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Blog it forward – Sven Ringling

Hi all!

I’m delighted about this nice opportunity to introduce myself to the community and I have to thank Nisha Sharma and Jitendra Kansal for blogging it forward to me: “Blog It Forward- Nisha Sharma”Blog It Forward – Jitendra Kansal

The BIF Challenge

Learn more about the Blog it Forward challenge here.

If you wish to join #BIF and you haven’t been tagged yet, put your name down here. Someone will blog it forward to you.

So, let me begin with answering some of the questions Nisha and Jitendra threw at me:

1) If you could be a super hero (or are in your spare time) who would you be?

I’d be Mr. NetClean, the brilliant guy, who frees the world from the scourge of Viruses, SPAM, Trojans and other malware 😎

2) What do you enjoy most in your work and why?

  • The moments, when combining technology, process and people skills creates a solution beyond the customer’s expectations, because they are not used to people looking at their problems and opportunities holistically.
  • Working with an inspiring and fun bunch of people.

3) What makes you laugh?

Really witty puns or clever jokes. My current favourite is:
There is a party for mathematical functions in the pub. All the functions are dancing or chatting – only ex sits at the bar all alone. The landlord asks it: “Why don’t you go and integrate a bit?” ex replies: “I’ve tried – it doesn’t make a difference.” o.k. – it’s a wee bit geeky, but luv it πŸ˜†

I also love British comedy – probably the most important reason for me to live in this country πŸ˜›

4) Had you not been into software at all, where would you have been?

I’d be a teacher – or a philosopher.

Fun and other facts about me, my countries and my career


My childhood hometown

  • I was born and raised in Ottweiler, a small town in the small German state of Saarland. It’s a rural area with a formerly strong coal and steel industry just in terminal decline. That made the air cleaner, but people (for German standards) relatively poor. But they are lovely and known for their down to earth hospitality.
  • Go and visit, when you are in the area (e.g. from Luxembourg is just a few miles away) – you may want to see the old Steelworks in Völklingen, which are now a UN cultural world heritage and you must join a BBQ (if need be, they do it under an umbrella) – they just don’t call it BBQ, orGrill – NEVER. It’s a Schwenker!

My career


  • As a student I did all kinds of jobs. Delivering leaflets, working in construction and manufacturing, teaching horse riding, writing for newspapers, teaching Maths and Physics, breeding and selling rabbits (well, there was the butchering involved between these two steps, which didn’t necessarily make you very popular with the girls: Yes, I killed Peter Rabbit).
  • Having studied Business and Information Technology at the local university I started my career as an SAP HR consultant at IDS Scheer in Saarbrücken in 1996. I’ve worked in HCM projects with more than 75 customers since, which makes me feel pretty old πŸ˜₯
  • In 2000 my former boss and I left to start iProCon, which has grown into a very effective team of SAP HCM consultants since. A good life-balance proposition for the team and high quality for the customers where always ranking above growth, so it’s still a flexible small boutique consultancy without the red tape and customer-unfriendly sales-culture you find so often elsewhere.


My new home”town”

  • With some stops in between I moved to London in 2009. It wasn’t even a beneficial move financially, but I just love this city. I hate it, too – I think every Londoner does, but I love it much more and when I’m away for a couple of weeks, I’m always itching to come back. It’s difficult to say why. I guess it’s the mix of people (allegedly the most diverse city in the world), the mix of history and modern themes, the buzz and, yes, the weather isn’t that bad either, believe it or not.
  • Possibly the best time of my life were the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games. The atmosphere was unbelievable. It also offered an opportunity to share my passion for the city by helping visitors as a London Ambassador volunteer. Well, they put us into quite ridiculous uniforms, but you can’t have everything.
  • πŸ˜† Fun fact: Officially >3000 Jedi live in the London Borough of Southwark, where I live. That makes it the strongest “alternative” faith with 1.25% of the population πŸ˜• . In the whole of the UK, the 2001 census counted more than 300,000 Jedi. This is due to a half-joking movement to answer the “religion” question on the census form with “Jedi”. The motivation was a mixture of just for fun, ridiculing the census and expressing dis-satisfaction with traditional organised religion. What I wrote into this field? It’s a secret. But then – you know already, don’t you 😏

Job again

  • I collected some experience in organisational change projects along the way and also had a brilliant experience with the execMBA program at Cranfield School of Management, which changed my outlook on business and life in general quite a lot.
  • Today, I’m focused on SAP HCM again as director of the iProCon subsidiary in UK (which means that a former employee of mine in Germany is now director there and therefore my boss, but I never understood the obsession many people have with hierarchy anyway. If there ever was good leadership anywhere, than it was situational and skills based, not organisational and hierarchy based).
  • I love the opportunity to work in an international context and therefore, international rollout projects with all their cultural challenges are my favourites.

Sharing and the SCN

  • I always loved sharing. It’s very rewarding. In our team, we have established a very strong collaboration culture supported by the right technology. But it goes beyond our little team. I write a lot for our blog and newsletter, co-authored several SAP PRESS books including the first HR book ever in 2001, speak at conferences on a regular basis and really, really enjoy our regular discussions in the SAP HCM Insights Podcast with such brilliant people as Steve Bogner, Martin Gillet, Luke Marson, Jarret Pazahanick, Mark Ingram and Brandon Toombs. I’m also convinced that you have to give something back, if you were lucky enough to join such an industry at a good time and can make a nice career out of it, but first and foremost, sharing and collaboration are fun.
  • To be perfectly honest, I didn’t engage on the SCN for a long time – it was only last summer that I really started. When I looked at it earlier, I was just annoyed by the large number of low-quality posts and the points-hunting. Well, these things are still going on, but I acknowledged that the SCN is probably one of the best platforms to influence the industry and possibly do my wee little bit to improve it.
  • I don’t think it’s good enough to just share some technical knowledge. Some of you might have found me rude and unbearable, when I frankly told someone that I thought he was not ready for the task and should get his employer to provide a senior mentor. Well, I’ll keep writing these things, because I think it’s the right thing to do. So, occasionally I go off on a rant or become philosophical and write a critique of our industry, such as:
    What is the most important quality for a SAP HCM / SuccessFactors consultant? New Year’s musings on integrity and the man in the mirror
    or Full time culture and the non-value-adding middle man
  • Whatever you feel about this, please be aware that I never assume that I’m perfect and meet all those standards, But I think everybody should at least aspire to work to a high standard of quality and integrity.

The End is coming
Congrats! You now made it to the end of this blog and while hearing your sigh of relief, I’m blogging it forward to Joerg Edinger, Owen Mcgivney andAnson Abraham. I want you guys to answer two questions about yourselves:

  1. Why am I a SAP HCM consultant, when there are so many decent professions to choose from?
  2. Which country would I love to live in most, if I didn’t have to care about a job?

This may be bending the rules a little bit, but I’m adding another dear colleague to the list Corinna Schorr

I guess there needs to be some kind of extra homework for coming late, so, on top of the 2 questions above, I’d like you to answer “What is your favourite local dish and how is it made?”

by the way: would you believe me that this is in England? It really is!


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