Well, SCN, here it is…my last Member of the Month entry for this platform. Seems like I just started doing this a month ago.
Oh. I did.
For October 2016, I’m happy to announce that Benedict Venmani Felix is our Member of the Month. Benedict has a unique distinction. He’s the last Member of the Month honored on SCN, and he’ll be the first honored in the new community (when we make the transition to the new platform next week).
First off, Benedict, congratulations for becoming Member of the Month for October! Can you give us a little bit of professional background — where do you work, what are your responsibilities, and what is your title?
Hello, Jerry, and fellow SCN mates. Thank you for this honor. I am a BW/HANA consultant and work for Cognizant Technology Solutions as part of the Enterprise Analytics practice. My job title is Principal Consultant — I like my title — but my day-to-day responsibilities and tasks are more design and development. My current engagement is a HANA/Hadoop integration project and my team is responsible for all the development done on the HANA system.
How long have you done this type of work?
I completed my Master in Computer Applications in 2007 and joined as a trainee/intern at a technology firm and was put up with their SAP BW team and that’s the start of an amazing journey. I did my HANA certification in 2013 and got involved in HANA implementation projects.
Why did you decide to pursue a career in this field?
After a Master in Computer Applications I think the choices before you narrow down to one field. But please don’t get an impression that this was a forced decision. It is not. I love this field of work and enjoy every day of my work.
Funny story. I did not choose SAP. SAP chose me. We were a group of student interns sitting in a room on our first day and the admin assistant came in with a clipboard and read a list of names and asked us to report at another room. There we were told we would be trained in ABAP before we started our internship. I feel lucky and thankful whenever I see a question from someone asking if they should start a career in SAP.
OK, let’s take a break from the serious questions for a minute. Tell me a little bit about what you do when you’re not working. Where do you live (city…not address!), what do you do for enjoyment, and so on? Do you have any fun facts you’d care to share?
I grew up in a beautiful seaside town called Pondicherry, India — remember the place they show at the start of the movie “The Life of Pi”? — and moved to different cities during my school years. I came to the U.S. in 2012 and currently live in L.A.. I fell in love with my now wife Viji when we were in college and we’ve been happily married for 8 years now. I have two kids, a son who is 6 years old and a daughter who is 1.
I really enjoy long drives if they are family trips. Camping and standup paddling are things I would like to try out more often, but have to wait for my daughter to grow up a little. I love to try out new foods and can never say no to cake and ice cream. I am a big Mario and LEGO Technic fan.
Benedict enjoys camping and plans to
do more when his daughter is older.
Benedict with his wife, Viji, and his 6-year-old son
and 1-year-old daughter…possibly craving ice cream.
I see that you’ve been a community member for roughly 10 years. How did you discover the community and why did you decide to join?
I joined SDN around 2007. Luckily for me I had some amazing people who mentored me during my initial days and introduced us trainees to SDN. All the simple rules in our ROE like research first — search next and then ask — were ingrained in me by these mentors back then. I had a new ID for SCN in 2012 and got a little more involved when I realized that knowledge and ideas thrive when shared.
Are there any particular areas you like frequenting within the community?
I follow a number of spaces — tags…I should remember to say tags starting the 10th — but SAP BW and HANA are my special interests.
As I scanned your content and reputation, I got the impression that you seem to contribute in all aspects of the community — meaning you answer questions, post blogs, ask questions, and participate in polls. Do you prefer any of those things over the other? For example, do you like writing blog posts more than answering questions? If you do indeed have a preference, is there a reason?
I like the blogs section and I like my contributions, whenever I can, to be blogs too. I like blogs because I see how someone has tackled a problem or a solution differently and also the presentation style is flexible. I do not answer a lot of discussions because someone already beats me to it and I hate to add, “Please do as so-and-so suggested.” Also, most times when I read a question I feel the OP could have found the answer if he had discussed it with his team first before coming to the community.
Yeah, I do my fair share of moderation, so I know what you mean. But moving on… I hope this isn’t a loaded question — and please do answer honestly. Has participating in the community helped your career and/or extended you professional network? If so, how?
The answer would be all variations of the word “definitely.” When you look at SCN as a collective knowledge base like Wikipedia, the benefits you reap are immense. I also made a few acquaintances being part of the community.
What do you value most about the community?
I think Eng Swee Yeoh’s comments on Points No More summarizes it beautifully. When people who do not know each other come together to help each other in a professional environment, there lies the value and worth of a community like SCN.
Any words of advice for other community members? How can they also get value from the community? How can they contribute?
For the newcomers, I would say please read the rules of engagement again. Contributions do not always mean a blog or a document. A nice comment on how a post helped you overcome your problem can also be a nice starting point. Don’t leave a page you read without at least one click. Don’t feel shy to use the rate or like buttons.
Great talking to you, Benedict. Congratulations on being the last Member of the Month for SCN…and the first for the new community!
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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.
And if you know someone in the community who has inspired you, you can nominate people for Member of the Month by sending a message to Jerry Janda.