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Author's profile photo Anne Kathrine Petteroe

SAP Mentor Spotlight Interview: Henrik Wagner

The SAP Mentor Spotlight Interview Series highlights key strategic topics, such as emerging technologies, learning, and other topics, and provides insights from Mentors and SAP leaders on turning ideas into innovative approaches that impact people, process, and technology.

At every stage of work and life, we should never stop learning, because life is the teacher that provides opportunities to acquire new perspectives every day. There are always new skills to learn and adopt. When we look at successful leaders one of the common themes is that they each place continuously learning as a priority to be successful.

For Henrik Wagner, SVP at Lemongrass Consulting and SAP Mentor, he has lived a life of increasing his knowledge: from growing up in Stockholm, Sweden; to playing tennis at the University of Arizona; many community service activities; to fundraising and community events. While business is important, clearly Henrik places a premium on a work-life balance.

When we caught up with him to ask a few questions, he shared with us his overall brand and life philosophy, “Never stop learning and always have fun doing it!” During our session, he shared insights on his role as an SAP Mentor, as well as discussions with customers on digital transformation and enterprise data management strategies.

Anne Petteroe (AP): Tell us about your career journey. What is your role at Lemongrass?  What got you interested in what you do now? Did it start back in your University of Arizona days or more along the way (or both)?

Henrik Wagner (HW): I started my SAP journey working with Honeywell around 2005-ish helping them with managed services around their west coast to east coast SAP Disaster Recovery (DR) solution.

I have always enjoyed making the connection between the business to technology through SAP, which brought me to the SAP service, consulting, and cloud space.

I came over to the University of Arizona from Stockholm, Sweden to play competitive tennis. While there, I ended up pursuing a degree in Business Management. The combination of competitive sports and business gave me a great foundation for my career.

AP: From your lifelong passion for tennis, including playing at the University of Arizona, and your participation in the “Guerrant Foundation’s super fun 10th Annual Battle of the Sexes” tennis match, how have these experiences impacted your leadership and mentor skills, and interests?

HW: My passion is to give back to the next generation through Tennis including the Guerrant Foundation as well as the Scottsdale Tennis Week Charity event and various Tennis Fund Raising events. I also spend a ton of time with my son Aston on the Tennis court and in USTA competitions for him to learn life lessons around sports and get on the right focused path in life.

AP: How did you become an SAP Mentor? What does it mean to you to be in this program?

HW: Phil Loewen, John Appleby and Harald Reiter connected me with the SAP Mentors and nominated me to the program. I recall my first reaction being that I am NOT a deep technical SAP subject matter expert (SME) like most of the SAP mentors, but can bring a strategic, executive, and business perspective to the group. I commented, “If this is needed and welcomed, then I am honored to be nominated and join.”

I am sincerely grateful to be part of the SAP Mentor Influencer group and have worked on bringing value to conversations and interactions.

AP: As you connect with customers and colleagues around the globe who are in all stages of digital transformation and enterprise data management strategies, what are one or two examples of how you would suggest they consider redesigning their processes for better business outcomes and pinpoint the best approach for continuous improvement?

HW: My philosophy is to focus on where we are at, where we are trying to go and HOW we get there. I think many tech and consulting companies make the mistake of only speaking about how great life is for a customer in a future state. I believe most client’s need help with first “why do something different?” (including a case for change) and “how to get there” (the actual journey).

Proper data strategy can be the make-or-break difference between enterprises that fall behind, and those that disrupt industries.

AP: As you speak with customers who are modernizing their intelligent ERP system, what emerging technologies are you seeing put in place to increase value and performance such as embedded AI (Artificial Intelligence), machine learning (ML), and Intelligent Robotic Process Automation (iRPA)? Please share 1 or 2 high level use case examples driving these intelligent technologies to improve insight and performance.

HW: As my customers and I speak with peers around the world, there is a big interest in the following:

  • Automation across the board with AI/ML and iRPA changing the way things are done in transformations and steady state-run environment, to achieve a more efficient and automated approach.
  • Connecting the enterprise with a 360-degree view of their data, people and processes with a digital core including advanced analytics capabilities to have a clear picture for decision making.

AP: What suggestions do you have for the next generation of talent who are seeking to land jobs that address current and emerging technologies?

HW: Be curious, learn as much as you can in various interactions. Identify a few life and business mentors that can advise and guide you. Gain certifications around SAP and Public Cloud companies advanced technologies as they are playing a big part in defining the future.

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