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Meet the new CoE NA Leads!

Last Friday an organizational announcement was made, introducing the new leads in CoE. I would like to introduce three of the new leads, including Anja Kerber, the new head of “CoE Technology and Performance”, Ravi Iyer, team lead of “Business Warehouse”, and Tsvetomir Tsvetanov, team lead of “Technical Back Office.” Congratulations to all of our new leads, and to a successful 2014!

Anja Kerber, Head of “CoE Technology and Performance”

How long have you worked at AGS? What was your previous role?

I joined the Technical Core Competence Center at SAP AG in Walldorf Germany in 1996. This team was merged into the Active Global Support in 2002. In 2007 I joined/wp-content/uploads/2014/01/anja_kerber_365601.jpg the Active Global Support Americas in Newtown Square. I worked as a Support Architect in the database team as part of the Technology CoE, focusing on performance monitoring, tuning, root cause analysis, sizing especially for SQL Server, Oracle and Sybase ASE customers. In 2012 I became lead of the Business Warehouse team and the MCC HANA Deployment Room.

You are currently the lead for CoE Technology and Performance. Can you tell me a little bit about what you and your colleagues do?

As lead of the “CoE Technology and Performance” I have the responsibility over the HANA technology, the HANA modeling/performance, and the database teams. The teams provide support within their areas mainly for premium engagement customer proactively through our service offerings and reactively as part of our root cause analysis back office or as part of mission critical support escalations. I drive the execution of the CoE strategy in my teams and ensure skill and people development, provide product feedback and ensure high quality support.

What are some achievements from 2013 that you are most proud of?

In 2013, one of the things I was most proud of was the successful setup and operation of the MCC HANA Deployment Room, NA. In addition to that, I’m also very proud of all the positive customer feedback that the BW team members and the HANA Deployment Room have received.

What is your favorite part of working in AGS?

One thing I enjoy about my role in AGS is working as part of a diverse and highly skilled team that enables customers to successfully operate and implement SAP products. The ability to work with new technologies is also something I enjoy as a part of AGS.

What changes would you like to see in CoE Technology and Performance in the upcoming year?

I would like to see “CoE Technology and Performance” adapt to the customer needs and constantly improve our methodology, model, skill sets and products. There will be numerous changes and improvements in all aspects of our work. We will stay flexible, open minded and motivated.

Ravi Iyer, Team Lead of “Business Warehouse” (BW)

How long have you worked at AGS? What was your previous role?

I have been a member of the BW team since I joined SAP AGS in 2005.

You are currently the lead for Business Warehouse. Can you tell me a little bit about what you and your colleagues do?

Ravi_iyer.jpgI have recently been appointed as the lead for the Business Warehouse team. Let me give a little background of this highly visible BW team. The analysis and interpretation of business data is critical to a company to maintain its competitive edge and react quickly to changes in market. The Business Warehouse solution captures, stores, and consolidates vital information from various SAP and non-SAP sources and provides a single version of truth for reporting and critical decision making. The BW team supports our customers in various ways – safeguarding the implementation project to ensure smooth Go-Live, optimizing key business processes to ensure data from different sources are staged and transformed optimally and in a timely manner for critical reports to be available on time, act as trusted advisor for customers intending to migrate their complex landscape to HANA platform etc.

What are some achievements from 2013 that you are most proud of?

One of the key achievements in 2013 was the POC for BW on HANA migration that I delivered at one of our customers. This was an AGS driven POC under Max Attention where we migrated a 10 TB BW Oracle database to HANA after Unicode conversion. With HANA, we were able to show significant performance improvements of 50 – 75% in data loads within BW, almost 98% in Data Store Objects (DSO) activation, and around 50 – 80% improvement in query response times. The customer was very pleased with the results and will be migrating their production BW system sometime in July/August 2014. This was a key project where AGS was fully engaged and involved right from the get-go.

What would you like to see for the future of your team?

