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On a personal note

“There’s nothing more powerful than a good story!”
– Tyrion Lannister, final episode, Game of Thrones

 

In many ways, 2019 seems to be the year of unexpected endings and surprising plot twists, both on and off the big screen. At SAP, this manifests by the company going all-in on experience management and doubling down on SAP’s vision of the intelligent enterprise. A new generation of board members stepped up to lead the company into the next era of enterprise computing and they bring a fresh perspective, attitude and mentality. In simple terms one could say that they are determined to push SAP’s own digital transformation, challenging the status quo and driving change.

We all react differently to change – some actively embrace it, while others are more hesitant to accept it. Yet, most of us take change as a trigger to reflect on the past: on what was good, what was less so, what to leave behind and what to carry on. Same here… and after contemplating about it for various weeks I came to the conclusion that for me – it’s time to move on and start a new chapter in my career, so in short: I’m on my way out.

Just to be clear, I have nothing, but the utmost respect for our new management and I salute to their vision/mission, it’s just that after having spent most of my professional life at SAP, I feel it’s time for me to try something new and pick up a new challenge!

For those interested to go down memory lane with me as I reflect upon 17+ years at SAP please read on, everybody else – thanks for taking note and for the great company the past years!


I spent my first decade at SAP within an organisation called SAP Custom Development (nowadays known as SAP Innovative Business Solutions), which develops specific solutions based on unique customer requirements. This is very similar to what other ISVs do, with the little twist that the unit is part of SAP, hence not really an independent software vendor. I started out as a senior developer, but quickly advanced to architect level where I (co-)lead large scale, first-of-a-kind development projects with globally distributed development teams.

While I was originally hired because of my Java background the first two strategic development projects I got assigned to were classic ERP and CRM projects. What was first a culture shock to me, turned out to be a blessing in disguise later-on – as having acquired an understanding of the business suite and ABAP did help me tremendously throughout my career at SAP.

From there I moved on to topics closer to my heart: architecting new custom solutions with Java EE and open-source components, topics that got traction under the leadership of Shai Agassi as part of his vision for SAP NetWeaver. In the years to follow we were truly pioneering concepts such as Composite Applications, (e)SOA, mobile and so on and my teams and I did leverage those emerging technologies to develop first-of-a-kind solutions for a variety of industries…

I reflected on that episode of my career in this blog post: Ramblings of an Aging Architect: Recap on 10 years at SAP, just in case you’re curious.

Before we move on, I’d like to pause to explicitly thank one of my early managers – Hans – for having been a true mentor and role-model and Katharina Seiz for having been my wing (wo)man in many projects. Special shout-outs to the entire team and Jens-Uwe, Martin Schley, Sascha, Jens Steckhan, Markus and Daniel in particular. I also would like to thank Thorsten & Jan for having been the best office mates one could ask for… I learned a lot from you guys!

In retrospect, the last years at Custom Development were really transformative in my career as I started to blog about lessons learned and best working practices based on our experiences in pioneering new technologies in real-live projects. As a consequence I started contributing to the community on SDN/SCN and got engaged at SAP TechEd.

(At this point I’d like to thank Mary Odabashian, Gali Kling Schneider and Brian Bernard for supporting & encouraging me in my early blogging days!)

Through these community contributions I got elected into the SAP Mentor program run by Mark Finnern and Aslan back in the days (BIG thanks to Oliver Kohl for introducing me to the wolf pack!), and that was a truly humbling and rewarding experience… getting to know some of the most brilliant & genuine people in the industry I realised how much more there was to learn. I witnessed heavy-hitters such as Vijay, Den Howlett, Jon, Graham Robinson, Harald, Dick Hirsch and others challenge SAP executives in ways that revealed their understanding of the broader enterprise software space and that was both an eye-opener and a motivation to follow their lead! I also had the opportunity to meet so many inspiring community leaders and it’s a true privilege to have you as mentors and call you my friends: Marilyn Pratt, Susan Keohan, Tammy Powlas and Karin Tillotson.

Towards the end of my time as a software architect I stumbled upon an exciting new product in incubation called NGP (which over the years evolved into SAP Cloud Platform) and I was intrigued from day one (thanks to my buddy Thomas Bieser for looping me in!) At that time, the team was looking for someone to help spread the word and excite developers about this new platform and thanks to Bjoern Goerke and Harald Mueller I got the unique opportunity to join the team as a cloud platform evangelist!

