Inside InterWorks: Platforms Architect


Inside InterWorks: Platforms Architect

Go behind the scenes of the day-to-day responsibilities of InterWorkers and get a glimpse of our unique company culture.

At InterWorks, we really love our jobs – not just because we do cutting-edge work that keeps us creative and our skills in tip-top shape, but also because we’re a part of a sensational data and tech community that includes our clients, partners and—of course—our team members. We talk a lot on the blog about the final outcomes of innovative projects and the awesome byproducts of our valuable partnerships, but in this series, we’re going to turn inward and share about what it’s like to work at InterWorks through the lenses of various team members. We hope you find it enjoyable, engaging and makes you want to work with us (in more than one way).

I recently caught up with one of the members of the InterWorks Platforms Practice, Henry Arend, to discuss what he likes so much about the work he does and hear what he would share with those who are curious about InterWorks or the inner workings of a platforms-focused role like his.

Q: First things first: how would you describe your role of Platforms Architect?

The spiel I typically give clients is that we focus on Tableau Server, Alteryx Server and other partner technologies if they have a server-style platform. If you have a platform and you are going to share out something to a wide variety of users or provide a space that they can do things in, that’s where I work. We are helping clients create a space where they can share reports, help users find things, be able to publish reports, etc. With Alteryx, it’s similar to this in being able to create a space for workflows like Sandbox where users can operate.

I have some Desktop experience and general infrastructure experience, so I know and have seen every stage of the process from data creation to final reporting, making me familiar with all the different pieces of the process. This is pretty typical of how the Platforms team works. We often get thrown in when somebody has a question but they’re not really sure where it fits. Most people, if they hear “Tableau” and hear “infrastructure,” the Platforms team gets involved and can pull apart the different bits and tease out what really needs to be done.

An Inside Look at the InterWorks Way

Q: What does the day-to-day of your role look like?

A: It can vary for sure. You have clients with different levels of need, and that affects what your week looks like. But the first thing I usually do is to check my emails and see if anyone threw any red flags overnight. A lot of times after that, it’s logging into client systems to start installing or debugging Tableau or whatever they need. Sometimes, it’s working with a client through a Zoom session if we can’t get directly into their systems. If I’m on site with a client, usually I just go in and work with whoever is there and help them install Tableau or whatever they need to do with it. I’m there to support and guide them.

Q: What has been a memorable project of yours so far in your time at InterWorks?

A: One that comes to mind was when I was on site for a client, and they came to me and asked what I would do if I were in their position. I was fairly new to InterWorks and had never been asked a question like before, and I was really pleased to have the chance to share my approach. I had a chance to spend a whole afternoon with them, sketching out on the whiteboard all their data sources and reporting platforms and walking them through what their plans were in five or ten years. I asked them big questions to help them think about what might happen in the years to come and help them shape the future of their analytics. It’s really rewarding to play the role of that trusted advisor for our clients and support them as best as possible.

Q: What’s something you really enjoy about your work and your team?

A: We’re not afraid to get our hands dirty and jump into something. This is true for InterWorks more broadly, too, but being able to look at something, take an interest in it and give it a closer look, knowing it’ll either equip you to help someone else later on or prompt you to turn to someone else for help is pretty special. The Platforms team is very much a jack-of-all-trades team, and we know how things work and the steps in the process from beginning to end. Even if it’s not our specialty, it’s rare that someone gets brought into a project and doesn’t have prior familiarity or experience with an aspect of the challenge.

Above: Henry and Tony Kau of the Platforms team

Doing What’s Best for Clients. Period.

Q: What sets InterWorks apart as a data and tech consultancy? How is working here different than working somewhere else?

A: One of our guiding principles is always to do what is best for the client, regardless of bottom lines or other external factors. That means if a client approaches me for a Platform 360, but they’re not in a place where it makes the most sense for them, I won’t recommend it. We really want to do what is best for the client, no matter what. Our goal in every engagement with a client is to get them to a sustainable place where they can manage on their own. They don’t have to wake up every day and wonder if the server’s going to crash or how they’ll handle it when something unexpected comes up. We want to take that stress away and help them manage and execute their business with confidence.

We aren’t necessarily here to sell things. If I think a client can benefit from something, like buying more licensing or something similar, I’ll recommend it. Whether the client does it or not is their choice, but I will always look for the most efficient, effective way to achieve high performance and the solution that will best serve clients in the long term. I’m not here to try and look for that continuing contract. That’s not my role, and I don’t like to do that. I would rather teach them and show them and get them set up to be self-sufficient and take care of those things moving forward.

Q: What is something you really enjoy or appreciate about InterWorks?

A: It’s hard to find a group of people who are both intelligent and dedicated when it comes to their work. Sometimes, people are super, super smart but they don’t care so much about what they do. On the other hand, you can have people who are really eager but they’re consistently running into pitfalls, don’t learn from their mistakes or are unsure of how to get started. It’s a very rare portion of that Venn diagram to have people who are both so inquisitive and intelligent. They’re always looking for new ways to grow, always looking for ways they can pull from their background and expertise and bring it forward to their current work.

Q: If you could leave a parting word to a prospective InterWorker or Platforms team member, what would you say?

A: Nothing is too hard. You get out what you put into it a project. Even if you can only take baby steps, you’re doing that alongside the rest of us. We can help you figure it out, and even though people are working on their own projects, it doesn’t mean you can’t reach out and say, “I don’t know how to do this” and get support. People want to help you.

Join the Team!

If this kind of environment and culture sounds like the kind of place you want to be, we have all sorts of roles open all around the globe. Check out our Careers page to find the right fit and become a part of a team that’s as fun to hang out with as it is to work alongside. We can’t wait to hear from you!

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More About the Author

Henry Arend

Solutions Architect
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