Under the motto “Behind the scenes” we want to give you an insight into what exactly we do at catworkx, who works here and why. Today we introduce you to our Operations & Support Services team (OSS for short). Our OSS team is the “first responder” for Atlassian solutions deployed at our customers’ sites. They are the first point of contact if, for example, a running instance is no longer accessible. In addition to handling faults and failures, they provide application support, advise customers on technical issues and implement requirements. Your field of activity is varied. From processing simple service tickets (such as importing certificates) to complex tasks and projects in the areas of sizing, monitoring, performance-optimization and application migration is all part of the package. They are important contacts for our customers and ensure smooth operation. We asked André from the OSS team why he likes working in this area and what makes it so special.
Introduce yourself, please! Who are you? What do you do at catworkx?
André: Hi, my name is André Rossky, I am a Senior Atlassian Expert and Service Manager. I am now in my 6th year with catworkx. As a Service Manager, I am the contact person for our customers – here, the main focus is on managing upcoming tasks together with the customer and improving the solution processing. This also involves improving and adapting internal structures to the changes brought about by digitalisation.
What does your day-to-day work at catworkx look like?
André: In addition to my duties as a service manager, which have a lot to do with communication, planning, design and, to some extent, implementation, I also work – as does the entire OSS team – on fault processing for customers and perform root-cause analyses. I support the introduction of monitoring requirements, as well as technical issues, for example problems with user administration (AD, LDAP, SAML, SSO) or user migrations. I try to be supportive of colleagues when questions arise and all in all take things with a dose of humor – Don’t find the culprit, find the solution.
What tech stack are you working with?
André: Well, that’s a question … even though I feel younger in parts, I feel extremely old when I ask this question (laughs). What exactly do you mean by tech stack? My work device is a MacBook and an iPhone, I work on Linux and can also hang out on Windows servers without any problems. It always depends on which system is suitable for the respective purpose. For me there is no religion, at most that of finding enough time to enjoy nature, to listen to the birds (especially now in spring and summer) and also to get some distance from the technical world (winks).
What makes the OSS field so exciting for you? What do you enjoy most about your job?
André: There are many different tasks – you can move under the hood of the “Atlassian Stack” or delve “in-app”. What I personally find particularly charming is the fact that we can follow the growth of our company here: From a small, to a medium-sized company. We experience this while we can help shape and improve their operations. I benefit from having once worked in a large organization. Of course, I was able to gain some experience there – and I can put it to good use here. Indeed, it is helpful to understand why some processes in large companies seem rigid and bureaucratic and occasionally take more time. One advantage of the “small” company is that it is more flexible and can therefore react more flexibly to customers.
Why should you start at catworkx in the OSS team?
André: catworkx has developed from a “three-man team” into a medium-sized company, mainly because the entrepreneurs have always adapted to the current market situation and focused on the segments that are in demand. We live in the digital age, where half-lives are not measured in generations, but rather in annual cycles, adjusted to the annual general meetings of shareholders. I think the OSS, the “service team”, has the best leadership duo in the company. They both have their quirks, of course, but they know them. And: They accept criticism, are constructive in doing so, and are on the lookout for solutions – not problems.
Then we have the team itself: a mixture of different types – there’s never a dull moment. There are things to laugh about, to get excited about (would be boring without), but above all very high professional competence. This is important, because as an OSS team we have the task of being able to act quickly and competently as a contact partner in the event of faults, problems or enquiries from customers. In the ITIL context, we would be attributed the “service desk” function. However, we not only accept the requests, but also process them ourselves, so we also represent the 2nd and in part also the 3rd level support. In addition to these service tasks, there are also project activities and it can happen that one accompanies a project completely or in subtasks. Variety is provided for in any case (wink).
What do you have to bring to the job?
André: It’s not a “government job.” What is meant by this is that you should have a certain flexibility. We can’t always drop the stylus at 5pm or 6pm. Sometimes there is a need to work past 6pm. There are also occasional Saturday assignments (sparingly on Sundays). However, this is not the rule and will of course be paid off elsewhere. In principle, overtime is not necessary and also expressly not desired. Nevertheless, there are phases in which there is more work to be done and which have a corresponding priority.
Some “soft skills” are helpful: communication is at the top of the list. It’s about the ability to articulate and listen clearly with customers, but also with colleagues, to give empathetic and constructive feedback and appropriate responses. You should not be afraid of communication.
One of my former football coaches used to say “KKL – Critical, Conflict Stable, Able to Learn”. Probably a statement from coaching (smiles), but it helps to approach things constructively, not taking everything personally and thus also reducing the importance in the impact on your own emotion. Going to work with a smile is an advantage (wink).
Technical expertise helps too, of course, and above all an interest in wanting to learn new things. As long as Linux is not a foreign word, web technologies are known and network knowledge is available, everyone should be able to find their way around here. The Atlassian systems are based on Java, an understanding of this does not hurt, for the deeper tasks we have our own development department.
A lot can be learned, but a certain affinity for technology should already be present. A pure “digital affinity” would not be sufficient in my opinion. Technical affinity means not only knowing how to open the hood, but also knowing that a battery, spark plugs, carburetor, oil, coolant and various other elements are necessary for the engine to run. If I know my way around some of these elements (nginx, config files, email servers, IP addresses, etc), it’s not only helpful, but good for the team. 😃
Our Operations & Support Services team is also currently looking for support! If this is an exciting field of activity for you, we look forward to receiving your application as a Senior IT Service Desk Engineer (m/f/d) or as a Junior IT Service Desk Engineer (m/f/d) at our locations in Hamburg, Cologne, Stuttgart or Munich.