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Author's profile photo Stephanie De Camara Marley

Why UX Matters to Software Adoption | SAP Mentor Spotlight Wouter Lemaire

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

Pushing oneself to the limit with technology, business, careers, and social life can have many rewards.

It is easy to focus on what we already know and to stay in a comfort zone.

For tech visionaries, business experts, and innovators, countless ideas are born from taking steps to expand and evolve.

For example, take a user experience (UX) where mobile and web apps, along with data quality, needs to scale rapidly. Pushing the limits to achieve user satisfaction can make a huge difference towards a successful outcome.

For Wouter Lemaire, SAP Mentor, and independent consultant working with a leading engineering and manufacturing organization, he lives by the professional motto, “Pushing SAPUI5 to it limits.” He takes the time to learn, master skills, and continuously work with the latest and greatest technologies.

It was a lot of fun to catch-up with Wouter from his home office in the Brussels, Belgium metropolitan area.

Stephanie De Camara Marley (SM):
Hi Wouter! From your days at Erasmushogeschool Brussel (Erasmus Brussels University of Applied Sciences and Arts) to today, what triggered you to dive into software development and programming, which led to your work as an independent consultant (SAP Solution Architect / Developer / Mentor)?

Wouter Lemaire (WL): After my first year at Erasmus, we had to choose a specialization (with SAP being one of them). Not knowing SAP at all at the time, this was not the choice I was immediately going to go for. To be honest, I had no idea which specialization I should choose. The only thing I was sure of was that I liked to build things and develop applications, but not always doing the same thing over and over. I wanted to do software development with lots of variation in it.

I reached out to one of my teachers and asked which specialization comes with a variety of development languages. The outcome was SAP, without knowing what was going to come.

Once I began, I made it a habit to try new stuff, and to be working with the latest and greatest technologies of SAP. By always looking into new technologies, I learned a lot about the different tech of SAP which helped me grow from being a developer to an SAP Solution Architect.

I’m still developing today, and I love the combination of it with SAP architecture!

SM: You have a passion you once shared, “It’s not about ideas. It’s about making them happen.” How do you use this principle to encourage the teams and stakeholders that you work with to take responsibility for important concepts, and turn them into tangible results?

WL: Without realizing your ideas, nothing will happen. I’m the type of person that acts…If you have a good idea, just start making it happen. Maybe nothing comes out of it, maybe it does. In the end, it doesn’t matter what comes out, you’ll always learn new things which is the most important thing of all.

When I have a good idea for a customer, I just start with a very simple example to show them how it could be an added value. Not just with a smooth presentation, but a working demo, small but working! In my opinion, this is the best way to prove that an idea can help a customer.

SM: How did you become an SAP Mentor? In this role, how do you engage with Community members?

WL: After a few years being active as an SAP development consultant, I started playing with the latest technology of SAP in my spare time just for fun 😊. In the SAP Community, I started to notice that other developers were facing the same problems and challenges as myself, so I started sharing my experiences with them. Besides blogging, I also started with presenting about my experience at SAP Inside Tracks. Two friends of mine (who are also into SAP) always joined me when going to an SAP Inside Track (SIT) which made the experience even better!

Over the years, I’ve written many blogs and went to many SIT’s as a speaker, but one specific year made my breakthrough (I believe 😊) to become an SAP Mentor. The year before I became an SAP Mentor, I was working very closely with the SAP Labs team in Israel that worked on SAP Web IDE. I made some extensions in SAP Web IDE which I then provided to all developers, thanks to the SAP Web IDE team! They even came over to Belgium for User Experience tests showcasing new SAP Web IDE features.

After that, I was nominated and selected to become an SAP Mentor! Today, I’m still as excited as I was on day one and will try my best to keep going as long as I can! 😊

SM: In your recent blog, “UI5 Library TypeScript Generator,” you mention that “when building SAPUI5 apps, you need to develop a [centralized] custom UI5 control.” From your experience, how has this extension of JavaScript for providing type information helped with error detection and testing?
Does the TypeScript Generator make quality assurance faster, more efficient, and more precise?

WL: First of all, TypeScript is super cool! It has everything that’s been missing from JavaScript! But that’s not something you can use to convince a customer to switch to TypeScript. It also makes some parts of coding a bit more complicated which requires some investigation/learnings.

TypeScript comes with great support for many IDE’s which offers autocompletion and syntax checks. With this, it helps to make less mistakes/typo’s, and also saves time as you do not always need to check the API documentation. From now on, this is available directly in your IDE through autocompletion. Autocompletion was already available for JavaScript, but not always correct.

In the end, the quality of the code will be higher, which will result in less bugs. Less bugs also means less maintenance, which leads to lower costs.

SM: Throughout your career, you’ve earned high-quality certifications, including SAP Fiori,
SAP HANA Cloud, and SAP Extension Suite. Given the rapid pace of change in the world and in technology, how have you applied this knowledge to your development activities? Which learning topics interest you going forward?

WL: I’ve learned a lot from working with the latest SAP technologies in my spare time, but still, you need to be able to apply those learnings at customers projects. That is where you really get to know SAP products in depth. The combination of both leads to certification as a logical next step.

For example, I’ve been experimenting with SAPUI5 since the very beginning, worked for years with UI5 and Fiori at a customer, and then completed the certification. When you have a real customer experience of the project/product, certification is not too hard. It’s more of a confirmation of your knowledge.

Not sure what will be the next one but might be something different…to be decided! 😊

SM: Enjoyed reflecting on one of your mottos addressing, “Pushing UI5 to it limits.” When you connect with students and recent alumni who want to push their limits into getting a high-level User Interface (UI) or User Experience (UX) top quality job, what suggestions or tips do you enjoy sharing?

WL: I would like to share that everything is possible in SAPUI5, but also in any other SAP technology. Don’t stop when it becomes difficult, that’s most often the part where the fun starts! Just push through!

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