SAPPHIRENOW 2012 – Interview with John J Leffler of IBM

Added: 1/6/2015 John Passed away on 3rd January, 2015 in an unfortunate accident, while vacationing with his family. My tribute to him can be found here

Most of you know that I work at IBM. IBM is probably the biggest partner of SAP globally – on Hardware, Software and Services. I have spent a good part of my SAP consulting career in IBM Global Business Services, and I have several mentors who are IBM executives. I have looked up to them for many years, and have derived a lot of value from their insights. I was curious to see if these folks would be open to share their perspective with the larger ecosystem so that a few others can get the benefits that I got by listening to them analyze the SAP market, and explain their views on career growth. Of course there is an aspect of IBM getting some potential good press as a result, which I don’t deny for a second.

I reached out to one of my favorite leaders – John Leffler, to see if he has an interest in such an initiative. He agreed in a heartbeat, and we decided to shoot this while we were at SAPPHIRENOW 2012 in Orlando, FL. Kristina Ferrari , another IBMer and dear friend volunteered to shoot it with her flip cam.  It is an unedited version – and an amateur production 🙂

John Leffler is the Managing Partner for IBM’s North American SAP consulting  practice and takes care of our relationship with some of the top customers globally, and used to run the global practice till very recently. He has been in the SAP field longer than any one else I know, and has seen the SAP consulting market evolve from its first days. John grew his career from being a functional consultant, and then as Project manager and then a regional leader and about 12 years ago, he started leading the whole practice across the world.

John is big about differentiation in the market – and hence he readily throws all his weight behind the innovation agenda of our SAP practice. I can vouch first hand how much support he has given to the practitioners who explore innovative ideas in the realm of SAP solutions. John is a great supporter of co-innovation between SAP and IBM, and have actively sponsored several such initiatives in the past.

So without boring you any more with my commentary, here is the interview . Let me know what you think. If you have questions for John, let me know and I will try to find answer.

Here is a bonus video where John and I discuss how to develop an SAP consulting career in IBM. I originally shot this right after the video above for my colleagues in IBM’s SAP practice. But I thought there is enough material in this to pick the interest of folks outside IBM too.

I am planning to do a few more of these with IBM and SAP executives going forward, if I see an interest from you folks.


Published by Vijay Vijayasankar

Son/Husband/Dad/Dog Lover/Engineer. Follow me on twitter @vijayasankarv. These blogs are all my personal views - and not in way related to my employer or past employers

13 thoughts on “SAPPHIRENOW 2012 – Interview with John J Leffler of IBM

  1. Enjoyed the interviews. Thank you for sharing your knowledge and experience. I agree – video quality was fine. 🙂


  2. Very interesting comments on past present and future of SAP from two senior experienced time travellers. It is very hearty to see IBM invest the time and talent to establish a co-operative environment within and with SAP. Growth potential as presented makes people like me to take that extra leap to always keep chanting one mantra ” LEARN – INNOVATE – CONTRIBUTE – GROW”.


  3. Vijay, I recently moved from portal to basis and SUP community..needless to say i could have done this only here where i am presented an option to choose the areas that excite and challenge me…also goes without mentioning that we at ibm are truly happy to have worked with you and continue to derive inspiration and guidance from the knowledge you share with the wider community..thanks again for sharing these videos !!! looking forward for many more to speak in this forum..


  4. Thanks a ton for sharing these videos Vijay.We are blessed to have SAP mentors like you at IBM and the SAP Consulting opportunities here are endless 🙂


  5. Awesome conversation with John. And so interesting to know about innovation from SAP and IBM joining hands together. Congratulations to you too :). Wish to see more of such videos and thanks for sharing.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: