Let me introduce myself… My name is Jan Vandevelde, a highly motivated young man with a no-nonsense attitude.
I studied Economics – Modern Languages, after which I studied for translator English-Spanish. In 2000 I decided not to pursue my studies and start my professional career.
Transitioning from a “digital world” into Waste Management
I started my career as a Customer Service Representative at Mobistar (the second largest Telecom operator in Belgium, now Orange). For almost four years I tried to provide a solution for each problem my customers had. I wanted to know every small detail about the network, the technical limitations and the reasons why a customer could or could not do something with his mobile. I digged through our applications and software to learn if the source of the problem was because it was technically not possible or our company wouldn’t let a customer do something from a management point of view. This eagerness of mine resulted in an above average knowledge and experience for which I was seen as a role model. My management noticed that and saw that I had potential. In the years after that, I grew into several positions, first as Customer Service Coordinator, then as a Team Leader and ending up as a Quality & Coaching Coordinator. For 9 years I’ve improved myself and learned the ins and outs of Service, Sales & Marketing.
Since I started working fulltime I always had some side-projects in my spare time like blogging, building websites, promoting my sites, doing some affiliate marketing which all contributed to an increased knowledge of the Internet Marketing world.
After 9 years it was time for me to change courses and take my experience elsewhere. And guess what,… I ended up in a completely opposite world… Waste Management!
I was recruited as a Project Manager Sales & Marketing for an international Waste Management company called van Gansewinkel (now called Renewi). Imagine the challenge, going from a paperless desk policy, where everything is automated and digitalized, to an industry where customer contracts are still classified by hand in huge walls of classifiers! Major change of scenery!
But it’s just that “back to basics” kind of feeling that made it exciting for me. I immediately started developing streamlined processes and work methods that would reduce manual actions. Just scanning the contracts and saving them in folders on a shared drive with a specific naming convention was already a huge win in productivity.
And then came the chance of a lifetime: the company wanted to replace their CRM-software!
Because I had experience with a CRM implementation (Peoplesoft) at my previous company, my manager introduced me to the implementation team. From the start I could make suggestions, present idea’s, discuss strategies and have them try to automate as many processes as possible and they listened! I was heard 😉
The choice was made that it would be Salesforce.com!
During the rollout I was asked to train end-users in Belgium and France, while my colleagues trained end-users in the Netherlands. We trained about 700 end-users from different department, having completely different roles, functions and processes. That period was incredibly FUN!
For four years I have been working with Salesforce.com, training and coaching end-users and in october 2013 I joined Corporate ICT to become a Salesforce Administrator and got Certified in april 2014.
This is even more fun! On top of training people on new features and developments, I got to play with the system! I was behind the wheel (together with my colleague admin of course ;- who was also my coach and sparring partner)
I loved this CRM so much, I kept playing with it in the evenings, on weekends, just to learn more about the platform and it’s possibilities.
I guess the playing with the system and a lot of studying paid off. I passed my Salesforce Certified Developer exam on the 13th of october 2014. And to start 2015 I passed the Salesforce Certified Advanced Administrator.
2016 was the time I went into Salesforce Consulting and joined Platinum Partner 4C based in Mechelen as a Senior Salesforce Consultant. In september I transitioned to Salesforce Certified Lightning App Builder and in january 2016 I passed the Salesforce Certified Sales Cloud Consultant exam. Since then I’ve made it a good habbit of doing a new exam every year at a minimum in january, to start the new year of with a Bang! So a year later in january 2017 I passed the Salesforce Certified Platform Developer I exam, which was the first exam that tested my self-taught apex and visualforce knowledge!
I was put on one of the first Salesforce CPQ projects since the acquisition of Steelbrick by Salesforce and had some practical experience when in april ’17 Salesforce launched the official Salesforce CPQ Specialist certification, so I went for it and became a Salesforce Certified CPQ Specialist in april 2017.
Mid ’17 Salesforce launched a learning & certification path to certified Technical Architect:
As you can see, when it was launched I was already well on my way to grab the Application Architect certification, so I went for it. January ’18 I passed the Sharing & Visibility Designer Certification & the Salesforce Data Architecture & Management Designer, on the same day and thus achieved the level of Salesforce Certified Application Architect.
2018 was an extra special year for me, because as to my biggest surprise I was awarded with the status of Salesforce MVP by the community. A Salesforce MVP is a recognition that is only given to a certain number of people within the Salesforce world. They are seen as leaders and role models within the community sharing their knowledge, passion and expertise with the whole community in one way or another: blogging, podcasting, presenting, being an active member of the Salesforce community by answering questions, helping starting admins and developers online, and in many other ways.
2018 was some kind of certification boost year for me, becoming Salesforce Certified Community Cloud Consultant and Certified Service Cloud Consultant over summer ’18. Ending the year beautifully by becoming Certified Development Lifecycle and Deployment Designer and Certified Integration Architecture Designer. One step away from getting the System Architect level
I was honoured to get awarded as Salesforce MVP for a second year, yeay! This meant soo much to me!
Finally, in february 2019, I obtained the Salesforce Certified Identity & Access Management Designer (the hardest exam I’ve ever taken!) and thus becoming a Salesforce Certified System Architect.
Next step would be the very hard to get and flagship status of certifications, Certified Technical Architect, but I’m not ready for that yet
So meanwhile I’m studying hard for this one, preparing myself to the fullest, while gaining more hands-on practice by building, designing and implementing the best possible solutions for my customers ‘ needs!
Oh yeah, and like I hadn’t enough on my plate yet, I managed to publish a book called “The Salesforce Platform Developer I Certification Guide”, which is available on Amazon:
In 2020, the company I worked at 4C was acquired by Wipro Limited (who previously acquired Appirio, a very well-known Salesforce practice). And with every reorganisation come great opportunities: new and larger multi-cloud projects, new roles and functions, new experienced colleagues and, in my case a new position as Practice Manager Benelux Salesforce Architecture. The same year a renewal of my Salesforce MVP status happened for the 3rd time.
Everybody will always remember the years 2020 and 2021, because of the Pandemic which took a toll on us all. Business was a bit slower than usual, but still ongoing although fully remote. I wasn’t able to be as active as I would have liked to be within the Salesforce community, but still got renewed for the 4th time as Salesforce MVP.
January 2023, a new year, great resolutions and a MAJOR decision was taken: I resigned, after almost 7 years from my job at Wipro, to start a whole new venture. A couple of former colleagues of mine started “Reditus” a Salesforce CPQ Consultancy in Belgium, which I joined as Business Unit Manager Multi-Cloud. While the primary focus of this startup lies on a specific niche “Salesforce Revenue Cloud”, I bring the broader Platform experience to tie this centerpiece together within all other business processes. In my mind Salesforce CPQ, Billing and Subscription Management are at the heart of the end-to-end business processes connecting Marketing, Sales, Service, Field Service, Operations and Finance together.
This is my personal blog on which I share my personal experiences and thoughts.