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Tattoos Optional

On the way back from annual conference I was seated next to another conference attendee Joe and a SAP sales rep (I’ll call him Bill).  A plane full of conference attendees is of course not unusual for air travel to or from Sapphire or TechEd.  Joe and I have attended a number of SAP conferences together.  As usual for Joe and I, we analyzed, scrutinized and dissected the conference comparing events to other conferences – the keynotes, the educational content, the show floor, what we thought of the product announcements – I’m still unsure of the VISI name change – Lumira just does not roll off my tongue.  Bill joined in our discussion and as usual we found common associates.

Well anyway when getting off the plane Bill also noticed that I was carrying an old SAP conference backpack  – I guess with our 2 hour conference/SAP/ASUG discussion fresh in his thoughts Bill was prompted to ask “so do you guys have SAP tattoos too”.  We laughed but the comment intrigued me.

Later as I was considering what he said (yes I’m one of those people who goes back and relives my conversations) it did make me realize a couple of things 1) that wherever we go as SAP users we have common bonds. 2) yes I have a passion for my work which includes understanding SAP and how it can continue increasing my company’s competitive edge and also assist my BI users.  This appears to come out to people more than I had originally thought. 3) changing my career path from Finance to IT was very good for me personally and professionally.  I enjoy evaluating the SAP BI products , I enjoy influencing the products, I enjoy installing the products (most if the time), I enjoy using the products but most of all I enjoying showing other people how to use the products.  No tattoos required

So my question to you – what brought you to where you are with SAP? Was it a decision early in your career? Was it a career change?  If so what was the pivotal factor?  And then what do you enjoy the most?  If there is a tattoo involved we also need to know


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  • Hi Joyce,

    very nice blog.

    I’ve reflected on this in the past, after years of similar conversations and my conclusion is,

    _Everybody_ in the SAP space has a story of how they got into SAP.

    Often when we meet other SAP people, the question pops up, how did you get into SAP ?

    Are there many other industries, where the that question would be so prolific ?

    My conclusion is it’s because, like yourself, and for similar reasons to those which you have expressed, the majority of people in the SAP space are happy for it and grateful for it.

    And long may this continue.

    All the best,


  • Hi Joyce,

    “what brought you to where you are with SAP?” – chance. It just happened that I got enrolled into the SAP training stream during the first day of my internship 🙂

    “Was it a decision early in your career?” – the previous question answers this. The decision to enter SAP was not mine

    “And then what do you enjoy the most?” – I am a SAP BW consultant and when I look back, I have enjoyed almost everything that I have come across these past 5 years. Developing applications, solving data issues, support tickets, trainings, learnings, the contented ‘sigh’ at the end of a tiring but successful day 😆 . Never once have I had a bad thought about the path treaded so far.

    “Is there a tattoo involved?” – YES. the whole experience is one big colourful tattoo that we proudly wear always 😆



  • Hi Joyce,

    Nice idea for a blog. Here is my back-story:

    What brought you to where you are with SAP?

    Pure chance really. Like Benedict I was filtered off into the SAP stream of a large SI (PwC) as a graduate – I had never heard of SAP!

    Was it a decision early in your career?

    I was young, single, right out of University and the job gave me a chance to travel all around Europe on expenses and pretty much save my salary 😆 . So while I didn’t decide to get into SAP it seemed to work OK for me!

    Was it a career change?

    I studied Physics at University so in that sense yes it was. I had no idea about business or really much about technology. 

    What do you enjoy the most?

    I reflected on this recently and came to the conclusion that what I love most is understanding and working out how stuff works! How SAP works, how computers work or how nature works, I think that is what drove me into Physics rather than pure mathematics. As long as I am learning new things I seem to be happy and what makes it even more enjoyable is teaching things to other people who want to learn too. That helps me understand better too!



    • Hi Simon,

      I graduated in Physics too……the reasons you say ” I love most is understanding and working out how stuff works! ….how nature works, I think that is what drove me into Physics rather than pure mathematics”

      Exactly the same reasonsI got into Physics.


  • What do you enjoy the most?

    I reflected on this recently and came to the conclusion that what I love most is understanding and working out how stuff works! How SAP works, how computers work or how nature works, I think that is what drove me into Physics rather than pure mathematics. As long as I am learning new things I seem to be happy and what makes it even more enjoyable is teaching things to other people who want to learn too. That helps me understand better too!

    Freaky… Simon can read my thoughts and feelings! 😯 That’s EXACTLY what I love about my job, too!

    But I’m a curious girl, so I found the perfect playground with my job. ^^

    Hey there Joyce,

    nice blog, good for reflecting. 🙂

    What brought you to where you are with SAP?

