Once a year, we award Member of the Month to an SAP employee. And I can think of no better recipient to kick off 2018 than Jeremy Good.
It’s not because I consider Jeremy a friend. It’s not because I’m lazy and I can walk down two flights of stairs to interview him. It’s because…well, we’ll get to that.
The Member of the Month series recognizes the unsung heroes of SAP Community — the members who dedicate hours of each day answering questions, sharing knowledge through blogs, and quietly amassing followers who appreciate their contributions. Jeremy’s case is slightly different. To the community faithful, he’s fairly well known. He’s a moderator and contributor, and while his numbers may not match some other Member of the Month honorees, he remains unsung for reasons most of you couldn’t know about: his contributions to SAP Community behind the scenes at the company.
I wouldn’t have to look far to find SAP employees who have criticized the new SAP Community platform. Considering that they rely on the community to do their jobs (answering questions, getting feedback from customers, sharing tips and best practices), I understand their frustration.
Jeremy fits into that category — an SAP employee/member who has complained about the new experience — but one of the things that sets him apart is his approach. He’ll spend hours talking to you about where the community comes up short, but never in a way that feels confrontational or condescending. As the new guy when the relaunch happened (I’ve been with the team 18 months, and the new experience went live 14 months ago), he patiently walked me through a variety of issues and gave me a deeper understanding of problems. And I’m not the only one who has benefited from his wisdom. Just check out how he helped open Oliver Kohl’s eyes.
In addition to talking to my colleagues, managers, and me individually, Jeremy has made himself available as a sort of community representative for larger internal meetings. One such call (attended by hundreds of SAP employees interested in knowing about the challenges and progress of the new SAP Community experience), Jeremy joined a panel discussion with SAP Community project leads to explain where things were getting better, where things were unacceptable. And in typical Jeremy fashion, he kept his comments fair, his criticism constructive.
In short, Jeremy is the kind of internal partner who works with you to make things better, yet the benefits of his contributions are not visible to the overall community. I’m here to change that by recognizing him as Member of the Month for January 2018.
Congratulations, Jeremy. How does it feel to be Member of the Month?
I am extremely grateful and appreciative, but it was completely unexpected. For the community members who know my Coffee Corner humor and affinity for movies, they would likely understand that my initial reaction to your email was a YouTube link to “Wayne’s World” and a feeling of “I’m not worthy” of this recognition. That being said, I am humbled and honored to be recognized on the Member of the Month hall of fame wall next to many of the community members who I admire and commend for making such a difference in the world of SAP.
I have to warn you that some of these questions will seem odd, since we both know I know the answers already. But I have to ask so the community members know too. So, for example: Can you tell me a little bit about what you do at SAP? When did you join, where did you start, and so on?
I joined SAP in 2005 with the acquisition of Lighthammer Software, which brought SAP Manufacturing and Intelligence (SAP MII) into our solution portfolio. It was a small company where many of the team members were involved in multiple facets of the software development lifecycle, and I personally enjoyed the variety of the tasks and demands, so this naturally carried with me into the much larger SAP company and culture. As some of the software company tasks like support, documentation, training, consulting, testing, and go to market moved into the dedicated teams within SAP, my own personal career journey also evolved.
In addition to being an individual contributor, I have held various roles including people management, program/project/product management. In these roles, I have focused on various topics including SAP MII, Mobile Apps, SAP Fiori, Fiori Launchpad, Fiori Cloud, and now the SAP Cloud Platform. I am presently a member of the SAP Cloud Platform Strategy and Product Management team within Björn Goerke’s organization, so I guess you could say I am now in the place #whereTheCoolShitHappens.
I still pursue opportunities to dabble in multiple areas and interact with a diverse set of colleagues both within SAP and in the community. For the past couple of years, I’ve also been driving a growing collaboration SAP Jam group that has the goal to bring the voice of the customer into our product development lifecycle.
Jeremy delivers SAP Fiori Launchpad customer feedback on a trip to the SAP office in Israel.
What about before SAP and Lighthammer? What led you here and down this career path?
My pre-SAP journey was largely in the IT-focused manufacturing and industrial automation space. After graduating from Penn State in 1994, I started working for a control systems integration company and entered the exciting world of PLC’s, SCADA systems, process historians, relational databases, and software development methodologies and practices. It provided me with countless opportunities to travel to customer locations in some very remote locations, and to experience all sorts of diverse company lines of businesses, IT landscapes, and cultures.
