May The Bridges I Burn Light The Way – I am Joining SAP !


First things first – I am not really burning any bridges 🙂

“Burning bridges” is usually construed as a negative thing – but I mean this in the most positive way. To move forward, I need to let go of parts of my past career. I will also be reusing most of what I learned so far.

That being said, after seven years of working in the global SAP consulting practice at IBM – today I have submitted my resignation to my manager. I have accepted the role of Global Vice President at SAP Labs, and will be working in The Technology and Innovation Platform team (known to friends and family as TIP) , which is Vishal Sikka’s Board area. Words cannot adequately express how happy and excited I am to join this amazing team.

I have been thinking about a change in my career direction for a while now. I decided about 6 months ago that I wanted a change from a traditional consulting career, and move to a software company. SAP of course was a natural choice given I have worked in that field all my life. To my delight, Vishal offered to hire me with IBM’s concurrence. I owe a lot to John Leffler, my boss at IBM, who was totally supportive of me moving to SAP. I am extremely lucky to have a mentor like John. I decided to stay in IBM till end of 2012 to finish all my commitments here, and start the new year at SAP. January 7th, 2013 will be my first day at SAP.

IBM has been an awesome employer for me. I had a lot of diverse assignments, and worked in 3 continents in my tenure there. My last job as the head of forward engineering was probably the most rewarding. In this role – my team and I were able to take cutting edge innovations from SAP and IBM to our customers. I will miss working with Gagan and the gang, but I am sure I will have an opportunity to partner with them in my new job too. The three biggest lessons I take with me from IBM, as I step into SAP are
1. Talent only wins games, Teamwork wins championships .
2. One needs multiple mentors to have a rewarding professional life
3. Investing in ecosystem relationships is the smart thing to do

Details of my new job are still being worked out – but the general idea is to SAP scale its innovations, and reach a large number of customers and users. My dream is for SAP to be able to run a victory lap someday in foreseeable future with a slogan “Earth Runs SAP”. I strongly believe SAP has the potential to touch the life of majority of the world’s population every day in some form in a few years. Between its smart employees, loyal customers and its extensive ecosystem – I think this is a goal worth attempting ( and for my cynical friends – I’ll add, OR DIE TRYING 🙂 )

I do plan to continue to post on this blog as usual. As you probably know – I blog about pretty much anything that takes my fancy – software, music, food, sports, politics, economics – they are all fair game. Hey, I might even write something about IBM from time to time 🙂

Right out of college, till now, I have always worked for an SI. I have never worked for a software company before. So a part of me is worried whether I will add enough value to SAP. But then, this is an area I know well for many years, and I am still a hands on techie ( for the most part, that is . I am sure someone in my team might contest this notion ). And I know a lot of people at SAP, including several who work in TIP. So I know who to call for help, and I am never shy. So the other part of me thinks I can come up to speed reasonably quickly. I will keep you folks posted on how I manage.

I have been considered an SAP influencer and blogger for some time now. Obviously Mike Prosceno has to kick me out of his program now. It will be fun to see my blogger colleagues on the other side of the table going forward. Knowing them as well as I do, I don’t expect them to cut me a lot of slack with their questions 🙂

There are a large number of friends at SAP who gave me generous amounts of their time in the last couple of months, as I bombarded them with questions on how various things work at SAP. I can’t thank them enough. I am not going to take any names – but you know who you are, and please know that I am very grateful for all your help and guidance.

Last but not least – many thanks to my friends and mentors Vishal Sikka, Abdul Razack and Sanjay Poonen for the opportunity to work in their team. I truly appreciate that.

Wish me luck !

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94 Comments Add yours

  1. sdcrmbo says:

    Hi Vijay. Great blog.
    One suggestion : can the blogs be time and date stamped.? An irregular reader like myself can make better sense of the blogs when I know what date and time they were published on.
    Thanks

    Like

    1. Thanks – every blog has an automatic date stamp at the bottom

      Like

  2. Venkat says:

    This is great news. Wish you all the best in this and in all future endeavors.

    Like

  3. Usha Jayapal says:

    Hearty Congratulations, Vijay!
    Good luck and I am very sure that you will do immensely well in your new role.

    Like

  4. Many times SAP experts are also little bit confused or have different opinions of what the column ‘Initial Values’ in the ‘Fields’. This type of issues are not easy to sort out but you explain it very well in this blog.

    Like

  5. VT says:

    Hi Vijay

    What ever small interactions we have had I was confident that I have developed a contact who could help me demonstrate true value of IBM to people we serve ( you know). One fine day on ST you forwarded this link. At first a had surge of sadness + Shock but at the same time felt happy for you. While you take on “Earth Runs SAP” , wish you all the best.

    Enjoy your break and have a good time ahead.
    God Bless
    VT

    Like

    1. Thanks Vikas . I am not going that far – pls don’t hesitate to ping me if there is something I can help with

      Like

  6. Vijay.
    Really interesting. The best of luck at SAP.

    Like

  7. Vijay,
    Welcome to SAP. It sounds like it will be a mutual gain when you join us here in TIP. Let’s meet the next time you are in Palo Alto.

