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Just as I was pondering why the (SAP) world doesn’t truly know and leverage its product managers, the thought popped into my mind that I could blog about them!

Whenever you attend any larger SAP event that features SAP NetWeaver, you are almost certain to find the SAP NetWeaver operational product management team hard at work.

Whether they are giving presentations, staffing demo pods (as they are lovingly called within SAP, otherwise probably known as booths or stations), or having discussions with individual customers, our product managers are everywhere.

The individuals SAP has chosen as its product managers in the SAP NetWeaver area have pledged their (at least working) heart to be the “What and Why of SAP NetWeaver” as go-to people for both customers and SAP employees who are seeking more know-how in this fascinating part of the SAP world.

These folks have set out to continuously enable key constituencies – both externally and internally – with expert product knowledge and product strategy every day. To do this, they have an ongoing focus on the development of product and solution expertise.

Just to give you an example, half of my team is in Walldorf right now to engage with their counterparts in product management and development for knowledge transfer, so they can more effectively help customers and colleagues here in North America. The rest of the team is leaving this weekend to fly to Germany and then on to Israel, where we have development as well at SAP Labs, Israel, in Ra’anana, near Tel Aviv. Inbetween these sporadic trips, our teams read, work with each other and individuals from other teams, attend internal workshops and leverage various other tools to keep their product knowledge sharp. Since our product managers are geographically dispersed throughout various locations in the US, a lot of our work is done virtually.

More than anything, SAP NetWeaver product managers are loyal individuals who have set their minds on being ardent advocates for our customers. They are loyal to SAP and its direction and management, and even more so, they are loyal to our customers who seek their insights for their direction by providing them with solid and valuable information and by ensuring that various areas within SAP that our solutions touch are connected.

If you are involved in ASUG groups at all – such as BITI, the Enterprise Portal or Business Intelligence groups – , you will have seen product managers actively at work, participating in the planning of the next ASUG webinar or event by giving their input, helping to solicit customer speakers and providing thoughts on direction. Quite a few of our SAP NetWeaver product managers have been working with the ASUG community since before SAP NetWeaver was ever even thought of! Talk about long-standing trust relationships between customers and SAP employees! As a matter of fact, many of these relationships extend beyond just professional relationships and have turned into friendships with shared dinners, sightseeing excursions before or after events, and traded family or dog photos 🙂 !

image Customer / Product Manager Dog Photo Swap Evidence:

 

Left:
Reba, TransAlta’s Paul Kurchina‘s great-looking Portuguese Water Dog gal!

(Permission given by owner)

 

Right:
The author’s dogs, Midas and Roswell
go Petfinder.com Rescue Mutt Boys!!!

image

 

Okay, back to the real work we do:

SAP NetWeaver product management has one other very important role, which is to provide timely and relevant feedback in order to strengthen SAP NetWeaver as a robust technology solution. Since we work so closely with our development and our product definition (yet another group within SAP NetWeaver product management) teams, we get to feed our customers’, partners’ and colleagues’ great comments and observations back into the right groups. This really aids these teams in making decisions that ultimately enable our customers to deploy solutions that are a great fit for their needs!

You will see us in meetings we might have at your company to help you better understand what it is that you already own or are thinking about owning. In cooperation with our presales team, we try to provide you with the best information possible to help you make smart software decisions. We are excited about and dedicated to what we do, and I believe it shows in our interactions with customers!

Additionally, you will hear us on many conference calls and see us at education events. To give you another example, we host both regular internal knowledge transfer calls as well as bi-weekly ASUG customer calls (to sign up, click here). We provide speakers and topics for year-round ASUG community calls. We also develop parts and teach portions of the Ramp-up knowledge transfer classes our consultants and partners attend as well as some early product training workshops.

I honestly believe that this blog can only give you a small insight into what the SAP NetWeaver product managers do, but maybe it’s just enough to let you see what a great and diverse role it is to hold in the overall grand scheme of things called SAP. Passion is the best word to describe what I see in my colleagues within the team – passion to do right by you, our customer!

P.S. In case you are curious about product management in general, I have added a great link to Pragmaticmarketing.com, an organization that publishes informative articles on the role!

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