Looking back at some of my part-time jobs during high school and as I was paying my way through college, I had no idea while working at a local potato chip factory, the reconditioning department of a new car dealership, and cashier/stock boy at a discount grocery store would be so foundational for my career path and the world of SAP. The intangible experiences within the manufacturing elements of supply chain, logistics, warehousing, quality management, production and process orders, and their impact on financials for my employers is much clearer now when looking back on my career journey. How ironic that my actual experiences with SAP technologies prior to receiving an sap.com email address in 2005 were limited to SAP as another data source and connectivity from the outside with the business connector, and interfaces with BAPI’s, RFC, and IDOC’s.
Did you join the community right away upon becoming an SAP employee? What prompted you to get involved? And what encouraged you to become even more involved — such as by becoming a moderator?
I am somewhat of a private person who doesn’t necessarily enjoy the limelight, so I was admittedly quite skeptical about the SDN world when other colleagues started engaging in discussion forums and wiki pages after the SAP acquisition. We had our own bug tracking software, help desk phone support, and good documentation, so I didn’t really see what value there would be for public forums or engaging in how-to questions online.
After catching the gamification bug for sharing knowledge in the community, and as more of the departmental tasks like documentation and support were being absorbed into the respective business units within SAP, I think it really opened my eyes as to the power of community. I could see community in a whole new light, as it provided us the ability to drive scale and product go-to-market awareness far beyond the gated access world of SAP’s Service Marketplace. I actually built community contributions into my individual and team member KPI’s, and we made it part of our daily program activities.
Becoming a moderator was a logical progression in managing discussion threads. If you’ve seen either some of my LinkedIn endorsements or my legacy points and badges from my days as an SAP MII subject matter expert, I earned many of them in the SDN/SCN discussion forums for answering questions. I actually used to refer to myself as an SCN Sniper, because I was aiming for the one shot / one kill mantra of providing a single answer that solved the problem being presented and earning the 10 point correct answer. Helping to establish and nurture the SAP MII space from within the initial xApps space, and the SAP Fiori space from within the original Mobile space were two noticeable examples of how we took scale to a new level of self-sustaining collaboration in the community.
An SAP employee, Jeremy (plaid shirt) sees himself first and foremost as a community member.
As an SAP employee, you don’t use the community in the same way that other members likely do. So how is the community valuable to your job?
I had a professor in college who said that the world is an open book, so his exams would also be open book and open note, so needless to say, I took good notes and did very well in the course. As I entered my career journey I found his comments to be very accurate and when it comes to my job and the value of the community, I see the SAP Community and SAP ecosystem both working exactly like the open book world he described. Of course, my college years pre-date the emergence of Google search, which we all know works much better than the built-in community search, but having a community of like-minded people from all over the world contributing to an ever-growing asset that is focused primarily around SAP technology and solutions is something unmatched by our competitors.
Although I am an SAP employee and a moderator, I am first and foremost a community member, and the community is an invaluable part of our past, present, and future success as a company. Many of you know my esteemed colleague and friend Jeanne Carboni, so I will borrow her closing comments from an internal video we recorded talking about the emergence of the SAP Fiori Community: “..that’s where our customers are, that’s where they are talking to each other, that’s where they are talking about our products.”
In my introduction, I talked about how your feedback has been tremendously helpful to the SAP Community project. I can’t overstate your value enough in that regard. Why did you decide to start engaging with the SAP Community team the way you do?
Well, I don’t know that I just decided one day to start engaging with the community team, but as the impending October 2016 launch was imminent, I felt it was my duty and responsibility to put in as much effort as I could muster to make a positive difference.
During the alpha…err, I mean beta phase, when I came to the somber realization that I was in no position to stop the launch, I started seeking out colleagues within the leadership team to speak my piece and back up my concerns with bug and feedback discussions in the community beta testing space. After earning a trip with demo booth duty to the Vegas TechEd, I used the opportunity to broaden my network and made it a point to seek out many of the SAP Mentors and Community team members who I admired but never had the opportunity to meet in person. Frankly I was a bit surprised that many of the people I talked with had not spent much time in the beta, nor from my vantage point did they really know what was coming in October. This is also what led to my dueling laptop session with Oliver on the Friday afternoon when the event was over. Perhaps I was grabbing at straws in a last-ditch effort to put a stop to what my Spidey senses were telling me about the pending launch, but I think it helped pave the way for situations where I could bring some focus and relevance into the community project discussions.
With three active teenagers, Jeremy and his wife Diane are constantly on the move.
A better question…after more than a year of frustration post-relaunch, how do you manage to stay so nice about it?
