
SIS II is a huge project because it is related to the security of the Schengen area. It has therefore an impact in terms of security on about 500 million people. I like the project because of this impact, but also because the technologies I can work on are very interesting.
What are the most important qualities for an Architect?
I would say that the biggest ones are having the capability to develop an abstract vision of the customer’s business needs and being able to divide this vision into highly cohesive and decoupled rational blocks in order to build a puzzle. Since we do not only communicate with internal teams, but also with the clients, having the right communication skills is also important for an Architect. On top, you should be curious, able to question your design choices, and keen to learn day after day.
If you want to have a long-term career in the same company, where everyone is friendly and respectful, management is accessible, you can have challenges, and a good work-life balance, Sopra Steria is for sure one of the top companies. We offer all of this and for me, this is what makes Sopra Steria a Great Place To Work.
There is this culture of friendliness, and I don’t think you can find this just anywhere. I really feel that we are a big family with our colleagues, and during all my years here, this was always the key point that made me stay in the company. You can speak frankly to anyone, including management, and if you have a problem, you will always find someone to help you.
There is also this entrepreneurial culture, so it is very much possible to take your career into your own hands, and to grow. People working at Sopra Steria really believe in the ‘Culture of excellence’ and I believe this is one of the key points of Sopra Steria’s success. There are a lot of opportunities to grow in our company and not only vertically but also horizontally. First, we have different platforms where we can follow a training, and since I am curious and love to learn, this is a big advantage to me. If you say that you need a training, people will really listen to you. Second, every employee is assigned a Proximity Manager to help see your potential, find out what skills you are lacking, help you grow in the way you want to while trying to stay aligned with the company expectations. I would say this role is the most important concept in Sopra Steria.
If Sopra Steria was an animal, Stephane thinks it would be a bee (colony). Just like everyone else at Sopra Steria, bees work hard, and they evolve in their role inside the colony. While working to survive, bees accomplish a critical mission for the sake of many other species and the overall ecosystem. By delivering value to critical customers like the European Commission, Belgian government, or the Belgian police, we at Sopra Steria are working for the sake of society. A bee in itself is fascinating, but no bee can survive on its own. It is only by working together that Sopra Steria will succeed.
Cédric Huyghens - HR Business Partner
Victor Bourgeois - Junior Project Manager
Meet Yann Perronnet, Project Manager on lease to DG TAXUD for Sopra Steria Benelux.
Meet Yann Perronnet, Project Manager on lease to DG TAXUD for Sopra Steria Benelux. Before starting at Sopra Steria, Yann was also working for this client at his previous employer. When they finished a contract with DG TAXUD, his previous employer didn’t have an interesting offer for Yann, so he decided to leave the company. In 2014, Yann got in touch with Sopra Steria Benelux after Sopra Steria just won a big project with DG TAXUD. Since Yann already had experience with this client, Sopra Steria proposed him to work on the newly won project.
What does your job entail?
My job is to give advice and recommendations to the client, so I have a lot of meetings – mostly online – with colleagues in different countries, like Romania, Poland, Greece, but also non-EU countries like Japan and the United States, and I really enjoy the international aspect of the project. My main tasks are doing document reviews, and reviews of technical offers, giving technical presentation, and coordinating with various stakeholders that are responsible for configurations items.
“I always worked for the same client but in different positions and on different projects, and that is what makes it interesting”.
Do you believe in the impact of the project you are working on?
The entire DG TAXUD project has a huge impact on European citizens in general. DG TAXUD deals with a lot of different aspects, and provides all kinds of different businesses, and this is what makes it interesting. During one of DG TAXUD’s contracts, Sopra Steria Benelux for example developed a system that allows tax information exchanges of American citizens that are located in Europe. During another project for DG TAXUD, Sopra Steria also contributed to an application for veterinary certification changes. So, every time an animal crosses a European border, there should be a relevant form from an official vet, and that is where DG TAXUD plays a role. Also, every time you see a truck on the road, chances are that it uses one of the systems that has been provided by DG TAXUD.
If Yann could switch jobs for one day with someone else at Sopra Steria, he would really like to be in the shoes of his Country Manager. “It’s quite big shoes to fill”, but Yann is curious to see what a Country Manager does.
First of all, Sopra Steria Benelux offers interesting and challenges projects. There are many job opportunities as well: I have seen some interesting success stories of colleagues who started as an intern and who are now certified trainers in the organisation who train people more senior than them. On top, Sopra Steria Benelux has always been fair with everyone.
I think it is important to enjoy work as much as possible, and also have a life next to work, and this has always been possible for me, even though sometimes I have to work crazy hours. Being such a big company – and getting bigger – Sopra Steria Benelux has always remained the human aspect. After all these years, I still enjoy work and working with the people around me, and this is something you can’t find everywhere. One example is that we never worried for 1 minute during covid times about anything, because we knew Sopra Steria would take care of us.
There are a lot of opportunities to grow and develop at Sopra Steria, but you do have to seize the opportunities yourself. I for example got the chance to develop my skills to be a good Project Manager. In the beginning, I had no idea how to balance workload and how to use management tools, but Sopra Steria was very patient with me while learning all of this. I was always given the tools to do what I needed to do and I feel that people who are higher on the ladder than me, are always ready to listen to me.
