“Spotlight Interviews” and Research

[Blog & Video] No-Code Guide: SAP S/4HANA Cloud to SAP Build Apps Data Visibility

Published on the SAP Community.

77% of the world’s transactions touch SAP systems. 400,000+ companies use SAP software. ~65 billion (USD) is the low-code/no-code platform market forecast by 2027 (Statista). And SAP S/4HANA Cloud is recognized in the Gartner Magic Quadrant.

Yet…up until now most business practitioners (aka Citizen Developers) would be unable to build a very basic app leveraging SAP S/4HANA Cloud, public edition to SAP Build Apps using “no-code” navigation to show data visibility.

Access to this data using an API, SAP BTP, and the SAP Business Acceleratory Hub is easy, straightforward, and a game changer!

Check out this new blog and video.

FYI: I walked several business colleagues, with VERY LITTLE experience with these tools, to achieve success in 25 minutes.

Please share this new blog and video with your networks.

SAP Builders Spotlight: Digital workspaces and navigating the coloring book of the citizen developer journey

Interview by Esmee Xavier. Originally pubished in the SAP Community.

The series highlights success stories from our SAP Builders community. Do you have a project you’d like us to feature? Reach out to us on the Builders Group or comment on this post.

This edition features Rich Blumberg, who has been part of the SAP world for 18 years.

As a long-time SAP consultant, Rich has been involved with multiple teams and projects, including SAP Innovation Awards, SAP Community, and weekly working sessions with customers to dive into SAP Build. His team also created the internal Help Center for SAP’s transition from SAP Jam to SAP Build Work Zone. During our interview, Rich shared his thoughts on teaching citizen developers and getting started with creating digital workspaces.

Builder: Rich Blumberg

Location: Pennsylvania, USA

Featured solution: SAP Build Work Zone Help Center (internal)


Tell us first about your experience with the SAP Build Learning Journey.

Having gone through the low-code/no-code learning journey, it gave me an excellent foundation to learn more about SAP Build AppsSAP Build Process Automation, and what I already knew about in
SAP Build Work Zone. Also, I was very excited to learn and put into practice the use of OData and REST APIs, which had been a big interest for many years.

What kind of gaps have you identified in the learning journey for real citizen developers?

Often the expertise is done by technical people with a deeper understanding of the technology, be they software engineers, developers, or pro-coders. They don’t always explain it the way that us business practitioners, AKA citizen developers, can fully understand.

As an analogy, it’s kind of like a coloring book. I want to see where the lines are, where the numbers are, where I can add colors, and where I can deviate a little bit. We need guardrails as business practitioners, and we also have a lot of time constraints.

For example, with SAP Build Apps or SAP Build Process Automation, I want to go in and be told to try these five things or these 20 things very clearly step-by-step. I don’t want to have to guess or have subject matter experts assume that I know what to do.

This creates an opportunity to bridge the much appreciated technical expertise with business practitioner’s knowledge to expand the use of SAP Build.

What other approaches would you recommend for teaching these concepts?

I’ll use formulas as an example. As a business practitioner, give me two or three of these and break down the steps to use them. If I can do this five times with five different formulas, I will start to get the hang of it.

As a parallel learning example, I started taking guitar lessons three years ago, so now I’m a lot more proficient with chords and strumming. I’m not ready to get on stage yet with the best of the best, but I have a lot more confidence, because I’ve gone beyond just understanding the basics. But as teachers and experts you still have to show me what’s required. Once it’s spelled out accurately, then I’ll take it one step at a time.

With SAP Build Apps, you can’t assume that us business practitioners know what properties are or that I know what the nodes mean. It took me a long time to get comfortable with nodes, components, and variables. The In-App tutorials were very helpful. While business people have many skills and work experiences… many of us need to learn it like the “For Dummies” book series!:-)

Tell us about the project around SAP Build Work Zone’s Help Center.

