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Happy New Year, SCN! You’re Inspirational!

Women In Technology(WIT)

A few years ago, I came to know from my daughter that technology is not a ‘girl’ thing. Even though she is doing very well in Math and Science, she was not proud of that. She didn’t want to be identified as Math geek. I was a bit surprised. My wife was not alarmed however. My wife thought our daughter’s feelings were not “out of ordinary”.

In 2011, I attended InnoJam in Palo Alto, CA and then TechEd ’11, Las Vegas. Between May 11 and Oct 11, I learned a quiet lot about Women In Technology(WIT) from Marilyn Pratt, Anne Hardy, Heike Vangeel, and Gigi Read. I also happened to read blogs and interview of Anne Hardy. I forwarded everything I learned on WIT to my daughter. Slowly I observed a difference in her attitude towards Math and Technology. My daughter is now really proud about being good in Math and Science. No longer she feels that Engineering is a ‘boy’ thing. Not only she’s proud but had decided to pursue Engineering for her undergraduate studies. She would most likely spend next 4 years in Philadelphia. Here is ‘the’ documentary evidence*:

Hurrah, hurrah Pennsylvania!

This spirited refrain captures the excitement we feel in welcoming you to the University of Pennsylvania and the School of Engineering and Applied Science Class of 2017. Congratulations! You’re now part of a remarkable community, distinguished by a proud lineage of innovative thought and purposeful action that began when Benjamin Franklin founded the University in 1740.

                                                         *A part of my daughter’s Early Decision acceptance notification from Penn

I’m sure the people I mentioned above played a significant role in influencing my daughter’s thinking towards Technology. In October 2012, she had a long weekend, the same weekend when InnoJam, Las Vegas, NV was held. I floated the idea to her about attending InnoJam. To my surprise, she agreed; not only she agreed but she wanted to bring her friends as well(She knew about InnoJam based on her brother’s participation the year before in Palo Alto, CA.) Due to her age, however, she could not attend.

Empathy in Design Thinking

Several years ago, I learned listening is not the same as hearing. Recently in Las Vegas, NV, I attended a workshop on Empathy in Design Thinking. I believe Seung Chen did a fabulous job of explaining the difference between listening and hearing. Watch this video to understand what listening means: Timeline 22m for 2 minutes.

As an independent consultant, it is difficult to take time to research and sign up for classes such as this one. Not only it would probably be expensive but time consuming. TechEds are becoming more and more useful and beneficial to the development of one’s technical and non-technical soft skills.


I’ve attended several InnoJams since SAP started offering it 2-3 years ago. I learned something new in every InnoJam. One of the best I attended was “Mobility Innojam” at Palo Alto, CA in June 2011. I attended that InnoJam with my son. Not only he learned a lot technically but he fell in love with Silicon Valley; as a result, he decided to pursue Computer Science instead of Bio-Medical Engineering. He’s extremely happy with his choice. I believe Mobility InnoJam and WIT workshop that I attended in Teched ’11 played a huge role in influencing my kids’ decision on their career choice.

I would like to give huge shout out to dedicated people such as Juergen Schmerder, Vitaliy Rudnytskiy, Gigi Read, Anne Hardy

, Marilyn Pratt, Thomas Jung , Chip Rodgers and so many others who work hard and tirelessly to organize the events such as InnoJam,TechEd, non-technical workshops in TechEd etc.


I started blogging in SCN 3+ years ago. It has been a great learning experience. I know SCN is not the only platform to experience the taste of blogging. However unlike other platforms, SCN truly encourages diverse thoughts and remind everyone this world is a bit larger than our own. I quickly learned – without traveling – the cultural differences between the different parts of this small world. Needless to say, I – like others – benefit a lot from the knowledge shared by others. Just recently a week ago, I performed portal upgrade based on this & this. Both Wolf Hengevoss & Ping Tong played a significant role in helping me understand SAP’s upgrade philosophy. And of course this blog by Nicholas Chang. In addition, through SCN, I came to know great people such as Jon Reed, Vijay Vijayasankar, Gregory Misiorek, Jarret Pazahanick, Thorstenster, David Hull, John Appleby, Mark Finnern, Dennis Howlett,

Tammy PowlasBhanu Gupta ,Philippe Rosset, Idit Herzog and so many others. I know them not because we agreed on every topic but because what I learned from them virtually.

Last but not the least, I would like to thank Mark Yolton for working hard to provide this beautiful platform.

SCN, I wish you Happy and Prosperous New Year! I’ll do whatever I can to enhance your beauty!

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  • Congratulations to you and your daughter – what a great achievement getting accepted to Penn. 

    Thank you for mentioning me – we owe Bhanu Gupta for bringing you to Inside Track Chicago a few years ago – I remember what you said she said – she selected you because you were active in the community.

    I hope to see you at another event this year.


    • Thank you. Being active in SCN & other social media sites provides not just visibility but helps improve one’s knowledge significantly. And in my case I acquired demonstrable knowledge outside SAP space(hint: WIT) in addition to the technical skills I need to do my job. I hope to see you this year.