Why do you think Sopra Steria is a great place to work?
Like I said, the human aspect is important. You can have lousy customers, and complications with work, but at the end, you are interacting with humans, and I feel that Sopra Steria really understand this. Our management doesn’t ignore of deny problems we might have and that is very important. The fact that we had no issues at all with any HR related issue during covid times, means a lot to me.
If Sopra Steria was an animal, Yann thinks it would be a chameleon, because of the changing powers this animal has: Sopra Steria is changing all the time, but in its core, it stays the same.
Meet Olivier Calzi, Infrastructure Engineer at Sopra Steria Benelux since August 2019.
Meet Olivier Calzi, Infrastructure Engineer at Sopra Steria Benelux since August 2019. Olivier found his way to Sopra Steria Benelux because he was part of the same boxing team as his team leader. During a sport session, they started discussing about Sopra Steria and an open job position and that is how Olivier was introduced to his current team and the management.
What is it you do at Sopra Steria Benelux?
I am an Infrastructure Engineer, so I take care of the infrastructure of our customers. In my job, it is important to be a good listener and learner, and to be patient.
I work in our customers’ cloud to make sure their infrastructure is up and running, so I am dealing with their tickets and requests. I am also advising our customers on how to achieve their targets and I am managing changes for them: if they ask for a new system or product, I have to think about how to implement it in their existing infrastructure the best way possible. I mainly work together with System Engineers and Network Engineers, in a team with 9 people.
I had the chance to work on some nice projects for different customers during my career at Sopra Steria, and I am currently working on a project where the goal is to move from the client’s current classical web platform to an Openshift platform. This is a brand-new platform, and even the customer didn’t know a lot about it at first, so it was up to us to give our client qualitative trainings and workshops. This was challenging and highly demanding, since we had to train our own team at the same time as training our client. I have been evolved in this project since I started working at Sopra Steria and this project will be done in a few months. This will be a big achievement for our team, since we started from zero.
I don’t work full time on this one project. I also have to take care of other customer’s baselines, so handling tickets, or doing some internal work.
Why do you think Sopra Steria is a Great Place To Work?
We get a lot of opportunities, and it is possible to really improve professionally and personally at Sopra Steria. If you want to face real situations while working in a great team, you should definitely join our company. Starting at Sopra Steria opened many doors for me, so I don’t regret coming here.
If Olivier could switch jobs for one day with someone else at Sopra Steria, his funny answer would be a Fleet Manager, because he could go on trial sessions with every new car. His serious answer would be an Architect, to see what it is like building projects from ground zero.
I work in Fleming, our subsite at Louvain-la-Neuve, so I will mainly speak about the atmosphere there. I would say Sopra Steria is a place to learn, and this is really important for me, since this makes it possible to grow. Sopra Steria also works with a Proximity Manager and in my experience, this concept really has an added value. It is nice to talk with someone about the past year and to discuss what I did good, what not and where I want to go.
What I really like about working at Sopra Steria is the friendship at work, and the nice moments we have with our team. On Fridays for example, we sometimes order pizzas as lunch. We work in a small office in a green environment, so we can also enjoy fresh air, and this is important for our wellbeing.
I feel very appreciated at Sopra Steria, since we are receiving a lot of feedback from our managers, and we can talk freely to everyone, including the management.
If Sopra Steria was an animal, Olivier thinks it would be an elephant: Sopra Steria is sometimes moving slowly, but we are getting there. We have big ears, which reflects our open communication, and we live in a team with others who take care of each other, just like elephants do.
Meet Vittorio Fidanzia, Project/Programme Manager at Sopra Steria Benelux.
Meet Vittorio Fidanzia, Programme/Project Manager at Sopra Steria Benelux for our Homeland Security Business Unit. In June 2017, Vittorio started in our company as a Test Manager for a project at Fedasil (Federal Agency for the reception of asylum seekers), and soon became the Project Manager of the same project. He is currently working as a Programme Manager for public European and Belgian customers (eu-LISA and Registre National). “Working on 2 different projects is challenging, because you face different approaches and deal with different challenges, but it’s a good way to stay connected with the company’s business”.
Can you say some more about the 2 projects you are working on?
The first project, Eurodac, deals with the maintenance and the evolution of a large-scale IT system managed by eu-LISA, a European Agency supporting EU Member States in the treatment and management of asylum seekers’ demands. When an asylum seeker crosses one of the European borders, he/she can be checked via the Eurodac system. This system is able to identify through appropriate biometric fingerprints matching if the person has already introduced an asylum request to another Member State before. This is an important exchange platform for both Member States, to determine which Member State is responsible of treating the asylum request, but also for law enforcement authorities to prevent, detect and investigate terrorists and serious criminal offences.
The other project is called Belpic, an application that is responsible for managing the delivery of the Belgian electronic ID card. Sopra Steria Benelux has been working on this project for a very long time I often say that “everyone has Belpic in his wallet”. On top of the regular work for “Registre National”, we also commit to drive the customer towards new horizons, such as the virtualisation of the identity formats.
