After months of cajoling, it’s high time for me to put on my SCN bloggers hat and respond to my mentor pals Tridip Chakraborthy and Greg Myers. From what I can see these posts are as much a discussion on not only what we do for SAP and how we contribute to the ecosystem but also what we do in our “spare time.” I’ll do my best to give it my best shot. First a story … those that know me know I go by “Bill.” So why the “William” thing? I have a business partner and we couldn’t both very well be “Bill” in the same client meeting (like “Thing 1” and “Thing 2”). So we tossed a coin and I lost. So you won’t find “Bill Newman” in any social media but that’s what I answer to. Unless you are my mother and you are angry at me (usually that involved middle name use when I was younger, but we won’t go there here…) So for now I am “William” but please call me “Bill” (unless you are angry with me).
The 4 Ways I Contribute to the SAP Ecosystem
There are different kinds of partners inside SAP. Once upon a time I was a partner, then a customer, then a partner … and … you get the picture. I originally was selling SAP ERP back in the late 1990s as a way for enterprises to ward of the pesky Y2k bug. Some of you reading this were barely getting out of high school back then, but suffice to say we sold a lot of software and SAP had a really good run with Y2k from a systems modernization and cash flow perspective. Note: the next “Big Thing” is the UNIX C-date blowing up in 2038. Our kids will be prepped and ready for that mess, and maybe some of us will come out of retirement to handle that one too just like the 70-somethings were brought out of retirement to update COBOL routines in the 1990s. 🙂
After a two tours of duty with DMR Consulting Group (now Fujitsu Consulting), and years with KPMG/BearingPoint, Volkswagen (and their systems arm gedas – now T-systems), Grant Thornton and finally Booz Allen Hamilton (also then Booz & Company) I had the crazy idea of running my own company. So there you go and how I got to “now” on the DVR life settings …
SO… the 4 ways I contribute to the SAP Ecosystem:
1. Project consulting, in the areas of SAP GRC, EPM, Sustainability, and most recently mobile strategy. This is what most partners tend to do. But I ain’t like most partners.
2. Free lance writing and public speaking, including SAP Insider, SAP Experts. I am proud author of the SAP Press title “Understanding BusinessObjects Enterprise Performance Management” which was a collaboration with the Office of CFO Marketing initiative inside SAP BusinessObjects (visit the Facebook fan page by clicking on the rowers.) I also ghost write for SAP solution marketing (shhhh… don’t tell my secret!)
3. Paid analyst. Yep, sometimes an opinion is worth something. I write for a few outfits but in the SAP space mostly for Tech Target. [Most recently I joined the Business Influencers Program at SAP so I am an analyst for SAP as well.] I have positioned and reviewed SAP product in the EPM, GRC, Sustainability, and mobile computing spaces. Often some independent analyst work leads to paid consulting projects. A pretty nice gig.
4. Develop growth strategies for SAP partners. So SAP partners can be our clients. This is very valuable to SAP as a healthy and growing partner ecosystem can help SAP move forward bigger, stronger, faster (play the theme of the Six Million Dollar man in your head, the same one that Mazda is using). We call this Market Growth and Entry and it is particularly powerful for strategic and integrated market messaging for companies expanding in the US and NA markets. Our clients in this space can range from start-ups to Inc. 5000 firms of $100MM+ with our sweet spot being in the $5M to $50M range in annual revenues.
It’s been a good run so far and it has allowed me to do what I love to do. I also teach part-time at Northwood University in the area of international management and we are developing a sustainability bachelor’s degree program there which hopefully will be fully accredited and approved soon. Occasionally Northwood invites me to participate in the SAP University Alliances program. [Most recently I started teaching online programs for University of Oregon Sustainability Leadership Program.] Last year I decided to volunteer for the ASUG Michigan communication chair position, which has proven a great way to stay in touch with colleagues in Michigan as well as the Automotive SIG where we are closely aligned. (Follow us on Twitter @ASUG_Michigan).
What I do in my “spare time” …
Well I do play the guitar but not as well as Tridip! Mostly Eagles, Jimmy Buffett, John Cougar … what I affectionately call “bad campfire music.” One of my passions is writing and I am 200+ pages into a historical fiction novel called “Koenigsburg: The Novel” based loosely on the stories my 101 year old grandfather shared from his dad and their journey from Germany and Poland into Canada and eventually the US in the early 1900s. (You can read the first few chapters on the novel blog, let me know what you think.)
But my real passion is that I am a pretty rabid wine enthusiast. In fact Karen Peterson from SAP is perhaps the only one I know in our ecosystem who may (may) be a bigger wine enthusiast than I! I have lived and visited over 12 wine regions throughout the world, and Australia and South Africa are on my to-visit list. Several of our wine making friends in Oregon have done well and we are lucky to visit them fairly regularly. (Left image, me with wine maker Jim Prosser from J.K. Carriere wines.)
Another “half-crazy” thing I do is run, snow ski with my wife and four kids, as well as swim and cycle recreationally. Raising four kids and managing your own small business does demand a certain amount of time, now that the kids are getting older I can re-engage in some of the things I enjoyed doing in my 20s and 30s.
I recently finished my first half marathon (since I am only half-crazy) this past weekend with the Detroit International Marathon festival. This run goes through Detroit and over to Windsor, Canada and back again making it the only run of its kind in the country. I finished in just a little over 2 hours. Had we been running the same loop the winners of the FULL marathon would have come in AHEAD of me. Meh, I was happy to finish and happy it didn’t snow on me – it is afterall Detroit in October! (Below image, me very happy finishing my first half marathon in 19 years.)
Well I think that’s it for my contribution. Looking forward to other similar posts and keeping this thread alive (even though I feel like I nearly killed it!) Thanks to all for keeping this conversation going (particularly Tridip), it’s a great way to get to know everyone on a more personal level.
Best wishes –