When SAP Jam became Work Zone, many valued customers, partners, and also SAP had to make that migration and move forward. SAP has tens of thousands of active workspaces, so we worked with SAP IT and the Employee Experience team to reduce the number of questions, concerns, and fears that the thousands of SAP employees had. We set up frequently asked questions like what can Work Zone do for workspace admins or users? What are the capabilities? And also, how can there be a feedback loop?

By teaming up with IT and the Employee Experience team, we were able to help reduce dramatically the number of questions and issues, which could have been a nightmare, and reduced the temperature of people heading to the unknown.

We also encouraged people to appreciate the SAP Build roadmap as it pertains to Work Zone, because the SAP Build family will continue to come closer and closer together, as well as how it will work with things like UI5 cards and widgets, which are really cool.

What are some of the biggest challenges teams might face when starting with Work Zone?

It’s like anything else, you have people at different parts of the learning curve, from beginners to experts. Beginners just need to get comfortable and familiar with the breadth of things that it can do. It never ceases to amaze me that as much as I know about Work Zone, there’s always new features and capabilities to discover.

The good news is that the SAP Build Work Zone is relatively easy to get started using. If it was compared to a swimming pool, you can walk into the shallow end and very quickly start doing things. We have weekly working sessions and I’m continuously amazed at all the different groups, use cases, and how they communicate the best information to the audiences that they serve.

What I’m passionate about it is knowledge management and speed to value.

In addition, we’re exploring helping groups that might have a thousand plus assets, be it documents, videos, or podcasts in a landing page or a community. We can help them validate and curate what is the most important information that the audience needs to do their jobs, be it for implementations, adoption, change management, solutions – you name it, and making it easy for them to find what they need, when they need it.

Each of the SAP Build family of products has an unlimited number of use cases to consider and discover. Looking forward to learning more, continuing to be hands on, and taking the value for employees, customers, partners, and users to the next level.

SAP Collaboration with Microsoft Teams

Each of us is collaborating more often, increasingly mobile, and working on a schedule that enables us to connect more virtually..

Thoughtful leaders working in SAP solution environments step back and ensure that SAP Collaboration represents how the business works both in the short-term and going forward.

When SAP and Microsoft announced they are building integrations to Microsoft Teams across solutions many of us were inspired.  With the new reality of remote and hybrid work, the importance of holistic collaboration grows in importance.

Disparate information kept in silos and organized in ad-hoc ways becomes an impediment to performance and productivity. One of the hardest things to do is to keep Microsoft Teams and SharePoint along with the SAP portfolio organized so that the content is valuable to the users.

In order to elevate digital transformation, organizations must rethink how they address:
– Working Remotely
– Upskilling Employees
– Telling Customer Stories
– Deploying Communications
– Enabling Digital Supply Chains
– Re-positioning Products or Services
– Building Consortiums & Affinity Groups
– Ensuring Regulatory Compliance & Safety
– Developing Content & Information Architecture
– Increasing Demand Generation and Growing the Pipeline
– Scaling Revenue Objectives and Sales Operations Imperatives

Remove the Barriers by Collaborating and Enabling Knowledge Sharing

One of many examples exists between customers and sales, with key contributors including marketing, product teams, communications, pre-sales, and related key stakeholders.

For Industry 4.0, collaboration represents a core component successful business outcomes. The challenge is to recognize the need to optimize the information architecture and user experience, with a ONE CLICK goal to help users quickly gain access to the right information at the right time.

Here’s an interesting Account Executive example…

WSS can help you pinpoint which SAP Collaboration approach is best for your organization, and develop a Quick Start program to ensure rapid results and a longer term plan for continuity and success.

7 Career Insights from SAP Mentors & Champions for the Next-Gen

Originally published on the SAP Community

Now is a great time to pursue that high quality job that puts technology and related business skills and interests into action.

The tech sector’s long-term outlook continues to grow with many compelling career opportunities both now and into the future.

With the demand for reliable, skilled business and IT workers on the rise, now’s the time to write down your vision of a great position and set a path forward.

Unquestionably, SAP is one of the best career options. With over 105,000 employees, 22,000 partners, and a customer base generating 87% of total global commerce in over 180 countries, there are many opportunities.

