Borjan Cace

When I meet someone for the first time in The Netherlands, it is almost inevitable I would be asked where I come from. I reckon people visiting this site and who do not know me would also wonder where my name comes from. I do not mind telling - well then, that information is included too.

I was born in Zagreb, Croatia, as the second child of Vesela and Nikola Čače. When I was about a year old, the family moved to Šibenik, a city in the middle of the Croatian Adriatic coast (with the island Prvić - where my father comes from - just a few miles away). I have spent my youth there and graduated the high school (Gymnasium). In 1968 I went to Zagreb where I have completed the study of Electro-technical Engineering and Computer Science at the University of Zagreb in January 1973. In June 1972 I already started working for the representative of Sperry UNIVAC as a systems programmer on Exec-8 mainframes. I stayed with UNIVAC for 7 subsequent years (not counting almost a year of military service) working throughout whole Jugoslavia and twice in London on two three months assignments. In November 1980, after working for the University Computer Centre (SRCE) for a year in between, I have joined the Dutch subsidiary of Sperry UNIVAC in Amsterdam. My wife Jadranka, daughter Ivana, son Nikola and myself settled the same year in Ouderkerk aan de Amstel, a small village on the outskirts of Amsterdam.

I have worked some 19 years for Sperry UNIVAC (later Unisys) and then left for a position with an international organization in Den Haag. After two years I went to work for UWV (Social Security Agency of the Dutch Ministry of Social Affairs and Employment).

In my 33 year long professional career I have been successful in keeping pace with the developments in the IT industry. This means not only putting in the hard work and following the technology trends; one must also be selective and focused on the developments that matter.

In addition to dealing with technical issues, I have been a successful team manager in an international organization, being responsible for two workflow applications, one of which was mission critical. This affiliation helped me understand relationships in a politically sensitive environment.

Gartner Research is since years my favorite source regarding the IT trends and best practices. In addition, I follow the relevant publications of IBM and Microsoft, as I consider these companies to be the most influential and innovative major vendors in the industry. Supplementary to this, my way of keeping in touch with the technology trends also includes exercises in diverse software development environments. The latter helps me to communicate well with the technical personnel and in keeping a differentiating edge as a professional.

My formal education at the University of Zagreb provided me a solid basis for  professional career. My professional profile has been further formed by deep involvements in specific technology domains. Three most significant of these were:

  • Systems programming on UNIVAC mainframes. For many years, I have been regarded as one of the best troubleshooters and later as a performance expert.
  • Object oriented analysis, design and development, at first with knowledge engineering tools, later with Smalltalk. My solid knowledge of compilers helped me understand the value of object orientation early on. Some of the custom products I have programmed in Smalltalk for customers in The Netherlands some 15 years ago are still impressive in terms of quality of the user interface.
  • Service Oriented Architecture since 1993. As a member of an Integration team, I became acquainted with the OSCA architecture of Bell Core (probably the first well-defined service oriented architecture ever) and worked on implementations of SOA based on Tuxedo. My current professional involvements are logical continuation of the work I did at Unisys, where I worked as a system integration architect.

Me and UWV

In my current employment by UWV (Social Security Agency of the Dutch Ministry of Social Affairs and Employment) - since August 2001 - I work in the domain of enterprise architecture and technology planning, being also involved in IT governance issues and acting as a strategic internal advisor on IT issues. I have led the architecting of the organization-wide systems integration solution, have helped forming the first systems-integration team and have fulfilled management duties. I am also one of the co-authors of the first Reference Architecture of the organization and have been responsible for the IT chapter. The work I do includes frequent dealings with major IT vendors on IT strategy and other issues. This experience is being acquired in the context of a massive merger and the forming process of the IT directorate organized according to the Gartner's IS-Lite model.