Michal Vanický: We work not only with IT, but also with people

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Mišo joined the company as a student of artificial intelligence in 2009. Today he is part of an international team of architects who design enterprise solutions within the Deutsche Telekom Group. In the company, he belongs also to the experts for the design of architecture in the cloud. That's why he became our ambassador.

Why did you accept the role of ambassador?

You could say that I am already a well-known figure in our society. I trained regularly, I also lectured at TUKE, I present the company and I talk about information and ERP systems wherever I go. And I even have my own life-size photo .

How would you describe the role of an architect in an IT company?

In my opinion, an IT architect is a term that is still being defined. But it's like architects who build houses. We work from the ground up on the application, system or portal, according to the client's requirements. We prepare the entire skeleton of the solution and then add components to it, so we go from surface to depth into the details. The nice thing about this job is that it is the architect who determines what will be used to meet the requirement. Therefore, he/she needs to have a broad overview, a lot of contacts and a desire to discover.

Why is architecture important?

Without it, no IT service will work well. A well-designed IT architecture will ensure flexible, secure, and cost-effective data handling. Data is the new oil, as they say. And efficient data management is key today.

Could you tell us about your career in the company?

I joined Deutsche Telekom IT Solutions Slovakia, then still T-Systems Slovakia, as a student in 2009, after a month I started working full time. After more than two years, I left the company, but after 11 months I returned. I started as an SAP ABAP developer, that was at a time when we didn't have many developers here in Košice. In 2016, I started moving away from SAP and started working as a software solution designer, which was my first step towards becoming an architect. Shortly afterward, I received an offer to become a member of a German team of architects, in which I have been for more than three years. Our task is to look for enterprise solutions within the group.

During your work in the company, you experienced its development ...

I have been in the company, with a one-year break, since 2009. At that time, I was devoted to development in the SAP environment and our work consisted mainly in receiving a specific assignment, a specification of what needs to be programmed or configured and we did accordingly.  In Košice at the time, we were not talking about being a designer or an architect. Over time, we started running interesting projects here, it was no longer mainly just about reporting, monitoring, and work only based on specifications, but we were gradually invited to design IT solutions with gaining know-how. The company began to transform more towards product orientation. We increased our competencies and experience and they started asking us for a design. We received more and more responsibility and logically also trust.

Today, we work mainly in agile mode and we are partners for German colleagues within the Deutsche Telekom Group and we are also part of complex and large projects, where we represent practically all types of roles.

Have you been close to IT since you were little?

No, on the contrary, I and computers were not great friends. During my study at secondary school, I was prepared to study psychology,  only last year, I decided to change it and chose artificial intelligence at TUKE. This finally connected technology, the natural sciences, and the human sciences, which I enjoyed. The real interest in IT came only in the company when I discovered a lot of possibilities that IT offers. This is also the strongest reason why I'm still here - we are one big company based in Košice, but there are hundreds of projects and thanks to that one can investigate everything possible.

What do you think a person needs to work in IT?

The continuous will to learn, desire to discover, abstract thinking, humility, and a sense of community. Although we say we work with IT, we work with people and IT. When designing architecture, we must think of people as well as security, flexibility, price, durability ...

What development in the field of architecture do you expect in the future?

The future and, in fact, the present is technically clearly in the cloud, which has flexibility, security and cost-effectiveness in its DNA. We at the company also place great emphasis on applications being migrated or developed directly in the cloud. For example, if there is a large demand for a server, the architect identifies it (ideally the automatic device performs it), determines which virtual machine needs to be scaled, and in 10 minutes the problem is solved. However, even the cloud is not the solution to all problems, and even in it, it is possible to do things badly, expensively, and insecurely.

Non-technically, I see the future of architects in the fact that their role will not be defined mainly towards the technical side of things, but that they will cover several roles. It has always been so more or less, I just think that the IT sphere increasingly requires a person to be able to fulfil several roles. So, the architect should be able to take the role of consultant as well, he/she should be able to implement his/her design to a greater extent, depending on the focus and domain, he/she should have something from a developer, devops engineer, tester, etc.