I have my ups and downs, so let’s call them community mood swings. The post-relaunch has taken its toll on my overall positivity, but unless someone is willing to personally own up to the decision to switch off Jive, I find no reason to be nasty to the colleagues who got us where we are today, and who are duty-bound to get us back to the pinnacle of what a world-class community can and should be. In a way, I feel like I must strive for a higher standard because of the SAP and Moderator logos that appear next to my name in the People profile.
My upbringing and personality is one of a respectful team player, and although frustrations can sometimes get the best of me and I can be very critical, negative, cantankerous, and stubborn, I don’t think that my desire for global collaboration and the things that I do in my day job would benefit from being confrontational or overtly unprofessional. I haven’t previously used a quote from the Kevin Costner movie “The Postman,” but since we are now getting e(mail) again I guess we can say that “Stuff’s getting better, stuff is getting better every day.” I just hope that we can pick up the pace and double down on our investments.
Did you seriously just quote “The Postman”? I guess I should be grateful you didn’t quote “Waterworld.” Sorry…you know how easy it is for me to get sucked into a tangent about films. Back to the subject at hand: In my introduction, I mentioned how you’ve been really fair in assessing us — the good and the bad. So, in your opinion, what is one area of improvement that makes you happy? And what is the thing that drives you craziest?
After our marathon coffee meetings and phone calls, you are trying to limit me to only one area? Oh, sorry, you also asked for an improvement area too, not only a major annoyance. Well, I was a huge proponent for email notifications because of how I leveraged the previous SCN platform, but since that’s not fully finished to my satisfaction, I will go with the @mentions. Although I had some early concerns, and was a bit critical, I think the team implemented this feature quite nicely overall as it relates to the larger people profile dimension of the community. In the panel discussion you mentioned in your opening statements, these two areas, which went away when we moved to the new platform, were highlighted as improvement areas.
The thing that drives me the craziest is the overall pace of getting to the end goal of a best-of-breed community, and the “after launch” waiting game for features and requirements both large and small. As SAP, we can and must do better to finish what we started – the SAP Community deserves our best!
OK, enough about work. Let’s talk downtime. What do you like to do when you’re not working?
My wife, Diane, and I have three very active teenagers who are very close in age, so we are constantly on the move between sporting events like soccer and volleyball, school activities, church, and other community activities. In addition to our family vacations to the beach in Ocean City, Maryland, these trips and excursions tend to dictate more of our adventures, and they take us to many interesting places, field houses, stadiums, school/college campuses, restaurants, and hotels.
Our oldest daughter, Abby, is a sophomore in college, our son, Matt, is finalizing his college plans after graduating high school this year, and our youngest daughter, Ashley, is in her junior year of high school. When everyone is home, our driveway looks like a used-car lot, but when I have downtime I enjoy movies, watching sports on TV or attending live sporting events. I enjoy taking and sharing pictures from the sporting events we frequent. I enjoy the ups and downs of being a lifelong Philadelphia Eagles, Phillies, and Sixers fan, as well as an avid follower of the Penn State Women’s volleyball program.
Road trips and exploring the back roads in my 2017 Chevrolet SS has recently been called a mid-life crisis by a colleague from Newtown Square, but at 45 I guess you could say I’m not over the hill quite yet.
Get your motor running: Jeremy enjoys taking road trips in his 2017 Chevrolet SS.
By now it’s no secret to anyone reading that you and I like talking about films — and using film references and clips to illustrate our points. And so I have saved the most important, burning question for the end: If you could be any action hero, who would it be?
I think my initial reply about the honor of being chosen as Member of the Month resonates here with this movie-themed final question. The list is long and varied, but some of my favorite movies are “Gladiator,” “Braveheart,” “The Patriot,” “Wolverine,” “Lethal Weapon,” “Jason Bourne,” and “300,” but ironically the lead characters don’t all tend to live a very long and prosperous lives.
If there is a theme here for an action hero amongst the movies I listed, I guess a Mel Gibson featured role appears several times so I’ll go with Benjamin Martin from “The Patriot.” The Martin last name is even more common than Good in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, where I live, and he was a family man who did what was necessary and rose to the challenge when called upon Along with tenacity, humility, patience, loyalty, and other admirable qualities, he also possessed a dark side, so in the world of “Shoot ’Em Up” action heroes (or SAP brand ambassadors), I have chosen the unlikely farmer as my action hero, with a motto of “aim small…miss small” that reflects upon my days as an SCN sniper.
And on that note, I want to thank you for taking the time to talk to me today, Jeremy, from the icy land known as Newtown Square, home of SAP’s U.S. headquarters. Again, thanks for everything you’ve done for the community — and for me — over the course of the last several months. I look forward to continuing to work with you in 2018!