Of course, there is competition for the best jobs, and you want to be prepared to get traction versus settling for just any position. So, what’s the best approach?

The SAP Community, with over 3 million users, recently published Spotlight Interviews with SAP Mentors who are top influencers representing customers, partners, and consultants.

In their interviews, the Community team asked the Mentors for their advice and insights for students and recent graduates to secure SAP and related IT and business jobs to help jumpstart their careers.

Top 7 SAP Mentor Insights

1. Learning is the “Secret Sauce”

Paul Hardy: My advice to young people just starting out in IT is a “secret sauce” which is not so secret. It’s simply this – take a little time each week outside of work to learn new things. If you spend even half an hour each week, you will be half an hour up on all the people who just play computer games or watch Netflix in their spare time.

Narasimha (Simha) Magal – The core advise is always the same: Technologies change constantly, so students must be lifelong learners. However, knowledge of how a technology works is never sufficient. What is critical is to understand why a particular technology is useful to an organization and be able to use the technologies to improve business processes.

Karen Rodrigues: First, improve skills as needed and fill gaps you have in relation to the new area you want to work in. Also, make sure you have a mentor, a person who can support you in this journey. Finally, make sure you understand that you will need to work hard to achieve what you want.

2. Build a Network

Peter Langner: Take the chance to build a network during your studies. Look for educational opportunities around your interests. Regarding SAP, there are training and certification possibilities for students which cost very little money. Take advantage of openSAP courses, visit SAP Community Inside Track events, and connect with experts and experienced professionals. Find a coach or advisor by looking out for them at a user group of your country.

Derek Loranca: Networking is still key, so finding and participating in community-centric data events (like hackathons or user group meetings) allows students to meet and greet with professionals.

3. Find Mentors and Coaches

Heather Hill: Don’t be afraid to ask for help along the way. Mentors and coaches can help you grow not only your technical skills but your soft skills as well.

4. Hands on Experience is Key

Abdulbasit Gulsen: I can assure that making a small effort in the beginning to get hands on experience, will make a big difference and positively impact your career journey.

5. A Balance Between Humanity and Technology Creates Opportunity

Robert Eijpe: The possibilities with technology in the digital age are moving fast. There needs to become a new balance between humanity on one side, and intelligence, machinery, and artificial intelligence on the other side.

6. The Need for Integration

Daniel Graversen: There will always be a need for integration because more systems will always pop up. I talk to a lot of people about ABAP (Advanced Business Application Programming), SAP integration, and business process career opportunities.

7. Be Curious. Have a Great Attitude.

Tamas Szirtes: It’s about being curious, passionate, building a habit to learn and share, going the extra mile, and selecting a matching career strategy.

Graham Robinson: First, you need to be curious – and act on it. Second, you need to be a true professional. That means properly learning and constantly improving your skills. It also means acting professionally and with integrity.

Simon To: I have always advised new graduates to focus on or to develop quality problem-solving skills. That is the most sought-after skillset. The CEO of one of my previous employers has told us this: “Hire for Attitude and Train for Skill.” That is so true.

What inspires you when you think about SAP and related careers?

Please share your comments below.

Useful Links

RISE with SAP and Capgemini: Spotlight Interview with David Lowson

Originally published on the SAP Community

Many organizations are assessing the best ways to address digital transformation holistically.

SAP and Capgemini are teaming with customers around the globe as trusted partners, to go beyond technical migration, and address intelligent business processes and new business models as part of the RISE with SAP initiative.

Capgemini’s Renewable Enterprise with SAP S/4HANA approach which is designed to put the user experience at the center. It uses modern approaches such as Artificial Intelligence (AI) and embedded analytics, DevOps, Cloud architecture, APIs and Microservices to help organizations reimagine themselves, unlock business value, and outpace competition.

Recently I had the pleasure to meet David Lowson, Capgemini’s head of SAP Center of Excellence (COE) Europe, to learn more about his journey and views related to RISE with SAP and the digital core.

Philippe Schmitt (PS): What inspired you to get into the field of consulting and high tech?

