Ulrich, you have been with SAP for quite some time. Please tell us something about your career at SAP and what has changed within the company since you are a part of it?
I started my career in development in SAP Customer Relationship Management (CRM) right after my studies in 2005. A project which left a permanent impression at that time was rebuilding the complete user interface of this huge product. These are dimensions of complexity that you do not see at university. Later, I joined a new unit for a cloud product, as cloud computing became more and more important, which is today known as SAP Cloud for Customer. Because I am always curious to learn new things I joined a group which is now part of the Innovation Center Network. This gave me the chance to dive into a variety of topics including the early development of SAP HANA and also the piloting software for new business processes. SAP Innovation Management is the latest of these ’babies’, which made it into the SAP product portfolio.
SAP has grown a lot since then, regarding the number of employees and the products. The most important change is that SAP has also become a technology provider that is mostly visible by SAP HANA. The cloud topic has always been there for the last ten years, but it gained a lot of speed in the past two to three years. This had and will have a huge impact on companies and individuals alike.
You earned a degree at the University of Ulm. Why did you choose your field of study?
Computers and the fact that I could program them on my own have always fascinated me. I did a lot of programming in the early days of the web which was really fun, so it was natural to start studying in that field.
And why did you decide to join SAP after finishing the university?
The reputation of SAP and the possibility to have impact on a lot of people were certainly the main reasons to join SAP. In addition, being part of a large organization offers career opportunities without the need to join another company.
What is your field of work today within the company and what is special about it?
Today I’m working as an architect for the product SAP Innovation Management. We prove that iterating closely with co-innovation partners from the first drafts to a final product leads to success. The special part about our team is the fact that we combine both the knowledge and the experience to build and launch a product in one single unit. Hence, everybody in our team is really committed to the product. In an atmosphere of trust we can work quite autonomously, doing what needs to be done for a successful product.
You are based in Walldorf – the headquarters of SAP. What differs from working at other places?
The most practical aspect of working here is that for almost any topics you will find the experts on site – which makes collaboration so much easier. Members of the leadership team are regularly visible here, so you have the chance to get first-hand information in the coffee corner sessions etc. Of course you see and feel the SAP heritage in Walldorf: colleagues being with SAP for a long time, have a lot of experience in how to tackle the world’s most complex business problems. They can always tell you some enjoyable anecdotes from the earlier days, when debugging meant printing out code on paper.
You’ve just mentioned how much has changed already. So, what are you looking forward to in the future? Which projects would you like to realize with the ICN team?
I’m looking forward to discover new categories of software for SAP. New technologies are emerging faster and faster. I want to help to leverage their potential for our customers’ success.