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Austin Wheat 

Senior Technical Product Manager

Austin's story

At SAP, we build breakthroughs, together.

SAP has a very real interest in healthy and happy employees, which is demonstrated time and time again. Work-life balance is very important, and there is great focus on ensuring that teams are built around diversity and inclusion.

Austin Wheat 

Austin Wheat grew up in Dallas, Texas before moving to the West Coast almost 20 years ago where he lives with his partner, two cats, a dog and a lizard.

We asked Austin why people should consider joining SAP Concur as they embark on an exciting new phase of their journey? Simply put:

If you want to work on being part of the largest implementation of a SaaS solution using AWS and learn about AWS technologies, while also being compliant with the most stringent cybersecurity controls, and staying in close contact with customers and partners, this is agreat opportunity for you!

So how has Austin found working at SAP Concur personally?

I first heard about SAP many years ago, as SAP is one of the giants of enterprise software. More specifically, I have known several personal acquaintances that worked for Concur, who all had very positive things to say about their time there. I enjoy having a broad area of responsibilities with ability to self-manage my workday, and the position I saw advertised for SAP Concur seemed right up my alley, so I am now a Senior Technical Product Manager.

For my less technical friends, I explain this as: “I work on software that ensures that your business trip goes without a hitch – and that you get the best bang for your company’s buck and all the perks you’re entitled to, along with making the dreaded expense report seamless at the end of the trip.” For my more technical friends, I say “We are working on an ambitious migration to the cloud, which makes us the biggest AWS-powered cloud solution on the planet!”

A typical day for me starts with working directly with colleagues from Europe and East Coast USA, attending stand-ups and scrum-of-scrums for larger, multi-team projects. A typical day has me working with lots of different folks internal to SAP as well as externally, such as partners and common customers, on many different topics and initiatives. Analysis, planning and studying is what takes up a lot of the day – in the world of business travel, there is always something new to learn!

As a Technical Product Manager for a couple of platform services teams, I get to work with folks all over SAP Concur, and this involves short- and long-term planning as product managers do. At the highest level, I work with teams to plan and execute work that contributes to any number of strategic and technical initiatives. One moment, I could be working with UX designers for a new UI, and the next could be doing deep-dive analysis while busting out SQL to mine data from databases directly. This role is challenging because there is so much knowledge to gain in the business travel world, as well about AWS-native services. I can see the impact my role has, as when new features are launched, we get fast feedback from really big customers very quickly. While there is a lot of planning that goes into technical product management, the role is very challenging because of the ambitious engineering challenges we are tackling at SAP – moving one of the largest solutions to the cloud offers many different opportunities to learn about the hottest new tech, since we use all of it!

I really like working with people from all over the world and seeing how our diverse strengths and backgrounds come together to build dynamic and effective teams.

Travel evolution is about bringing new features to life on an established, well-known solution (SAP Concur Traveland Expense), while also migrating the infrastructure and applications to the cloud (AWS).

To say that this move to cloud-native tech is complex is an understatement – it is continually exciting to learn new technology, and to stay abreast of what our other teams are up to! Sometimes, we find that we are ‘doing things the first time’ on our platform teams, and we can drive a path forward for other teams. Other times, we find that another team has already conquered similar challenges, so we can learn from them. I think it’s a healthy balance of ‘teaching vs being taught’, and being open to both, which keeps things really interesting.

To me, success means developing effective solutions for customers, while also maintaining a healthy work-life balance. I can’t wait to see our customers’ excitement as we continue to develop and launch more features in Travel evolution – the initial feedback has been extremely positive!

SAP has a very real interest in healthy and happy employees, which is demonstrated time and time again. Work-life balance is very important, and there is great focus on ensuring that teams are built around diversity and inclusion. Our team of technical product managers is very diverse with folks from all over the world. Time and time again, studies and science prove that diverse teams build better products and solutions, and folks are more positively and emotionally engaged with their work. This is something I’ve experienced many times in my career, but previous jobs only paid lipservice to this – at SAP, this is part of our DNA.

At SAP, you will hear your VP say affirmatively: “Black Lives Matter”. In this past summer, during pandemic and outpouring of social unrest, leadership went above and beyond “performance empathy” by directly contributing to social justice programs, hearing minority employees speak and providing them a platform to share their experiences within the larger organization (Pride@SAP, Black Employees Network, and other groups).

SAP continually demonstrates to me that the organization cares about me, my family, and my community. On my first day at SAP, upon check-in at the reception area there was a pile of Pride@SAP stickers on the desk. I grabbed one and stuck it on my monitor straight away. I knew from my first few minutes on the job that the LGBTQ+ community was welcomed and supported at my new gig.

Outside of the office, I really enjoy camping in the beautiful Pacific Northwest, seeing live music shows and anything that involves a big crowd! I really love to travel and see new places and meet new people. I can’t wait until it’s safe to travel and congregate again. At home, I really enjoy nerdy management-simulation video games like Factorio, Satisfactory and Dyson Sphere Program, or tinkering with ancient legacy PC hardware. This was actually how I started out in my career. I would charge my family for tech-support on their DOS/Windows machines when I was a kid - debugging CONFIG.SYS and AUTOEXEC.BAT was an easy $10 in the ‘80s!

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