Team/Title: Lead for Mobility/UX
Based out of: Newtown Square, PA
What is you background with regards to your career at SAP?
I started working at SAP in August of 2004. SAP was my first job after I graduated, and I’ve been here ever since. I joined in the Shanghai office as a part of the portal task force and subsequently was sent to Germany for a working rotation. I spent 1 and half years in Germany and 1 and half years in Shanghai. I came to the US in 2007 to get a different perspective on life and work. I have worked with a number of products including Enterprise Portal, Netweaver Application server, and Mobility.
You are currently the lead for Mobility/UX. Can you tell me a little bit about what you and your colleagues do?
We manage critical customer escalations. We provide premium support services to our customers. For Mobility, we have something new where we deliver a lot of rapid prototyping services because we need to help our customers adopt their solution better since Mobility is so new to all of our clients. Sometimes they need a jump start to have SAP come in and do a prototype for them. This helps them understand the product better and to support them as they bring the project into production.
What are some achievements from 2013 that you are most proud of?
One of my greatest achievements for 2013 would be successfully implementing and running the mobile deployment room. I worked on this project from the very beginning, setting up the structure and also assigning different tasks to the team and working globally with Germany and APJ. We have a lot of APJ and Irish colleagues come here on rotation, and we maintain approximately 10-15 colleagues every week in the deployment room. What we do in the mobile deployment room is support customers and make sure their projects are successful. These deployment rooms were implemented in the beginning of 2013. At the beginning of the process it was very chaotic but now I think it is getting into shape and everything is running smoothly. Another achievement for me was moving into the HANA world in November of 2013. I was put into the HANA IT planning team where we delivered HANA migration workshops for some of our biggest customers. I joined and co-led workshops to three such customers. This really made me step out of my comfort zone in terms of product knowledge because I previously wasn’t close to the migration of HANA.
What has been the biggest challenge as a team lead in CoE?
My biggest challenge is to manage the team, to be very clear that they know what they need to do, and make sure they have a career development plan. As a team lead, I have to consider what is best for my team members in terms of being able to develop themselves. Within SAP, everyone is responsible for their own development plan, but as a team lead you have to influence them and help them achieve their goal. I have a very strong team is terms of technical skill, but when it comes to development plans and future opportunities you really have to sit together with them several times a year and have constant feedback to pinpoint what they want for the trajectory of their career. It’s a new challenge for me, and in the past my manager helped me to deliver some of my own development plan, and now I have to take on that role and help my team members in that same way.
What is your favorite part of working in CoE?
My favorite part, and one of the reasons I’ve been here for 10 years, is that I constantly meet new clients and new people from different countries and this has really brought new things to my work as well as to my life. I’ve been to almost every European country within 3 years and I’ve been to almost every state in the U.S. Every project is different and brings new challenges; you never get bored! If you are bored with the work you are doing in terms of technology or product, you can easily switch to another product and start from scratch. For example, two years ago I had no experience with Mobility and now I am a mobile expert. Working in CoE is very dynamic and has a very rich culture in terms of communicating and working with clients from all over the world.
What aspect of your work do you consider to be the most rewarding?
Whenever I help the customer to resolve a critical situation, initially the customer is really against you because they feel that SAP did not deliver what they wanted and as a result are losing money. Eventually they realize you are there to help them and that only you can help them. To turn a situation from being potentially hostile to a good working environment where you are a trusted advisor for the client is the most rewarding part.
What do you think is takes for someone to be able to work in CoE?
As a CoE support engineer, you have to have the passion for technology. If you do not have the passion, you cannot dig further into this very complicated intersystem related issue. The second thing is you have to have very strong nerves to survive in certain situations. In every escalation that I’ve been through in the past 10 years, there is a point where you think you have solved the issue and several more issues arise. At that time you are really frustrated and you feel hopeless. You can’t give up because your position as the lead in this engagement means you must resolve the issue and make sure it is under control. As a human, your natural reaction is to want to quit and give up but I think I have the tenacity to fight against this low point. You have to sustain the pressure and fight back and win the game.
What changes would you like to see in your team in the upcoming year?
Since everything is now about HANA and Cloud, we will have to learn it. Mobility will be the facing product for every component. Every interface for every application has to be mobile ready. Our team needs to be able to take different challenges in different directions, not only for mobile specific applications but for every application. It is all integrated into the HANA platform. My vision for my team is to focus on Fiori, the newest mobile application and everyone has to know how to integrate with HANA. The key tone for 2014 is that everyone needs to be HANA and cloud ready. I’ve already started the training plan for my team, so I hope everybody can become a Fiori expert by mid-year and a HANA expert or HANA enabled consultant by the end of the year.