Digital Transformation with SAP Build | SAP Champion Spotlight, Daniel Enderli
|The SAP Champion Spotlight Interview Series highlights key strategic topics, such as emerging technologies, learning, and other topics, and provides insights from SAP Champions and SAP leaders on turning ideas into innovative approaches that impact people, process, and technology.|
The act of getting started on a mission, vision, strategy, or project is important from both a professional and personal standpoint. It fosters growth and self-improvement.
The underlying consideration for a “just do it and do it now” attitude is centered around taking self-responsibility and recognizing the importance of making a series of choices and taking action.
For some, the struggle of getting started can be challenging due to the fear of failure.
Once one abandons the idea that everything has to be “perfect,” the easier it becomes to take those first steps.
For Daniel Enderli, SAP Champion, author, Zen project master, geocacher, SAP ALM meetup leader, and Head of SAP Application Lifecycle Management (ALM) and SAP S/4HANA Project Manager at Swisscom, he has taken a very inspiring approach to his journey in his education, leadership, community, and professional pursuits. His methods for getting started and simplicity help the groups and teams he’s connected to achieve successful outcomes.
It was insightful to catch-up with Daniel from his home office in Zurich, Switzerland.
Stacey Fish (SF): Hi Daniel! You further invested in your education at the HWZ University of Applied Sciences in Zurich with a master’s in Digital Business addressing leadership, digital risk management, and disruptive technologies. What inspired you to dive deeper into the digital world to compliment your current role as Head of SAP ALM and SAP S/4HANA Project Manager at Swisscom?
Daniel Enderli (DE): Digital transformation also means that you have to change yourself. I was pursuing several goals with my master’s degree in digital business. On the one hand, I wanted to get myself fit for the digital future, on the other hand, such an education always offers a network where you can meet people from different industries and exchange ideas.
During my daily work, it is important that I can get employees and customers excited about digitization and show them a vision. I use the knowledge which I’ve learned during my master’s degree and bring it to life in our projects.
SF: Very curious about your interests as a “geocacher” and “prospector.” For those of us who are new to these activities, geocaching is a type of global treasure hunt for people looking for hidden objects using a GPS. Prospectors search for valuable substances (e.g., gold, coins, or art) on or under the surface of the earth. Tell us more about your navigation activities.
DE: I have always been a treasure hunter. I’m interested in the history of our ancestors. Both hobbies, geocaching and prospecting, offer me the opportunity to live out this passion. A big advantage is that both take place in the nature.
These interests are the ideal balance to my professional work-life balance. You learn to orient yourself in nature and, for example, to read a river in order to find the gold-bearing spots in the riverbed, or I can search for geocaches almost everywhere in the world. Through these hobbies, I have discovered many exciting places that I would never have gone to otherwise.
I am also involved in the public administration as a volunteer prospector. There I can help with historical excavations and prospecting in historical areas. In that way, I learn something exciting about the past.
SF: How did you become an SAP Champion? In this role, how do you engage with Community members?
DE: It was actually very simple. I had found out which community programs were taking place. That’s when I came across the SAP Champions program and immediately applied for it.
Also, I set up a meetup group that a circle of us use to hold face-to-face community events. These are very informal events in a relaxed atmosphere with like-minded people. We are now more than 130 members. I’m also a blogger and use blogs.sap.com. I exchange ideas with other SAP Community participants at 2-3 fixed events per year, for example at the SAP ALM Summit, SAP TechEd or at local events.
SF: Enjoyed reading your blogs, “Overview about the SAP API Business Hub,” and “How to start with SAP AppGyver Low-Code/No-Code Platform.” You make a point to take complicated topics and make them easier to understand. In fact, you once quoted Leonardo da Vinci, “Simplicity is the highest level of perfection.” How does simplicity inspire you when sharing knowledge?
DE: Albert Einstein once said, “If you can’t explain it simply, you don’t understand it well enough.” This quote inspires me to present complex issues in a simple and understandable way.
I’m a very visual type, and I like to draw illustrations where I can show a summary in a big picture.
I love to deep dive into topics which are new to me or which I do not yet have enough knowledge about until I have reached a basic understanding in order to write an easy-to-understand summary. If I can then share this knowledge with the community, it gives me great satisfaction.
I think being open to new things and lifelong learning are very important qualities for everyone these days.
Join: SAP Builders Group
SF: What a great project showcased in your blog, “SAP Cloud ALM – Project Chuchichäschtli
(aka kitchen cupboard).” For this initiative, you used SAP Cloud ALM, “because we wanted the project to be structured, transparent and comprehensible for everyone involved.” From your experiences as a Zen project master, how has a harmonized project implementation approach helped ensure business continuity?
DE: I try to represent things with analogies that everyone can understand.
A method or a tool helps to take a holistic view of complex relationships that can exist in the SAP ecosystem. In the projects you need a common basis, a common language, and of course a core team to work together, communicate and make progress measurable.
Also, some open time should also be left free for personal exchange, because a method or a tool cannot completely replace communication between people. We are all human and want to talk to other people — that’s human.
SF: You have written several acclaimed books including, Enabling a digital business leadership culture. How do you see the generational shift, where the next-gen is taking the lead on high-priority initiatives versus having to wait years to be given the responsibility? How does this trend impact the Future of Work?
DE: A very interesting question. There is only one answer: Just do it and do it now.
Companies that wait too long and delay the generational change run the risk of being disrupted, because the company does not get to know the needs of the next generation in time and aligns its business model focus on the customers’ needs.
I believe future success lies in the mix of employees of different genders, social and cultural backgrounds.
Something that has worked well for the past 25 years is no guarantee that it will work for the next 25 years.
Include the next-gen in strategic company topics. Try out an evolutionary form of organization in order to gain experience from it. Live the new corporate culture with shared values, roles and active involvement of all employees. Make ongoing adjustments and improvements. I highly recommend reading the book from Frederic Laloux about “Reinventing Organizations”.
SF: Early in your career you were a skilled electrician. You made a major career shift to technology and related solution architecture. What tips do you suggest to students and recent graduates who may have started down one path, and then need to make a shift to help find a high-quality job and career that they are passionate about?
DE: When you’re young, it is very difficult to say which job is the right one for you. You just don’t have the work experience to do that. You only really get to know a job when you do it.
The world is changing too quickly for that, and completely new jobs are being created as well as jobs are being lost.
For me it was the case that I wanted to achieve a solid basic education, in this case as an electrician, which would later open up further paths in different directions.