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Infrastructure Architect (Cloud)

Location: Columbia, MD.
Company Description:

Our Story

Merkle is a leading technology-enabled, data-driven customer experience management (CXM) company across several key verticals. For 30+ years, Fortune 1,000 companies and leading nonprofit organizations have partnered with us to build and optimize strategic customer portfolio value. Our history positions us as a global leader in 1st-party, identify-driven marketing. With 12,000+ dedicated employees across 50+ global offices, Merkle’s growth rate continues to outpace the market, with 2021 global net revenue of over two billion.

Merkle is an agency of dentsu International. Dentsu’s mission is to help clients navigate, progress, and thrive in a world of change. Businesses rely on dentsu’s integrated network of agencies and specialized practices to champion meaningful progress through creative, media, commerce, data and technology. dentsu international comprises 66,000 diverse people in 143 countries.

Why Join Us?

Merkle is the leader in data-driven performance marketing.  We help brands achieve tremendous competitive advantage. We thrive because we employ the best in the business. Merkle’s energy lives in everything we do, and it shows in the way we deliver to our clients.  Click here to learn more about our culture. Additionally, we’re recognized as top global partners by some of the world’s leading technology firms including Google, AWS, Salesforce, Adobe and more.

Job Description:

The Cloud Architect role within Merkle will establish and maintain the design patterns and blueprints related to the cloud infrastructure supporting client solutions and internal platforms. The Architect will partner with key stakeholders across the enterprise to deliver high quality solutions that meet or exceed the business and technology strategies of Merkle. This position will also be responsible for working with the solution team to scope, develop, and price new cloud based offerings. 

The Architect must be an accomplished leader, thoroughly skilled in a number of Core Competencies, to include development and presentation of information to C-level executives, fostering innovation, keeping up to date on industry trends, optimizing staff and operations, and providing exemplary customer service, all in support of Merkle’s technology vision.  The candidate is a subject matter expert in cloud computing and is called upon for most complex assignments.

The Architect is responsible for designing cloud hosted client solutions, setting technical direction, establishing metrics that ensure optimal availability, capacity, and performance. The Architect acts as an escalation point for Tier 3 support for customer solutions and infrastructure within the organization’s enterprise technology portfolio. The Architect role will report to the Director of IT and will work with a team of geographically distributed Merkle staff and contract employees.

Key Responsibilities

  • Establish and maintain the design patterns and blueprints related to the cloud infrastructures supporting both client solutions and internal platforms
  • Act as a member of the Architectural Review Board representing architectures supporting technology infrastructures
  • Promotion of shared infrastructure and applications to reduce costs and improve information flows. Ensure that projects do not duplicate functionality or diverge from each other and business and IT strategies.
  • Lead the design and implementation of global, cost effective, enterprise-class systems following DevOps practices while maintaining compliance with all company policies, procedures and standards. 
  • Design customer and internal solutions and successfully deploy major upgrades and new infrastructure into the cloud hosted environments.  Ensure that the architected solutions meet business imperatives and client requirements
  • Understand and adopt cloud platforms to improve the existing data flow, data management and business processes that are in place for the Merkle customer base.
  • Leads the development of cloud reference architecture and technology roadmaps that align with overall IT strategy and vision of re-platforming and/or moving on-premises solutions to public cloud.
  • Lead Root Cause analysis efforts in order to identify and remediate technology and process issues.
  • Understand and exploit current and evolving technologies and trends.
  • Develop KPIs for process and solution attributes, set performance goals, measure and increase performance       
  • Serves as an escalation point for Tier 3 support.  Participate in the incident triage process by following a sound troubleshooting process.
  • Act as a coach and mentor for less experienced team members. 
  • Lead innovation, process improvement and standardization within the IT organization. 
  • Anticipate risks and constraints and proactively develop solutions to address the risk/constraints, escalating as appropriate.      
  • Validate business goals and solution requirements, develop solution architectures and provide direction on solution implementation.
  • Maintain in-depth awareness and fluency of the key features, functions, and/or industry trends around areas of expertise.
  • Lead solution evaluation processes and recommend reference architectures for Merkle infrastructure, shared data platforms and client solutions.
  • Set direction for Platform Ownership.  May be a Platform Owner for one or more technologies. A Platform Owner is responsible for:
  • Leading the technology councils for cloud platforms
  • Determining and reporting on the availability of a specific platform
  • Monitoring and alerting – Ensure the primary functionality is properly monitored
  • Backups and Recovery – Ensure critical data is identified/protected and a recovery model is in place and periodically tested
  • Capacity management – Develop capacity models, measure utilization and establish and maintain forecasts
  • Develop maintenance plans and schedules
  • Incident tracking – Track the incidents that have occurred on the platform and the remediation activities performed
  • Develop and present environmental metrics
  • Health checks – Periodic evaluation of the platform to ensure it is operating optimally
  • Creation and maintenance of product guides
  • Lifecycle Management – Ensure that software and hardware are up to date
  • Cloud Platform – Ensure that our deployments are supported by the vendor and pro-actively plan for a refresh when required.
  • Software – Software follow the N-1 rule for major release
  • Manage all customer escalations according to defined service levels.
  • Provide on-call and after-hours support as required
  • Uphold and promote Merkle’s core values and culture

Measures of Success:

