Sudip Ghosh — Member of the Month, November 2019
November’s Member of the Month first drew my attention way back in July — when, seemingly out of the blue, one of his blog posts went viral, creating quite a buzz on social media, drawing nearly sixty-four thousand views, and earning him the coveted Gold Star and Ripple Effect badges.
For that alone, I probably should have recognized him as Member of the Month…but I was jealous. I’m happy if I get a couple hundred views for my blog posts and getting a Gold Star achievement seems as likely as winning an Academy Award at this point in my life. So you can just imagine my reaction when a relatively new SAP Community blogger made such a splash. Why can’t write I something that ripples?!?
OK, I’m kidding. I’m not (quite that) petty. Besides, I love anything that generates excitement on SAP Community. Here’s the real reason for the delay (which I’ve delayed admitting): November’s Member of the Month currently contracts for SAP (which is how I got my start in 2002), and as I’ve documented a couple times this year, I’ve been concerned that my picks have been leaning a little too heavily toward my employer lately.
But let’s face it…the guy’s accomplishments keep piling up, and regardless of his employment status, I feel unfair ignoring him any longer.
So, Sudip Ghosh, this month, we salute you.
Since making such a huge impact over the summer, Sudip has gone on to publish several more blog posts — continuing to draw thousands of readers. On top of that, he has become more involved in Q&A, and in October, he received the Diligent Solver badge. (As if he hadn’t done enough already.)
So I hope you’ll forgive me for breaking my promise and giving Member of the Month to another person with SAP ties. And I hope Sudip will forgive me for taking so long to a) give him this honor and b) publish this interview. I know we’re getting deeper into November, but I’m just back from my annual Halloween vacation, and boy are my bat wings tired.
But enough of my excuses and bad jokes. Let’s get this overdue conversation going, shall we?
Good to talk to you finally, Sudip! Congratulations on joining our Hall of Fame!
Thank you so much, Jerry. It is an absolute honor to be part of the Hall of Fame club. To be honest, it is an honor that everyone who contributes to the community looks forward to, so I am also not an exception. [laughs]
I am feeling lucky and blessed to be part of this club. And on top of that, it gives motivation to any contributor to make a quality contribution.
Sudip (2nd from right) won the SAP Cloud Platform Business Challenge Hackathon award.
As I mentioned in the intro, you’re currently an SAP contractor. Could you tell us a little bit about you career path — where you started and how got to where you are today?
Well, I had started my career in October 2014 at Capgemini just after my graduation. I started off with SAP Cloud Platform. Somewhere around 2017 March, I had joined SAP Solution Experience Team as a contractor through TCS. My current role is helping SAP Presales by building demo/prototype in the context of Intelligence Enterprise and SAP Cloud Solution Integration with SAP S/4HANA and S/4HANA Cloud.
Your profile doesn’t give any information about where you are located. Could you share some information about where you live, whether you came from there originally, et cetera?
Currently, I am located in Bangalore, India, and it is known as Silicon Valley of India, but it is also famous worldwide for another thing — which is traffic jams. Reaching home early after finishing the office work is still a dream for all Bangaloreans. [laughs]
Well, I am originally from another place in India called Kolkata, which is known as the city of joy. If you ever come to Kolkata, then you must try Bengali sweets (dessert), especially Rasgulla, which is famous worldwide.
Sudip works on the SAP Solution Experience Team as a contractor through TCS.
Having experienced the Bangalore traffic myself while attending SAP TechEd in 2017, I think I’d very much enjoy a trip to the city of joy for desserts. But since you’re in Bangalore, I hope you’ll say hi to some of my colleagues at TechEd there this year. Craig Cmehil wrote all about what you can expect in a recent blog post.
And speaking of blog posts…yours focus on SAP Conversational AI, with some blockchain and cloud thrown into the mix. And you respond to questions on these topics as well. But I also noticed some answers related to other broader topics — even R/3! That makes me wonder: Where and what did you study, and how has your education evolved over the years?
[laughs] Well, I graduated in Computer Science and Engineering from the Government College of Engineering & Textile Technology Berhampore. During college time, I was passionate for breaking the system. (Just kidding. I had passion for Web App and Network Security.)
But, when I started my career on SAP Cloud Platform, I realized how painful it is for a developer if someone finds a bug in your solution and exploits that to gain unauthorized access. In Capgemini mainly I got a chance to work on SAP Cloud Platform Application development and SAP IoT.
Post that, when I moved to SAP Solution Experience, the scope of work became broader. The first six months though it was a little boring for me because my work was more on SAP Cloud Solution like Concur, Fieldglass, SFSF integration and configuration with SAP S/4HANA and S/4HANA Cloud, and later on, application development on SAP Cloud Platform, tool development, AI, ML, and automation stuff. To be honest, now I realize that this project helped me a lot to understand the business process/business use case in some areas — most importantly helping me to work on Intelligent Enterprise and understand the different Intelligent Enterprise scenarios from the business point of view.
Coming to SAP Conversational AI and blockchain…what can I say, these two technologies attract me like a magnet. (That doesn’t mean I am going to get married to them. [laughs]) I have played with them a lot and discovered interesting stuff and some of that has been already shared with the community in blogs.
Apart from SAP technology, I also try my hands on open-source technology and attend different open-source tech meetups during my free time.
Coming back to your blog posts…what can I say? I mean…wow. I recall seeing your tweet when your “WhatsApp Integration with SAP S/4HANA On-Premise” post took off. What was going through your mind when you realized you had such a massive hit on your hands?