David Lowson (DL): When I worked in high-tech, I found I was a very poor engineer so when I had an opportunity to work on an enterprise resource planning (ERP) project, I took it. This experience proved I was quite good at this kind of work and is why I made the move to consultancy.

PS: In your blog Consumer Intelligence Products and Retail Therapy, you shared, “As countries around the world reopen, we observe four priority themes emerging with consumer products: sustainability, digitalization, efficiency, diversification.” How does the RISE with SAP initiative enable these themes based on Capgemini’s expertise?

 RISE with SAP reinforces many of the messages we have been giving to the market about the renewable enterprise, a standard core, savvy use of a cloud infrastructure and application program interface (API) led architectures. These features have been provoking more activity in the market and shifting SAP to be a platform for digital transformation.

PS: You presented at the SAP Global Partner Summit and shared that you, “believe SAP needed to launch the RISE initiative to remain relative for digital transformation for the next 25 years.” What makes this initiative so impactful to the success of customers?

DL: SAP and Capgemini are in position to address business process redesign, technical migration, and building the intelligent enterprise in one package to simplifies customers’ journey. By focusing on innovation and differentiation taking place in the SAP Business Technology Platform surrounding it, the RISE initiative is a clear statement of the importance of providing accelerated business outcomes with integration, data to value, and extensibility. It opens the door to exciting new consumption models.

PS: You’ve recently commented that the market has responded positively to RISE with SAP. Can you share one or two examples of this positive reaction from Capgemini customers?

DL: As you can appreciate, I can only speak of overall projects vs. individual projects. We have started RISE based projects all over the world. With the use of the RISE model, I have seen customers become more confident that we can deliver and provide a standard core, as well as an architecture that does not build technical debt.

PS: When Capgemini refers to the Renewable Enterprise with SAP S/4HANA, it refers to the “S Curve of Innovation” and Intelligent Technologies such as Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning, Internet of Things, Block Chain, and the Customer Experience power by data and driven by people. What are one or two examples of how customers are adopting these intelligent technologies to support their customers and keep a competitive advantage?

DL: There are so many user cases, and we keep a library of them available for our clients and partners to access. They are also published every week by our innovation leader, Alex Bulat, Chief Technology & Innovation Officer of Global SAP Business, but the two I would pick out are:

  • Servitisation – Where clients move from selling products to selling services. Think of a connected car or washing as a service; this is a perfect solution for the new away of thinking. Multiple products orchestrated to deliver new digital businesses that flex as the market develops.
  • Sustainability – So many of our large engagements are driven by this concept, especially the desire to operate in new, low carbon markets. This requires greater connectivity, artificial intelligence (AI), use of data and a fast-agile core.

PS: When students and recent graduates contact you for informational insights what guidance do you give for them to pursue a career in consulting and high tech?

DL: I see SAP consulting as a three-legged stool:

  • Be nice and have good people skills
  • Know about the industry you’re working in
  • Learn about SAP products and solutions

A company like Capgemini can provide the third bullet, but the other two can be done on your own. Also, read business papers and the SAP website at least once a week. Do a bit more to engage with and understand the direction of the company and products that stand out.

Thank you for sharing comments on the Renewable Enterprise, Digital Transformation, or advanced Intelligent Technologies.

Please post any feedback below.

Useful Links

• SAP S/4HANA Cloud
• RISE with SAP
• SAP Analytics Cloud
• SAP Machine Learning and Artificial Intelligence

SAP Champions & SAP Mentors Spotlight Interviews

Check out the SAP Spotlight Interviews which combine a combination of videos and Q&A format. These blogs help showcase SAP Community experts and advocates. View >>

SAP Mentor Spotlight Interview: SAP Learning

Originally published on the SAP Community

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

Empowering Transformative Outcomes Through Continuous Learning

Staying on the cutting-edge during times of change is more important than ever. One of the keys to success is the lifelong pursuit of knowledge and learning.

As business, technology, and user experiences change, there are a wide range of ways to continually refresh existing skills, acquire new ones, and evolve new ways to think about business and IT challenges.

