Book Review – Winners Dream: A Journey from Corner Store to Corner Office, by Bill McDermott


Today is the 5th anniversary of this blog – just got that notification from WordPress, as I was finishing this book by Bill McDermott . It is a great read and there were plenty of little nuggets of wisdom in this book that I found very useful.

It is fascinating to read that Bill knew very early in his career that he wanted to be the CEO of a large company. Not many people I know – including many who are big company CEOs today – have had that realization of their destiny till much later in their career. Even before I read the chapter on how he met his wife and how great she has been as the CEO of his family, I knew he had a fantastic support system. For someone to have a career like him, that is a basic necessity . My own limited accomplishments in my career would not happened without the sacrifices and support of my wife. And consequently I could relate to his pain of dealing with his wife’s fight against cancer, and his elation when she successfully defeated the disease. I have never met Bill’s wife – but I look forward to meeting her one day, hopefully with my wife.

Bill is a sales machine and he is a master of corporate theatre – that is a good combination for a CEO. He is impeccably groomed at all times and the book clearly tells me that is his DNA. He feels comfortable in formal attire – and there are some former bosses at IBM I know who are like that. It clearly works for him – it is part of how he earns and shows respect. I can clearly see how this has influenced the people around him – for the most part, they are all impeccably groomed too.

His penchant for pageantry is something he is unapologetic about throughout the book. This is one area where I am not convinced that it is a sure shot strategy for success, especially at SAP where a lot of staff is of the non-sales type. SAP has an annual field kick off meeting and an annual developer kick off meeting. The former is all about luxury, the latter is all about frugality. To the best of my knowledge there is no equivalent of winners circle for the good people who build all the cool things SAP salesforce sells to get to winners circle. I would seriously urge Bill to look at that side of the house too. The solution might not be a winners circle for developers – but it is something for the CEO of a tech company to spend some attention on.

I absolutely love the emphasis he puts on developing people around him. He is all about team and helping remove roadblocks in their path . That is not some hollow talk – I know this to be true first hand. Towards the end of my tenure at SAP – I emailed Bill about something I needed to discuss with him. In the weird matrix that SAP is organized, I did not report into him. I was part of the engineering side of the house. In less than two minutes – I had a call back from Bill to get into a plane and go talk to him the next Monday. That meeting was amazing – I had his undivided attention and he offered two solutions and a follow up meeting to discuss how things were progressing. Couple of months later, I ran into him at Palo Alto – and he came and asked me for an update.

When I left SAP – he said two things. First he asked me if there is anything he can do to make me stay ( there was not , and I had already given my word to my new boss). Second he asked me to get settled at MongoDB and ping him back on how SAP can work with my new company. And when I pinged him back in a couple of months – he (and my great friend Steve Lucas) made the collaboration work, resulting in Lumira and Data Services now having interoperability with MongoDB.

Bill says in the book that when he took on as President of North America, he had a condition that Germany did not micromanage him from across the pond. I am glad that they did not. But this is an area where I think SAP is not letting Bill perform to his full potential. SAP organization is all about extreme checks and balances. There are three boards – managing board, executive board and supervisory board. Bill is part of the executive board, as are the heads of sales, products, support etc. I think Bill will be way more impactful in his job if he were a CEO in a more traditional capacity, like how IBM, GE etc operate. At this point – the one person who can decide across the board is Hasso as the chairman of supervisory board. And of course there is only one Hasso – there is not another person like him on the planet. But when he retires – I hope they give Bill a traditional CEO role.

Also – prior to Bill taking over SAP Americas, he says they went through 5 leaders in quick succession. It looks like that history kind of repeated after Bill moved to bigger roles at SAP too. Just shows what a hard job that is.

I enjoyed reading about the acquisitions of Sybase, Ariba, Hybris and SuccessFactors. While I think SAP significantly over paid for most companies it bought, and the integration with the mother ship was not smooth – I absolutely think they were strategic to SAP.

