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Team Bespoke: Meet Cristian

Name: Cristian

Role: Solutions Architect

Cristian is one of our Power Platform Solutions Architects – we chat to him about what a Solutions Architect does and what he likes to do in his spare time – plus a few other things in between.

What is your job title and in summary, what do you actually do?

I am a Solutions Architect, and my role is to convert our clients’ requirements into a design that becomes the blueprint of the system, whilst providing direction throughout the development process.

How would you explain that to a child?

To best explain what I’m doing to a child, I would say that they should think about colouring books, and that my role is to decide where the black lines are and the developers are the ones doing the colouring.

What is the best piece of advice you have ever been given?

One piece of advice that comes to mind is, work smart not hard, which doesn’t seem to apply if you are paving a driveway but sounds very good.

What inspired you to work in this industry?

I was born and raised in a small village, in the heart of the Romanian countryside, where technology and computers were scarce at the time. When I got my first computer in 2003 it opened a whole new world of possibilities and ever since, I have been drawn to technology.

Who is someone you admire, and why?

Mate Rimac, for the huge advancements he’s brought to the electric supercar market.

What’s a typical day like for you?

Most days there are three main activities that I focus on, usually starting with working on designs and research for new or ongoing projects. When I’m not doing that I’m either providing support and direction to my colleagues in the development team or getting involved on client-facing calls or meetings to gather requirements, better understand their needs and current architecture of business intelligence and software products.

Power BI developer

What’s a goal you have for yourself that you want to accomplish in the next year?

On a professional level my goal is to deploy as many new Power Platform solutions as possible and help Bespoke become market leader in this field, and on a personal level, I plan to move house.

What are you happiest doing, when you’re not working?

My favourite sport is skiing, yet the UK is not the best place to be when it comes to that and as the father of a small child the prospect of having 5 minutes of doing nothing is enough to raise my excitement to very high levels.

If you could do another job for just one day, what would it be?

There are probably other 9 to 5 jobs that are interesting enough to have a go at, but I would like to be a rally driver on one of the winter stages. 

How do you define success?

For me, success is going on a journey and it being exactly as I expected. A smooth journey and any additional surprises such as aircon, or table service, are a bonus. That’s why it’s so important to fully understand a client’s needs, expectations and future aspirations at the very start of a project – so we can be certain of a successful project delivery.

If you had to eat one meal, every day for the rest of your life, what would it be?

It would have to be a sandwich, it works for any time of the day.

How many languages do you speak and which ones?

I speak two languages fluently, Romanian and English. I can also speak a bit of Spanish, or at least I think I can. 

What is the best bit about your job? (Other than working with your teammates)

I like the challenges that come with designing, developing and deploying great solutions, but the best bit is successfully completing a project.

What three words would your team use to describe you?

Patient, Knowledgeable, Supportive

To read more Bespoke Team interviews, click here.

Team Bespoke: Meet Freya

Name: Freya

Role: Power BI Developer

This month we’re chatting to one of our Power BI developers, Freya, to find out more about her and her role here at Bespoke.

How would you describe your job to a child?

I make pretty graphs that tell us how well things are doing and how we can make them better.

What are 3 words to describe Bespoke?

Family, Professional, Creative

What’s a typical day like for you?

Morning coffee before our morning meeting, sometimes a pre-work walk if it’s nice weather. Then work on a dashboard or two in the morning. For lunch I like to spend it outside with a salad or sandwich. Work again in the afternoon, usually a few clients calls throughout the day and then after work I like to go out for tea with my housemates or to a class at the gym

What are you happiest doing, when you’re not working?

I create fashion content, so I enjoy taking pictures for that.

Cats or dogs?

Definitely dogs, I can’t wait to get my own.


Every morning on toast!

If you could swap jobs with someone within our company for the day, who would it be and why?

I would swap with our Marketing Director, Kelly as I am interested in what she does and to see how different her day/work is to mine

What is the best bit about your job? (Other than working with your team mates.)

When I first get a new project and I get to have fun designing the dashboard appearance on Power BI

What three words would your team use to describe you?

Sociable, Energetic, Practical

What are you most proud of at work?

I feel proud when I train clients on a tool I have produced for them and I get to see their reactions to my work.

When you were a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?

I asked my parents what I wanted to be and they said ‘rich’, haha! I actually don’t remember but when I was in high school I wanted to be an art curator.  

