Skip to Content
Author's profile photo Tobias Hofmann

Blog it forward – Tobias Hofmann

The BIF chain has reached me. As I do not want to be the one stopping the chain, here is now my BIF. I got first biffed by Simon Kemp a while ago (sorry dude that it took me so long to get this blog done) and recently also by a new SAP Mentor: Peter Langner. I hope someone from SCN is keep tracking of how the chain evolves, as I have a strong feeling that it will reveal some interesting geographical location preferences.


Let’s start with introducing myself. My name can be found in the title of the blog, my twitter handle is @tobiashofmann, my content on SCN can be tracked through my profile. When you access my profile you can also see 2 very nice pictures of my soon to be 2 years old son. But the blog should be about me (ah, knew this is a trap).


I  grew up in a small town really close to SAP’s head quarter. I had typical childhood, the fact that computers entered relatively early in my life may be the exception (note: computers, Gameboy, Nintendo, C64 and all that other stuff for playing games never reached me. Games at that time meant: Elite, or some text adventures. Yes, I had a PC for gaming). I graduated from university Mannheim in Business Informatics. This means that besides IT I actually learnt business. My focus for the business side was international accounting. Yes, I actually can read a balance, know the difference between US-GAAP, IFRS (at that time still known as IAS) and HGB, including how companies have to declare tax (and save them). Therefore I also know what SOX means and why IT is affected. The informatics side focused on Java development, SAP ERP (learnt ABAP in 1998) and portals (someone remembers Plumtree?).

Regarding childhood dreams: first, I’m not so old, second, I achieved it.


For the geek list:

  • Linux: (early 90s)
  • GRID: (set up my private GRID for encoding DVB recording)
  • Star Trek:
  • Star Wars: (Han shot first)
  • Lord of the Rings:
  • Interesting computer configurations: (mainly SUN workstations).

Thanks to portals I worked not only with SAP, but with Oracle, Microsoft SharePoint, many open source technologies and a large part of the SAP portfolio. After all, somehow all the information needs to accessed, what’s better than a portal?


Soon after I finished university I went to Rio de Janeiro, learnt the language by the book – literally as I landed in Rio with only basic Portuguese knowledge acquired by a learn it yourself book. Oh, and that was on my own, no company backing up. If a company helps or sends you, it’s not emigration, it’s a job based location transfer. Doesn’t really count Why Brazil? “Location, location, location” as well as “it’s the economy”.


I do not like Samba, Sertanejo (be it universitário or whatever else) nor do I share Peter Langner’s love for Bossa Nova (btw: you have to come to Rio, they invented the music style here). Seriously, I only know “The girl from Ipanema” from the Blues Brother Elevator scene. What makes Rio a nice city is the fact most part is surrounded by hills and the ocean. This makes Rio a surprisingly green city with many trees, parks and beaches, with having recreational places like Búzios, Paraty or Ilha Grande not far away.


Some while after arriving in Rio I started working in the SAP Portal area of one of the largest SAP customers in LAM. The results of this work can be seen in a total of 3 TechEd presentations in 2010 and 2011 plus one SAP Forum São Paulo presentation. I’m not working there anymore, but met some of the nicest and sometime smartest people that work with SAP there. Currently I’m working in the mobile area of another large SAP customer.


I started engaging in SCN as a pure lecher in 2005 (or was it 2004?), created several users until in 2007 I finally created my now permanent user. Through SCN I made several very valuable contacts in the SAP community I am thankful for. Maybe I should have moved to São Paulo, as the community there is way more active than the local cariocas. But I’m trying to change that! Harder than I thought but I never backed off a good challenge.

In case you are wondering about how much time I spent in SCN, I’m actually teaching my son how to work with SCN. If some of my answers lately were off the usual, then you know why. Here is pointing out to an error in a forum post:


The interesting but not known facts about me

There are so many interesting facts about me, let’s focus on the useless ones:

  • I have a brother that works at SAP
  • My driver’s license here in Brazil is of type D
  • Current hair length: maybe longer than yours
  • Smartphone: Galaxy Note


Now to the questions

From The specified item was not found. (BIF)

What is the one quote that you’d like to have printed on to a t-shirt (you have to be prepared to wear it too)?

That one is actually very embarrassing for me as I DO have a t-shirt that states my quote, but I’m unable to find it. That’s even more embarrassing as I got it as a gift from my ex-colleagues. Hope no one of them is reading this here right now.

The quote: lmgtfy.