      Best regards,


  • Big congrats to your daughter on getting into Penn and have enjoyed your sharing information on your kids and SAP events with your SAP SCN “family” 🙂

    Thanks for mentioning me as well and hope we finally get to meet in person in 2013.

    • Thank you. Not sure why but had been thinking about this blog for 2+ months. I was a bit concerned about the tone of my blog – didn’t want my blog sound like “marketing material”. I know I’m not the only one who feels about SCN the way I do. Tom Cenens’s  blog is an example. Yet I was thinking hard as to how to present my genuine voice without sounding artificial. Then 2 weeks ago, SCN helped me perform my job. The documentation I found in SCN was just brilliant. Immediately after completing the job, I’ve decided to publish this blog without worrying too much about artificial versus genuine voice. I just wanted to acknowledge how I continue to benefit from SCN. Sharing info on kids was one way – for right or wrong reasons – to show genuine voice. I’m glad you’ve enjoyed.

      Jarret, I hope we finally get to meet in person this year.

      Best regards,


  • Bala,

    congrats on becoming a Upenn parent and i hope that FASFA has been treating you fairly. yours is an excellent endorsement of what SCN does to those who have met on- and off-line and a proof that socmedia is more than the MSM gives an impression it is (they are jealous).

    i think your blog is needed for both those within as well as outside of SAP, veterans and newbies alike. i must admit your blog on AWS pricing has helped me understand the issues we all independents face, ie trying to get the best mileage out of our time and money spent on continuing our SAP education and professional careers.

    happy 2013 to you and your education driven family!

    last but not least, thx for the mention.



    • Hi Greg,

      Thanks. FAFSA has been fair but not kind! I’m glad to know you concur that this blog is needed.  Really appreciate your support. I’m also glad to know AWS blog was helpful.

      Happy new year to you and your family – education driven family!(lol).

      Best regards,


  • Congratulations to your daughter — wow, a change of perspective plus prestigious University of Pennsylvania … that’s fantastic. And to your son on his career path. Obviously, you and your wife are strong positive influences and role models for your kids.  Thank you for sharing these success stories, and the role played by our SAP Community Network. 


    Mark Yolton

  • How very like you Bala, to humbly credit others.  Your daughter’s wonderful accomplishments reflect well on her own character, talents and very probably on the parenting she received.  Having good role models, as Mark Yolton mentions above, are powerful influencing factors.

    It is so beautiful of you to use sharing this wonderful news here as a way of including others in the gratitude list. Beyond those already mentioned and acknowledged, my list also includes Karin  Tillotson who works tirelessly to keep the fires burning on the topic of WIT in SCN and does that externally as well,

    James Oswald James Governor who never fail to ping me when there is something interesting on the WIT radar.

    Audrey Stevenson who highlights blogs, events and people engaged in moving the WIT dial and deserves our thanks!

    Let’s also thank: Otto Gold Thorsten Franz Matthias Steiner without whom our WIT events would have been so much less “inclusive”.

    Other heroes of support for Women in Technology are Sanjay Poonen Geoff Kerr helping us fund our events and one of the most powerful voices of inclusion in the community: Moya Watson

    An especial thank you Bala, for encouraging a young woman (your daughter)  to engage in a very exciting and challenging course of studies.  Every success to you all.

    • Thanks for your kind words Marilyn. And thanks for mentioning and acknowledging a list of people – I missed – who work behind the scenes on WIT. Thank you everyone for doing an excellent job.

      Your response triggers several thoughts. I’ll just share one thought: This is an approximate translation of a poem from Tamil – one of Indian languages – literature.

      A timely benefit, -though thing of little worth,
      The gift itself, -in excellence transcends the earth.

      By sharing my story, I hoped SCN would continue doing what she has been doing and benefit/inspire more people. SCN/WIT helped change my daughter’s perspective at an appropriate time. It was a timely benefit.

      I don’t know if you still remember the discussions we had in Aug/Sep ’11. My daughter was rejecting Engineering outright in 2011. All I wanted her to do was just consider engineering as an option for her undergraduate studies. I’m glad she did.

      Best regards,


      • Thanks for the kind words Marilyn and always for remembering others. It’s great to be pointed to Bala’s daughter’s story.

        Bala, what a great post – thank you so much for sharing.  I think this is a great example of the importance of role models and mentors.  These feelings are conflicting: it’s hard being the only “whatever it is” in the room, yet being unique and different is our greatest asset. I wish a brilliant course of study and career for your daughter and that she realizes every huge bit of her great potential.

        • Moya,

          Thank you for taking time to read & commenting. I believe in It Gets Better. I’ve watched that video several times. That video teaches me a lot. SAP has done a brilliant job.

          Thank you for your wishes to my daughter.

          Best regards,


    • You know me, Marylin — I just love to get the conversation going, especially about the stuff other people are afraid to talk about. To me, ignorance is the main culprit in most bigotry/intolerance/general non-inclusionary activities, so bringing things into the light is the only way to stamp out the heart of it.

      Bala, very happy to hear your daughter has opened her eyes to the possibilities out there.