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Blog it forward – Gareth Ryan

BIF seeding

So, as is the established way I’ll first thank the people who blogged it forward to me (and there were a few, as I seemed to have timed my request to join the chain just right when a few other people were paying it a lot of attention too!) :-

Thanks to all three of you!  Having three “BIF seeds” means I can be picky about which questions I answer so hopefully this blog will be a bit easier for me. πŸ˜‰


About Me

My name is1 Gareth Ryan and I’m currently a Principal Netweaver Development Architect working for Atos in their UK SAP Practice.  I’ve worked with SAP for over 14 years now (I think!) after being involved with the implementation and roll-out of SAP for United Biscuits, where I was originally an apprentice Mainframe Programmer learning Cobol, JCL, DB2, etc.  As with many people, getting into SAP was more through luck and I just happened to be young, enthusiastic, cheap(!) and supposedly capable so UB picked me for their newly set up SAP ABAP Development team, in turn promising me the riches and spoils that only a life as an SAP developer can offer.  If any of the management from UB are reading this – I’m still waiting…

I spent a month being trained by ABAP experts from what was then called Andersen Consulting – I blame them for everything since. πŸ˜‰ I can still remember my first developments in the SAP world – customising the standard Purchase Order SAPScript output, and creating a custom report (the “Daily Performance Report”) which was used by all of UB’s production sites in the UK to monitor erm, daily performance…  If anyone reading this is currently responsible for maintaining that report, I am truly sorry. πŸ™‚

Since then, I’ve worked on many varied projects and with many SAP technologies, mostly around the UX/UI world.  My current focus is around Mobility, BPM, BRM, PO, etc.  I’ve been lucky to have meddled with most of SAP’s technology as mentioned, and find it as equally rewarding as frustrating for the average developer.  I’m really enjoying learning more about SAPUI5, HANA, Fiori and watching the SAP Mobility Platform mature (I don’t think it is quite there yet but that is a whole other blog!)  I still dabble a bit in ABAP (when someone is desperate enough to let me!) but most of my work is in the Java stack these days, or in other “non-SAP” technology.  Although I’ve somehow managed to get the fabled “architect” word into my job title, I still manage to get my hands dirty with code as often as possible and to be honest, that is ultimately why I still love my job in the SAP world. πŸ™‚

My Hometown

One of the things I’ve really appreciated about the BIF content so far, is reading little bits about where people grew up and live, and the history and interesting facts about those places, so I’ve again followed the norm and here is a section about my hometown – Liverpool

I’m born and bred in Liverpool which makes me a scouser2, spending my entire 36ish years living here.  My job and personal life has afforded me the luxury of travelling and seeing many parts of the UK and the wider world but I’m yet to find another place I’d be as happy living, as here in Liverpool.  No doubt, when Liverpool is mentioned everyone thinks of two things – football and music – thanks to the historical (but not so much current) success of Liverpool FC and a little band called The Beatles.  I’m not a football fan and have never really loved The Beatles’ music (although my uncle briefly played for numerous football teams back in the day, including Everton FC, when being a professional footballer didn’t involve getting paid obscene amounts of money, and he also went to school with Pete Best.  You would think the city was trying to force me to be passionate about two of it’s most famous exports!)

Here’s some common & (hopefully) lesser known but interesting all the same facts about Liverpool (I can’t be responsible for inaccuracies here so take some with a pinch of salt!):

  • Liverpool holds the Guinness Book of Records title for being the “Capital of Pop” – more artists with a Liverpool origin have had a number one hit than from any other location.  The Cavern Club (home of The Beatles) has a “Wall of Fame” with artist’s names inscribed on Matthew Street:
  • Liverpool unusually has two cathedrals – the Anglican and the Metropolitan – with the Anglican being the biggest in the UK and the fifth largest in the world (Anglican is the first one.)
  • The Liverpool – Manchester railway was the first passenger carrying railway in the world and on the opening day, a local MP fell under the train and was the first railway fatality!
  • The city of Liverpool is over 800 years old.
  • Central Park in New York was designed with influences from a park within Liverpool, and Liverpool has the most parks in Britain outside of London.
  • The first act of the American Civil War was the firing of a cannon made in Liverpool and the last act of the American Civil war took place on the river Mersey when the last confederate raider (CSS Shenandoah) surrendered to the Lord Mayor of Liverpool.
  • The Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine, founded in 1898, was the world’s first such institute, devoted to tropical health.
  • Liverpool is home to the oldest Chinese community in Europe and the largest Chinese arch of its kind outside of China.
  • The port of Liverpool was pivotal in the slave trade as well as trade in cotton, with a vast share of both being transported through the port at some stage.
  • The Titanic was registered in Liverpool, and had many Liverpool residents as crew.
  • Riots in Liverpool in the early 1980s dramatically changed parts of the city but ultimately triggered longer term change and improvement.

