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Personal Insights
Author's profile photo Irene Chen

Creative Thinking

In my role as a senior development manager, my team and I are responsible for delivering SAP HANA as a Service and SAP HANA Cloud on Alibaba Cloud. We’re focused on supporting this important partnership and ensuring the SAP HANA Cloud launch on Alibaba Cloud, planned for later this year, runs smoothly.

I joined SAP 15 years ago in 2005. I actually only officially joined the SAP HANA team in 2018, but I feel like I’ve been a part of the extended “HANA family” for much longer than that. In my previous role, I built applications on top of SAP HANA. In the early days, I worked on some of the initial projects that went on lay the foundations for SAP HANA such as the TREX engine.

Even back then it was clear that we were at the forefront of something really exciting. SAP HANA brought with it a whole range of new opportunities for both us as developers and also for our customers. I have been involved in many customer co-innovation projects over the years and what’s always intrigued me is the creativity SAP HANA enables and fosters. It opens the door to completely new ways of doing things.

It’s this creativity that has also had an impact on me personally. Every year, we have the SAP China Demo Jams and it’s a great way to explore the possibilities of our own products. Between 2012 and 2014, we won the first prize three years in a row for the applications we built to showcase SAP HANA’s capabilities. There are limitless options. One of the applications we built, for example, used SAP HANA’s analytical and NLP capabilities to help create a brainstorming app that enabled users to better rank ideas. In 2014, I also won the second prize at an SAP HANA programming contest with the aim of making coding run as fast as possible.

This experience helped us to learn and grow in a very positive way. On the one hand, we built a great relationship with the SAP HANA core team. As some of the first consumers of the features and functions they created, we exchanged ideas and gave feedback to which the team were always quick to react.

For example, my most memorable feature in SAP HANA is SAP HANA spatial. Between 2013 and 2014, I was working on transportation asset management project which requires map services and GIS integration functionality. I was in regular contact with the SAP HANA spatial team (GIS core team at that time) with questions and requirements around, for example, geocoding functions, GIS data, and licenses. At that time, Gerrit Kazmaier was a developer in GIS core team and I visited their office during one business trip to meet with the team and discuss requirements, feasibilities, and timelines. Even though the team was small, I was really impressed by how efficient and productive it was.

In addition to the great teamwork, I also see another very important aspect: SAP HANA is always innovating. This means that we too are always learning and moving ahead. I feel like we’re riding the crest of this incredible wave and it’s a really exciting place to be.


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