To reflect on how to take advantage of SAP and SAP Community learning resources, Max Wessel, EVP & Chief Learning Officer at SAP, caught up with Tammy Powlas, Senior Business Analyst at Fairfax Water and SAP Mentor, to discuss what role learning has played in her life, and how she has furthered her knowledge through the SAP Community.

During their session they discussed:

  • Enabling learning, whether experiential on the job, or formal learning to help one progress in their career.
  • Adapting to many changes given the realities of the last year to address digital transformation and embrace the importance of continuous learning.
  • Pressing one’s skills; pushing forward to take expertise to the next level.
  • Turning to the SAP community to get inspired and engage in peer-to-peer learning.
  • Assessing RISE with SAP and how members of the SAP Community can keep their digital transformation initiatives moving forward.

As Max shared during the session, “When driving transformation, the more value we bring to the table, the more guidance we can deliver that helps people step forward, the better it is for all of us.

SAP and the SAP Community provide many learning resources to support building knowledge, driving innovation, and staying agile.

How do you learn? Let us know in the comments below!

Related Links

Why CEOs Should Care About SAP Work Zone Collaboration During Challenging Times

Originally published in the SAP Community.

Almost every CEO and their leadership teams are attempting to figure out how to make their business more efficient during the COVID-era which is a big pivot from business as usual.

When we look back at the 2008 global recession there were many lessons learned.In 2020 and beyond, this pandemic has even greater impact to employees, customers, suppliers, and partners.

Everyone is affected around the world. Collaborating is more important than ever. Working remotely is our new reality both now and by way of preparedness going forward.

Many key priorities are impacted including:

  • Crisis Communications
  • Upskilling and Learning Hubs
  • Digital Supply Chain
  • Re-positioning Products & Services
  • Regulatory Compliance & Safety
  • And other important use cases

What we are seeing is that CEOs and their teams should take the time during this crisis to sow the seeds for lasting change by assessing how SAP Jam can be part of their immediate and future readiness roadmap to support business continuity.

Many high priority business processes, use cases and/or scenarios are fragmented. With SAP Jam, organizations can have a central hub to make it easier for users to find the right information at the right time.

Solutions such as video conferencing, instant messaging and team-based chat do not solve the challenge of providing a platform to collaborate, engage, re-train staff and enable the business process that impact value and tangible outcomes.

In speaking to customers they continue to use SAP Jam to achieve tangible results reflected in a Forrester Report, “The Total Economic Impact of SAP Jam” sighting:

  • 16% decrease in time-to-access of information and expertise
  • 19% reduction in the cost and time to train and onboard new employees who need key information
  • 14% faster time-to-resolution for internal team support issues and FAQs enabling faster expansion of the business
  • 10% reduction in time to close deals by providing go-to-market and supporting wins as part of the sales process shaving off time across all team members involved in deal development

For those organizations who were part of this study (& others) information, data, and expertise which was once siloed and difficult to access and share widely across the enterprise, can now be found and put into action by way of a centralized collaboration platform.

During a pandemic there is a lot of uncertainty. Organizations’ ability to share ideas and connect, communicate, collaborate, and engage employees, customers, and stakeholders with the right information and processes is more important than ever.

In an era where we’re all forced to transform to a “new normal,” SAP Jam collaboration helps customers address business continuity during this time of change.

About the Author

Richard D. Blumberg is the President of World Sales Solutions, LLC (WSS) and an SAP Jam consulting services practice leader. He provides over 2 decades of thought leadership on a variety of “View from the Top” strategies including: Enterprise Social Business, Go-to-Market Strategies, Business Development, Talent Development, and Community Building.  He and his team are recognized SAP Jam global experts for implementations, innovation, and adoption.

Related SAP Jam Announcements: 

Purpose-Driven Design for the SAP Build Work Zone Digital Learning User Experience

Written by Elle Savage on the SAP Community.

When deploying SAP Build Work Zone and related SAP HR/Learning solutions, there is a great need for design solutions that are positioned to support business processes and add value to the user’s experience.