The early (Neo) days will remain my personal highlight of my time at SAP and I consider it a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to have been part of the original product team early on and help take our baby from this small submarine project to being a central component of SAP’s technology portfolio …

When I joined the team I introduced myself as their “biggest fanboy” and I tried to multiply and amplify this excitement and passion ever since…

Over the years my role evolved from developer evangelist to a broader product management role & spokesperson and lately I had the privilege to lead the central PM team and help shape, refine and rollout the public messaging and orchestrate the creation on enablement assets and many other things. Sitting at the intersection of technology & communication I got to collaborate with engineering, GTM, product management, global communications and many more …

I don’t claim to have left a dent in the (SAP) universe, but I do believe I left my mark and did my fair share to spread the word about our cloud platform and empower customers, partners and internal stakeholders alike to use it to deliver business outcomes. It was a privilege and honor to (re-)present SAP Cloud Platform throughout all those years and I wouldn’t want to miss any of it!

So, here we are: 130+ blog posts and 14k tweets, 20+ TechEd and 8 SAPPHIRE NOW conferences and many other events later – and all that is left for me to say is: thank you, thank you, thank you!

It would take forever to give credits to everyone who supported me throughout my career, but I do have to call out a few names as I truly owe them:

For all those I didn’t mention explicitly – you know who you are!

Thanks for the companionship, collaboration, mentoring and friendship throughout the years. If there’s one thing about SAP that I’ll miss the most – it’s all of you! I truly love having met so many smart & genuine people from all over the world and exchange thoughts & ideas, team up and learn from each other.

Chances are – I won’t go far and remain within the broader ecosystem, so we may still see each other occasionally. Either way, I’ll definitely continue to cheer for SAP and all of you!

Keep rocking and paying it forward!

 

PS: I‘ll still be around for a little while…

 

46 Comments
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    • Thanks Tammy…. and calling you out is nothing but giving due credits. As everyone here can testify you’re the gold platinum standard irt community spirit and a role-model for so many.

      What maybe is less obvious is the magnitude of all your actions and all the things you do behind the scenes, I cannot thank you enough for your kindness in times of needs and for being a constant source of positivity and support for my family!

      You’ve been tirelessly paying it forward – so please know that whenever there’s something I can help you with let me know…

      Warm regards,

      matthias

  • Hi Matthias. We joined SAP Mentors program at the same time, and it was a privilege knowing you ever since!

    Unfortunately, it is difficult to “like” this kind of departure posts :~( Big loss for our SAP Community. But the world is small indeed, so am looking forward to that next chance meeting you here or there.

    Good luck with your next endeavor!
    -Vitaliy

    Never forget what you are, the rest of the world will not.” – Tyrion Lannister, the series premiere

    • Hi Vitaliy,

      yeap, we go back a long way indeed and it’s lots of fun to work with you and exchange thoughts & ideas!

      As I wrote… I hope to stay part of the community, just going to wear a different shirt going forward 😉 As such – looking forward to meeting you again!

      Cheers,

      matthias

  • What a wonderful story!   I know wherever you go, you will continue to be an inspiration and (hopefully!) a great friend.

    Hugs,

    Sue

     

  • This news came as a surprise to me. You had a wonderful journey at SAP, your contributions will be remembered!

    all the best Matthias!!

  • Matthias, you’re always been a reference for me.

    I’m sad you’re leaving, but I’m also sure that this is for the good.

    Good luck with your next adventure!

    Ivan

  • Thank you Matthias for being an awesome SAP Cloud Platform (Neo!) evangelist. I learned a lot from you and I still remember when you introduced the Phoenix library (UI5) to me at one of the Dutch InnoJams 🙂

    All the best with your future endeavours!

    • Thanks Leo… it always takes two to make it an interesting conversation!

      You & the rest of the “dutch mafia” are among the nicest & most knowledgable people we have in the ecosystem and it’s been truly exciting to see sooo many great things coming out from that corner of the world. I feel blessed that I’ve been a part of this and very much looking forward to visiting future Inside Tracks etc.

      All the best,

      matthias

    • Thanks Moya… and right back. You’ve been instrumental in taking SAP Cloud Platform’s social channels to the next level and you did an amazing job of prevailing the community spirit, while at the same time scaling our community channel by an order of magnitude!

      More importantly you’ve been always been on the forefront of pushing for greater purposes and became a role-model for how-to nurture diversity and other topics at same!

      Keep pushing and all the best for your onward journey!

