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Sweet gig: Two weeks after joining the IT department’s business development team last year, Eileen Butler went to SAPPHIRE NOW in Orlando to shadow the SAP CIO for two days.

I have never met Eileen in person but reliable sources tell me that she is very petite. In contrast, and this I know for a fact, Oliver Bussmann is a very tall man, probably 195 cm or 6′ 5″ for my non metric readers.

So when she says “to shadow” Oliver, I have to laugh at the image. Other verbs pop up: chase, pursue, or hunt. Because in her role Eileen has the not insignificant task of building the CIO’s executive agenda for events like SAP TechEd and SAPPHIRE NOW. Customers, analysts, media, and keynotes: “He has a jam-packed agenda,” says Eileen. “Handling the executive on-site, you get to see a top SAP executive doing his thing, interacting with customers and analysts. It’s a real learning experience. You get to see the customer experience firsthand through the insights Oliver shares. You’re watching a peer to peer conversation. He shares real life perspectives on how we implement.”

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The View From Eileen’s Seat

A self-described “orchestrator of SAP runs SAP” Eileen says her job is to enable customer successes by “evangelizing” this internal initiative. Mobile, for example, is a huge area of interest, especially given external recognition of Oliver’s trailblazing path in this area. “I love seeing customer interaction, learning from customers, hearing what’s on their minds,” says Eileen, crediting the CIO for his openness in sharing experiences from the SAP runs SAP initiative. “Real, informal conversations –they are very helpful for customers,” she says.

She describes an eye-opening scene at last year’s SAPPHIRE NOW in Orlando when she joined Oliver at a customer meeting. They were a small group of about seven or eight. After one hour of “non-stop idea sharing”, the customer feedback was (and here I paraphrase): ‘We are really struggling with our two to three year roadmap. We got so much out of this conversation. You helped us sort through some issues like adopting a mobility mindset.’ Says Eileen; “They went away with a better idea of what they could put into practice.”

To keep up with the CIO, Eileen will be packing running shoes for her next event. Unfortunately, that won’t be SAPPHIRE NOW in Madrid. But I will be visiting the SAP Runs SAP campus with a video camera to catch up with our mutual friend and her colleague Oguzhan Genis (known to all as “Ozzy”). Watch for it!

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