If you could choose a superpower, what would it be?

To be able to teleport so I could spend my lunch break in Disney World!

What one food do you wish had zero calories?

Pizza, it’s just so tasty and I wish I could have it every week!

What is your biggest pet peeve?

Very common but definitely the sound of people eating loudly or with their mouth open.

If you could witness any historical event, what would you want to see?

Probably the Titanic launching as I love the film and learnt a lot about the event when I was younger.

To read more Bespoke Team interviews, click here.

Team Bespoke: Meet Jon

Name: Jon

Role: Business Analyst

What is your role at Bespoke?

I’m a business analyst here at Bespoke. My role involves working with clients to design a solution that will meet their unique business requirements. I need to document these requirements clearly so that the developers can build a tool that accurately meets their needs.

I’m also responsible for ensuring that the final product is a match to what the documentation outlines.

How long have you been in this industry / what is your background?

I’ve only been in this industry since I’ve been with Bespoke, so about 18 months. I graduated university with a degree in economics in 2018. After graduating I took a year out and went travelling around Australia and SE Asia.

In terms of my professional background, I’ve worked in quite a few different fields over the years including hospitality, construction, and farm work so I’ve managed to have quite a broad range of experiences which I think has helped me a lot with getting to grips with this industry.

What inspires you to work in this industry?

I was interested in working in data as the industry is constantly evolving as new technologies emerge which makes it quite exciting and fast paced. On a personal level, I think it is an industry where I can learn loads of new skills and really grow.

What is the best part of your role?

I would say my favourite part is delivering the final solution to clients. It’s very satisfying seeing the final product after weeks or months of planning and development.

What is your favourite project that you have been part of?

My favourite project (I suppose projects is more accurate) would have to be Heaton’s. A major project commenced with them about a week or two after I joined Bespoke, and has continued throughout my time here. We have gone from building them a simple estimating tool to completely redesigning their business processes, from acquisitions through to sales. In the coming months we’re looking at moving more of these functions onto the Power Platform.

What is the toughest challenge you have faced in your role at Bespoke?

My toughest challenge would have to be adjusting to the impact of Covid. I had only been with Bespoke for about four months before we went into the first lockdown, so I had only just started to understand the processes and structure of working in an office before that was completely thrown on its head and I was working remotely.

What does a typical day in your role look like?

My days are pretty varied. They usually involve some combination of working alongside the developers, meeting clients to discuss potential or ongoing projects, writing documentation and testing the final tools before they are released.

What do you think our industry is going to look like in 10 years? 

I think in 10 years the industry will look very different to how it is now. More or less, everything will be cloud based and run by smaller, external teams. There will be a much greater emphasis on analytics across all companies as data insights will become more accessible to everyone.

Hopefully, all manual and repeated processes will have been automated making businesses much more efficient and freeing up workers for more creative tasks.

If you had an unlimited budget, what innovation would you want to create in our industry?

A virtual assistant or something that could automate the testing process would be great. It can be quite time consuming to test a large tool. Something that could load data, check the functionality against the documentation, and correct any issues would be a lifesaver though I’m not sure what I would do with all the free time.

If you could get a new skill in 10 minutes, what would it be? 

It’s quite generic but I’d love to be able to play a musical instrument. I had drum lessons growing up but quit when I realised becoming a rock star wasn’t likely (after 5 years I still couldn’t keep a beat). I’m not too fussed what instrument I would be able to play, even something like a tambourine would be fine with me.

If you could go to any country (that you haven’t been to) where would you go and why?

If I could travel anywhere, it would be Antarctica. When I was younger I had a slight infatuation with penguins. It’s been a dream of mine to see them in the wild ever since.

To read more Bespoke Team interviews, click here.

Team Bespoke: Meet Dave

Accounts Director

Name: Dave Bright

Role: Account Director

What is your role at Bespoke?

It is my role to manage the relationships with our major accounts.

How long have you been in this industry / what is your background?

At the age of 20 I did my degree in Computer Science. After which, I went on to work in various sales supporting roles for the likes of NCR and ICL before joining Matthew Hall Engineering as a Senior Systems Analyst. My career here saw me progress to Project Manager, Senior Project Manager and then Business Development Manager. It was at this point that I was put in charge of opening a site in Manchester to support the northern based companies, which involved recruiting and developing an IT team to support this.

