Employee Portraits – Hermine Colin, Head of Enterprise Architecture
“My name is Hermine Colin and I’m Head of Architecture at Crédit Agricole CIB, working within the Information Systems department.”
What does your job involve?
Hermine Colin: Think of an information system as a big city, where each part of the system is a neighbourhood and each application a house. My job is to make sure everything fits together as harmoniously as possible.
Our goal is to build the ideal city and make sure all work in progress and each of our projects helps us advance towards this goal without causing any disasters in terms of overall urban development. You could say Heads of Architecture are the Bank’s answer to Haussmann, who famously oversaw urban development in Paris in the late 19th century.
How did you come to be Head of Enterprise Architecture?
Hermine C.: It’s not something I set my heart on as a child! I started out at business school and then spent a few years working for a consulting firm.
While I was on assignment at Crédit Agricole CIB I was won over by the idea of building the Bank as though it was a city, ensuring consistency at multiple levels (processes, functions, applications, infrastructure, data and so on).
After three years learning the ropes as a team member, I had the opportunity to head up the team, which is made up of about ten people.
Why Crédit Agricole CIB?
Hermine C.: The general public has little awareness of this part of the Bank. Its clients are not individuals like you and me, but large corporates, often multinationals. We help them finance their day-to-day operations, major projects and sometimes acquisitions. I’m fascinated by all these specialised activities, which are critical to the smooth running of the global economy.
What about career prospects?
Hermine C.: In the few years I’ve been here, I’ve already been able to reach management level.
Every day, I’m lucky enough to be able to see everything that’s changing in this “city” that is the Bank. That gives me opportunities to understand new specialised business areas and explore new ways of building systems. Thanks to this high-level view, I’m able to constantly grow my network and take advantage of development opportunities on both the business and the IT side.
Are there any particular qualities a Head of Enterprise Architecture needs to have?
Hermine C.: As in any role, the main thing is to be motivated and to want to add value to the business. You have to be able to take a step back and think outside the box. Beyond that, you need a healthy mix of banking, IT and architectural skills, not forgetting what might be the most important of all – social skills and a listening ear. It simply isn’t possible to know everything about everything, so it’s vital to be able to bring together the right experts and get them talking and sparking ideas.
Could you describe what a typical day looks like for you?
Hermine C.: There’s not much that’s routine about this job; while every day is different, they’re all busy and each one brings new challenges. That said, there are a few constants: first, there are some things you have to do to build a general framework, a vision of the city that allows everyone to build their house while abiding by safety and security regulations; and second, you have to provide advice and assistance on some projects. And sometimes, when somebody’s built a house in the wrong place, you have to put your inspector’s hat on!
What would you say to someone looking to join Crédit Agricole CIB as an enterprise architect?
Hermine C.: It’s a little known job but one that’s becoming increasingly necessary and sought after! It’s a great way to quickly gain an overview of the Bank and how it works and have regular contact with top management.
Come and build the city of the future at Crédit Agricole CIB!
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