      Warm regards,
      matthias

      • Thanks Champ — just look at this. Happy to see how this community has elevated you in the way you deserve. Community has been the best of SAP its inception. And while jobs come and go, people – these people – are for life.  I look forward to our paths continuing to converge 🙂

  • Good luck Matthias – and thanks for all your contributions and support over the years. I know you will find a new place in the ecosystem and make further positive and important differences.

    It is impossible to put into a few short words how highly I value you, your passion and your loyalty.

    Thanks mate – and all my love to your amazing family.

     

    Cheers

    Graham Robbo

    • Thanks Graham – coming from you it means soo much to me!

      For many years you’ve been a role-model, mentor and supporter and I’m looking forward to continuing our conversations for many years to come – the best is yet to come 😉

      Take care & see you soon,
      matthias

  • Hey Matthias

    One of my fondest memories was watching you inspire the Victoria University BCO6181 class of 2015. I believe you had as much fun as the students!

    Looking forward to hearing about your next adventure.

    Cheers, TdT.

    • Hi Tony,

      yes indeed, fond memories (they really grilled me!) and still got my shirt! 🙂

      You have such a gift for teaching and your passion shines through in everything you do! Thanks for being a great mentor and for inspiring the next generation!

      Looking forward to seeing you again!

      Best wishes,
      Matthias

  • Matthias, thx for the mention 🙂

    many good memories and spirited conversations across bars and hallways in EMEA and U.S. over many years….

    I’m sure you’ll do well in whatever’s next and we’ll be in touch

    but for the record, you were a huge asset to SAP in your engagement with so-called externals of all kinds, analysts/bloggers/influencers whatever you want to call them. a true evangelist doesn’t need to evangelize but to share passionate conversations and have an honest back and forth across private and public domain.

    in my opinion SAP probably doesn’t realize the extent to which you impacted so many of us in our efforts to better understand SAP under the hood and why it mattered – in particular the SAP cloud platform. As well as helping to lead the open source/platform charge.

    great work and great times – and a model that unfortunately is not being followed through on as much as it should be. But your efforts won’t be forgotten and I’m sure many in the SAP community feel the same way as you always made time for anyone who cared enough to up their game.

    be well…. Jon

    • Thanks Jon for your kind words!!!

      Yes, I still have vibrant memories of our conversations all those years and it’s been amazing to see what you & Den have built in that time frame (JD-OD and diginomica!)

      You’re a true role model in terms of integrity, keeping the conversations honest & candid and stepping up to ask the hard questions!

      Furthermore, you set the bar when it comes to work ethics and relentless pursue of telling stories that matter… last, but not least you do so in a fun & humble way and make it look (!) so easy (e.g. hits & misses, unpredictions, etc.)

      Thanks for all your support over the years – looking forward to continuing our dialogue in the future!

      Best wishes,
      matthias

  • “The task of leadership is not to put greatness into humanity, but to elicit it, for the greatness is there already.” – John Buchan

    Matthias, humility is a virtue, but you really overplayed it with your farewell message…

    You didn’t set out to be a leader, but by setting out to make a difference in whatever step you took, you turned into an extremely recognized one, who surely left a significant dent. All those amazing talented, motivated and highly dedicated people surrounding you – they recognize that skill in you and strive to collaborate with you on whatever challenging or outright crazy direction is up ahead on your list. We see you as a highly skilled geek ready to solve the Impossible, whilst also being the upright and inspirational leader who through his own actions sets the precedent we can easily follow.

    It was amazing working with you. May your ambitions give you plenty of opportunity to increase the size of dents you leave. I sincerely expect that you are ready for it.

    Enjoy. Hans

    • Hi Hans,

      talking about virtues, I recall these being the three great virtues of a programmer;
      Laziness, Impatience and Hubris. (Source: http://threevirtues.com/)

      On a more serious note, when I say that I had the privilege to meet & hang out with some of the “most brilliant & genuine people in the industry” that’s neither lip service nor am I exaggerating, but rather speaking my mind and giving due credits. All in all, it’s been a very humbling experience…

      That certainly also applies to you – guess my team is already getting tired of me referencing your style of leadership as my aspiration! And even while it’ll soon be 10 years since you left SAP, you’ve always continued to support me as a mentor and trusted advisor all those years! I think it’s just fair that I return the favor and pass on the spirit… thanks soo much for all that!

      As such, I’m excited to see what the future will bring and you’ll remain on my speed dial list! Looking forward to our future conversations!

      All the best,
      matthias

  • Thanks for taking the time to say farewell. Amazing history in the company. Wishing you all the best in the next route you take for your career.

    • Thanks Colleen… and hey, after all those years this community truly is my (work) family and hence the least I can do is to keep you posted on my whereabouts. Looking forward to the next chapter!