Following a successful career with Matthew Hall, I decided to set up my own software house with a colleague. Our initial focus was to help manufacturing businesses with their batch traceability, but we soon broadened our offering and created specific packages for the steel industry. This then led me to work for British Steel as a consultant for a number of years before becoming the IT Director of their distribution division. Following numerous mergers and acquisitions, I became European IT Director for Tata Steel, responsible for all their Supply Chain systems. My last role at Tata Steel saw me manage an 800-strong IT team to deliver a supply chain digital transformation project which involved moving all the European companies onto SAP. 

I then retired, but became bored quite quickly and was in need of something to get my teeth stuck into, so started working as a Development Manager on a major transformation project at Nottingham University. Following this, I retired again for a brief spell before the opportunity for Account Director at Bespoke arose. 

What inspires you to work in this industry?

At school we had a teletype link to Harris College (now the University of Central Lancashire) where I did some Computer Programming, and this really sparked my love for the industry. It’s fast moving, continually evolving and I’m always learning. The constant innovation within the tech industry means that you always have to keep up to speed with the latest advancements to ensure that we’re at the forefront and able to provide the best for our clients.

What is the best part of your role?

I really enjoy working closely with our clients and ensuring that we deliver projects that I am truly proud of. When it comes to our clients, I believe in looking after people as much as I would like to be looked after in that situation. It’s this approach that epitomises partnership working for me. Continually building our client relationships means that we’re able to understand our clients’ business ambitions and objectives – this insight means we’re well placed to provide the best digital transformation solutions for them. 

What is your favourite project that you have been part of?

There are two projects which spring to mind; Airbus being the first – it was a phenomenal project to work on. We were asked to create a tool which built up the ability to track the cost process chain for aircraft materials. It was such a challenge and we broke down every obstacle that was put in our way to ensure they got the best solution. They are now able to optimise costs and time by using the tool to plan various scenarios. It’s super rewarding when you get feedback to say that the tool we have created has surpassed the clients expectations.

The second was working with a Manchester-based milk distributor to create a solution which has taken what was a monthly process, to a weekly process initially, then daily and now due to the advancements in the tech world, can now be refreshed every two hours if needs be.  

What is the toughest challenge you have faced in your role at Bespoke?

Transitioning to a much smaller company meant that there weren’t as many processes in place as I was used to. In order to ready the company for growth, I had to spend a significant amount of time working and improving processes to ensure that we could scale efficiently. This was crucial, but difficult, because working hard whilst carving out time to break down processes and procedures and assessing which were the best ones to adopt for this size of company, was hugely time consuming.

What does a typical day in your role look like?

My day is generally a mixture of keeping in touch with clients and being on top of the work schedules to ensure everything is on track. I also spend a significant amount of time talking to the developers and analysts to ensure they are up-to-speed with the clients’ requirements at all times. I see myself as the interface between external clients and internal teams. Crystal clear communication is the key factor here. 

What do you think our industry is going to look like in 10 years? 

I think there will be a gradual move away from businesses having such large IT teams which they are generally overly reliant on. The advancements in technology will allow employees to be far more self sufficient and in turn empowered. 

More solutions and apps will be built because the traditional process will change. I see that the components of a solution will become more readily available, like building blocks which are ready to be easily stitched together, rather than having to code and create every single one from scratch. This means less risk for businesses in terms of time committed to digital transformation projects. I think in just a few more years there will be very little in the way of traditional ‘on-premise’ systems, as everything will be migrated to the cloud. 

If you had an unlimited budget, what innovation would you want to create in our industry?

I would love to instantly automate the workflows for everything we do. Take moving house for example, it’s a time consuming exercise having to call every single one of your providers and inform them of your new address. But wouldn’t it be great if you only needed to do this once? You could inform your bank of your new address, who in turn would assess all of your direct debits and notify each company of your new details. It would be so much simpler and save people an awful lot of time. 

If you could get a new skill in 10 minutes, what would it be? 

To learn and fluently speak another language. I feel incredibly ignorant at times that I can only speak English. If I had to choose which language – I would say Spanish, mainly because it is widely spoken. Although if I was feeling the need to up the ante when it comes to the difficulty factor, then I would say Mandarin.

If you could go to any country (that you haven’t been to) where would you go and why?

South America is somewhere I have never been, but I have enjoyed hearing many stories from friends about their time there. Peru stands out as somewhere I would like to visit.

To read more Bespoke Team interviews, click here.