  • Consistently deliver cloud  solutions that exceed customer expectations on-time/budget. 
  • Development of support processes and associated key performance indicators that are sufficient to ensure system stability and user satisfaction along with the ability to track performance gains over time.
  • Successfully architect solutions that meet business objectives and requirements 
  • Successfully perform resource allocation tasks in order to meet project deadlines and established SLA timeframes
  • Establish clearly defined and agreed upon service level objectives
  • Maintain a high level of customer service.
  • Implementation and adoption of design patterns and blueprints sufficient to ensure cohesive design and implementation strategies  
  • Lead “Root Cause” efforts to identify and remediate technology and business process issues.
  • Successful development and adoption of reference architectures for cloud infrastructures
  • Assist in defining a vision and strategy for Merkle’s technology portfolio.
  • Generally considered a subject matter expert in one or more areas by CTO, CIO, and IT peers. 
  • Make a measurable difference regarding service delivery
  • Positive recognition as noted on Employee and Customer satisfaction surveys, completed on a periodic basis

Qualifications – Experience and Education

  • Expert Knowledge in Amazon Web services components including EC2, Elastic Map Reduce, S3, Cloudtrail, Data Pipeline, Glue
  • Deep understanding of cloud security concepts including Firewall, VPC’s, Encryption, Authentication and Authorization (SSO, Active Directory/LDAP etc) strategies
  • Experience with Third Party Cloud Automation, Platform Management and Cost management tools such as Morpheus, RightScale, Scalr, Cloudhealth etc highly desired
  • Additional experience with other major cloud providers including Google Cloud Platform and Azure highly desired
  • Enterprise productization processes, including developing product guides, asset management, data protection, capacity management, performance management, and lifecycle management.
  • Demonstrate the ability to:
  • Effectively lead an enterprise wide architecture framework
  • Understand client/stakeholder needs and create a coherent technology vision to meet/exceed their respective expectations.
  • Meet project deadlines and manage and prioritize multiple simultaneous projects while adhering to a time allocation model
  • Excel in the ability to assess and communicate project and technology budgets and delivery schedules. 
  • Assess the scope and impact of incidents and respond, with a sense of urgency that matches the incident, following appropriate policies and procedures
  • Tolerate stressful situations and remain focused under pressure
  • Effectively communicate at all levels of the organization.              
  • Manage through conflict and challenging situations with positive outcomes for the clients and Merkle.   
  • Develop and cultivate strategic relationships that benefit IT and Merkle.
  • Make decisions and judgments based on standard procedures.
  • Ability to multi-task, prioritize, manage workload and adapt to changing business conditions.
  • Excel in the ability to assess and communicate project and technology budgets and delivery schedules. 
  • Active participant on the IT Leadership team, collaborating with peers on steady state as well as strategic direction.
  • Ability to create and communicate a clear business case justifying project, team, and technology costs.
  • Proactive, upbeat and collaborative communication style, with the ability to be direct, tactful, and transparent. 
  • Provide continuous improvement with regard to the quality of delivered services.
  • Proven ability to understand client/stakeholder needs and create a coherent technology vision to meet/exceed their respective expectations.
  • Demonstrate critical thinking and problem-solving skills.
  • Develop and propose Managed Hosting standards and best practices for processes, procedures, and technical standards.

Education and Experience:

Bachelor’s Degree required, Master’s Degree in Information Technology or Computer Science preferred. Equivalent work experience can be substituted for college education.

15+ years of experience supporting and implementing enterprise-class solutions operating in a 24/7 environment.

Data management experience- this includes data transport , transformation,  load, access models, security,  and archiving

5+ years professional experience in infrastructure architecture experience with CDI solutions preferred

Certifications within engineering discipline and Cloud industry (AWS, GCP or Azure) certifications are highly desired.

Additional Information:

At Merkle, we have created a great place to work by sticking to our core belief that a great company is built around great people and great results.

dentsu “eight ways” shape and guide the way we do things here, so that, together, we can achieve the ‘never before’ for our clients, for society and for each other. 

We dream loud.

We inspire change.

We team without limits.

We all lead.

We make it real.

We climb high.

We choose excitement.

We are a force for good. 

We are dentsu. 

Diversity is embedded in who we are and all that we do: our mindset, our solutions, and our teams to empower an inclusive, equitable environment. We put our people at the center, creating space for growth, understanding and learning so they can thrive. Our differences make us richer and enable stronger relationships with each other and foster greater impact for our clients. We engage with our communities to drive positive social impact by fostering equity and working to create a digital society that works for all. Merkle, an agency of Dentsu (the "Company") is committed to a policy of Equal Employment Opportunity and will not discriminate against an applicant or employee of the Company, based on age, sex, sexual orientation, race, color, creed, religion, ethnicity, national origin, alienage or citizenship, disability, marital status, veteran or military status, genetic information, or any other legally recognized protected basis under federal, state or local laws, regulations or ordinances. Applicants with disabilities may be entitled to reasonable accommodation under the terms of the Americans with Disabilities Act and/or certain state or local laws. A reasonable accommodation is a change in the way things are normally done that will ensure an equal employment opportunity without imposing an undue hardship on the Company. Please contact [email protected] if you need assistance completing any forms or to otherwise participate in the application process or to request or discuss an accommodation in connection with a job at Merkle, a dentsu agency.  

This job description is a summary of the essential functions of the job, not an exhaustive or comprehensive list of all possible job responsibilities, tasks, and duties. The responsibilities, tasks, and duties of the jobholder might differ from those outlined in the job description. Other duties, as assigned by the supervisor, might be part of the job. Applicants must be currently authorized to work in the U.S. on a full-time basis. No sponsorship is available for this position.



More Information:

Graduate Opportunities: Whether you're still studying, recently graduated or are already working and fancy a career hop, we could have a perfect opportunity for you.
Experienced Hires: Leverage your expertise, challenge the status quo and grow your career at Merkle.