Astonishing how people are sometimes unable to combine simple facts.


What is the underlying thing that drives you to do what you do (and getting paid doesn’t cut it)?

Easy: the money. I’m not rich and have to pay bills. Oh, rats, doesn’t count. Make the world a better place? Think of the children?

No, nothing of the above*.The real driver is to see what comes next and how to get there. The as-is situation is never the best one, there is always a way to make things better.

*For the record: of course I’m trying to save the planet and always think about children


From Peter Langner (BIF)

If you were given by your work a full day every week to do whatever you feel like, what would it be?

I would stay at home and spend the time with my family. OK, we won’t stay at home, but definitely try to explore the world. What I’d do with the experience gained while exploring the world … don’t know yet.*

If you want to improve your skills, knowledge, understanding of things you have to try out new things. That’s what I’d do. Trying out things that not necessarily are related to IT. Should be interesting to see what kind of results will emerge from this.

* OK, I do know


Which is the country / place you always wanted to visit but never managed to do so by now? Why would you like to go there?

Bora Bora, Tahiti, Hawaii. Why? The first two just look beautiful, and Hawaii looks like Rio de Janeiro, but without the Cariocas (I think this one will get me into trouble)

That’s all folks. I now pass it to the Brazilian’s:

Jose Nunes

Fabio Fernandes

To 2 members of the portal space:

Erhan Keseli

Hüseyin Bilgen

I’ll also try to renew previous BIFs. Once to the guy that makes SAP Inside Tracks in Brazil happen: Marlo Simon

As well as to:

Marcelo Ramos

Amir Blich


  • It’s over. SAP stops investing in new software and decides to from now on to do only support. What will you do?
  • Why do you live where you live?
  • What do you prefer: a local VM/installation of a SAP system so you can try it out every time you want to or a cloud based installation like on AWS?

Final note

My cat: Frodo


Assigned Tags

      You must be Logged on to comment or reply to a post.
      Author's profile photo Susan Keohan
      Susan Keohan

      Hi Tobias,

      Great blog, as usual.  It's filled with photos that make me very jealous!

      I will have to check your recent activity to see if I can tell which items you wrote, and which ones your son wrote!


      Author's profile photo Tobias Hofmann
      Tobias Hofmann
      Blog Post Author

      Hi Sue,

      please don't check. If so, I fearLaure Cetin  will find out it's a shared account and I'll have to give my Topic Leader certificate back ... or to him πŸ™‚

      About the photos ... you should see it in real life (eyes going up from laptop and what do I see? Sugarloaf mountain ... after passing this morning by Ipanema and Copacabana beach. Problem: could not stop, was on my way to work. #torture)

      Author's profile photo Laure Cetin
      Laure Cetin

      I wouldn't do that πŸ˜‰

      Thanks for sharing Tobias, it was a great read. Of course you made me envious with all the pictures, but hey, I've been to Hawaii and this is what I saw:



      Not bad, isn't it?

      Let's make sure we check hair length at TechEd, shall we?

      And we should make sure that our boys meet one day. Mine is now 15 months old and he learned about SCN from the womb already. He participated in all the Jive migration meetings we had back then! πŸ˜†



      Author's profile photo Tobias Hofmann
      Tobias Hofmann
      Blog Post Author

      hi Laure,

      was great seeing you again after 2 years. While I'm currently at McCarran, enjoying the free Wifi, I think I can also share the outcome of the hair length competition. For those wondering if Laure and I really did the hair length competition: yes, we did. The result? See for yourself.

      Image credit goes to Ethan Jewett

      Now, not 100% sure if this is now a win to celebrate, but when I'm back in Rio I'll definitively try to get a slight hair cut πŸ˜†

      Author's profile photo Laure Cetin
      Laure Cetin

      LOL thanks for posting the picture. I have a *long* way to go indeed!

      It was great to see you again!

      Author's profile photo Tammy Powlas
      Tammy Powlas

      Ha, Sue beat me to responding, only because I couldn't log on!

      Great blog it forward, great pictures, great explanation of why you are in Brasil πŸ™‚

      Nice to know you better, Tobias


      Author's profile photo Tobias Hofmann
      Tobias Hofmann
      Blog Post Author

      Thanks Tammy.

      Yes, I think here pictures really say more than a thousand words.

      Author's profile photo Former Member
      Former Member

      Wow, AMAZING photos Tobias!  Thanks for sharing your #BIF blog with us. 

      Well done!