    Like

    1. Thanks Peter – looking fwd to meeting you
      I will be in PA on 1/7

      Like

  8. Valmiki says:

    Vijay, Wish you all the very best in your new role.

    Like

  9. Welcome to the team !

    Like

  10. Howard says:

    Good decision stayoing till end of December Vijay. You get your 401K match. LOL

    Like

    1. haha..that is only for next year, not for 2012

      Like

  11. Venkat Gururajan says:

    Hearty congratulations Vijay. I believe this is the right place for you and solutioning/consulting takes only second. Best wishes..!

    Like

  12. Gopee Appooppan says:

    3Congrats!SAP’s really fortunate to have my ‘grand’ son during this Recession.May all your days&holidays sparkle with happiness.My murappen Vijayakkan’d ‘ve been the happiest.She’s proud of her only grandson.An embrace to E-Annan&Girija &love to Chippi,Ravi,Dhanya,Shreya&Madhav.
    GOD BLESS!

    Like

    1. Thanks much – Vijayammoomma wud have been proud

      Like

  13. Graham Robbo says:

    Congratulations Vijay. I am sure you will make this next phase of your career just as outstanding a success as those that have preceded it.

    Like

    1. Thanks mate – very kind

      Like

  14. Vitaliy says:

    Good luck! (As requested 😉

    Like

    1. Thanks – and glad you obliged 😉

      Like

  15. Abhishek Singh says:

    Congratulations Vijay. Great news. I am sure you will do great.

    Abhi

    Sent from my iPhone

    Like

  16. Congrats Vijay. Looking forward to reading your blogs from the other perspective.

    Like

  17. Vasanth S says:

    SAP Labs must be a real dream for everyone. Your initiative as inspiring us to do more to get into SAP Labs.

    I love your tweets. Keep tweeting and keep rocking.

    All the best!

    Best,
    Vasanth S

    Like

  18. Wow.. Hearty Congratulations… Wishing all the best to continue with your contribution, expertise , innovation and great blogging ..Best wishes …

    Sivaprasad

    Like

  19. cloudubq says:

    Vijay, Congratulations and best of luck. Your talents and attitude will be sorely missed at IBM. I know several members of your team that will step up. You left a strong legacy. I’m sure you will make great contributions at SAP. I look forward to watching your next great step. And of course, remaining strong partner and friend.

    Like

    1. Thanks Chuck – would not have been possible but for the constant encouragement from mentors like you. I am totally looking forward to partnering with you in my new role. And of course, it is an honor to have you as a friend

      Like

  20. Sesha Srinivas Atchyutuni says:

    Congrats Vijay and welcome to SAP

    Like

  21. Anirudha Ghosh says:

    Hi Vijay,

    Congrats and wish you all the best for the new role.

    Regards,
    Ani

    Like

  22. Hello Vijay- It’s really a very good news.. I wish you all the very best and good luck again. I am sure that you will make a difference in SAP Labs with all your strength and knowledge.. Kudos to you..

    Reg
    Siva

    Like

  23. Super happy for you and for SAP.
    Also happy that another SAP Mentor gets the recognition he deserves.
    All kudos to Marilyn Pratt who discovered you as the exceptional contributor to SCN that you were and nudged me into making you an SAP Mentor.

    Like

    1. Thanks Mark – Marilyn and You have done a lot for me. I am very grateful that I get to have you both as friends

      Like

      1. That feels like too much credit. We have an expression, “your reputation precedes you”. When one has integrity, courage, vision, humility and compassion it gets recognized. How could it not?

        Like

      2. Very kind if u to say that,Marilyn

        Like

  24. VIjay,

    Welcome to #SAP! I enjoyed your non-burned bridge post with one exception. Your vision of “Earth Runs SAP” might be too small. What about “Universe Runs SAP”?

    Regards,
    Jonathan
    @jbecher

    Like

    1. Thanks Jonathan !

      About Earth vs Universe, I am a man on small dreams – aim small, miss small 🙂

      Cheers
      Vijay

      Like

    2. Vitaliy says:

      Jonathan, not just a universe, but “parallel universe” too 😉

      Like

  25. Mahes says:

    Hi Vijay,

    Congratulations and Good luck with your new job at SAP.

    Please continue your blog without any interruptions 🙂

    Regards,
    Mahesh

    Like

    1. Thanks Mahesh – the blog will be kept alive

      Like

  26. Vijay…

    I have mixed emotions today. You have been a tremendous inspiration to me in my career and a terrific mentor within the SAP Industry. So I am definitely going to miss our day to day interaction at IBM and our constant discussions, debates etc. You also gave me a tremendous opportunity by discovering me from within the ocean and showing a great career path. Some of our team achievements at IBM over past 2 years have truly been amazing & this is an extremely proud accomplishments. I cant emphasize enough what a TREMENDOUS asset you have been to IBM. But I strongly support change for the better.

    I am truly very excited for you in your new role. Based on what I have read and heard from you I don’t think anyone in the industry can do this role better than you. And you can count on all the support from your supporters, fans and followers to make this initiative a strong success.