I could go on (and have found it fascinating finding out more about my own city) but instead, I’ll leave you with this beautiful view of the waterfront at night (best to click on it to see it in all of its glory):

Here is a nice website listing lots of “firsts” for Liverpool, for those who are interested further.

BIF Challenge

Answers by me

  • Jitendra asked – Had you not been into software at all, where would you have been?
    I came very close to taking up an apprenticeship in vehicle engineering working for Fords motor company who were based in Halewood in Liverpool.  I always wanted to be a car designer but by the time I was old enough, Fords had stopped that apprenticeship scheme so I applied for the engineering instead.  I didn’t quite make the shortlist (I was a reserve after hundreds applied for only a handful of positions) but looking back, and seeing what has happened to the motor industry in the North West of England, I think I had a lucky escape!
  • Tammy asked – What do you enjoy most in your work and why?
    That’s easy – the constant variety in both tasks and people I get to work with.  Being in consulting for a large SI who are an SAP Partner means I spend time on various projects, at different customers all of the time.  As much as I love meddling with code, I love even more meeting new people and building relationships with them.  The whole social networking revolution has been great for me, especially as I have now built a great network on twitter and here on SCN.  (My twitter & LinkedIn details are linked throughout this blog – please don’t hesitate to connect/follow/send abuse if you like!)
  • Ahmed asked – What are your Interests/Hobbies?
    I’ve always been fascinated with cars, possibly because my father worked for Ford although he has no interest and doesn’t even drive!  When I was younger and had more time and money, I’d spend a lot of time meddling with them and ended up with a nice (in my opinion) little monster in the shape of a Nissan Pulsar GTi-R (see below) but as I’ve matured (stop sniggering at the back) I guess I’m like most other people, enjoying time with my family and friends, sampling real ales and more recently, running around after our 3 month old son Harry!
    I’m a bit fickle when it comes to hobbies – you name it I’ve probably tried it – but my one passion throughout all my life is music, collecting songs and albums and listening to all sorts of “eclectical” stuff.  Mrs Ryan thinks I usually listen to a load of old *****!
    Nissan Pulsar GTi-R.jpg

Questions to my BIF seedlings

  1. What is your absolute favourite music album/track of all time and why?
  2. Do you have a favourite quote/saying that perfectly describes your day to day job?

I’ll nominate

Picking a couple of people at random from the current BIF table, I’ll pass the baton on to Ajay Maheshwari SAP Trainer and Akshay Gupta – I’m also going to suggest Steve Rumsby as I’ve just noticed he’s not done a BIF (that I can find) and I’d be interested to see what he writes.  Sorry Steve πŸ˜‰


1There is a bit of an on-going joke about my name, and how I get wound up when people call me Ryan…  Sometimes it gets so bad on projects I add “My name is Gareth” to the end of my email signature.  People still call me Ryan. πŸ™ You see, Gareth is a Welsh name (my father is from Wrexham, a town in North Wales) and Gareth is a relatively common christian name around these parts.  However, in many parts of the world Ryan is the more common christian name, so often people see my name on emails or other communication and call me Ryan.  Everyone (except me!) finds this hysterical.  So much so, I wanted to call our newborn son Ryan Bryan Ryan, just to avoid any confusion but his mum wouldn’t let me πŸ˜‰

2 What is a scouser?

My final thought – I’ll leave that to a nice tweet I found some time ago:-

Hope everyone enjoys reading this – sorry it’s so long πŸ™‚

Added Tuesday 30th July 2013:-

In response to Tom Van Doorslaer‘s recent blog about image copyright here, I’ve tidied my blog up a bit πŸ˜‰