      Author's profile photo Peter Langner
      Peter Langner

      Hi Tobias,

      thank you for sharing a bit of your live with us. I have been to RJ in the '80 and I really would like to go there again and see, what it is now a days. Not only for play bossa nova ...

      I hope to meet you one day personally.


      Author's profile photo Tobias Hofmann
      Tobias Hofmann
      Blog Post Author

      In the 80's? That's several decades ago ... at least I can assure you that the traffic chaos is now closer to beat Sao Paulo. Have a 90 minutes commute to work and sometimes more back home. At least the subway is the same as 30 years ago. They only added 4 new stations πŸ™

      Author's profile photo Former Member
      Former Member

      Hi Tobias,

      good to see more Americans coming from the old continent and sharing the professional side of both finance and IT. now, all we need to do is to convince @fafnorwalk that IFRS is not all that bad, especially when we let them tag our taxonomies within XBRL.

      PS. yes, i do remember Plumtree and the pictures make me want to go to WorldCup and Olympics both at the same time.

      Author's profile photo Tobias Hofmann
      Tobias Hofmann
      Blog Post Author

      Hi Gregory,

      to be good in IT you have to know the business side - and not marketing, financials is what defines if your beloved project / idea will be realized or not. Too many IT professionals know too little about business, and that's sad.

      Author's profile photo Amir Blich
      Amir Blich

      Hi Tobias,

      Great blog and thanks for passing me the #BIF 'baton'. Since this is the 2nd time I'm pulled in - I should probably take an action here in the next few days...


      Author's profile photo Tobias Hofmann
      Tobias Hofmann
      Blog Post Author

      Hi Amir,

      yes, you should, but the next few days you should already be quite busy πŸ˜‰

      Author's profile photo Raquel Pereira da Cunha
      Raquel Pereira da Cunha

      Hi Tobias,

      great blog and pictures. Brazil is such a beautiful country, thanks for sharing that with the community. As you, I don't like Sertanejo (and I come from Goiânia, the land of Sertanejo, maybe that is the reason.. ) but I do like Samba and Bossa Nova, and also MPB. I feel happy to know you learned our language by yourself, you speak it and write it very well. I am studying German with a German teacher and that has been the most difficult language for me by now. I guess it would be better if I had a chance to go to Germany for some time as you did. 

      It would be great to have you here in São Paulo close to us, but at the same time it's good that we have one of the most active SCN members and an SAP Mentor in Rio so you can help us to spread the word, and organize the SAP Inside Track Rio πŸ˜€

      Thanks for #BIF to Marlo and Marcelo, I am still looking forward for their blogs πŸ˜‰

      See you in Vegas!


      Author's profile photo Marilyn Pratt
      Marilyn Pratt

      I've been working my way through the bif blogs of people I have never had the pleasure of meeting on SCN or in person, but since you reference this content in your post about why to participate on SCN

      I couldn't help myself and checked it out.  If it helps any, I've been to Hawaii, Fiji, Tahiti (okay not yet Bora Bora) and the place I most want to return to of those is: Rio.  Because I don't think I really got a full taste, and because I have met so many SCN friends from Brazil and I love their spirit.  Even the Brazilians that are transplants like yourself have a real special zing.  And its a joyous thing to see your economy booming and people still seemingly happy.  Loved your post and I love your compatriots. Beware, I just might find a way to visit. (I'm a granny after all and your son is delicious).

      Author's profile photo Mark Teichmann
      Mark Teichmann

      Very nice blog and very nice pictures. Frodo is amazingly sweet, too πŸ™‚

      I landed here while troubleshooting my DCNs. Therefore thank you for the nice distraction, now back to DCN problems πŸ˜‰

      Author's profile photo Tobias Hofmann
      Tobias Hofmann
      Blog Post Author

      Finally someone notices Frodo. Best cat ever!

      Good luck with your DCN problems (and how did you come from DCN to my BIF?)

      Author's profile photo Mark Teichmann
      Mark Teichmann

      I read your Blog about DCNs and searched for your other content which brought me here directly. The Sybase documentation is quite small when it comes to DCN and Parameters etc. At the end I found a nice How to - Guide on SCN. But the whole Concept still looks cloudy for me. I did not found a clean data loading strategy with RFC FMs until now.

      I hope I will get new insights at TechEd Madrid soon.

      Author's profile photo Marssel Vilaça
      Marssel Vilaça

      I think you are talking a lot to Paulistas for looking up to Hawaii! kkkkk

      Best whishes!