Sybase was acquired as a mobility company – but mobile business never really flourished at SAP ( I think SAP should have acquired a few more companies to have a meaningful shot at mobile business, and maybe they should have tried harder to keep Sanjay Poonen to run it ). But in the bargain – they got some very talented database people which helped the cause for Hana.

Similarly I do not think that SuccessFactors changed SAP DNA all that much – but SAP never would have become a known name in cloud without buying them. Ariba is an all around fantastic buy – and probably the most strategic amongst the four. Hybris, similarly is a pretty good addition to SAP’s portfolio. In all four cases- I appreciate how Bill trusted their CEOs upfront during the M&A process, even while knowing none of them will stick around.  It is a good reminder that business is always done between two people and not two companies.

Now a few things I wish the book spent some coverage on. May be there is a second biography later that will cover all of these.

1. I did expect some light to be shed on the influence of Vishal Sikka on SAP – but there were just some passing references.

2. Since Bill is all about developing a generation of leaders, I wish he spent some time talking about succession planning. There are amazing leaders under him like Rob Enslin, Steve Lucas , Bernd Leukert etc who all have what it takes to be CEO – if not at SAP, then elsewhere.

3. One issue – perhaps controversial and hence why it is not covered – is diversity in senior executive leadership levels. I would love to hear Bill’s views on diversity and what he is doing at SAP to encourage diversity, especially at senior levels.

4. SAP has an unusually large portfolio – and honestly I don’t think there is anyone in the company who knows all the products that can be sold. I would have loved to hear his thoughts on portfolio optimization, especially since he has stated that inorganic growth is a must have. With twenty thousand plus developers – it is very easy to waste precious engineering fire power by spreading everyone thin across a wide portfolio.

5. Finally, what is it that Bill himself wants to do next ? I am sure he has a long innings left at SAP. But what after that?

All said, it was a thoroughly enjoyable read and the next time I get an opportunity to meet Bill, I am getting my copy autographed.

SAP buys Concur and Oracle gets new CEOs – My 2 cents

Just as soon as I came back from lunch , I heard about both news items from SAP and Oracle . Here are my views – strictly personal opinions as always , and has nothing to do with present or past employers .

SAP buying Concur is a pretty good move in my opinion. As a frequent business traveler , the standard SAP solutions are not exactly the ones I think of as my “painkillers” . Concur fits the bill and I know there are millions like me who need their services . What is more – it is a growing business with plenty of scope for innovation given the options to travel are increasing .

For SAP – with Ariba already providing a pretty big network , this is a neat deal to add to their breadth and depth . Success factors fits in too pretty well from HR synergy . And of course there is the core FI and budgeting apps which their instal base already has in plenty . So from a portfolio synergy – it makes perfect sense to me .

I really hope that this does not start another “let’s replatform to Hana” initiative . I am sure hana fits some parts of concur really well – like maybe getting amazing insights across expenses and other corporate data like HR , risk and so on . But a blanket replatforming – especially from a transaction processing point of view , doesn’t look like high value for me .

After reading Den Howlett’s blog on the recent influencer meeting – there was only one question I asked . Was there any mention of M&A ? He said there wasn’t . And I was wondering how SAP plans to get all that top line money organically . Well today answers that question for the most part 🙂 Buying for top line improvement is something IBM, Oracle etc have done before too – so nothing new in that respect . Oracle market cap probably increased about $50B via acquisitions in last 5 years or so I think .

So now my big question is what companies will SAP acquire to bolster the platform side. ? Business Objects is good – but tired . Lumira did not exactly give tableau a run for its money . So maybe SAP can buy a modern company to boost the BI business – like Tableau or Alteryx . It probably won’t be cheap – but probably a good idea to retain BI market leadership .

Or maybe TIBCO – and have a shot at both EAI and BI in one go .

Another option might be to buy into the lower end of the stack like redhat . That could open all kinds of doors for SAP on platform side . In fact – I would rate such a purchase as way more strategic than even tableau.

No idea if any of these vendors – maybe except TIBCO – wants to be sold . And if they did – SAP will probably need $10B+ to buy a couple of them .

