My name is Francesco “Frank” Frentrop. I have been involved with ERP systems for most of my professional career. A career which by now spans more than a quarter of a century. I started out in the 90s on Triton 2.0 (the later Baan ERP) and stayed loyal to the BaaN brand until after the Infor take-over. I had some brief encounters with JD Edwards, Great Planes and Peoplesoft. I also worked with various open source ERP solutions. Since 2008 I have committed myself to Axapta / Microsoft Dynamics AX.
I worked as a consultant for two Microsoft gold partners. They tell me this is worth mentioning. Personally I am not convinced that this has any influence on my relationship with Redmond-based software entrepreneurs or shiny metals.
Customers I engaged during this time include:
- NZA (NL)
- Department of Agriculture (NL)
- Havator (FI)
- BMS (DK)
- Thule (SE)
- Sarens (BE)
- Evides (NL)
I also worked for several end users. My roles were mostly not clearly defined but involved both technical and functional tasks. In chronological order:
- Corporate Express (US)
- Plexus (US)
- NRF (NL)
- Reuss-Seifert (DE)
Having an inquisitive nature, a healthy curiosity and a can-do mentality, I developed myself into a generalist. Not just in relation to ERP systems, but also regarding anything remotely associated with them. Databases, operating systems, networking, output management, interfaces, EDI, and of course customization and programming are all inside my comfort zone.
I started programming back in 1977 when I was only 12 years old. Our neighbor bought a Tandy TRS-80 that year and instantly gained the affection of the little boy next door. He graciously allowed me to spend nearly all my free time on it, until I mastered BASIC and the Z80 assembly code.
This made me one of the original wiz kids of the 70s. Today it merely makes me one of the original dinosaurs from that same era. Let’s not even mention my COBOL certificate.
I still enjoy programming even if it has become a side skill over the years. It has an artisanal appeal to me. I am grateful to have been witness to much of the development of computers and computer languages. The technology behind it still fills me with awe, wonder and excitement, just like it did when I first saw my name scroll 1,000 times over a little black and white monitor back in 1977.
Despite my early dwellings in the land of peeks and pokes, electronics and popular science, I never turned into the archetypical nerd. This was in part due to the fact that I developed an interest in music by the time I was 16. I have been close to becoming a professional musician for most of my adolescent years (which lasted roughly until my 40th birthday). I am a multi-instrumentalist and nowadays known in some circles primarily as a blues singer and pianist rather than a sensible IT-guy. Although I can’t really claim music to have been my first love, it serves me well as therapy for often stressful work situations.
My third and final identity is that of the kickboxer. I really enjoy this sport, both as a spectator and as a competitor. Although I have very (very!) poor stats, I aim to become the oldest prizefighter in the Netherlands. Since I don’t know how old I need to be for this title, I may already unknowingly have reached this goal, fighting my last fight at age 53. I certainly get a lot of odd looks and giggles during registration.
If music is my mental therapy, then boxing is my physical therapy. Mens sana in corpore sano and all that jazz.
Somehow I manage to strictly segregate my different identities. This is a good thing, because nobody wants to hear me sing on the job. Never the less, together they make me into what and who I am.:
A nerd with a creative mind, who can improvise when required and who doesn’t walk away from a challenge.