      Keep up the community spirit!

      Cheers,
      matthias

  • You’re one of the best Matthias! Working with/for you was a highlight in my career and I’m honored to have had the opportunity. I’m sorry to see you leave SAP but excited to see where your passion takes you next! Keep inspiring, keep leading and always stay curious!

    All the best,

    Liz

    • Thanks Liz and right back!

      It’s been both rewarding and extremely motivating to work with you and seeing you take off to the next level. Even at a company such as SAP, that has so many highly talented and motivated people, a few stand out and you’re one of them. Will continue to closely watch your career and I’d be thrilled to work with you again.

      Keep rocking!

      Best wishes,
      matthias

  • Sad to see you move on. 

    But who knows… you wouldn’t be the first prodigal colleague to return either.

    Wishing all the very best 🥂

    • Thanks Alan!

      Yes, indeed… it’s hard to escape the gravity of the mothership for good and after all those years one gets emotionally attached to the company culture! Right now, I’m looking ahead and solely focusing on my new gig, but you never know…

      Kind regards and all the best,
      matthias

  • Ok, I get that you may need to move on, but for selfish reason, I am really sorry to hear this. Your blog posts we’re always a delight.

    Best wishes.

    • Thanks Julie… yes, it’s time for a change, and trust me I’ve been through mixed feelings in the process.

      And regarding my blogging, it’s a habit and I certainly intend to reflect on my onward journey in the future – so for those curious there’ll be plenty to read and comment on! Would love to continue our dialogue!

      Best wishes,
      matthias

  • No idea if you remember meeting me, but I remember meeting you 🙂

    Wherever or whoever you end up working with will be the better for having you around, and thanks for your knowledge and wisdom over the years.

     

    • I certainly do Martin! I specifically recall us talking about the etiquette in C-level SAP Mentors meetings among other things… those were the days!

      It’s been a while since we last met, but I’ll remember you as a very nice & honest person and a true character! It’s been a pleasure – looking forward to our next encounter!

      Best regards,
      Matthias

  • Hi Matthias,

    even that personal note to let us know that you are on your way out is an exceptional blog post which kept me reading also your older ones now.

    Its tough to read that you are leaving the company.

    For me it was always a kind of secure feeling having you with us in the SAP Cloud Platform world.

    I was always happy meeting you from time to time on all the events or accidently somewhere in the Walldorf buildings.

    It was also also a real pleasure working with you back in the SAP CD days.

    I wish you all the best for your next journey.

    Martin.

     

     

     

    • Hi Martin,

      nice to hear from you!

      Yes, the two of us know each other for a loooong time and we definitely shared some time in the trenches for sure. I do have fond memories of our time together at CD and in retrospect all the pioneering work we did back in the days influenced my thinking in a big way – thanks for all the honest and result-oriented conversations & sharing the road!

      All the best,
      matthias

  • Hi Matthias,

    Sad that you are leaving, but I know you will rock whatever next thing you decide to jump into.

    And besides, if you do remain in the ecosystem (i.e. within the orbit of the mothership), I fully expect you will be blogging here in the future!

    Alles gute,

    Audrey

    • Hi Audrey,

      thanks for your kind note!

      And yes, would love to continue my blogging, yet I may need a bit of support to figure out how, given that my current profile is linked to my employee number and the need to switch to a P-user going forward! Any idea on whom to contact on that topic?

      All the best Audrey – keep up the community spirit!

      Warm regards,
      matthias

  • Matthias,

    Boy you can tell I haven’t been keeping up with blog posts – when I missed this one.  WOW – we will miss you.   Congratulations on your next adventure.   It’s sure to be a great one.

    I think about the last years when I’ve gotten to SAP Teched.  You always had a smile and a kind word to say.  Your presence will be missed.  I also smile as I remember both of us moving into the mentor world at the same time.

    But if you are in the ecosystem, perhaps you’ll go and relax and actually have the time to enjoy a TechEd here and there.

    Enjoy – Stay happy – and above all have fun!

    Michelle

    • Hi Michelle,

      thanks for chiming in and for your kind words!

      Well, I see it as a positive sign for the larger community that blogging has picked up momentum, right?

      And yes, was always nice to see you at the various events and I also enjoyed our collaboration on the Mentors Quarterly back in the days!

      All the best & see you around,

      matthias

  • Wish you all the best for your next adventures! I’m looking forward hearing about you over here or somewhere else…

    PS: what’s your personal profile if you have one yet?