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Dear SCN members:

Since I know so many of you personally through interaction on SCN or social media, or at SAP TechEd or other SAP events, and I want to let you know that I’ve decided to move on from SAP to a new opportunity and a new set of adventures.  Over the course of the past 8 years I’ve been proud to help lead and build and expand the SAP Community Network (SCN), the SAP TechEd conference series, SAP’s presence on Twitter and Facebook and other social media, digital marketing via SAP.com and its country websites, SAP’s Technology Standards & Business Standards and Open Source practices, and the establishment of the SAP EcoHub which was the predecessor and is now a core component of the combined and improved online SAP Store.  I will transition out of SAP later this month.

However, I won’t be leaving all of this or all of you behind, and I believe that what I do leave is in better shape than when I ‘found’ it.  SAP has been my professional home for the past 8 years where we’ve grown and evolved together, and in particular the SAP Community has been like an extended family that has produced real friendships with people who generously share their ideas, opinions, talents, collaboration, and support.  The SAP Mentor connections are even more special, deeper, and stronger within the larger context of the community. I have abiding respect for SAP’s leadership, deep appreciation for what I’ve learned and gained here at SAP, strong bonds with colleagues across the company and especially in the Marketing & Communications leadership team, and positive connections with SCN members from our customer and partner companies literally around the world.  I hope that many of those connections will continue to be healthy, and that some might even grow stronger over time as we enter a different phase. 

I am both excited for all of the new things to look forward to ahead, and in a bit of mourning for what I will leave behind.  The people connections will be the toughest to leave day-to-day … but I hope and expect to stay connected to SAP and to you through SCN.

My experience with SAP and SCN has been rich and rewarding.

  • When I started here, SCN was still a small, narrow, fledgling SDN (SAP Developer Network) that was striving to reach 200,000 members by the end of the year (2005); now it’s routine to have 2 million individual visitors per month — and the depth and breadth of what we’ve built together is staggering and a best-practice for other companies to envy and emulate.
  • Also during that time, we’ve built and expanded SAP TechEd events to a new level of professionalism, value, and quirky fun with renowned guest speakers, enlightening keynotes, expert hands-on and classroom technical training, world-class concerts, and a vibrant show floor. 
  • Social media, including Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and all the rest didn’t yet exist when I started on the SAP journey (at the time, “web 2.0” was a futuristic concept), and those are now embedded in our team and in our everyday actions as individuals and as a company. 
  • The SAP EcoHub is now a foundational piece of the SAP Store.
  • Technology Standards, Business Standards, and Open Source policies are embedded in other parts of the company. 
  • Some members of our team have gone on to form new groups within SAP IT and remain together and still support SCN years later. 
  • The SAP websites — SAP.com and its 70 country sites in 40 languages — have joined the fold and have evolved and are getting more social/community embedded.

There have been a lot of changes and progress during my time here with you.  I hope and expect that there will be much more after I’m gone.  I do believe I’m leaving a lasting legacy at SAP, and an imprint on your professional lives, just as the interactions with you have forever changed my work and my career and my life for the better.  I’ll enjoy following your exploits and the progress of SAP and its community for years to come.  My expectation is that there will be many changes and improvements ahead under the new guidance of a fresh leader of SCN, and theSAP Mentors, and SAP TechEd, and SAP.com, and SAP in social media — but I also expect I’ll be able to look back and see a faint shadow of my enduring fingerprints on the original version of each of these.

In case you wonder, I’m off to see if I can help create some magic at Cisco (a great SAP partner!). I’ll lead the digital team there, which includes Cisco.com, the employee intranet, social media, Cisco TV, and more.  It’s another great company, with a highly respected executive team including a CMO from whom I will learn, talented colleagues, a strong team apparently in pursuit of leadership, a healthy company culture, opportunities for growth and appreciation and rewards, and many of the other attributes we all look for to gain fulfillment from our work.  I already feel needed, wanted, welcomed, appreciated, and valued — and I haven’t even started yet! — so that’s a great early sign.

