Ankur Patel — Member of the Month, May 2019
May I introduce this month’s addition to the Hall of Fame?
(Get it? Because it’s the month of May? Never mind.)
This month I have the privilege of welcoming Ankur Patel to the Hall of Fame.
No surprises when it comes to the credentials that earned him May’s Member of the Month recognition. He recently received the Skillful Solver badge — and for good reason. He has a nearly fifty percent acceptance rate for his answers.
But that’s not the only thing that caught my eye with Ankur. He has also accepted answers for and/or closed more than fifty percent of his own questions. Granted, he has answered 169 questions as of this interview, whereas he has only asked nine questions, so the percentages might be a little misleading. Still — it’s nice seeing members get credit for their helpful contributions, while also taking the time to give credit where credit is due to their peers.
And with that, let me give a whole lot of credit to Ankur…
Welcome to our Hall of Fame!
Thank you, Jerry, for the recognition, and I am glad to be part of this wonderful SAP Community.
Your profile is a little light on personal details, so let’s start with the basics. Where do you live? Are you from there originally? If not, tell me a bit about your travels and how they brought you to your current home.
I moved to Tampa, Florida, in September 2016 from Seattle, Washington. The reason we moved to Tampa was my wife got an opportunity at PwC, Tampa and I was travelling to the East Coast for my projects. So, it was a win-win situation for both of us. She landed her dream job and I don’t have to take red-eye flights anymore.
Let’s celebrate Ankur Patel as May’s Member of the Month! His loves include photography, nature, family time, and travel. He took this picture during the 4th of July in Seattle.
Can’t beat that. Thanks for explaining. So…while your profile may not have given your location, it does contain a comprehensive list of your areas of expertise. It includes SAP Integrated Business Planning, Machine Learning, SAP Cloud Platform Internet of Things, SAP Leonardo, SCM APO Global ATP, and SAP Advanced Planning and Optimization. So with that in mind, please share some background about your education. How did you come to focus on those areas?
So, I did Production Engineering back in India and BS. Operations Management in U.S. Having a core background in Supply Chain and Production Process, I always wanted to work in that area, and I enjoy what I do. In 2016 with the boom of Machine Learning and Artificial Intelligence, I started exploring opportunities of using this technology for the Supply Chain applications like Predictive Forecasting, Promotion Analysis, et cetera. Since then I took various courses like SAP Leonardo Machine Learning foundation, IoT for Intelligent Enterprise, Blockchain, et cetera on openSAP and a few other courses related to Machine Learning and AI on cognitiveAI. I like to keep myself updated with the latest technologies.
What about your career? Where do you work and what jobs have groomed you along the way?
Basically, I’m an independent consultant and currently working for a client in the airline industry where we are implementing SAP IBP. I am glad you asked me what jobs groomed me along the way and I would like to take this opportunity to thank my direct and indirect reporting manager from Microsoft who helped me to be what I am right now. And not only Microsoft — even partners from SCM Connections with whom I have done many projects in SAP IBP, and many of my friends, which I made along the different projects, taught me a lot.
Let’s talk now about your experiences with SAP Community. It appears you joined at the beginning of 2017. Why did you decide to become a member?
As I mentioned earlier, I have learned a lot from others, and I believe in giving it back to society. I started working in SAP IBP since it was introduced. And being a new technology in the market there will be many questions which have to be answered and helped on and that was the reason I joined SAP Community — to help others.
Remember back in December’s interview where I made all of those animal jokes? I promise not to make one of those jokes now…even though I “croc” myself up with them. (I know. I’m a bad person. Plus, that’s an alligator. Ankur took this photo at Circle B Bar Reserve near Tampa, where he currently lives.)
Some new members take a little while to warm up before they start contributing. They need to settle in, get comfortable. From what I see with you, however, you were answering questions almost immediately after you joined. No jitters initially about diving in?
I started working in IBP projects since 2014 and I have gone through the questions that others were asking and hence I started helping others formally and informally. I will only have jitters when I have to do actual water diving.
You’re very active when it comes to answering questions. How do you fit the SAP Community into your schedule?
I don’t have to find any time; I think it is now habit that every now and then I will open SAP Community and will see where I can contribute. So, there is no such schedule.
Do you look for any specific types of questions? Anything in particular prompt you to answer?
No, I try to answer any questions. Doing so sometimes it helps me to learn something new and that is the other reason I am so active in community.
One thing I noticed about your answers (beyond their high acceptance rate!) is how much thought you’ll put into your responses. I also noticed how you’ll point people directly to source materials. I know members can get irritated with colleagues who ask questions without searching, but, in a sense, you’re doing searches for people — linking to Help Portal, relevant SAP Community blog posts, and so on. So I guess what I’m asking is…what makes you go that extra mile for people?
I know it is annoying for many of us if groundwork is not done. But the reason I take extra effort is because if I don’t give them reference on what I am explaining, they will come back with another query, so it makes sense to provide them with material the first time.
I mentioned that you’ve asked questions too — albeit not nearly as many as you’ve answered. And it always makes me happy when posters accept answers and close questions. You’re fairly consistent about that. Why do you think some members skip that step? Any advice you would give them on Q&A etiquette?
What I can request to the community is once their question is answered they should accept the answer promptly and close it so that other members who are following that question or topic know that question is answered. It has happened to me many times — I will go thorough open questions and when I browse through the answers and comments, I will get to know that question is already answered and not closed yet. What my point is — if it is not closed, the person who tries to answer will waste his or her time just by browsing till the end to know it is already answered.
I pointed out that you’re pretty thorough with your answers, which tells me you’re a good writer. Any chance we’ll get some blog posts from you one day?
Yes, I do have couple of posts in draft, but didn’t post yet due to other priorities, but will do it soon.
Another of Ankur’s photos, taken during a family vacation on the way to Page, Arizona.
I always feel bad when I ask people about whether they’ll contribute more — especially when they’re already making so many contributions! So let me switch to something a bit more fun. When you aren’t working or browsing SAP Community, what are you doing? Any hobbies or activities you enjoy in your spare time?
I love taking pictures of nature and wildlife. So, when I am not working or browsing SAP Community, I try to go out for the photography or I like to spend time with my family or travelling.
That just about covers it, Ankur. Congratulations once again for becoming Member of the Month for May 2019. And thanks for all you do for SAP Community. I’m looking forward to more questions answered and closed in the Q&A area, courtesy of you.
Thanks, Jerry, and I appreciate being recognized as a Member of the Month. See you again in SAP Community.