People Story - Jana Richter
Meet Jana Richter a Product Expert and Product Owner for our company. Her SAP career began as a student of a cooperative university program in 2002, which combined theoretical studies with practical experience at partner company SAP. She moved to a full-time staff position in product management in 2005. Today, she holds two positions at SAP’s Walldorf, Germany, headquarters, as a product expert in SAP Products & Innovation HANA Cloud Platform Product Management and as a product owner with the integration team in the Consumability Area.
Her teams relate to both success and quality of the product, as well as working with customers to explain what the SAP Cloud Platform is, how to use it, and how to integrate its capabilities with their existing systems and goals in mind. In essence, it’s about knowing how to translate new technologies into language and business scenarios customers understand.
Much of her time is spent working with the latest capabilities in the lab to set up customer-like scenarios and integration tests, e.g. currently focusing on HANA-based applications in hybrid cloud deployments. “Usually we ‘play’ the first customer and establish end-to-end setups, thus working directly with the new capabilities and new products,” she says. With that knowledge, the team can create presentations, videos, workshop exercises and other materials to show what the platform can accomplish. What’s learned from the activities flows back to the development teams.
“Every day you do something different, something exciting,” Jana says. “One day, you travel to a conference and explain to a large customer audience about the latest product capabilities and features. Another day, you discuss with developers individual customers’ needs. Yet another day, you work hands-on with the latest technology in its early alpha or beta phase and test-run features. And constantly you are sharpening value propositions and benefits.”
Jana also likes the opportunity for a life outside of work that SAP provides. She loves to spend time with her husband, Ivo, their children, Julian, 6, and Clara, 3, and her horse, Mikado, who she jokingly calls her third child. Her children love Mikado, especially daughter Clara. The children get to sit on Mikado, while Jana leads him, and Jana gets to ride three or four times per week, usually in the countryside. She sometimes gets to do some showjumping and simple dressage, “not very professional, just for fun” she says.
Jana’s family also has a tradition of inviting her SAP team of 10 to 12 people to their house for a garden cookout during the Christmas holiday season. “It’s not an SAP-wide tradition, but we enjoy spending time with SAP colleagues from time to time outside of work,” she says with a laugh, explaining that SAP’s pleasant atmosphere and good colleagues, lends itself to wanting to see each other outside of work hours too.
Though each day presents new and different tasks in the office, Jana says the best part of the day is communicating with teammates. “Every day starts when we have a standup meeting with everyone: What’s everyone doing? What can we do to help? It’s very cooperative.”
Despite its international reach, SAP colleagues often find themselves working with people they know on different projects. “Especially here in Walldorf, over time you meet people who worked with you on different products in the past. It makes everyone feel very familiar. Moreover, we have colleagues from various nationalities and with different backgrounds, and you get to collaborate with lots of colleagues in different SAP locations over time,” Jana says.
“One good thing about this is I don’t know what I’ll do in 5 or 10 years. I do some things now that I didn’t expect. What’s good with SAP is with changing conditions, we get lots of soft skills development opportunities.”
While Jana says that she loves her present roles, she is excited by the prospect of ever-changing topics and roles, and the opportunities SAP provides to get prepared for change, and that there are new opportunities all the time.