The challenge is to create high-quality graphic designs that turn ideas and missions into visuals that engage and excite employees, customers, partners, and other stakeholders, while also optimizing the business objective.

According to a recent McKinsey Quarterly study, “The Business Value of Design,” companies that address all four of the following design priorities are rare, but those that have, reported increased revenues and total stakeholders returns compared to their counterparts. These four key elements include:

  • Analytics – Bringing data to life
  • Cross-Functional Teams & Talent – Enabling visuals to go beyond the silos of a respective group or organization
  • Continuous Iteration – Continued review, improvement, maintenance, and testing to optimize the user experience
  • User Experience – Design a seamless user experience that adds value to their business requirements

In order to achieve the best user experience, designers must be closely aligned with a project’s business leaders and subject matter experts to ensure they understand the mission and design with purpose.

Assessment of the Design-Driven Maturity Curve

Purpose-driven design should be an integral part of a project’s strategy from day one. In today’s increasingly digital world, users have come to expect an interface that is both attractive and easy to use.

There are many corporate tools at our fingertips to satisfy this expectation such as company libraries of images, icons, videos, font guidelines, etc., which should be leveraged to develop standards, repeatable processes, and efficiencies. Still, it is highly recommended that a project’s core team includes a design professional who understands how to maximize the benefits of available design elements.

Setting high-quality standards, per the “Design-Driven Maturity Curve,” sends a message to your audience that a SAP Build Work Zone custom home page or group landing page is valuable, credible, properly maintained, and well thought out.

What is the SAP Build Work Zone Design Value?

Throughout a project’s development, it is important to recognize design as a priority versus as an afterthought. The most forward-thinking organizations will strive to make it a substantive part of their activities because they see the value of design at both a strategic and tactical level.

Designing an intuitive user experience will increase efficiencies and generate higher value by enabling site visitors to quickly navigate the interface and find essential information, therefore optimizing businesses processes.At the same time, the interface must maintain the organization’s brand and messaging throughout the experience.

While a high-quality UI (User Interface) fulfills a user’s wants by delivering an attractive digital environment, an excellent UX (User Experience) fulfills their needs by allowing them to efficiently complete the task they set out to do quickly and with ease.

The Delivery Methodology for Optimizing Design Elements

When building a new digital learning community, group, or site, it is vital that the delivery methodology has user testing baked in to the team’s approach from the start (“Initiate” and “Assess”) to finish (“Deploy,” “Post-go-live,” and “Adoption”). Taking an agile approach allows project leaders to incorporate users’ feedback throughout development in order to create the best user experience possible.

Incorporating a Purpose-Driven Design Approach

Business process mapping enables teams to understand the project requirements and objectives before developing the interface design.

When key participants come and go from the project, there should be guidelines in place, by way of standardization, procedures, and protocols, that can be leveraged while still maintaining the team’s ability to be creative.

Organizations and teams that prioritize design addressing the four key elements discussed (Analytics, Cross-Functional Teams & Talent, Continuous Iteration, and User Experience) as a core part of their strategy outperform groups that take a more ad-hoc or even intermediate design level approach.

A purpose-driven design combined with the proper delivery methodology streamlines organization operations, which allow business leaders, subject matter experts, and contributors to focus on creating high-quality content, boosting productivity, and providing a consistent, impactful user experience.


  • “4 key stats on the importance of design for business.” Adobe Blogs. Harmer, Tony. October 2015.
  • “The Business Value of Design.” McKinsey & Company. Sheppard, Benedict; Sarrazin, Hugo; Kouyoumjian, Garen; Dore, Fabricio. October 2018.
  • “The Value of Design.” Design Management Institute.

Podcast: A Converation wtih Drexel LeBow Career Services

Enjoyed discussing Careers & Professional Development with Kelly Deilly, Drexel LeBow Career Services & Strategist.  Check it  out.

Together we shared insights on best practices, lessons learned, and insights on landing great jobs. What’s the process? What does it take to find success and new opportunities?