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Simone Milesi – SCN Member of the Month August 2016

Simone Milesi is an ABAP expert and the go-to guy for all things SAP at Serioplast SpA. I am pleased to recognize Simone as the SCN Member of the month for August, 2016! Based in Italy, he is the in-house SAP technical referent and developer, where he is presently using SAPUI5, ABAP and Javascript to help re-build the company Intranet. He has a great sense of humor, and engages on the community to share knowledge, help keep an eye on quality, and weigh in on topics important to all community members. In his own words:

I believe in Open Source and CopyLeft so if I take something from the community, I feel it’s my duty and pleasure help the community too.


Since I accepted the new job last February, I shifted my skills and attention to UI5 and web development: we are rebuilding from scratch our intranet and SAP has a big role in the scenario. It’s completely new to me and surely challenging, but this is the kind of work I love to do: try out new things, mixing technologies and playing with them. Right now I’m mixing Python within Django framework with SAPUI5, the good old ABAP and some Javascript.

When I’m at home, I’m committed to my family: with a wife and two kids of 8 and 5, there aren’t enough hours in a day! But I cut some time to read books: give me a well written SciFi or Fantasy book and I’ll stay in the corner without bothering you for a whole day!

The real fun fact is that I became an ABAP developer for pure luck: I lost my job in 2004 and I sent my resume to my previous company for another position. During the interview they told me the position was close but if I wanted to give a shot, they would pay the mythical BC400 course for me and… now here I am. And even more funny is that my first meeting with SAP was during a high school stage in a company using an 3.something release… let’s just say it wasn’t love at first site.

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Simone with wife, Laura, at Lake Como

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   Simone with dog, Poldo

When did you become a member of SCN and which areas are you most active in?
I relied, and still rely!, on SCN to find out solutions to new issues I never faced: I’m “lazy” and I find it really useless to “reinvent the wheel” each time, so SDN previous and now SCN is the perfect place to “steal” some good ideas.

After I became more confident about my skills, I started to try helping other members and tried to follow interesting projects like FALV or ABAP2XLSX. Since 2008, the year I created my account, I’m active in the ABAP space: it feels like home to me! Lately I started to follow and use SAPUI5 space too but I’m not so expert yet to share any valuable help in that field!

I see you recently started blogging about your journey to UI5, in addition to your steady answers to ABAP questions? What motivates you to contribute so actively?
About my blog, as I stated, I’m lazy.  And a bit chaotic when it comes to notes or documentation. So having a place to store my notes that hardly I could loose, it’s the perfect solution for me! Why I named again laziness? Because during my journey, I found all the answers someone getting the ropes with UI5 needs, but they are scattered in tons of places! And not all of them are easy to find! After putting a lot of time in myself a couple of months ago, I thought how valuable it would have been to have a guide with all the main points, and how many days I could have employed in something different!

So, I somehow helped myself (because I know I’ll forget something important in next weeks!) and, well, it’s also funny! Even more, I laughed a lot when in some comments a user pointed out how fun my writing style was to him. It’s a nice thing to read…and pumped my ego too: I like to face problems with a smile and a good laugh.

As last point, I believe in Open Source and CopyLeft, so if I take something from the community, I feel it’s my duty and pleasure help the community too.

Speaking of UI5, I loved your Lego analogy. Tell us more about your journey from ABAP to UI5. What are the most important things SAP needs to do to keep customers enthusiastic, and what do you think some of the biggest challenges are?
The most important thing to keep customers enthusiastic? Choose a way and a vision for more than 2 years. Seriously. Sometimes it happens that the customers (at least the technical ones like me) waste their time in learning something new SAP proposes like the deus ex machina for all the problems… until the next innovative solution after just some months.

Look at SAP products: could you deny that some of them are orphan children almost forgotten? Please, understand me! I like to learn new things, but I would also like to learn profitable ones! UI5 seems a nice try for the web/app road, something objectively SAP is a bit behind on. My boss doesn’t like SAP too much because it’s complicated but the FIORI design approach and the fact I can hide SAP in some other boxes with UI5 is changing (at least a bit) his mind.

