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I’m a newbie to SCN. I’ve been admiring all of you active participants from afar for a couple years, wanting to come out and play with you, but feeling that perhaps, as a “Marketing” professional at SAP, I may not be as welcomed as most of you who have a more technical distinction. Let’s just say that I was (and still am…) feeling just a wee bit inTIMIDated by the whole thing. I must admit, I had some pre-conceived notion that if I didn’t know what acronyms such as ABAP, ETL, HCM, MDM, HANA, etc. stand for (which btw I DO surprisingly know, but that’s another story…), that maybe I wouldn’t be smart enough to join your party. But then, I finally decided to take the plunge today, in large part thanks to Thorsten Franz and his recent blog post, The Most Balanced Piece I Could Write About the Stupidity of Ageism, which was shared with me via my LinkedIn network. I found myself engrossed in the topic and the subsequent comments, and thought, “Hey! I can relate to this, big time! Maybe the SCN folks might just be interested in what I have to say after all! 🙂 . Check out Thorsten’s post if you haven’t already. A very interesting piece expressed with emotion and authenticity — clearly striking a cord with many readers.

Before I begin my post (after all, there IS a reason I wanted to start writing here…), let me explain what a “Twofer” is for those of you who may not be native-English speakers, and/or others who may not know the slang term. A “Twofer” is short for “Two for One” or “2 for 1”. In other words, I am using my first blog post to accomplish two things:

1. To introduce myself, and talk a bit about what I do at SAP, and why I love my job

2. To share with you a couple of newly-created assets that help tell the story of SAP and “A Better Run World”

About Me…

I’ve been with SAP for a little over 5 years — technically, as part of the Business Objects acquisition in 2007 (my first day at Business Objects was October 8, 2007 — the day we were acquired by SAP. Quite an interesting start date to say the least!). I live in Los Angeles, CA — born and raised, although I have traveled quite a bit too (although have not been to Asia or Africa yet…). Nevertheless, I like to think of myself as the “global” type: open minded, culturally sensitive, embracing diversity, having an insatiable love of learning. Like many Southern Californians, I am bilingual…not in Spanish though, but in French. Learned it in public school, studied it through college, and wound up working/living in Tahiti and France after that (note: my last name is pronounced “Berri-yay”). Some interesting personal stories are embedded in that last sentence. Anyway…I have worked in the high-tech industry for almost 18 years, spanning several roles across Marketing and Communications. I am proud to be a “Marketer”, so you won’t be hearing any apologies from me as I mingle with you all. 🙂

My Role at SAP

Today, I work in the Portfolio Marketing group at SAP, which is a fairly small group focused on content development, corporate messaging, and thought leadership pertaining to SAP’s vision and mission. It’s an awesome group comprised of really smart and passionate people. If you were to ask me, “Julie, what do you market for SAP?”, I would say, “I market SAP.” Yep, folks, that’s what I do. It’s that simple (ahhh, how I wish it really were that simple!). I don’t market specific products, solutions, technologies, services, etc. Rather, my team and I focus on the big picture of SAP’s purpose — articulating concrete examples of how SAP helps the world run better, and telling inspiring stories about how SAP helps to improve people’s lives. We make all of our content and stories accessible to all SAP employees (and of course externally too, as appropriate).

Why I Love My Job

Every day, I wake up feeling challenged to think (and act) strategically, creatively, deeply, and emotionally. I am forced to find ways of “simplifying the complex”, and “humanizing the SAP brand” — both of which are Marketing “pillars” that we SAP marketers are being measured on. BTW, “simplifying the complex” is really really hard. But then again, that’s why it’s fun! I feel like I have the best job at the company as I’m chartered with making our high-level messaging more inspiring and approachable and simple to all of mankind. Yep, that’s my audience. People. All people. Mere mortals. Our families. Our friends. Acquaintances. Strangers. Potential customers. People who have never heard of SAP, or even if they have, maybe they don’t understand what we do or why they should care. And yes, of course, our customers and partners…who are people too. Very important people, I might add. And they could probably benefit from some inspiration and simplicity too. 

So…Where’s The Beef?

