I have been involved with database and related technologies for almost my entire career. I started at Sybase in 1998 as a pre-sales consultant for the New York financial services industry segment. When SAP acquired Sybase in 2010, I landed in what is now called the Platform & Technology (P&T) sales team.
To be honest, it was just awesome because the conversation just kept going – electing to stay in P&T sales let me build on my existing experience. I was promoting a new product, SAP HANA, but the basic concept of the job itself was the same: Going in front of our customers and explaining how we could help them. That has been the guiding principle for me all along, throughout my different roles.
Back when I started with SAP HANA, I had one customer who was still relatively new to me, and SAP HANA was also still relatively new. The customer was having trouble understanding their billings, bookings, and backorders (the “three Bs”). They were struggling with that and we were able to help them obtain that view of their business.
It’s the lesson I learned about these three Bs – that it’s not always the big problem that you have to solve for the customer. This still stands out to me as one of my highlights. If you can find out what and where the customer’s current pain point is and try to be very specific about solving it, you can have success, build trust, and become an advisor. It’s about building trust and working with a customer.
A fun memory of mine is the Big Data Bus. Back in 2013, we had this big tour bus that came, and you were able to book it and take it to the customer if you wanted to. I loved the idea and so, of course, I couldn’t wait to leverage it.
I arranged for this big bus to come to customer sites, and when the employees would come to work in the morning, they would find this huge SAP bus sitting out in the parking lot. We had demos on board with the usual giveaways.
What was particularly great about it was that it really helped our customers’ IT departments to shine. The bus was an opportunity for the IT stakeholders to showcase their projects, build awareness and enthusiasm, and highlight why SAP HANA was important to the overall solution. It was all about elevating the customer and shining a spotlight for the extended team to see. You never have success alone. Big things grow from little seeds, and that has been meaningful to me. I carry these lessons with me in my current role in SAP HANA Solution Management.
SAP HANA system replication is included in SAP HANA and provides High Availability and Disaster Recovery (HA/DR) capabilities for our customers, but it also provides so much more. With it, you can perform near-zero downtime maintenance, secondary time travel for “accident forgiveness” (in other words, a dropped object can be recovered), or a follow the sun approach for global operations. It provides the building blocks for flexible and resilient architectures.
The cherry on the top is that with the SAP HANA, active/active read-enabled option you can use idle resources reserved for failover purposes for extra reporting capacity, on critical production data, without impacting production processing. It is crazy good.
All my experiences with SAP HANA have shown me what we great things we can do as a team, enables me to be creative and to think outside the box about what we can do for our customers and partners. Events like the data bus show SAP’s attention to customers, and at the end of the day, that’s really what it’s all about – showing the customers what we can do for them and building relationships. This focus continues. Recently, as part of the launch activities, I produced the What’s New in SAP HANA 2.0 SPS 05 expert webinar series and I am a contributor to the Transformation Tuesdays blog series. While my day to day activities may have changed over time, my mission is the same, and that is to deliver meaningful information to my customers.
When I think about what’s next, I’m excited about SAP HANA, SAP HANA Cloud and the innovation journey. Technology is always changing. Wherever we’re going, I want to be right there with it as part of the go to market team and have a little fun while doing it!