Well, to be honest, I had never thought before publishing the blog that it will become viral because I remember it was on 16th July 2019. I had had a tough day because my travel to Europe got canceled due to some unforeseen reason. I was sad since it was like my dream to work in Europe, which had shattered in front of eyes.
During that time, I made the post of this blog, which I had drafted two days back, and you won’t believe within an hour of the post some of my colleagues started messaging me that it’s a great post. After reaching home from work when I had a look at the views of the blog, to my surprise it was thirteen thousand. Initially, I thought there must be some problem with community views because thirteen thousand views within two to three hours is just next to impossible but later I realized those views were real. I felt great for some time! And I couldn’t resist to tweet about this on twitter myself. It gave me a lot of inspiration during a bad time.
Most importantly, I learnt about people’s interest in topics and how a successful blog can draw attention. Just FYI… that blog created such excitement inside and outside of SAP. Some SAP customer even liked it and asked for a demo which made me super happy.
Sudip with his colleagues celebrating Ethnic Day before Diwali at SAP Labs
That makes me happy too! And the reason for celebration doesn’t stop there. Your subsequent blog posts, while not achieving the same numbers, are still incredibly successful in terms of traffic. Why do you think your posts resonate so much with the SAP Community audience?
Well, I have tried many approaches to learn how can one draw more audiences for a blog post. Some approaches worked well, some didn’t, and still I am learning.
Here is what I have learnt so far: When it comes to a technical blog — except product information — these three things will draw any reader. Firstly, the topic — how interesting and innovating your topic is, what problem it is solving, how it adds value to the business, et cetera. Secondly, how badly a reader is waiting to try their hands on the topic. And thirdly and rather most importantly, how can you structure and simplify your content so that a non-technical person also should feel worthy to spend time on your blog. And you won’t believe the moment I started putting all these three flavors together, it started giving me good results.
What other advice would you give to a middle-aged career writer who can’t seem to draw as many readers? Um…asking for a friend.
Well, I don’t know today I am in a position to give advice or not because there are many legends inside the SAP Community, especially SAP Champions and Mentors from whom I take inspiration. So, who can give better insight? But still, as you asked, I will try to put my point in my words. Any day I would choose quality over quantity because as a reader I would love to read those blogs or articles which will give me some cool innovative information and, at the same time, also would help me resolve different business challenges.
On a sunny day, to learn some SAP technology, I would always prefer developer tutorial and openSAP. For me what really matters is uniqueness, simplicity, and specified information about their experience in a proper structured way. So, if some blogger is able to manage all this quality in their blog post, it would definitely draw good views.
Sudip enjoying a boat ride on the Arabian sea
Within the last few months, you became more involved in answering questions. Was there anything that encouraged you to contribute more to Q&A?
Yes, definitely. The reason is I am also learning by answering them. There are many questions I had answered which I might have never faced before, so it also helps me to know the issue and solution better. Some questions even helped me get some cool ideas.
Given everything you do — between blogging and answering questions — do you have some sort of schedule or ritual you follow for participating in the community?
No schedule as such. When I get time, I just take part.
Do you have a preference between blogging or answering questions?
Both are different topics and I must say one complements the other, but both are important.
By solving a question, you are not only helping many people, but you may also learn something new which can help you later to solve some other business problem. That’s what happened to me.
Blogging is all about sharing your best learning experiences. As per me, when we write a blog, we are not only drawing the attention of many readers but also trying to create our identity of existence in the community.
But coming to preferences…I would give more preference to blogging over Q&A as it has the power to generate excitement inside the community, which can draw a lot of attention — just like my WhatsApp integration blog. [laughs]
It’s rare to find members so heavily involved in both blogging and Q&A. In fact, so many members are lurkers, and I suspect it’s because they’re nervous about posting and answering. Since you do both — and do both well — any recommendations that can help get them started?
What can I say? If you are nervous, then you should take a chance first, because people aren’t going to judge your knowledge level and you aren’t going to get bad appraisal rating. You should feel proud of yourself that you made your first step on contributing to the community when others are still thinking about whether to participate or not. In bonus you will receive lots of appreciation from the community, which will motivate you to keep it rolling. Who knows — someday some of your contributions will change your life and you will thank me later for it! [laughs]
Sudip took this pic at Calangute Beach. Beer and beaches are among his favorite things.
We’re just about finished, which means it’s time for my final fun question: What do you like to do in your free time? Any favorite hobbies, social activities, et cetera?
Currently, I am utilizing my free time in learning stuff, but this free-time utilization is totally depending on the season and situation, but mostly I spend the time working out to keep me fit, cooking quality food, and if time and situation permit, then spending quality time at the beach and having a beer. Yes, apart from that I try to participate in different social activities, but I must say my participation in social activity is very less, which I should improve.
I love to speak at different tech events, traveling to new places, meeting new people, and exchanging cool ideas — most importantly eating quality foods.
Before I hang up, I just want to say thanks so much for so much, Sudip! Writing…answering questions…everything you do serves as an inspiration to other members, while making SAP Community possible. Congrats for all that you do and deserve!
Thank you, Jerry, for your kind words, which really mean a lot to me. I must be thankful to the whole SAP Community and all the audiences who felt worthy to spend their valuable time on my articles, accepted my answers, vote for my answers. Without them, it would have been a dream of mine to be part of the Hall of Fame. I also want to thank all the SAP Champions, Mentors, and Developer Advocates for inspiring me every day. I learn a lot from them. I wish one day to join them.