What are the most important qualities for a Project/Programme Manager?
Firstly, as Programme/Project Manager you are responsible of driving and steering your customers in the best possible way to address the needs they are facing. Additionally, you are one of the entry points of the company for the customers, so the quality of the performance is a advertisement for Sopra Steria’s work, which can influence the company’s global reputation.
Also, I believe that creating harmony and cohesion in your team is very important and a real catalyst for the team development and performance. You should offer guidance to your team and play a ‘glue role’ to make them feel part of the journey and Sopra Steria’s core values. On the other hand, you need to make sure that the customer is not too invasive towards your team, so you should be the frontier between what happens “outside” and “inside”.
If Vittorio could switch jobs for one day with someone else at Sopra Steria, he would try the HR team, because he just likes to work and get in touch with new people and have a view on “where it all begins”.
I would say that the easiness of interaction is one of Sopra Steria’s unique features, as at any level in our company, there is a friendly and joyful atmosphere. I really feel part of a community, not just a company, and this is a remarkable aspect that is not typical for every company.
A person who works at Sopra Steria is open-minded, can think outside of the box, is creative, and has a lot of imagination. Until today, and apart from the official processes, I was never told how to do my job in a specific way, even when I was a junior Project Manager; we really get the freedom to express our creativity and ideas.
Sharing information is also something that is very valuable in our company, and this results in the fact that I never had the feeling that something was unachievable.
I feel part of an engine that is working well with the help of everyone, and this is one of the basic reasons why Sopra Steria Benelux can be defined as a great place to work. There is a very convivial environment, we have the freedom to bring ideas that are really considered and evaluated, and we have a lot of autonomy, which for me, is one of the biggest strengths.
If Sopra Steria was an animal, Vittorio thinks it would be a chameleon, because a chameleon is famous to be versatile and Sopra Steria Benelux shows to be a versatile company
Meet Gilles Doyen, SAP consultant (ABAP developer) at Sopra Steria Benelux since January 2021.
Meet Gilles Doyen, SAP consultant (ABAP developer) at Sopra Steria Benelux since January 2021. Gilles already knew the SAP team before joining because some of his friends are working there. When he saw Pierre Blauwart (Agency Director of SAP at Sopra Steria Benelux) needed someone to build a Security Department, he was sold.
What is your goal as an SAP Consultant?
My main job is to work for customers and implement the code they need for their business purposes. I am also creating a Security Division for SAP. Depending on the project, my tasks are a bit different. For a project for a well-known bank in Belgium, I mainly work on their real estate module. For other projects, my task can be more specific. For example, I help one client whenever they have support needs on their emergency request solution or when there is a bug in their programme.
I really like that I can work on different projects at the same time, because my days never feel the same. There is a lot of diversity in my job, and it is fun because always doing the same thing in the same area would be boring after some time.
My mission as an ABAP Developer is to make the client happy, to respect their development needs, and to implement a future proof solution for them. As a Security Consultant, my goal is to know all the different tricks and techniques to be good at my job and to be able to improve myself.
What are the most important qualities for an SAP Consultant?
Being independent and autonomous and having the right adaptation skills. You should be able to learn the things you need to do in your job by yourself, because you can never learn at school exactly the situations you will be in during your job. This is really a mindset you need to have, and if you have this, you don’t really need to study IT, you will do great in this job anyway.
What achievement are you most proud of?
At Sopra Steria, we already had a Security Team but not for SAP specifically, and I was asked to build this SAP specific Security Team. It was a lot of work, but I had enough support, and I am very thankful for this opportunity. It was challenging, because I had to do a lot of things that I didn’t do before, like handling the budget, and managing people. We are not yet fully ready to look for customers and to start their projects, but we are getting there, and I am very excited about this.
Why do you think other people should join Sopra Steria?
First, working at Sopra Steria is fun. On top of that, you have a lot of diversity in your job. This may be challenging at times, but you will get the help and support you need, and, in the end, you will have a great sense of achievement.
If Gilles could switch jobs for one day with someone else at Sopra Steria, he would take the job of a Penetration Tester. This is another job in Security where you are basically hired to hack into the system of a company.
The SAP team is quite a young team, and everyone gets along very well, so I would say that working at Sopra Steria is like working with friends. The atmosphere is also rather informal. Even with our management, there is no “mister director”, and we call all management and our CEO by their first name. In my opinion, this is one of the strongest points of Sopra Steria. I would say working at Sopra Steria means working hard, but also playing hard, because the fun part is definitely present. For me, Sopra Steria just really is a great place to work, and I feel proud of working here.
A “Sopra Sterian” must have good adaptation skills, because there are always surprises at work or things for which you have to find a creative solution. It is also important to take your future into your own hands, because there are a lot of opportunities to grow at Sopra Steria, but you have to take the initiative yourself.
If Sopra Steria was an animal, Gilles thinks it would be a monkey, since you never really know what to expect but in the end it always turns out to be fun. It is like a “fun chaos” sometimes.