The small print

Remember the rules of the game:

  • Follow the Blog It Forward Chain in order to be updated when the people you blog it forward to post the links to their “Blog It Forward” blogs.
  • Read Moshe’s blog again to make sure you follow the rules in your own blog:
    • Provide an introduction to yourself
    • Provide a fun fact about your country or yourself
    • Add a cool picture of yourself or your homeland/town
    • Answer specific questions that were “Blog It Forward” to you
    • Answer 3-4 optional questions from the bank of questions provided below. Or choose to answer questions you make-up on your own.
    • Create 1-2 personalized  questions you would like to blog forward
    • List at least 2  people who you are blogging it forward to. Share why you choose them. Link to their SCN profile by typing @  and then their name (e.g @HisName).Ask the community to follow the Blog It Forward Chain in order to be updated when the people you “Blog It Forward” to post the links to their “Blog It Forward” blogs.

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      Author's profile photo Tammy Powlas
      Tammy Powlas

      Well done and I enjoyed your pictures

      I am not a Beatles fan either (love Paul McCartney & Wings and Ringo Starr All Star Band)

      Thank you for getting this out so quickly πŸ™‚

      Author's profile photo Former Member
      Former Member
      Blog Post Author

      Thanks Tammy.

      I could have wasted lots of time looking at pictures of Liverpool and researching more interesting facts - funny how you take so much for granted in your home town.


      Author's profile photo Susan Keohan
      Susan Keohan

      Hi Gareth,

      I knew there was something special about you - I too started my SAP career by virtue (or not) of being a COBOL programmer. IDENDAPR.

      I had no idea Liverpool was so fascinating!  Of course, I was raised on the Beatles, and still go back sometimes when I am feeling nostalgic, but your tidbits of info, plus the amazing pictures make me want to visit - when I do my SAP Friends World Tour.

      And I also have a son named Harry.  I suppose yours was named more in relation to the royals?  Mine has his own royalty - my grandfather, father, and brother were all Harrys.  But since his middle name is Philip (after his paternal grandfather) if I lived in the UK, he would be a double royal.

      I also noticed in the alphabet soup that is your SAP experience, you've omitted some really critical letters... W  and F - but I will hope that you didn't want people flocking to you in droves because of your mad SAP WF skills?  We ought to chat about that BPM, BRM, and PO stuff though.

      Thanks so much for sharing!


      Author's profile photo Former Member
      Former Member
      Blog Post Author

      Hi Sue,

      Liverpool is an amazing place!  It helps of course that all our family and friends are close by, and my Atos office is only ~20mins drive away when I'm not out at customers of course!

      Harry definitely was NOT named after our royalty! πŸ˜‰   His full name is Harry James Ryan - Harry was a name we both just really liked and James was me honouring Mr's Hendrix, Morrison and Page - all musical greats in my eyes πŸ™‚   Having said that, Harry has been a very popular boys name in the UK for a few years, highly likely because of our Prince.

      It's funny, other than some brief skirts around the edge, I've never worked with WF in anger - I keep promising to get more familiar with it but I'm yet to have the real need.  Besides, I like BPM too much!



      Author's profile photo Former Member
      Former Member

      Great Blog Gareth, Your little Nissan Monster ROCKSSS πŸ˜€

      Nice to meet you here on SCN.

      I hope to here from you soon. πŸ™‚

      Author's profile photo Former Member
      Former Member
      Blog Post Author

      Thanks Ahmed.

      Sadly, I had to sell the Pulsar about 9 years ago when we bought a house.  It turned into a sofa and some other furniture, none of which was anywhere near as exciting!



      Author's profile photo Akshay Gupta
      Akshay Gupta

      Hi Ryan (Sorry Gareth πŸ˜› )

      Vow, you have quoted some amazing facts, of which I knew only about one, and that would be about Central Park in New York whose designs are influenced by a park in Liverpool.

      Like most others I also fell into belief that the fountain in the opening credits of the American television show  F.R.I.E.N.D.S, was located in New York's Central Park. But it's not!