I will be at SAP until July 19th to help ensure a smooth transition, and then I start fresh in August in the new role.  After that date, you’ll still find me on SCN, although in a different capacity.  We can also stay connected on Twitter and on LinkedIn. 

Please know that I treasure our time together, appreciate your expertise and professionalism and contributions and collaborative achievements, and I deeply value your friendship and support of SCN and SAP and of the DiSCo (SAP Digital / Social / Community) team and of me personally.  My time at SAP has been some of the most rewarding of my career and my life.  You played a big role in that, and I’m forever grateful.  Thank you.  I hope we will stay connected and in touch.

And with that I’ll leave you with comments I saw recently in a blog on ‘personal leadership’ which speaks to how we need to take ownership and responsibility for our own careers and lives:

personal leadership “…is the ability to direct your own life and to lead yourself in the direction that you would like your life to take. The ability to define what you want out of life and how you are going to get there… leading, directing, and taking action… living each day to its fullest… with accountability to yourself and to others… It means that you have made a conscious decision to use the special, specific and unique talents that you have been given to reach further, higher, deeper, wider, to reach your goals… that you have determined the course you need to pursue, and that you are the master of your life…”

I wish you great personal rewards and professional success, and hope to see you on the road ahead.

Best regards,

Mark Yolton

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30 Comments

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    1. Mark Yolton Post author

      Thank you, Mark. I hope to see SCN go farther faster even after I’m “gone.” I’ll remain a member and hope to contribute from the sidelines without being disruptive. See you here in the community.

      M.

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  1. Vijay Dudla

    Hi Mark,

    Wishing you all the very best, I still remember the meetings and discussions we had at SAP TechEd and Community Day sessions. Thanks for making SCN as a strong and stable community. Where ever you go Please keep in touch.

    Best Wishes,

    Vijay Dudla

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    1. Mark Yolton Post author

      Thanks Vijay. Fortunately, I’m not going too far, so I’ll see you around and wish you continued growth and success.

      M.

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  2. Susan Keohan

    Mark,

    This is where SCN should have a ‘dislike’ button – because selfishly, I am among those who are saddened by your departure. 

    However, in this blog, as in all your interactions with the community, you have shown your grace and honesty.  I know thousands join me in wishing you all the best at your new gig.

    Sue

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    1. Mark Yolton Post author

      Thank you, Sue. You’re one of the people who holds a special place here and in my memories. Just like with my kids I don’t have a favorite SCN member or Mentor, but…  I hope this won’t be the last of “us,” and I hope I’ll be able to re-create some of that magic in the new gig.

      M.

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    1. Mark Yolton Post author

      Thank you, Margaret. You were an early supporter; one of those who “gets it” and puts in the sweat-equity to build this community and better the company on behalf of our customers; for that we’re all grateful. 

      M.

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  3. Tammy Powlas

    Best of luck to you, Mark!

    I hope your title at Cisco is as cool as the one you’re leaving behind:

    DiSCo (SAP Digital / Social / Community)

    Running “DiSCO” at Cisco sounds great!

    We’ll miss you and thank you for everything you’ve done.

    Tammy

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    1. Mark Yolton Post author

      Yes, Tammy, I think we’ll have to find a new group name at Cisco, since while “DiSCo @ Cisco” would be ultra- uber-cool, I think I’ll leave “DiSCo” to SAP and we’ll then set “cool catchy name” as an early task and challenge for the Cisco team as a test.  Either way, I can’t imagine a more positive, supportive, loyal partner as we find in you… thank you so much for your constant encouragement. 

      All the best,

      Mark Yolton

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  4. Kumar Mayuresh

    Hi Mark

    Congratulations on your move, I am sure SAP ecosystem will definitely miss your great work and your dynamic opening note in various global SAP events (TechEd, Sapphire Now, etc).

    I wish you great success with

    “DiSCo in Cisco”.