1. Reducing E-waste: IT companies are known for their rapid innovation cycles, which often lead to the disposal of outdated electronic equipment. To combat this, we are focusing on extending the lifespan of our IT devices - laptops, monitors, keyboards, printers, etc. - through a repair and refurbishment programme.

In 2022, our company (in partnership with AfB company), donated and reprocessed 1.935 pieces of IT and mobile equipment that didn’t end up in landfill, saving 3.7 tonnes of electrical waste. By reusing IT devices, we reduced our carbon footprint by 220 tonnes.

We donated more than 500 laptops to schools, hospitals, and NGOs. In one year, we helped create 20 new computer labs in regional schools and universities. The numbers for 2023 are looking even better compared to last year.

In this way, we are not only reducing e-waste, but also supporting the circular economy by reusing valuable components.

2. Cloud Computing: The cloud has revolutionized IT infrastructure, allowing for more efficient resource utilization. By consolidating data and applications in data centres, we can optimize server usage, leading to a reduction in energy consumption. Our company is also investing in renewable energy to power our data centres, further enhancing our sustainability.

3. Energy efficiency: The energy demands of data centres are substantial. However, DTITSO is investing heavily in improving energy efficiency. This includes purchasing only 100% renewable energy from 2020 onwards, reducing the amount of energy consumed for heating, ventilation and air conditioning of offices. We have set the temperature to 20 degrees and reduced the air flow for ventilation.

We have reduced office space by almost 30% in terms of square meters, which equates to 900 workplaces. By the end of 2024, we plan to reduce office space by 50% of sqm compared to 2020. We have thus reduced the rent and maintenance costs of the building. These efforts not only reduce our carbon footprint, but also save on operational costs.

4. Remote Work and Reduced Carbon Footprint: The shift to remote work, accelerated by the COVID-19 pandemic, has been embraced by many IT service companies. This reduces the need for commuting, which, in turn, lowers carbon emissions and supports sustainability goals. Remote work aligns with circular economy principles by reducing resource consumption associated with office spaces.

As part of our efforts to reduce our carbon footprint, in March this year we inaugurated and put into operation the first 10 electric vehicle charging stations. At the same time, we are gradually replacing our car fleet with electric company cars. This gives our employees the opportunity to use the new electric cars and charge them directly at the charging stations that we operate.

In addition, our employees have the opportunity to rent electric scooters as well as classic bicycles. We believe that this move can help raise awareness of environmentally sustainable transport and motivate employees to consider their environmental impact and choose a more environmentally friendly alternative.

5. Green Procurement: Our IT company is increasingly selective in our supply chain choices, favouring suppliers that adhere to sustainable practices. By supporting environmentally responsible suppliers, we are indirectly contributing to a more sustainable and circular economy across our industry.

6. Employee Engagement: Sustainability initiatives are not limited to services and operations. We engage involve our employees in sustainability efforts.

This year, our employees planted 401 trees in the High Tatras, reducing our carbon footprint by 4 tonnes. We also built a new ecosystem - a lake for frogs in a city park in Košice, helping to improve the environment for the benefit of the citizens in Košice. Our employees participated as volunteers who enthusiastically planted plants and made the surroundings of the pond.

These days we are planning to place 2 textile recycling containers in our company premises, where not only our employees will be able to throw in old and unnecessary clothes, which will then be reused or recycled. This will help to reduce material consumption and CO2 emissions in textile production.

Moreover, DTITSO organise awareness campaigns and events for our employees to promote energy saving and recycling, such as Earth Hour, Earth Day, World Environment Day, World Cleanup Day, European Mobility Week, etc.

In conclusion, sustainability and the circular economy are no longer optional for IT companies; they are imperative. By embracing these principles, Deutsche Telekom IT Solutions Slovakia not only reduce its environmental impact but also position itself as a socially responsible company and meet the growing demand for environmentally conscious products and services. As technology continues to evolve, the IT sector's commitment to sustainability ensures that progress doesn't come at the expense of the planet.