    Well, I only got in touch with SAP 3,5 years ago. Before that I was a network administrator, doing hardware, software, trainings, support. All that stuff and more for like 10 years. Than I had to look for a new place because of downsizing in my department, but the SAP guys were wringing their hands for a new colleaque and they were so desperate (and the praise of my former boss so great 😀 ) that they took me despite my non-existent experience with SAP.

    So like I did before when I started in IT, I jumped into this new stuff and learned and tried new things and grew and now I’m responsible not just for the module they hired me for, but am portal and IdM admin, too. So I guess, it worked out fine and all parties are happy, that I came here. *g*

    Was it a decision early in your career?

    Nope, I had heard of SAP, but just saw some of it on some powerpoint slides in my education yeeeeaars ago. But I never worked with it and I didn’t know, how many different directions this could go.

    Was it a career change?

    Absolutly. I was responsible for applications before, but not like this, not in this scale. And it was a whole new world (literally, since I moved for the job, too) with so much to learn. I felt quite stupid and useless the first weeks, because I knew nothing and therefor couldn’t do much.

    But I don’t regret it. I really love my job (like I did the first one). 🙂

    And then what do you enjoy the most?

    Simon already answered that one for me perfectly. ^^



  • These days, so much is happening at the SAP-End and the Customer-End implementing SAP solutions and I being on the customer side feel blessed to implement such great technologies to today’s existing complex businesses that it has got me this feeling these days=> “Work really makes me happy”

    I mean, its true and a overheard cliche’ “Do what you love and love what you do”

    This says a lot, already.

    Sometimes the critical technical challenges & Issues stimulate me and make me feel more happier at the end of the day having them resolved.

    SAP happened to me this lifetime 🙂 , thankful for that and way to go ahead.



  • Hi Joyce,

    Thank you for the nice blog. Reflecting on my history with SAP it’s a rather complex feeling as I’ve been an employee, a user, a partner, and now a community member of SAP.

    It all started in the mid-90s when my career started in B2B software business. One time, a colleague of mine mentioned the name “SAP” during our conversation and I was not familiar with the name. He seemed annoyed by my ignorance and said “it’s only the No. 3 software company in the world behind Microsoft and Oracle!”. So even though I was embarrassed, the SAP name stuck with me since.

    My career has always been in the B2B software so joining SAP seemed natural as my career progressed, though it was still fate. I joined BusinessObjects in 2005 (in Vancouver Canada) after spending 5 years with a CRM software company. At first I was responsible for all the BO installations worldwide (BTW you mentioned install in your post, did you notice that there were thousands of distinct BO installs counting Crystal Reports, BI Platform, integration kits, the different language versions, Service Packs and hot fixes, etc?). So I managed this part of the business for 2 years. Then SAP acquired BO in 2007, and not too long after I was asked by the company to move to China to establish the product management function and to support the field teams to grow the China business. I was the only evangelist for BO products in Greater China at that time. While I was there, I also established the Academic Research Center (BO ARC China), working with SAP University Alliance team in China. So you can probably say that I’ve had a few SAP tattoos.

    I joined an SAP partner in 2011 and partially due to my SAP “tattoos” the company was able to grow with SAP in China. My tattoos also helped the company to win a few deals because there are few SAP experts in China. This SAP partner specializes in SAP BI implementations in China, so I was able to witness the brand power of SAP with my own eyes. Very often, customers chose us because we specialize in SAP, and customer chose SAP and stayed with SAP because the brand is perceived as THE best in the world and customers took great pride in owning a SAP system. I am sure this is the same everywhere in the world.

    So what do I enjoy the most? The food and the parties at the FKOMs I must say… 😉   But seriously, even though it may sound a bit like shoe shining, for me the one thing that impresses me the most is the enthusiasm of the SAP community members. Just look at the active participations and collaborations of employees/users/mentors/partners in the SCN, you see that this company is more alive than any other that tries to compete with it. Business change needs to be driven from the bottom up and this user community is the heart and the future of SAP (in my humble opinion) and I am proud to be a part of it.  

    Sorry for the long post, I tend to go on and on with my stories 🙂


  • Hi Joyce,

    I think this SAP Tech-ed during the distribution of conference pass , a SAP Tatoo could be put on the hand of every participant. This way Bill would get into history books with his innovative idea.

    On a serious note , during my stay at SAP Labs ( 2007-2011) , I enjoyed being part of DKOMs , FKOMs, RIG events. Initially my understanding was limited but over the period of time ,as I matured I could benefit out of it. Camaraderie built over these events were often good.

    Elsewhere these industry events are lesser.