I’m honred to introduce our new Moderator Spotlight, Mohamed Amer. Moderator Spotlight is our way to thank and high-light significant moderators. Mohamed moderates the SCN SAP Retail space and has a lot of experience in this topic. Read the interview below for insights and to learn more about him.
Please share with the Community a little about yourself:
I live in Los Angeles. LA can be the center of my world or the furthest point from anywhere. Like many consultants say, “it depends.” In my case I work from my home office just outside of LA in one of the many valleys formed in this rugged southern California landscape above the LA basin. That makes it the center of my world, with all the needed resources at my fingertips and a network of SAP colleagues and retail industry experts that I can tap into at a moment’s notice.
It can also feel like the end of the world when travel is called for to say Walldorf or St Ingbert, Germany. For those in retail, you’ll know that St ingbert (Saarbrucken region) is where SAP Retail came to be with the acquisition of Dacos Software GmbH in 1994. In addition to Solution Management, quite a few Product Development and Services colleagues focused on Retail have a home in St Ingbert. As you might tell by now, retail is my home at SAP since day 1 and in a couple of months will mark my 11th year with the company.
While I have been in Retail, Consumer Products, Wholesale, Logistics arenas as well as co-founding a startup since business school, my previous life was all about the military. Specifically, as a Lieutenant Commander in the U.S. Navy I operated in a couple of different capacities: as airborne mission commander and naval flight officer, and as a naval intelligence officer supporting the Director of Naval Intelligence at the Pentagon. My formative years were in a very cold Minneapolis after immigrating from Egypt with my family as a young boy. So, the path to SAP took many twists and turns with very interesting stops, some amazing experiences, and unmatched ‘sea stories’ – which will have to remain just that. But constant in all that is the importance of the relationships you make and maintain over the years. No matter how fast technology moves, there’s no substitute for human relationships; after all we are the social species.
When did you join the SCN community?
I joined SCN in February 2005 when Retail was identified as an early adopter and we saw that SCN can be a powerful way to build a community of like-minded retail colleagues from around the world. My SAP work had prepared me well for my role in managing and moderating the Retail communities (internal and external) inclusive of the space on SCN. I had been the global solution manager for the grocery segment; solution manager responsible for supply chain solutions sold to retailers; led a field services team in the Americas in support of our customers; organized and managed multiple customer councils as well as ASUG. Today, I am also the head of internal communications for the global SAP Retail business and member of the global core leadership team.
If you could offer one bit of advice to new members or new moderators what would it be and why?
For anyone new to moderation, my advice would be to do a lot of listening to get a feel for your community – the topics, the personalities, the ‘mood’ if you will. To take your early actions with tact yet firmness and not to forget that you are part of the community and not above it. Similarly, to new members, do take your time to read and ‘listen’ and begin to choose where you can join the conversation and contribute to our collective knowledge. Don’t hesitate to add your voice to the rest, that’s how we all get better at what we do. I’ve found the SCN community an extremely rich mosaic of expertise – both technical and business – with amazingly unselfish contributors. I’ve had a few interactions with the SAP Mentors and have had the honor of working with and learning from Paula Rosenblum in her Retail analyst day job at RSR Research and as an SAP Mentor. Marilyn Pratt has been an incredible friend and advisor for many years now and Audrey Stevenson has been very helpful in navigating SCN. I can’t imagine another community like SCN anywhere!
If you were 20 again, what would you study?
If I were 20 again, I’d want to study architecture. In my mind, to do so requires not just the detailed knowledge of what it takes to bring material together to create a physical structure but it melds aesthetics, utility, beauty, and function, all in harmony with the environment while making a lasting impression on future generations. Architecture is a summation of where we are as a society, our dreams, our fears, and our hopes. From the Egyptian Pyramids, to the Greek Parthenon, the gothic cathedrals, the Taj-Mahal, the Sydney Opera House, or Disney Hall in Los Angeles. These are phenomenal structures that speak to people and allow the mind to break through limitations and imagine what might just be possible.
What is the best lesson your parents taught you?
Without a doubt, my parents have had the most influence on my personal and professional life. They left a very comfortable life in Egypt, packed up and with two kids in tow they immigrated to the US. My parents revealed a resiliency, perseverance, and strength that have left their mark on me. They sacrificed so we can have a better life, even if that meant moving to a culture that was very different from their own. They kept their goals simple and worked hard to make them real. They valued education, having a point of view, sound arguments, honesty, and responsibility, being humble and familial bonds. They encouraged trying new experiences and pursuing your passions. I owe them everything good that I am today and what is less than desirable is certainly all my own doing.
Moshe: I would like to thank Mohamed for his interesting insights and interview. Please feel free to ask him more questions in the comments section below.