In any case – big congrats to Bill McDermott and SAP !

Moving on to Oracle . I am not sure what exactly changed there . Everyone seems to have moved one level up the ladder and Larry retains control of all technology aspects . And while he remains active – it is hard to imagine Oracle having two other CEOs .

There was a rumor throughout that Larry might become Chairman and buy and make Benioff the Oracle CEO . Clearly that did not happen . But it is not to say that can’t happen in future . The two new CEOs (best of luck and congrats to both) both deserved the job for sure . So the possibility that they move to the board in a couple of years and Benioff getting the CEO job long term is a possibility . We will see I guess 🙂

I think it makes sense for Oracle to make a big noise to divert attention from a rather lackluster financial quarter . Beyond that , I don’t see anything material about the CEO transition .

MongoDB for the SAP Community

One of the most common questions I get from my friends from the SAP ecosystem is how MongoDB works with SAP. So I thought I will pen some initial thoughts on how I see the technologies working together. 

NOTE : Please don’t look at this as an official roadmap or anything – this is just my personal view. Neither MongoDB nor SAP has agreed to do anything of this sort . This is just Vijay thinking aloud – and I am sure someone will set me straight if I am not making sense.

First, what does MongoDB not do with SAP systems ?

This is easy – MongoDB is not a database to run your ERP / business suite or BW type systems. MongoDB also doesn’t do native predictive analytics.That is what Hana (or other RDBMS systems) are for. MongoDB has no competitive position against Hana. Also SAP Hana Cloud platform has been using mongodb for some time already for content management. And MongoDB is one of the databases for SAP’s Hybris platform.

Now that we got that out of the way, lets see what can MongoDB do to complement an SAP landscape

1. Visualization

SAP announced a technology collaboration for Lumira to work with MongoDB at SAPPHIRENOW last month. Lumira is SAP’s agile BI solution . MongoDB holds data in JSON (BSON internally ) . The existing connector uses a JDBC protocol for the integration – and more native options are planned for future.

What is the big deal ? the big deal is that MongoDB holds richer data than what you typically see in rows and columns of a table. 

MongoDB holds data that has a hierarchical or nested nature – and visualizing that rich data ( for example, not only what region that customer is from – but details of what is the past history of sales in that region for customer, what other customers have bought in similar categories etc) is an amazing value add for a business user.

On top of that – given the dynamic schema, you can keep enriching the data (like campaign information at real time from a web site) and visualize the results immediately . 


I could totally see in future SAP data services and Hana cloud integration for ETL/EAI use cases where MongoDB is the source or target. MongoDB is probably one of the most  popular database for cloud applications already – and that trend will only increase. But those apps need data to be fed into it from somewhere, and I think data from there might need to get pumped into other systems. So an ETL/EAI type tooling from SAP around MongoDB is something I can imagine being a sensible thing assuming those sources and targets could be SAP systems.

3. As a datahub for integrating SAP and non-SAP applications

Consider a business application SAP would build on Hana for retail . The sources of information that need to pump in data to that app will typically be disparate in every sense – POS data, ERP data, IS-Retail data, Web store data, Click streams and so on.

One way to do it is to pump all this data into Hana and write code there to filterthe dataset that the app needs. This will make sense for cases where the schema is set in stone and not subject to frequent change. But that is usually not the case for retail like data – schema needs as much flexibility as possible. So a second way to design that will be to use MongoDB as a data hub to consolidate data from all the sources, and then from there provide the app on Hana with just the right data it needs to do its thing. 

There is no certified connector for MongoDB with Hana today. But that probably is not such a big deal for a project based solution once the Hana SDK for AFL (app function library in C++) is available. MongoDB has a C++ driver that can be hooked on to AFL  and this should solve the data exchange problem from a technology point of view.

Another option – a little bit of code on XS engine (the lightweight web server/app server in Hana)  can make it work too – since XS understands JSON well. Thomas Jung probably is the best contact to help with this – but I don’t think you will need a lot of support. 

