Women in Artificial Intelligence at SAP: Get to Know Jana Wuerth
Dear SAP Community,
As you may already know, SAP Women In Tech is a cross-board initiative that aims to inspire and enlighten all women at SAP to become more visible by providing a network, support, and a platform to demonstrate their business expertise to a broad audience.
At SAP, we genuinely believe in an incredible pool of talented women working in the tech world, capable of driving innovation, employee satisfaction, and customer success.
With this new format, encouraged by SAP Women in Tech, we want to highlight the great work of our female colleagues in the AI at SAP space and directly learn from them all around their motivations, inspirations, and individual experiences.
Let us kick off with Jana Wuerth, Product Management Expert at SAP’s AI Product Success Team!
Could you please describe your role at SAP?
I am a product management expert within our Artificial Intelligence Unit at SAP, focusing on go-to-market strategy and commercialization.
Generally, product managers are responsible for the product they are working on, which includes knowing customer and market requirements, delivering products to the market, retiring them if necessary, and creating product assets. This variety is the aspect of my job as a product manager which I enjoy the most.
Working on my core areas, GTM strategy, and commercialization is also super exciting and allows me to define specific activities that need to be carried out to promote the products to our field colleagues, partners, and customers. The commercialization part is my favorite, as it is a complex process involving many dependencies, requiring experience and detailed knowledge, as well as attention to detail. However, the best part about it is the high level of interaction with many different people inside and outside of SAP.
Where did you see yourself 10 years ago?
Ten years ago, I was still in the middle of my vocational training bachelor studies at SAP. At that time, I had never heard of the role “product manager” and therefore it was never my concrete goal to take up this job. However, I always knew that I wanted to start my career in a position with very close customer contact, so I spent my practical phases in departments like IBSO (Innovation Business Services Organization) and Consulting.
What was your motivation for starting in the world of AI?
Actually, I didn’t actively choose a career in AI. I had a product management job in customer experience before and wanted a change and a new challenge. A former colleague told me about a job opening for an AI product manager around customer experience, which caught my interest. I didn’t know much about AI, but I had experience in the domain, so I decided to go for it. So, I decided to learn about AI from scratch. And now, I love it! I expanded my knowledge to other areas and asked our development team so many questions that I even feared annoying them.
Which AI project or achievement are you particularly proud of?
When I joined the AI team, there was no unified commercialization model for the AI services the team was developing, there were no common templates for assets, and there wasn’t a unified messaging. I’m very proud of how I managed to commercialize many products and align the assets and messaging for our AI services in a short period of time.
What are the top skills that anyone who wants to work in AI needs?
In the technology space in general, but especially in the AI area, you need to have curiosity. You have to be curious about current trends and new developments and the fast pace of this industry, which is why you also have to be quickly adaptable.
There are always new things, and once you become familiar with something, there is something new to learn.
In addition, I believe that it is essential to be a good communicator when it comes to artificial intelligence. On the one hand, many customers have high expectations; on the other hand, many do not know what AI exactly is. Both types require a specific way of communication.
What advice do you have for other women pursuing careers in tech?
I would like to advise women pursuing a career in technology three things:
First, step out of your comfort zone. If your manager or project leader asks you to do something you’ve never done before, take on the task and try your best to succeed. If you feel it’s not working, you can always ask for help. But don’t just say “no” because you have never done it before. Be brave and trust in yourself, your abilities, and your skills.
Second, do good and talk about it. Women tend to belittle themselves; they don’t talk about the remarkable things they’ve accomplished but point to those who supported them or say it wasn’t a big deal. Don’t do that. Accept the credit for your hard work, accept the compliment for an accomplishment, don’t hide. And most importantly, don’t let others take credit for your work. Speak up, share your point of view, ask about a specific opportunity or training you’ve always wanted to attend.
Also, take advantage of career development initiatives within and outside your organization, find a coach or mentor to advise you, and help you work on yourself.
Finally, network – a great network will always help you move forward and support you through complex tasks. And let’s face it – women are simply better communicators 😉
Thank you for sharing these interesting and inspiring insights with us, Jana! We are sure that this will be a huge motivation boost for our community as it clearly shows how many possibilities and opportunities are open to everyone.
Stay tuned for more