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David Clavey – SCN Member of the Month August 2013.

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I never thought I would do a video conference at 7:30am one morning (I’m not the early bird type), and record it on top of that! But I did, and it was fun. David Clavey is the Member of the Month for August 2013, and this time I did a video interview for a change, asking the regular questions that you have come to know. David is a nice guy, he shared his collection of hats with me – and the community. He’s done a lot in his life and doesn’t seem to want to stop any time soon πŸ˜‰ We talked a lot about mobility – well, he did the talking, he’s the expert – and he was kind enough to share about his hardware hobbies.

David, can you tell us a bit about yourself, where you live, who you work for, and other things you would like to share with the community (hobbies, fun facts)?

I live in Dunstable, a small town 30 miles north of London. The town goes back to Roman times and is the intersection of a Roman paved road and an ancient Briton road which runs along the Chiltern hills. There were two monasteries and a Royal palace 500 years ago, frequently visited by mediaeval Kings and Queens. Today it has two theaters, a zoo, hill top walks/runs, a glider club and me πŸ™‚

From age 14 onwards I have lived in Dunstable, but previously I lived in Cumbria (English lake district). Julie my wife and I have 5 children, but only one still at home. I am an active Christian and a member of Christ Church Dunstable, and also a member of Dunstable downs radio club which coincides with my hobbies of electronics, embedded commuting, radio and HAB – High altitude Balloon experiments. I love most gadgets.

Being a Cumbrian I have always enjoyed walking, sailing and canoeing. I am an ex-marathon runner and ex-fitness instructor. For example I completed the London marathon in 2004.

I work for Capgemini in Holborn, London. Although most days I am not in the office but either working from home or visiting a customer. My role is “Mobility Lead” within the SAP business group of Capgemini, but I also currently support Europe as a Technical architect for Managed Mobility for 50% of my time. I also have strong links with Mobility guys in other parts of the business in the UK, Europe, USA and India. So a strong mobility team but scattered too many locations.

Before you joined Capgemini you were with Sybase. You stayed there for a few of years and then you left a few months after SAP acquired Sybase. Any thoughts you want to share about that time – the pre-SAP days? And how was it becoming suddenly part of a big company like SAP?

I was 5 years with Sybase, the company flew me to Toronto to interview me – that impressed me. I was a professional services consultant at Sybase – consulting and supporting most of their mobility products – Onebridge, SQL Anywhere/Mobilink/Ultralite, SUP, Afaria. The job involved many mobile worker customer solutions such as home visit nursing, fire engine/bus maintenance, telecom engineer systems. I was a year in the company when SAP bought Sybase, it did not really effect me much at the time as I was still delivering a major field service project in Dubai.

You’ve been a mobility consultant for years now, is there an industry that you like working with? And one that you find particularly challenging?

I enjoy all aspects of Mobility, from the start 27 years ago when it was about bar code scanning a docking stations to do comms. At Symbol I was involved in some pre-WiFi radio communications for communicating on-the-fly. This then changed to Mobile Worker type applications (e.g. Field Service and Delivery) based on GSM and WiFi and later 3G. I love working with mobile worker type applications; usually the end users love what you are doing because you are providing them with up-to-date information and cutting the paperwork.

I don’t find any industry area challenging other than when you start talking App’s the customer thinks they only cost $1 each ! Bespoke development is still expensive, even using hybrid technology.

Eventually there will be no such think as mobility as all computer interaction devices will be mobile. Who wants to sit at a desk anyway, even a portable PC is still a largely desk tethered device, it’s just portable between desks! I look forward to the day I can go for a hill walk and still be “at work”.

Your LinkedIn profile mentions that you know Morse. How did that happen? πŸ˜‰

As with most people I have changed career many times. I initially trained to be a Merchant Navy Radio Officer, i.e. the guy who operates the Radio on ship, and fixes the Radar and any other hi-tech electronics equipment on the ship, even the toaster! Oh and the last one off the ship when it sinks SOS…

After that I worked for Marconi again in electronics, then McDonnell Douglas but this time testing and repairing wardrobe-sized computers. Then I moved into CIM – computer integrated manufacturing which I setup within an electronics factory – Robots / CAD / CAE / Chip place machine / ATE Automatic test equipment.

Since moving into software, electronics and Radio have remained my hobby. And you never quite forget Morse, very useful for long distance communications. Recently I have passed my Amateur Radio exams so again I can legally transmit.

Now let’s talk about SAP and the community. When did you become a member of SCN and what brought you to this community?

I became a member of SCN when I joined Capgemini two years ago, but initially only looked things up but did not contribute. Then last year at TechEd Las Vegas I attended InnoJam and the penny dropped that it was a community not just of SAP employees but of everyone involved in SAP. I had lots to say about mobility so I joined in….

How do you find the time to contribute to SCN?

During my working day I am often browsing SCN and the Web for answers to questions.

I set aside 15 minutes every morning before work starts for blogging on SCN or answering questions on SCN. I find that answering people’s questions keeps me sharp as a consultant.

What do you like most about the community in general?

The extended support that having a community brings. You feel that here are people genuinely trying to help each other even though in real life they are in competing companies. Interesting – but it works.

If a new member came to you and asked for your advice on how to be an active and respected member of SCN, what would you say?

Look though all the different places and decide which places you want to be at. If you search for an answer and find it in a space, that’s where you need to be.

If you have something to say then write a blog, I like small blogs rather than large wordy blogs. I like pictures too, say it with pictures rather than words.

If you have a question, go ahead ask it even if it feels dumb! Everyone is willing to help and nobody will judge.

If you have a random thought, put it on the Coffee Corner.

Is there an SCN member you admire (OK… you can name a few)?

If the mobility places I like most of the guys who appear on the top 10.

Jitendra Kumar Kansal, Midhun VP, Daniel van Leeuwen, Carolyn Coad , Joe Granda , Milja Gillespie Tahir Öz, Joanna Chan.

Of these Daniel gives the best technical answers, he goes into a level of detail that I can never achieve. Impressive.

You attended an SAP Code Jam in London in May this year. How was the event ?

Brilliant, the only gripe I have is the food at other events appears to be better when you look at what people shared on the Facebook page. The event is a mix of technology (HANA for instance) and socializing (meeting people that you chatted with on SCN).

What technology recently had you most enthusiastic about?

The whole UI5 and Fiori area, there is a lot of interest in this among Capgemini’s customers. I am patiently waiting to see what SMP 3.0 brings to mobility and the offline Fiori apps (presumably hybrid)

Hana is also quite exciting, but for me only for connecting to from mobility.

What do you think about the introduction of game mechanics on SCN one month ago? I saw you’ve earned a couple of badges already.

Yes it was fun when it first came out, but the badges are harder to earn now. They are good because they make you try areas of SCN that you may not have used before, and they encourage people in those areas. I definitely see a lot more activity now that gamification is on SCN.

Easy question: Mac/iOS or Windows? Or Android?

All of them πŸ™‚ – My main computer is a MacBook, but duel boots also into Windows 8 for development reasons.

I loved the Windows 8 RT when it first came out, could have taken over the world if it had been cheaper. (See my blog)

Android is OK, works as well as Windows Mobile did. But I find some of its features annoying and non user friendly.

I love the iPad. The ultimate in user friendly, the only computer my wife can use.

Are you on Twitter?

Yep, @dclavey, but I mainly tweet my or other interesting SCN blogs. Same goes for LinkedIn and Facebook.

Every month, a member of the SAP Community Network is recognized for exemplary behavior: sharing knowledge with peers, being helpful and taking on additional tasks to support community engagement. See the list of previous SCN Members of the Month.

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