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05 19 2023

Meet Artur Santos, Application and Information Knowledge Management (IKM) Officer

NATO operations require the supply of specific Information and Communication Technology (ICT) that only great experience, careful planning and coordination support can provide. NCI Agency Application Management and IKM Officer Artur Santos embodies exactly those elements, which is why he was recently awarded the NATO Meritorious Service Medal (MSM).

Santos started working for NATO in 2008 when he was appointed as Information Manager at the NATO Headquarters, in Bagdad, Iraq. Three years later, he transferred to the NCI Agency predecessor, the NATO Communication and Information Systems Services Agency, and worked as a Communications and Information Systems Administrator. Since Santos joined the Agency, he has held different positions ranging from Web Services Administrator, Operations and Exercises Coordinator to Unit IKM Officer.

Meet Artur Santos, Application and Information Knowledge Management (IKM) Officer

We interviewed Santos to learn more about his experience providing ICT tools to NATO, his work ensuring IT systems' business continuity and his tricks to deal with stressful situations.

What do you enjoy the most about your job?

One of the things I like the most about my job is the dynamic context I work in. The variety of tasks and responsibilities always teaches me something new and it makes me feel more engaged and fulfilled. I feel so fortunate to work in an environment where I can freely share my ideas and feel valued. To me this is what a true team spirit looks like and makes me appreciate my job a lot more.

How does the work you do for the Agency support NATO missions?

The Agency supports NATO by capturing essential requirements and inherent resources to provide the best and most suitable equipment for the Alliance's missions. For that purpose, our work contributes to the definition of those requirements to know exactly what is expected from the Agency, which capabilities are needed or which ICT tools will best support each specific NATO mission. This requires a lot of communication, multiple information sessions and a close coordination with the operational community during the entire supply process. We can't assume that all missions take place within the same context, which is why we need to keep a humble approach, diplomacy, flexibility and a sharpened vision to know which services will help each mission be successful.

How do you handle the readiness of IT systems when they require 24/7 support? How do you ensure business continuity in these cases?

The most important part about support that is needed 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, is that it is a type of work that has to always be in place and not only when it is needed just because something has failed. In that sense, it is paramount to have programmatic daily checks, key performance indicators, backup reinforcements and other measures that can help us prevent and quickly react to unexpected events. Having robust processes in order to avoid failures, ensuring that any recoveries occur in a fashion time and having a maintenance contract in place are key to ensure business continuity. Hence, keeping these procedures updated and maintaining a fluid communication in the team helps us handle the need for constant support.

How do you deal with tasks that might be out of your comfort zone?

I like to take these tasks as a new challenge, rather than a burden. I see them as a chance to explore my potential because I am constantly focused in improving my abilities. That makes me eager to face situations that might be out of my comfort zone. At the same time, I get to gain solid confidence in handling more responsibilities, so in the end these tasks actually allow me to improve myself. My mind-set is to take any opportunity to expand my experience, knowledge and skills in order to obtain as much professional and personal growth as I can.

During difficult times, how do you manage to keep a positive attitude and not give up?

I do believe I have a positive mental attitude overall. I like to think that a problem is only a challenge waiting for a solution. Even if I know that just having a positive attitude does not make me less stressed in difficult situations, I have found tools to manage them in a healthier way by making and maintaining positive relationships with my colleagues. Promoting understanding attitudes through a diplomatic approach in order to reach consensus more easily is also a great way to handle stressful moments. My experience has taught me to see the world with kinder eyes, to appreciate the job that I have and be grateful for my life in general. That is what keeps me going.