For those of you in the US who remember the “Wendy’s” commercial from the ’80’s, here’s the beef! The main thing I wanted to share with you is a new version of the SAP story which we recently completed and posted externally for the entire world to see and enjoy. You can find it in two media formats. We hope you find these things as beautiful as we do, and that they bring a smile to your faces. In fact, we’d love it if you share these with friends, family, and colleagues. See if they help you tell the “SAP story” in simple human terms.

  • Prezi version: Click bottom right button on the Prezi screen to view in full screen mode, and then advance using your front and back arrows. Click “Esc” to get out of full-screen mode, and then you can navigate the Prezi in whatever order you want by clicking on each of the images that’s highlighted on the front page, and then using the front and back arrows to move through that section. Also works great on the iPad. Just download the Prezi viewer app (it’s free), and you may need to create an account, but that’s free too, with no obligation.
  • Video version on YouTube: An auto-running video of the same content accompanied by music.
  • SAP Corporate Profile site: Visit this site for even more content around the SAP Story.

Prezi_homepage.JPG

“Why The Hummingbird Image?”, you might ask?…

I’ll save that for my next blog post.

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23 Comments

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  1. Marcia Walker

    Julie:  Welcome to the blogosphere!  It’s great to see another “marketer” here.  I, too, was part of a software company that was acquired as soon as I started – it was fun to see the culture change as the organization went from a small, privately owned group to integrating into a much larger organization.

    In terms of being “smart enough to join the party”:  From what I have seen on SCN, everyone understands and respects that effective communication is every bit as important as effective technology.  I will always remember a training course I took as part of Six Sigma Black Belt training in manufacturing.  One week was devoted to communications training, which many of the attendees felt was too “fluffy”.  The speaker told a very powerful story about an explosion that had killed over 11 people.  The engineers had predicted it would happen, had models that indicated it was imminent – but because they had not communicated it effectively to management, nothing was done.  They had sent charts and graphs and statistics and expected the leadership to understand and react.  We learned that in order to change behavior, we first had to learn to persuade – to tell a story.  And it seems to me that you excel at precisely that!  Thus you are very much needed at the party.

    One of my favorite blogs on the topic is from Garrett Heath, available here.  We may not have lollipops and rainbows – but we do have cookies!

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    1. Julie Barrier Post author

      Marcia, thank you for the warm welcome, for the pre-blog-post encouragement, and for the post-blog-post kind words! I appreciate all of it immensely. The story you shared about the explosion that could have been prevented if only people knew how to communicate — it gave me chills. I truly believe that the world would be a better, safer, happier place if people knew how to properly, accurately, and respectfully communicate to one another. And thank you so much for turning me on to Garret’s blog. It was awesome! 

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  2. Nishan D Singh

    I spend part of my lunch hours to reading your blog, and found it, quite interesting, best part was watching prezi and when clicking on icon, it like driving ferrari, it keeps you routing inside, inside and inside, to the excellence part !!! Good Blog.

    Thanks,

    Nishan Dev

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    1. Julie Barrier Post author

      Thanks Nishan. I’m honored that you would spend your valuable lunch hour reading my blog. So, I guess that means that you can tell people you test drove a Ferrari during your lunch hour? I’m sure they’d be impressed. 😉

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      1. Nishan D Singh

        Yes, I drove half the way, will love to drive again back when home, Yes I was having the feeling of Ferrari, when coming back to my work desk from long pathway…….. did not felt like having coffee, Great we are having a eco-health system which keep your eyes awake….. great, keep on bring more of such blog, it was great.

        Best Luck ! Nishan Dev

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    1. Julie Barrier Post author

      Thanks Astrid. I’m quickly making myself at home here in the SCN family room, so yes, I imagine this will be the first of many posts. And glad you liked the Prezi. It’s a fun and different medium/format for expressing oneself.

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      1. Julie Barrier Post author

        Hi Moshe,

        I’m glad I qualify, and would love to join the BIF family. Your initiative, btw, also played a part in me getting started. I had heard about it a couple months ago from Kirsten Sutton and thought it was a terrific thing to do in terms of lowering the “intimidation” factor. Grass roots all the way!

        Julie.

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        1. xMoshe Naveh (Old Acct)

          Thank you!

          I’m so happy to hear that. It is an amazing experience to meet in person BIFers in Teched Bangalore and to see how their true character came through in their Blog It Forward posts.

