From healthcare to the energy sector: 'I want my job to serve a purpose for society'

10 March 2022

I’m Derk. I choose Essent.

A position as Product Owner Transformers, that almost sounds futuristic, please explain. ‘That's exaggerating it a little but my role is all about improving existing functionality and the development of new functionalities, in other words, transforming. My role forms the bridge between business and IT. It's a wonderful role because I get a lot of freedom in the way and pace at which I do things and which people I want to involve in the process.’

Simplifying complex processes together

‘I often switch between process consultants, journey and team managers and gather the feedback after an implementation from the customer advisers. Their input and feedback are mainly necessary to map complex processes, and then determine where the most value is in terms of improvements and then prioritising that together. That's where I find the most enjoyment in my work; thinking of and developing improvements with users. And of course seeing that an improvement has a positive impact, like time-savings, a higher first-time-right rate and improved user friendliness. Sometimes the largest impact comes from the smallest of improvements.’

Own team of developers

Collaboration is very important to Derk's job satisfaction and essential in his position. ‘We realise very well that we need each other here. For example, technology is not my forte. I can understand things to a certain extent, but I am no IT expert, so I leave the development side of things to a team of developers, a fixed group of people I work with. And I like including them in the thinking process when new improvements are being developed. They are the technicians, I am the process thinker who is responsible for making sure everything comes together. And I don’t have to figure it all out myself either; we are a team of 18-20 Product Owners, who I can always bounce ideas off. It's a great team. We have an open dialogue with one another and jointly make decisions.’

From healthcare to the energy world

Before making the move to Essent at the end of 2020, Derk was working at a company mainly specialised in alarm systems to help the elderly live at home for longer. The common denominator between the two employers is that they have a social impact. ‘I knew that I wanted to truly experience the role of Product Owner. The condition I had set was that it had to be with a company where my role could serve a purpose to society. That's when Essent popped up! The energy transition is making an enormous impact. I just knew, ‘I want to be a part of this’. There is of course that stigma of it being a commercial club, but I am proud of what we are doing. Just look at the steps we are currently taking in terms of hydrogen for example, that's something that makes me very happy. We are being socially responsible and we show it!’

How do you see that societal impact reflected in your role?

‘That can vary greatly. As Essent we have the objective of making simple, sustainable and affordable energy solutions available to everyone. Everything that I do more or less contributes to that. We set up our processes as simple and flexible as possible, with the customer journey at the core. This allows us to help our customers make the right choice. It's not just about supplying energy when we do that, but also thinking along about making a home more sustainable, like solar panels for instance. And all this in one contact moment. I firmly believe that a total package will ultimately help the customer.’

Derk Bullinger (36 years old) lives with his girlfriend and 2 children (aged 7 and 4) in ’s Gravenmoer, a small village just outside Oosterhout in Brabant. ‘I love heading outdoors with the kids, being in nature. One of my biggest hobbies is sailing, having the freedom to decide what you will do on any given day really appeals to us. My ultimate dream? Crossing the Atlantic Ocean in a sailing yacht one day!’

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