With Sapphire just around the corner I think it’s important to remember that the show is not just about SAP’s solutions.

It also provides opportunities to build better relationships with colleagues, customer and partners.

Bringing people closer together helps not only in making businesses run better it also helps make the world a better place.

I’m looking forward to starting new and strengthening existing relationships with colleagues, customers and partners at Sapphire.

I’ll be working in the EIM area so stop by and say hi if you get a chance.

If you want to know what’s happening with EIM at Sapphire see my blog.

Here is the story of how SAP helped bring my father and I closer together.

I’d love to hear your stories about how being a part of the SAP ecosystem has helped you build closer, more satisfying relationships.

One day my father asked me, “So son, what does sap do?

I said, “Well dad it’s pronounced S.A.P., it’s an acronym that stands for Systems,Applications, and Products in Data processing.”

Then I started into my we help businesses run better spiel. My dad smiled politely as I went through fast facts, and even showed some interest when I talked about the number of brewers that used SAP. However, it was clear he wasn’t making a real connection with what I was saying. And why should he, after all he was in construction his entire life.

So I said, “Dad you worked on some of the most iconic buildings in San Francisco; the Transamerica Pyramid, the Moscone Center, the Museum of Modern Art, the Crocker Galleria. While each one was built for a different purpose and has different architectural styles, they all have common systems that make them function properly. They all have plumbing, electrical, air condition, heating, duct, and sprinkler systems, and all those systems have to work individually and communicate with each other. For example, a thermostat senses the temperature has risen above the pre-set threshold, it has to send a message to the air conditioner, the AC compressor kicks on and starts pulling more current from the electrical system and the duct systems have to open and close the right vents to get the cold air to the right place.”

My dad said, “So you were listening all those years.” I just smiled and nodded my head.

“SAP builds systems that help businesses function properly. For example there are systems to take orders, which communicate to the manufacturing systems to build products, and once the products are ready a message is sent to the shipping systems. And if these systems don’t work properly or there are problems with the communication between them the right products don’t get to the right place at the right time”, I said.

My dad said, “Like my dishwasher being delivered a week late!” He had recently ordered a dishwasher and there was a problem with the shipping address.

“Yes dad, exactly like that”, I said.

“That makes sense”, he said.

I was feeling pretty good about myself. I was able to explain enterprise software in a way my dad could understand and connect with. And then he asked, “So what do you do son?”

I started to panic. How was I going to explain data modeling, data profiling, ETL, MDM, and ILM? Then I got an idea.

I said, “Dad think about the plumbing system in a building. It brings in water from different sources, filters and cleanses it to make it fit for use and then it distributes the water to the other systems that need it, like the fire sprinklers, bathrooms, water fountains, etc. Well the area I am involved in is called information management and it’s a lot like plumbing. We collect data from different sources, cleanse it and make it fit for use, and then distribute the data to the different systems that need.”

“Well that’s sounds simple. I always thought what you did was complicated”, my dad said with a smirk and wink of his eye.

I said, “And information management is like plumbing in one more very important way. You always told me that no one ever thinks about plumbing until it stops working and the waste starts to back up. Then people are willing to pay anything to fix it. Well information management is exactly the same way!”

He laughed really hard at that. That fact that I quoted one of his most used sayings made him happy. Then he got quiet, put his arm around my shoulder, looked me in the eye and said, “Well son, I guess you did follow in your old man’s footsteps after all.”

In that moment I realized that my story had created a deeper connection between us.  So SAP not only helps businesses run better it also helped to bring a father and son closer together.

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