And for non-Hana customers of SAP, you probably need to code in ABAP from the app server layer to make mongodb integration work. I have not opened an ABAP editor in a while – so my memory is rusty. But I think its only from 7.x that ABAP has native JSON support. So you might want to do some hack to check if Kernel supports JSON. Horst Keller might have published some standard way to do that. Or if your ABAP skills are not top notch and you would prefer to use PERL or something outside the app server that MongoDB has a driver for . I guess you can create a service via ICF and take an RFC route. Probably not the most elegant way, but it should work too. Maybe Thorsten Franz can enlighten us on the possibilities.

An Ex-SAP dude’s wish list for SAPPHIRENOW 2014

Sapphirenow 2014 is kicking off on Monday – and although I don’t work for SAP or an SAP partner now, I care a lot for the company and its ecosystem and thought I will jot down a short note on my thoughts on what I would love to see unfold.

1. Let the new leadership team have its own identity

Bill McDermott is a well known entity – so although he is now sole CEO with Jim Snabe moving to Supervisory board, I don’t think anyone thinks of him as a “new” leader. If anyone can chart a course for the new SAP, it is Bill. 

Then there is Bernd Leukert. He is very well known inside SAP – but probably not as well known outside SAP. With Vishal leaving SAP abruptly and Bernd moving to Executive board – I saw a lot of commentary along the lines of Bernd being the new Vishal. I think this is a rather unfair expectation to set up. Vishal was a good leader but so is Bernd. But they are very different people . I would love to see Bernd explain HIS vision of how he expects SAP to develop over the next few years. 

2. Project the bench strength

One of the few things SAP could have done better was to give visibility of its bench strength to external world. Its not that SAP doesn’t have bench strength. Rob Enslin, Steve Lucas, Michael Reh, Rodolpho Cardenuto, Bjoern Goerke ….and many others are capable leaders waiting in the wings. Its up to Bill and Bernd to shine the light on their leadership team and I am sure we will see more of it – if not at sapphire, then shortly thereafter. 

3. Embrace channel partnerships

SAP can’t do it alone. SAP became an amazing ERP company because of a significant ecosystem of partners around them. Rodolpho is now in charge of the partner organization, and he works for Bill directly. I would love to see SAP double down on channel up and down its stack . How can I not say that ? – I am a channels dude myself now at MongoDB 🙂 

4. Show product direction that matches the simplification message

Investors and analysts need a message – but partners and  customers need clear product direction. When SAP leaders talk about innovation – they should give clear examples of what is actually getting simplified. Simplification is needed not just in products – it is also needed in how developers, partners and customers do business with SAP. Easy ways to download trials, simplified licensing etc are all good things to announce.

5. Stop charging for UI/UX improvements

Hopefully we will hear about Fiori and/or Personas being free. I am not holding my breath on it – and I am generally NOT a fan of making software free indiscriminately. However in the case of UI/UX – the poor reputation historically cannot be attributed to anyone other than SAP itself. So why charge for it to maintenance paying customers? Make it free and hopefully it drives enough Hana and Suite business to compensate on revenue front. Nothing will cheer user groups more than this announcement, if we get to hear it.

6. Explain what “SAP, the cloud company powered by Hana” really means

It is a great message – but now it is time to explain how this vision is going to be realized. SAP has a very heterogeneous cloud portfolio. Personally, I don’t think it is a bright idea to replatform all the acquired solutions to Hana. Customers who buy SaaS are buying a solution with a certain SLA. They don’t care what it runs on as long as the functionality satisfies their need, and SLA is met. Parts of all these solutions could probably have benefits that Hana can give. So a replatforming effort might be worth for carefully chosen parts of the portfolio. HEC, HCP, BI, BW on Hana, Suite on Hana etc are the ones that definitely directly correlate to “powered by Hana”. SAP needs to clearly explain the roadmap on transition to a full cloud company .