I’ve been a part of the BW team for 9 years now and I just took over the team. One of the goals I have is to better align ourselves with the customer’s expectations. Now with the new technologies and HANA being the main platform, we have to have a better idea of how to help customers move to this platform smoothly and without any major concerns or roadblocks. We have a few people who are doing that already but we need to have more, especially when considering the number of customers that are coming in the pipeline. One of the challenges that I have this year is to make sure we have enough skilled people that can provide these kinds of services. Along with that, we need to ramp up the number of people able to do root cause analysis for the new technologies coming in. That way, when we need to solve these types of issues, we have a pool of people we can go to instead of one or two experts.

What is your favorite part of working in AGS?

One thing I enjoy is of course the daily challenges, but also the group of people I work with here. In the BW team it is very open. We sit together and are able to bounce ideas off of one another. The key thing about working in AGS is I can also go to a different team and they are more than happy to share their ideas or help with a customer issue.  I can just go and talk to them without having to go through a formal process. There are no barriers preventing me from collaborating with other teams and getting the help I need to solve customer issues.  The open work environment has been a very enjoyable part of working in AGS.

Tsvetomir Tsvetanov, Team Lead of “Technical Back Office”

How long have you worked at AGS? What was your previous role?

I’ve been with the AGS since September 2013, so this is the fourth months now. I previously worked in AGS from 2008-2011 for three years so I am not new in this/wp-content/uploads/2014/01/tsvetomir_365611.jpg area. Essentially, I have experience in the service delivery area, RCA, de-escalations, and all other activities around the AGS. My previous role was Development Manager in IMS. I was responsible for the SAP Process Integration product. My team of 25 developers was, and still is, doing product maintenance and SP production as well as new development in PI product.

You are currently the lead for Production Downs. Can you tell me a little bit about what you and your colleagues do?

AGS team 1 (production downs & mission critical support) is the essential part of the PSLE, Max Attention, and Active Embedded solution support. Whenever a MaxAttn customer experiences Production down/GoLive endangered issues and opens an OSS message with SAP, the Backoffice gets a customer case immediately. The same process may follow over a call to the ‘BO Red Phone’ – the SAP hotline for Production Down emergencies. Either way, the BO starts up the process of de-escalating the case. The MCC lead assigns a de-escalation architect whose role is to find the best possible solution in order to bring the customer back in business – that can either be a temporary workaround or, even better, a permanent solution of the issue. This process goes through several steps – root cause analysis, action plan (AP) that is negotiated with the customer, AP plan execution, – and through instant communication with the customer and with the SAP product support (PS, IMS/Dev). The job can be quite stressful and very demanding. The DEA should have a deep and wide technical background, great team work and communication skills. What is important at the end of the day is to save the customers’ business and minimize the financial impact.

What would you like to see for the future of your team?

The BO now streamlines the critical cases – Production Downs, performance, GoingLive – serving as the first level or emergency for the SAP customers. The BO experience could be helpful to innovate and develop a systematic approach for solving critical situations on virtually the entire SAP portfolio. I see this organization as the core structure of the solution management process and solution management technology development. Meaning, the BO could play an important role of the unified supportability platform for the SAP solutions that is valuable for both SAP customers and SAP support teams.

What motivates you to be successful?

I would say I am a person with mostly intrinsic motivation. My personal experience tells me that when I like the job, I do it regardless of other factors and the environment. I like the problem solving and that is why I have been with the support and maintenance role ten years now at SAP. I could’ve worked with cutting edge development technologies but I like to be challenged and that kept me with the support. It is good when you solve a complex issue that has been going for a while and you found the way to the solution. It is like solving a math problem or a riddle – at the end you stand up from your chair, make a couple of rounds and with a smile on your face you say to yourself: “Yes, I nailed it!”

What aspect of your work do you consider to be the most rewarding?

The most rewarding is the recognition and the feedback from the customers and the colleagues. One may choose to become a developer because he/she will create useful things for people. They may or may not see whether and how those things actually change people’s life and help them in a way. But when someone chooses to help people in critical situations, he/she will get the feedback very directly and spontaneously. This is something that we experience in the solution support organization.

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