We usually log on to SCN for consuming content ( via google search) or directly in search of specific content ( if we know to navigate) hence I consider that we gain something out of SCN at least. But how does SAP SCN shapes career ? Is it such a powerful network that it can shape career at all ? So I would like to put forward my story and probably make it as a Blog it Forward where people can share stories on how their career was impacted because of SCN.
Here goes my story. 5+ years back I was looking for a change of direction in my career. I was into product development in SAP Labs in India and was looking to break into consulting. I understood this transition would be challenging to say the least.First of all I needed to work into a team which worked on customer projects and second of all I needed a specific module which would catapult my career. Instead of me making the choices , the choices picked me. I moved to a customer projects in a team and I was staffed to a project for SAP CRM implementation. I was totally new and pretty much clueless about everything thing in CRM. Luckily I had background in tools and frameworks similar to SAP CRM hence the technical architecture was not difficult to understand but then I had no knowledge on solution capabilities, configurations and different modules in CRM.
I realized pretty early that I can’t kill every demon in one shot i.e. I did not have a silver bullet. So I initially decided to concentrate on task in hand and used google.com generously to clear my technical doubts. Frequent searches would take me to SAP Developer Network and I was consuming the information without even being a member.( I laugh at the thought now). I was finding my feet and was gorging all the information that came my way. I would read any and every thing that I could lay my hands on. Most of it was latin and greek but I could pick few key words. Based on the keywords I would google again and then most of the stuff was latin and greek but I could pick few key words. This continued for sometime and I realized that at least I could deliver my deliverables easily. By then I understood the importance of SDN but was still not a member.
Phase 1 : As luck would have it I read about SAP Inside track 2010 and it gave an impetus to my entry to SDN. My Blog on the same would throw light on my thought process then.Once I created a profile, I just got glued to SDN and later SCN. Initially I did contribute for the points. I would scan the forums for questions which I can answer. I was a maniac trying to answer questions. Sometimes to answer question I would take hours drilling down to the lowest possible granularity. Then when some body allocated points , I got a high. As the points kept on coming so my quest for them increased. First came active contributor bronze then came active contributor silver. And this happened within few days. All this while I realized few simple things. One it is very beneficial to go through the CRM Wiki as it has very good introductory material , two there is no substitute for hands on and three when you answer questions in forums most of the time you are tackling real life issues and it definitely helps you get a feel of project without working. On another note it also gives you an indication of what features are being implemented. Few years back, in SAP CRM Marketing forum very advanced concepts were discussed but now one would find questions being posted on advanced modules ( Loyalty Management).
Phase 2: I was pretty comfortable in SAP CRM WebUI and related concepts and wanted to scale beyond. As luck would have it instead me choosing the area , again the area chose. I got to work in SAP CRM front end and an SAP ECC back end project. With little knowledge on SAP ECC, I developed cold feet on the very first day of the project. I immediately ordered a book on SAP SD by Glenn C Williams and kept on reading cover to cover without understanding anything. But again I picked key terms and when they came across in projects , I would do a deep dive. The project was very challenging and we were doing almost everything in the project ( Technical and Functional). So from only technical forums in SAP SCN, I had to look for information in functional forums as well. Project was a chaos escalations every day and late night were so common that I forgot when I ate my dinner at home. This was the time when I was graduating to write some thing(read blogs) which found favor in the forums. Two of the blogs that I wrote then have been read by more than 6000 times ( A small no. but gives me immense satisfaction). Also I got a call from one of the functional lead confirming something as he happened to read my blog in SCN. This was the time when I had fairly detailed idea on SAP CRM WebUI and spread my myself horizontally in SAP CRM Sales and SAP ECC SD. I think my confidence has zoomed with the points and I did not take my foot off the accelerator. I was regular in forums , reading everything and anything in SAP SCN and participating in community events. (read SAP Inside Track).I was regular in forums and getting recognized for it and was understanding the full piece of solution rather than concentrating only a limited piece.I had switched jobs in between and I found most of interview questions/scenarios discussed are from some of questions in a forum 🙂 . ( Did not do any thing different other than things I do in my normal routine for interview preps )
Phase 3: In my current role , I lead a team which supports client’s implementation process which entails all the SAP CRM Modules (Sales , Service , Marketing, WebUI , IC ) and has a complex SAP ECC integration through middleware. I had very limited exposure to Marketing, Service and IC and also I had to play purely a strictly techno-functional role.As people would have noticed , SAP publishes a short video of features released in every EhP cycle. I got hold of videos and went through all the features which I have never used and followed it up with my hands on.Also realized that with internet in hand you could learn anything and everything with just will to learn. This phase also coincided with I purchasing many SAP Press books to compliment my learning. Also I noticed many of the product managers write awesomely good blogs on subjects. Also service.sap.com became my hunting ground for new documents. First 6 months was chaos as usual as I was trying to get hold of things and making sure deliverable for the project are delivered. But then after 6 months I realized that I was comfortable as a techno-functional lead. Also I was getting good reviews on my overall CRM knowledge. Knowledge increases confidence and picking up newer areas is easier.
The journey has slowed down a bit and I don’t contribute as frequently as I used to do. My presence in forums is also limited and blogs are few because of a tumultuous last quarter in 2013. But then I have been around and willing to contribute. I have prepared a bucket list and would be contributing with full force again. This has been my journey and I am sure that many of you would have similar stories.