          I will reach out to Kristin and ask her to Blog It Forward to you as I don’t want to steal the credit:)

          Looking forward to reading your future SCN posts.

          Moshe

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    1. Julie Barrier Post author

      Thanks Mark. I know you’ve been encouraging me over the past couple years. I guess it took me awhile, but I finally did it. BTW, I am familiar with the BIF initiative and think it’s a great way to get people started.

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  3. Tim Guest

    Hi – Thanks for taking the time to share this. I LOVE the fact you are using Prezi.com. I started using it recently and love it although I could use a few tips.

    Is this your own work and would you be interested in running a short on line demo for interested people? I’ll message you direct.

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    1. Julie Barrier Post author

      Hi Tim,

      We hired an agency called “Antics Digital” to build the Prezi for us. They’re based in the CA Bay Area. We just didn’t have the skills on our team to produce this thing in the way we wanted, and in the timeframe. They are very proficient at Prezi and this was quite a sophisticated project. We are quite pleased with how it turned out.

      Thanks,

      Julie.

      PS: If you need a contact over at Antics, just let me know.

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  4. Tom Van Doorslaer

    Hi Julie,

    Thank you very much for sharing your story with us. SCN is indeed often considered as a very technical community, and many people seem to be hesitating to share their ideas and thoughts here, because they think it’s too *fluffy*.

    Fact is that we need the *fluffyness* just as much as the technical side. (and I consider *fluffy* as a very positive thing)

    Technology is nothing without Good communication, Empathy to others, High level perspectives, Visions of the future and business context.

    Kudos for taking the jump and writing this excellent entry piece.

    I hope to see many more articles from you in the future. (and convince your colleagues as well if you can 🙂 )

    Cheers!

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  5. Bob McGlynn

    Julie,

    This community is full of people whose interests are not purely technical. That’s why I really like the name change from SDN (SAP Developers Network) to SCN (SAP COMMUNITY Network).

    There is a lot going on with technology right now: HANA, mobile, the cloud, and everybody — including the technical people — need to stay abreast of what’s happening, to figure out what’s important, as well as what’s next. And understanding what’s happening has to be communicated in non-technical ways, along with the technical ones.

    Why? Well here’s one good reason. If a technically-oriented person sees some great applications, like extending reporting using an integrated mobile solution, he or she will be able to make a case to their manager in ways that the executive will respond to. Better, they can get their manager to sign up for SCN and do their own research and might not have to talk at all.

    Everyone has some important piece of the information puzzle, and the more people that are willing to contribute and supported for contributing, more information and insight is available to help people run their business better.

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  6. Narasimhulu Konnipati

    Excellent…………especially the Prezi viewer, the  you have attached is awesome. I came to know many things where the SAP is doing great.

    I really enjoyed your BIF….

    Keep up the good work

    Thanks

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  7. Gretchen Lindquist

    Julie,

    Welcome to SCN, and congratulations on your first post here. I am very happy to see non-technical people join us here. I will let you in on a secret: many people here are intimidated by the members who appear to be more technical/ more leading edge/ bigger SAP installations etc. A few years back at TechEd we had debates between the “geeks” and the “suits”, and I think all present agreed that we all have a lot to learn from one another. Thank you for sharing the story of your very interesting work at SAP, and I look forward to more of your posts.

    Cheers,

    Gretchen

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  8. Stefan Kliment

    Hi Julie,

    great blog post and Prezi! I’m also still relatively new to SCN and SAP’s tons of products packed into mysterious abbreviations.

    Best,

    Stefan

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  9. Susan Keohan

    Hi Julie,

    I am so glad you decided to blog here – and perhaps all that’s missing is some #BIF info – but perhaps that’s another post.  It’s wonderful that Thorsten Franz‘s blog inspired you to join in.  Well done!

    Sue

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  10. Pankaj Pareek

    Hi Julie,

    Thank you for sharing your experiences and your work profile. You made it sound simple but I am sure it requires a lot of brain storming. It’s very creative area and I always struggled with part during MBA (Liked Marketing as subject but was never my cup of tea 😛 ). Hope you might share some more stories about how you came up with ideas and strategies. Will be really interested to know all that. Eagerly waiting for next blog on humming bird story.

    Regards

    Pankaj Pareek

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