    Regards

    Kumar πŸ™‚

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    1. Mark Yolton Post author

      I appreciate that, Kumar. So, now the mystery is solved as I found the one person who enjoyed my pre-keynote welcome on the big stage – Thank you! πŸ˜‰   I would love to someday have a big Cisco audience in my future and to make my old SAP pals proud. (Maybe Cisco TV will offer an opportunity?) Please stay engaged with the community here – I wish you much success.

      M.

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      1. Kumar Mayuresh

        Hi Mark

        Thank you for your warm wishes. I am here to stay as much as possible – “Since I always consider SCN – a Living Library of SAP and People of SAP ecosystem which always grows and is always alive 24x7x365 πŸ™‚

        I believe I am not alone who enjoyed your Pre-Keynote welcome on the Big stage – actually its whole SAP, Non SAP ecosystem and community – enjoyed it, especially you calling Dr. Vishal Sikka – Godfather of SAP HANA and that too in Las Vegas πŸ˜‰

        I am sure you will definitely get the big audience in Cisco too. I also request you to with the community here as we have lot to learn from you.

        I wish all the success in your upcoming role.

        Regards

        Kumar πŸ™‚

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  5. Raquel Pereira da Cunha

    Congratulations Mark.

    I like a quote from Steve Jobs that says: “The only way to do great work is to love what you do”. You love what you do and you do it with love. You will for sure do a great job at Cisco and create some magic there, as you’ve done at SAP.

    We will miss you.

    Best wishes,

    Raquel

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    1. Mark Yolton Post author

      Many thanks, Raquel. I sure am excited to try to capture lightning one more time before I call it a career. I appreciate your support and engagement via the SAP Mentors, and wish you continued forward progress. 

      M.

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  6. Martin Hardee

    Mark, you created a great digital presence at SAP (with a great team, several of whom I know well), and we are really looking forward to your arrival here at Cisco! 

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    1. Mark Yolton Post author

      Thank you, Martin. I was fortunate to have an extraordinary team, including stellar leaders, and great bosses throughout my SAP career, and they get the lion’s share of credit; it was my pleasure to work with and learn from them.  I expect I’ll find a similar situation at Cisco (great people, culture, company…), and look forward to working closely with you again! 

      See you soon,

      Mark Yolton

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  7. Akshay Gupta

    Congrats Mark, for the great move!

    Its not easy but it has to be, in order to “Take ownership and responsibility for our own careers and lives”.

    All the very best for the new Journey ahead, and yes you leave behind a tremendous imprint at SAP. You will be dearly missed within the entire SAP ecosystem..

    And, you were a blast at SAP TechEd openings πŸ™‚

    With best wishes,

    Akshay

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    1. Mark Yolton Post author

      Wow, Akshay, a second person who enjoyed my SAP TechEd openings … you’ve doubled my fan base! Thanks for your kind words; I hope they prove true in the test of time.  I appreciate all those who have participated actively in our community, attended our events, given their time and expertise to others… this has been a fantastic ride — and yet, I’m looking forward to what’s around the next curve. 

      Best,

      Mark Yolton

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  8. Balachandran Siddharthan

    Hi Mark,

    I never had a chance to attend TechEds but I’ve watched almost all of the video contents available on TechEd.

    I was motivated by your speech in each of these videos where you encouraged people to use SCN. Since then, I spent more more time in SCN!

    Though I do not know you personally, news about your leave saddens me…

    Thanks for everything and best wishes on your new chapter! Am sure u’ll help lot more people thro’ DiSCo in CISCO!

    Bala.

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    1. Mark Yolton Post author

      Thank you Bala.  Now that you’re more engaged in SCN, I encourage you to take the next step and attend SAP TechEd.  There’s one in Bangalore, Las Vegas, and Amsterdam this year.  Choose the one that’s best for you – it will change your world and be a lifetime memory that also boosts your career. 

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  9. Jitendra Kansal

    Hi Mark,

    i never got a chance to meet/interact with you. But i wish you all the best for your future plan. By reading above story i realised you have done a stupendous, brilliant work in upbringing SCN platform. πŸ™‚

    God bless you.

    Rgrds,

    Jitendra

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