    So I don’t view this as a loss to IBM or a win to SAP. I think this is a WIN for the entire SAP industry. I wish you the very best and look forward to doing a lot of new SAP innovations with you in the future.

    Regards
    Gagan

    Like

    1. Many thanks Gagan – I will miss you a lot in my new job.
      But pls dont be a stranger

      Like

  27. Afser says:

    Wow! Great ! No words to say! Wish you Good luck

    Like

    1. Hey Afser – many thanks

      Like

  28. Stacey says:

    Congratulations & Welcome Vijay!!!! This is the most exciting news and a fansinating way to start 2013!!!! Sad you will not be part of the program but this is fantastic for all of us!!! Let me know if and how I can help.

    Like

    1. Many thanks Stacey. Trust me I will be taking you up on your offer to help

      Like

  29. Wow.. this is a big news but to be honest I am not surprised at all. SAP is managing to attract great talent and to be working in SAP Labs must be a real dream. I have to say that I am sad to see a great colleague leave but I am very happy to know that I will have a new friend in SAP Labs. I know that your spirit will be a great add-on for SAP Labs and I can only say Congratuliations to both of you !!!!!

    Best of Luck is not needed since you have more than what is needed to succeed.

    All the best from Madrid
    Carsten

    Like

    1. Gracias Carsten – I won’t be a stranger on the other side. I appreciate our friendship a lot. Happy holidays, my friend

      Like

  30. Mike says:

    Well I’ve been thinking of kicking you out of the program for some time now… You’ve just made that easy on me! So,thank you… : )

    In all seriousness, we couldn’t be happier for you. Welcome to SAP! We’re exceptionally happy to that you’re now part of the SAP family and we wish you all the best.

    Like

    1. Many thanks Mike – pls say hi to Andrea and Stacey for me too. And pls make sure those blogger dudes only say good things, and ask soft ball questions 🙂

      Like

      1. Mike says:

        Will do for Andrea and Stacey! As for the second part? I’m sure that will be a more difficult task.

        Like

  31. Huge news! Congratulations, Vijay! SAP is very lucky to have you!

    Like

    1. Thanks my friend – it’s funny you came over to big blue and I decided to go to SAP all in a matter of months .

      Like

  32. lfrancisconi says:

    WOW , that is awesome news Vijay! Very Happy for you. Years ago, I had in min mind that there would be only one company I would work for again, and that would be SAP. Good for you man.
    Looking forward to new interactions, now seeing you from the other side of the table… 😉

    Like

  33. Karin Tillotson says:

    Congratulations Vijay!

    Like

  34. golasalle says:

    Oh my!

    Seriously though- heartiest congratulations and best wishes! I’m glad to read that both employers were mutually supportive, too. What a refreshing change from the usual bridge burning. Best of luck, my friend!

    Like

    1. Very kind – thanks buddy !

      It was an eye opening experience for me to see how executives at both companies went through this process without any drama

      Like

  35. Dinesh says:

    Congrats Vijay !!! Wish you all the best..

    Like

  36. Martin Hagelstrom says:

    Sad news for us the rest of IBMers, but I am very happy for you. I am sure your experience as a SI and critical views as a blogger would add a lot of value at SAP. With you all the best. Congratulations.

    Like

  37. Pratik says:

    Great news, best of luck for the days ahead.

    Like

  38. Sanjeev says:

    I am glad to hear that. All the best. You will do well as always.

    Like

  39. Wish you all the best Vijay . you are the man who makes things to happen, One more great addon to SAP .

    I really miss working under your guidance, I pray god to once again provide an opportunity to work with you 🙂

    Anyway hearty congratulations to you 🙂

    Like

    1. Thanks Naveen – it was amazing working with you on icost . Lets meet next time I am in India

      Like

  40. Congrats Vijay. Happy for you and all the very best.

    Like

    1. anwar says:

      Congrats Vijay , all the best in your new role at SAP .

      I hope one day to join SAP AG .

      Like

  41. Now that’s called a great news!!! Wish you all the very best in your new role.
    Normally resignations are kept secret untill the very last day of notice Period, I am glad that you have broken that myth as well.

    I hope you will be based in Palo Alto. Wish you come back to India:)..untill then keep writing!

    Regards,
    Harshit

    Like

    1. Thanks Harshit

      I am sure I will have an opportunity to work in India too , and I am looming fwd to meeting u

      Lets bust a few more myths 😉

      Like

      1. Kumar Mayuresh says:

        Congrats sir, all the best for your new role >> say life. 🙂

        Hope to see you in India soon.
        Keep writing and yes will love to some blog WRT IBM 😉

        Best Regards
        Kumar Mayuresh

        Like

  42. Wow – congrats Vijay – fantastic news – delighted for you.

    Like

    1. jtcarboni says:

      Welcome!!! So glad to have you on our team! Lets catch up sometime. I was at Deloitte for 9 years prior to joining SAP. There’s are some big differences between SIs and SAP. 😉

      Like

      1. Thanks Jeanne – looming fwd to catching up .

        Like

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