Michael Appleby’s ‘SAP Success Story’
Michael Appleby speaks about his time with SAP and all of the success and joy that his career has provided him with! Michael’s positivity towards SAP started before joining the company – through working for another company that was contracted by SAP. Since joining, Michael has provided tons of support and has been highly involved in all aspects of the SAP/SCN communities. Michael also shares some personal challenges, how SAP helped him overcome those challenges and what he enjoys doing outside of his work life!
Let’s hang out with Michael to find out his success story:
A Bit About Michael:
I have been with SAP for a little over 7 years, first working with MII (formerly xMII) in manufacturing scenarios and also supporting the recently acquired Visiprise product (renamed to ME or Manufacturing Execution). As my role and organization changed over the years, I moved first to Transportation Management, which was a new product. For a little over 18 months, I had to learn the product well enough to lead workshops for both internal and external customers and support sales initiatives around the world – made my first visits to Singapore, Australia, Ireland, Colombia, Brazil, and Venezuela. After TM, Mobility took over my career, first with Agentry, then the SAP Mobile Platform (SMP), then Fiori, and now Fiori Cloud Edition and Gateway as a Service (GWaaS). In all my roles, I spend a lot of time working with customers directly as well as through the CSS system and in SCN. I really enjoy meeting new people and learning a little bit about their companies.
While not strictly defined in my job description, my management is strongly supportive of the time I spend supporting SCN as a Moderator for 5 communities, a member of the Moderator Council, as a Space Editor for a 6th community, as well as spending a fairly large amount of time interacting with the other Moderators and members of SCN.
I live near the Newtown Square offices of SAP (outside of Philadelphia) where I keep my wife and two kids stashed away. We have a dog and cat, both recent (and originally for me, reluctant) additions to the household. I continue to play soccer albeit in a mature league with other old farts. I have a large vegetable garden where I raise a lot of the vegetables that we freeze and eat year round. We all enjoy the beach and mountains and visit both regularly. All of us swim and enjoy a variety of water related activities (canoeing, tubing, etc.).
1) What successes have you achieved with the help of the SAP Community/SCN? How has the SAP community/SCN benefited you?
I have been a Moderator for virtually the entire time since coming to SAP! First with MII, then added TM, and more recently four Mobility related communities. It has been personally very rewarding to be able to help others solve problems (and intercept what would have been CSS tickets). In many cases, I have found solutions to issues I have encountered in my own work, but in more recent times, my role has been more enabling and facilitating than in providing solutions. As a Moderator, I have had to learn how to communicate simply and effectively with a wide audience including many members who’s English is limited. I have also noticed that my written communication skills have improved tremendously, especially in diplomatically addressing people misusing SCN (mostly unintentionally).
2) During your association with SAP what has been the most positive experience for you?
I have had a number of positive experiences during my time with SAP and even before I became a full-time employee. In the three years prior to joining the company, I had been contracted several times to perform work for SAP with MII customers in various parts of the US. In general, it was quite interesting work in a variety of industries (steel foundry and fabrication, electronics manufacturing, pharmaceuticals, and Oil & Gas).
I have had the opportunity to go south of the equator several times in traveling all over the world leading product workshops which I really enjoy doing. I have learned a number of very new products, which is also fun. However, the most positive experience I had was last year when I underwent two surgeries, chemo, and radiation treatment for cancer in my tonsils and lymph nodes. The support was tremendous as was the kindness shown by all my coworkers and managers. Without a doubt, it was the most impressive part of my time at SAP. Not sure what could possibly top it.
3) Is there a time you felt as though you’ve failed at something that affects SAP? How did you overcome this/what did you learn?
I have had failures in my career prior to coming to SAP, but I don’t think I have had a failure since coming here. Partly, this is due to my role-playing to the strengths I have. The rest is probably just good luck.
4) What have been your contributing strengths to the SAP/SCN community?
I think I do a good job as a Moderator both directly in my interactions with members and indirectly with the SCN teammates (Moderators, Space Editors, and the SCN Admin folks). I think I have done a very good job selecting, recruiting, and training both other Moderators and Space Editors. This probably more than anything else I do for and with SCN, I take pride in.
5) How about your biggest weaknesses? Any skills-gap that you’d want to improve?
I would like to improve my technical knowledge in the communities in which I am either a Moderator or Space Editor. While I think I am good at executing the duties of a moderator, I think I could and should do a better job keeping up with the technologies of the communities.
I would also like to learn to speak, read, and write Spanish. I have been to South America a number of times in the last few years. I thoroughly enjoyed the people I met and the places I visited. Speaking Spanish would make me more likely to travel there for business in the future.
6) What are your current/future goals in terms of being a part of SAP community? Please be specific.
I would like to continue my work with SCN, perhaps at some point joining the SCN Admin team. Since I am pretty long in the tooth with respect to my career, I do not have overriding ambitions to run the company or move into management. Mainly, I enjoy working with customers without having to bill them for my time, so what I am doing currently fits right into what I enjoy. I also enjoy learning new products and teaching others to best make use of those products’ features and capabilities.
7) If you could work on any project(s) that would benefit yourself and SAP, what would it be and why?
I would enjoy working with manufacturers again, especially in the natural resources end like Oil & Gas, Mining, and raw production of the materials. My time with various SAP products introduced me to a lot of the tools used in those areas. MII worked the production floor, gathering data from various equipment types, delivering it to ERP and other systems for processing. Transportation Management was a key part of any manufacturing operation and a key method for controlling the movement of raw materials and finished goods. Mobile technologies have always been around the factory and warehouse operations. Doing something with all these technologies together would be a lot of fun.
8) If you were the CEO of SAP for a year what changes would you make?
I am not too sure I would make very many changes. While I have run large projects in the past, being CEO is not just a matter of scale. The company runs pretty well already. I would emphasize simplifying business with fewer wikis and link farms created because “that’s what we always do”. We still spend too much time on reports and webpages that get little traffic, but cost a fair bit of time to maintain.
I would like to see more coordination between product development teams where there is overlap in use. An example is HCI ODP (GWaaS) and Fiori Cloud Edition (FCE). Despite a lot of customer feedback that these two should have been joined at the hip, there was no coordination. Similarly for HCPms (HANA Cloud Platform mobile services) and FCE. MII has been doing IoT for over 15 years (10 years as an SAP product). However and despite our new focus on IoT, MII and its long experience with and specific tools for IoT, very little is said about that. I have seen several other instances of this in my time at SAP.
I would highly recommend visiting All Things SAP Fiori for an example of what is great about SCN. Over 400k views in less than three years.
Been a lot of fun writing this. Hope it benefits someone who reads it!
Mike (Moderator, Space Editor, and past master of Irish Diplomacy) SAP Technology RIG
Do you have an SAP Success Story to share? Please contact me on SCN to set up a short interview or fill out this template: SAP Success Story. The idea is to gain insights into what helped execute your successes in the SAP ecosystem, as well as showcase the impact you have made within the community and the impact the community has made to you! You can also tag a nominee and encourage them to blog their SAP Success Story as well as tag myself so the data can be collected.
Student SAP Mentor 2015
Mentor: Arif Johari