That is the technology message – but being a cloud company also needs a business execution part to be nailed. This is really hard for a company that needs to balance between on premises solutions and cloud solutions. So I am very curious to hear how SAP will lay it out.  

That is it . I wish the very best to SAP – have a great SAPPHIRENOW 2014 !

A half dozen suggestions to SAP

Vishal has left SAP – and despite the abrupt nature of his exit , he has given the company a lot to work on . In a few weeks from now, Bill will be sole CEO and he gets a great set of leaders in the board and in the top ranks of the company . I think this is a perfect moment for the company to disrupt itself and gain some significant momentum .

In no particular order , here are my suggestions .

1. Split the company into two – apps and platforms – and assign them to two divisional heads with P&L responsibility

If SAP is to become a great platform company (it’s already a great apps company) – it needs specific focus . Platform is a nebulous term – but for true greatness, SAP needs to play in more layers of the IT stack . Similarly – apps that were created decades ago need to evolve without being constrained by pace of platform evolution . For the “cloud company powered by Hana” to be a reality – both apps and platform business need cloud as a vital component .

2. Go make some bold acquisitions

Look at BI and middleware from SAP for example . They have large install bases – but they are a bit tired . Surely some of the innovation can be done organically – like how Lumira started . But SAP doesn’t have time to just build all the way . They need to make bold acquisitions quickly on both platform and apps side .

3. Sunset products with limited upside

SAP has built and bought a lot of stuff over the years . There are many products (not naming them because people who run them are friends that I don’t want to offend ) that have low adoption or no clear forward path . Those products need to be sunset (or migrated to something new ) and investment redirected to new areas. And this will help field sales and customers quite a bit too in eliminating confusion .

4. Double down on business suite and BI integration

It’s really SAP’s sweet spot . Yet – there is very little actual integration between Business suite and BI platform . CRM has some embedded BI as I remember , but the whole “insight to action” thing never totally materialized . I hope that Leukert and Reh can fix this with the right partnership between the apps team and BI team . This game is SAP’s to lose .

5. Renew the focus of product management

SAP has always had great engineering abilities . Product management needs attention in my opinion – and probably could use some external hiring to compliment the in-house talent . I would also go one step more and say that PM should be closer to the Customer organization than to engineering . All innovation is customer driven – if PM gets more customer exposure , it can only accelerate innovation .

6. On platform side, become more channel and open source friendly

As much as SAP has great technology at its disposal , reality is that there is hardly a customer that can survive with as SAP technology alone . So it is a must that SAP actively increases the openness of its platform and connect to other technologies . I am not naive to think that Hana itself will now be open sourced – but it is worth considering for medium to long term .

Similarly – SAP could make more use of channel partners . With Rodolpho being put in charge – I have a good feeling that channel will get to be an important part of SAP business . There are plenty of products in SAP portfolio that could be sold through channel alone I would think

Vishal Sikka leaving SAP – My initial thoughts


I had heard this news over the back channel yesterday . Having known Vishal for a few years , and having worked for him for a bit – It was a surprise, but not exactly a shock . This photo above was a picture I took the last meeting I had with Vishal and Hasso before I left SAP .

As a friend, I think this is a good thing for him to do. It was a big job with a lot of stress . He could use a breather before his next adventure . For a man of his caliber , there is no dearth of opportunity in this world .

For SAP, there is both a real issue and a perception issue to overcome . Bernd Leukert is a known and respected entity in SAP leadership – and I think will do as good a job as any one else to keep the ship steady . What Hana needs is a set of apps – and Bernd’s pedigree is all on apps side . He has Bjoern Goerke and other leaders to take care of technology. I am a tad surprised Bjoern didn’t get into Managing Board – but I am sure it’s just a matter of time . So I think SAP board did the right thing in picking Bernd to be Vishal’s successor . I do expect to see some “thought leadership” cues from Bernd (and probably Bjoern too) at Sapphirenow Orlando on how he sees SAP evolve .

It’s not enough to build apps – it needs to fit into the “we are a profitable cloud company” message, which probably needs a renewed focus on mobile business too .