So if SAP is able to keep this road without creating a crazy moloch the users will go mad with, I believe UI5 could be a really wild card, pretty successful. Another thing I loved so much was the ABAP Development Tools in Eclipse: great move! The developers thank SAP team each day for that!

The biggest challenges will be a bold move to force/invite the customers to move towards newest releases. There are many customers which work, like me, on the oldest releases (in ABAP space I read questions about 4.6!) because “the program works, why have I to change?”. I do not like Windows10, I restored my Win7, but Microsoft’s move is right: move everyone on the next level so you can cut the dead branches and focus on new technologies and tools.

Interested in my journey to UI5? Read my blog! Jokes apart, it’s really, really, really hard to change the way a developer has to think about his code. Plus some concepts are extremely new for someone coming from ABAP! Again, nothing too hard to learn, but even with the OpenSap courses and the monster documentation available, sometimes I still want to cry. And, to point out my previous suggestion about the new challenges, many times the problems I’m facing are due to the old release I work on.

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Simone visiting Parma

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   Simone at car exhibition

I’ve seen you participating in the avid discussions around content quality on SCN and onboarding new members. What’s your advice to newer members? Top mistakes to avoid?
I’m not too diplomatic, I know, but lately there is a revamp of people that clearly do not know what they are asking. I’m talking about ABAP space where I feel more comfortable, to be clear. I cannot believe there are so many new members who cannot find the same information I can in 10 minutes of google. So the questions being asked is: are people really lazy or do people know so little what they are asking about? And this is shocking for me! My first referent when I was a consultant always demanded from me that I try out things over and over before asking.

The solution? I do not know. My suggestion for the new members is: post specific question on specific issues, clearly explaining what you did to try overcome the problem and with which result you obtained. If you already looked for a thread, link what you have found. And for the members who answer: read the question and avoid to spam links or random solutions! A silly question (and answer) is dangerous to SCN’s overall quality!

Do you feel l like your experiences on the SCN community have helped advance your career and/or professional network? If so, how?
Indeed during an interview the man behind the desk asked me if I was an active member on SCN. And I did not obtain the job so… no, SCN did not help me in my career! But I got the chance to virtually meet and get in touch with many real experts like Jelena Perfiljeva,  Matt FraserChristopher Solomon, Colleen Hebbert,Veselina Peykova, and Lukasz Peiegel, just to name the last ones I interacted with (and yes, I forgot a bunch of others: I hope they forgive me!).

Their knowledge is… well, huge! And I could only steal it from them, just reading their answers or blog or status update. Have I already said I love to learn new things?

I notice you’ve been following the plans around the upcoming changes to the community (#1DXCOMMDEST – http://scn.sap.com/docs/DOC-63650)? What are your hopes and dreams associated with the upcoming redesign? Have you participated in the open beta (http://scn.sap.com/community/about/blog/2016/05/17/open-beta-starts-now)? What do you think so far?
I tried to participate in the open beta but I found… confusing! Even if I am the personification of chaos, I miss the structure the actual SCN has. The tag, hashtag, crosslink stuff, so millennial-style, is something I cannot handle. I confess I give up pretty quickly so it would not be honest criticize it too much: I’ll express a more objective opinion when I’ll be forced to migrate to it.

Is there an SCN member you admire (OK… you can name a few)? And for what reason?
I already named few before, but I cannot avoid to name Horst Keller also or Matthew Billingham. All of them are real monsters! How people can match their experience and knowledge? Plus they are able to express and show their idea so well! I envy them! Where my writing is funny, theirs is just perfect!

Are you on Twitter?
Yes, but only from a couple of months: I signed up for it to get in touch with Lukasz when we talked about his FALV. @SMilesi81

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Every month, a member of the SAP Community Network is recognized for exemplary behavior: sharing knowledge with peers, being helpful and taking on additional tasks to support community engagement. See the list of previous members recognized on the SCN Member of The Month Hall of Fame.Tell us a bit about yourself, where you live, what kind of work you do, and other things you would like to share with the community (hobbies, fun facts)?

Apart from the title, which means all and nothing, I’m involved in everything about SAP in my company, from the simple report to a whole new module to implement from a technical side, coordinating with our functional consultants.

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