      Also, this led me to learn further about CP, and i read it somewhere that, when long ago the land for central park was bought it was very rural and uncivilized and NYC had organized a some form of competition in order to get the design of the CP, and I guess the one which made it through, was from Liverpool in Britain. It had rivaled designs from parks in Paris.

      And sorry about the trap of you being called Ryan instead 😐 and your attempt at naming your son Ryan Bryan Ryan, but Harry is very nice name πŸ™‚

      Very much liked the amazing facts you mentioned about Liverpool, I am a sucker of facts and knowledge πŸ˜›

      Thanks for passing the BIF seedling, will be publishing soon, watchout 😏

      Best regards,


      Author's profile photo Former Member
      Former Member
      Blog Post Author

      Thanks Akshay,

      I'm looking forward to reading your BIF.  Hopefully, like me, you will enjoy researching your home town and learn a few things you didn't already know.  I certainly did!


      Author's profile photo Astrid Gambill
      Astrid Gambill

      Hi Gareth

      A very enjoyable BIF.  Thank you.  The photo's are great.

      I'm from the UK but didn't know much about Liverpool until now.  Very interesting, thanks for the research.



      Author's profile photo Former Member
      Former Member
      Blog Post Author

      Thanks Astrid.

      I'm from Liverpool but didn't know half of what I did until I researched this blog!  I'd definitely recommend everyone spends a bit of time researching their home town as it can be so interesting.


      Author's profile photo Marssel Vilaça
      Marssel Vilaça


      Very nice blog and wonderful point of view of Liverpool.

      When you told about football you reminded me this:

      São Paulo X Liverpool


      All the best

      Author's profile photo Jitendra Kansal
      Jitendra Kansal


      first of all thanks a lot for accepting BIF invitation .

      enjoyed reading your BIF. πŸ™‚ you have put nice pix.



      Author's profile photo Gali Kling Schneider
      Gali Kling Schneider

      Gareth, I loved your post! Thanks for sharing about yourself and Liverpool. I learned so much and have now added it to the list of places to visit. Who knew it was so pretty?

      I will look you up on twitter (be on the lookout for a request from @GKS πŸ˜‰ )

      I'm very curious, would you be willing to answer your own first question, what's your all time favorite album and why?


      Author's profile photo Former Member
      Former Member
      Blog Post Author

      Thanks Gali,

      To be honest, I'd really struggle naming just one album.  I have a collection that is rapidly getting on towards 1000 albums and my tastes are all over the place - what could only be described as "eclectic" to say the least!  Part of my love for music is the discovery of new and different pieces, so I tend to listen to new, different tracks more often than listening to older ones over and over.

      If I narrow it down to a favourite track, I will more often than not say Led Zeppelin - Achilles Last Stand as this is one of my all time favourites, but I'm sure that could change.  My profile on probably tells a different story!


      Author's profile photo Midhun VP
      Midhun VP

      Good to know you and your entry to SAP world.

      I heard of Liverpool when relates to football. But now I got something πŸ™‚ . Thanks for writing this blog. Enjoyed. πŸ™‚

      - Midhun VP

      Author's profile photo Former Member
      Former Member
      Blog Post Author

      Thanks Midhun.

      Yes, Liverpool is often most associated with football but luckily there is lots of other things going on here!


      Author's profile photo Former Member
      Former Member

      Hi Gareth,

      Fantastic blog! I like all the photos. Especially I like the car photo very very very much!

      Keep sharing new things and interesting one! πŸ™‚

      All the best!


      Hari Suseelan

      Author's profile photo Sven Ringling
      Sven Ringling

      Good fun browsing through BIFs on a Friday night after a long week travelling πŸ™‚

      I have to agree Liverpool being a very nice City (though I wouldn't trade it for London). I was positively surprised, when seeing it for a few days on an assigment with - surprise - United Biscuits (I would be 30 stones by now, would I work there permanently. The custard creams at staff sale prices in the canteen and all the biscuits in meetings...I'm too weak for that). So, I took my girlfriend their for a short break later to have a proper look around.

      I can report that any Southerners, who comment your 'I'm going to Liverpool for the weekend' with 'Why on Earth would you do that? Running out of dope?' have no clue what they are talking about.