Matthias Blomme is an integration consultant at Integration Designers and the owner of eMBee IT, a freelance middleware company provider. With over 15 years of experience in the integration space, Matthias has held various roles, developing a diverse skill set that includes troubleshooting, automation, CI/CD, and the ability to build powerful integration solutions.
Matthias Blomme, Integration Specialist
Gabriel: Hi Matthias, it is great to see you again - Thank you for taking the time to meet with me!
Let's start at the very top...How did you get started in the Integration space?
Matthias: Since 2007, right after completing my engineering degree, my journey in the Integration space has been truly transformative. I began my career at KBC, working with non-IBM integration products like eGate, and later ventured into jCaps for a short proof of concept. For the last 15 years, I've been working exclusively with IBM products. Joining Integration Designers in 2022, my focus has been on integration and messaging, specializing in WMB/IIB/ACE, and MQ, they offered me the chance to dive even deeper into the IBM integration space. Over the years, I've seamlessly integrated systems with the software while also taking charge of setting up the essential infrastructure and establishing robust CI/CD pipelines.
Gabriel: How would you say that the middleware/integration technology has changed over the last 15 years?
Matthias: The most significant change has been the shift toward cloud technology. 15-16 years ago, the focus was on on-premises systems and connecting them through dedicated lines. Nowadays, the cloud allows us to run entire workloads in a much more flexible and scalable manner. The cloud has undoubtedly been one of the biggest game-changers in the integration space.
Gabriel: Would you say that the change to cloud environments was a net positive or negative for your role as an integration specialist?
Matthias: I find it interesting, but I've noticed that many companies are still in the process of considering or planning to make the switch to the cloud. While there are significant investments needed for products to become mature and run on the cloud, solutions like IBM's iPaaS have been beneficial for smaller companies or those looking to reduce micro-management efforts. The transition is ongoing, and I'm starting to see some of my projects involving the cloud. It's a positive change, albeit gradual.
Gabriel: Thank you for the insights; it's good to hear from a practitioner about the changes you've seen in the integration space with the movement to the cloud. Now, what are the products (IBM or non-IBM products) that you mainly use in your day-to-day job operations?
Matthias: My primary focus is on IBM App Connect Enterprise (ACE), and a significant part of my job involves managing ACE and its related components. Currently, I'm working on setting up a pipeline project and handling migrations. Additionally, I'm exploring more mature setups with ACE and IBM MQ, which are closely integrated. These two are my main integration products.
Gabriel: Speaking about ACE, have you used ACE on AWS through our new trial?
Matthias: Yes, I have. I tried the trial when it was first released in December 2022. During the 30-day trial, I deployed and built some components in Designer. However, I must admit that I'm not the biggest fan of low-code solutions. I prefer a more toolkit-oriented approach, appreciating the flexibility and functionality that a toolkit provides. Nonetheless, we've also utilized iPaaS for our company's hackathons and small use-cases for experimental purposes.
Gabriel: Let's switch gears for a second. How would you say that the online IBM Community has helped you, and what keeps you coming back?
Matthias: The IBM Community has proven to be a valuable resource. On one occasion, I needed a plugin for a specific project, and after searching through the community, I found a thread where others were discussing the same scenario. This highlighted the vastness of the community and how everyone collaborates to assist each other.
I keep returning to the community because I realized that a small contribution from me could significantly benefit others by sharing my knowledge. If I encounter a question, I know the answer to, I'll gladly provide a response, and if not, I know someone else will step in. The community's collective expertise is immensely helpful in scenarios where traditional documentation may fall short, and it has become an invaluable guide for me.
Gabriel: What is one thing that you would like other community members to know about you?
Matthias: I am a freelance integration consultant; I started my business earlier this year. I am currently working with companies that need help with their integration teams. I also love automation; I love to write scripts to automate processes to make my life a bit easier. I am also a fan of home automation, where I integrate smart home assistants together, and I am at the point where if a product does not integrate with the rest of my ecosystem, I look for something else.
Gabriel: It is great to see that you take integration and automation into your personal life as well - which goes to show your passion for it. I think that is everything I had. Thank you so much for being part of the community and for all the value that you provide to other community members.
If you would like to connect with Matthias, you can find his community profile here and his LinkedIn profile here.