Rob Enslin goes to executive board with Bernd – and I think that was a no brainer too . Rob is as good as the best sales leaders anywhere in enterprise software today. When Bill becomes sole CEO in few weeks , I expect Rob to be a solid general for him . Congrats to Bernd and Rob – very well deserved . I just wish SAP managed to keep Sanjay Poonen too . But Steve Lucas is still there – so there is no real shortage of top talent .

And I think this reshuffle helps Bill McDermott get a great start on his tenure as sole CEO with almost a completely new board to assist him. With Hasso and Jim in supervisory board, he should have plenty of support to chart a great course for SAP. Wish you the best, Bill !

What about Hana , Vishal’s little girl ? As much as Vishal was the face of Hana – there are plenty of people who are experts on Hana in SAP at all levels . The real question is whether SAP continues to keep a technology focus on Hana , or let apps take front seat again and Hana just powering everything in background . Success of a platform is based on apps built on it – so I am hoping SAP strikes a good balance on apps VS technology when it comes to hana . SAP is not breaking down Hana numbers for its quarterly reporting anymore – so I am guessing such an equilibrium will happen soon .

I hope SAP keeps the Hana startup program alive and well – and in addition focuses on building a deeper relationship with other type of partners (HW, SI, SW, Cloud). Ecosystem is SAP’s biggest advantage – and it is important that the company takes the partners in confidence as they transition product and engineering leadership .

I do feel bad for my many friends in SAP who work in P&I – it’s always painful to go through a leadership transition and it’s after effects . I can only hope that you emerge stronger on the other side . I can’t even begin to imagine what I would have had to go through emotionally if I hadn’t left SAP .

I can only speculate what Vishal is going to do next . With his eye for spotting technology trends and passion to see world change for the better – my best bet is that he will become a VC or an Angel investor . But then he could surprise me by choosing to be an entrepreneur again , or join a big company (unlikely but not discounting it ). But whatever option he chooses – I just want to wish him the very best and hope he takes some significant time off to recharge . Good luck V !

So Long SAP ….thanks for everything

Yesterday evening, I sent my resignation to my manager at SAP. I will be at SAP for a few more weeks to wrap things up.

It was quite an experience working at SAP – doing a little bit of a lot of things . What I am going to miss the most is the set of amazing colleagues I had here . These are the people who keep SAP software timeless ! Knowing them and connecting them to each other was quite rewarding .

I have worked in SAP technologies for almost all my career – across development, consulting , sales, architecture and so on . In fact a good portion of my time yesterday at work was spent on debugging a FICO application in ABAP on Hana 🙂 . I must say it was quite entertaining to watch the curiosity of many younger colleagues as I was working on ABAP . It was a blast.

I also was happy to announce the brand new free trial of BW 7.4 on Hana SP7 , with BI 4.1 yesterday morning . The last version of the trial was quite a success with 1400 sign ups and 150000 hours used in about 4 months . Words cannot express how well my gang executed on this project – which still doesn’t have a cool code name 🙂

I do regret however on not being able to get on to a Mentor townhall yesterday to tell my buddies of my decision to move on. The success of SAP mentor program at SAP can be summarized as “Mark Finnern” – and Maggie is fortunate to have a guy like Mark in her team . I will miss working with Maggie, Chip and their teams .

I also regret not going to be around for the Suite on Hana trial we are working on . But knowing Ingo and team – I have nothing to worry .

Talking about people – Ingo , Rohit, Rainer , Rob and everyone in extended team have always gone out of their way to help me at every turn . I am sure our paths will cross again at some point and I will go to war with you any day . You guys are the best and I am blessed to have you in my life.

Many thanks to Mary, Jessica and Brittany for keeping me organized – without your help and guidance , I would have never navigated the SAP system . Special thanks to Meike for always finding me a way to get into Abdul’s calendar . There are many talented Executive Assistants at SAP – they are the unsung Heros , keeping everything running smoothly for the people they support . I am very grateful to all of them – and I am sure all my colleagues feel that way too .

A special shout out should go to Neel and all my other mates in the Ganges team. You guys taught me there is no mountain high enough . I will be cheering you on for a long time . You are absolute role models on how to be entrepreneurs inside a large company .

Same deal for the startup team under Aiaz and Kaustav – I don’t exactly know how you pulled off the magic you did , and I am a life long fan of your team . Continue the amazing things you do – corporate world needs more folks like you .

Mike Prosceno, Stacey and Andrea have been my go to folks at SAP before I became an employee – and they continue to be my best buddies . Thanks my friends !

Marketing colleagues at SAP don’t always get the credit they deserve . Jonathan B has built a world class marketing organization and collaborating with Ingrid, Amit, Ken and other colleagues have always been a pleasure . There are many stars in that team – like Sarah Mohammadian (no one works harder than her ) – and I am sure I will get to celebrate their success even if I am not an employee of SAP.

There are way too many colleagues in engineering to call out by name – and there are many that make the products I worked with successful whom I have not met in person . I learned a lot from them – and I hope I was some help to them as well . Engineering is what differentiates SAP from others – and I hope they continue to rock on and take SAP to greater heights .

Most of my time at SAP was spent on Hana , and especially BW on Hana . Like every big company I know of – SAP also has a complex organizational structure . It is amazing how many teams came together to make BW on Hana a success . In hindsight – the biggest challenge we had was the perception in the market that when Hana came out, BW became obsolete . I hope my colleagues don’t have to deal with that issue again since Vishal has repeatedly clarified that it is not dead . The extended BW team has a lot of very passionate people – and I will cherish the opportunity I had in working with Stefan Sigg, Thomas Zurek, Klaus Nagel, Mike Eacrett, Lothar Henkes, Prakash Darji, Chris Hallenbeck , Daniel Rutschmann , Dan Kearnan, Markus Winter and the CAL team and many many other colleagues .

Similarly , I owe a lot to my peers and their teams in the CD&SP team, and folks like Mohan Balaji, Margaret Anderson, Michael Bechauf etc with whom I could talk freely on any topic.

And finally – all the leadership team from Hasso, Bill, Jim, Vishal, Rob, Steve Lucas , Jonathan, Abdul, Aiaz, Sethu and everyone else – huge thanks for all the help and coaching . I learned a lot from all of you and am grateful for that .

So why am I leaving despite all the good things I have to say about SAP ?

My experience over the years has always been with big companies . SAP is smaller than IBM – but with more than 65000 employees, it’s quite a big company in its own right . And at an abstract level – working at one big company is not all that different from working at another . And at this stage of my career, I think my incremental learning is going to be pretty minimal if I continue to do that . It also helps that most of the things I am working on is at a stage where it is easy to hand off to another colleague to take it to its next level .

A very good friend that I had dinner with a few months ago introduced me to Max Schireson over email . Max is the CEO at MongoDB. He and I spoke several times and I got introduced to his team in the process and I absolutely was thrilled at the quality of people who work there, the founders of the company and I absolutely loved the product (an obsolete programmer like me could do a hello world in less than an hour) . I also got introduced to a few other big and small company CEOs at the same time and was fortunate to get to know them and their teams . But at the end – it seemed like MongoDB is a very special place to work at , and to grow with .

So, I have decided to join MongoDB, as VP of Global Channels. I have a good feeling that it will be an interesting challenge to build and run a top performing global channel at MongoDB . Having been part of the IBM and  SAP ecosystem for a long time , I feel confident that I have a good grip on how great channels and ecosystems work . I will explain more about my new role later in another blog post .

I didn’t make this decision alone – many friends gave me thoughtful advice . You know who you are and please know that I value your counsel a lot .

That was a rather long post and I am sure I missed calling out many people and things . I won’t be a stranger to SAP and its ecosystem . Who knows, maybe there are cool things to do between SAP and MongoDB too :).

Next steps are to hand over everything I have on my plate to other colleagues, take a short break from work – and then start the new adventure. Wish me luck !