I love to learn new things, whether that is languages, skills or perspectives, and SAP provides a great environment for that. It doesn’t matter what background you come from, as long as you are willing to learn and understand our products you can add value.
Kristin Ulrich works in SAP HANA Solution Management connecting sales, consulting and development colleagues with customers to drive innovation. In February 2020, she took on the role as the Solution Manager for SAP HANA data anonymization – winner of the Hasso Plattner Founders’ Award in early 2021.
Prior to joining SAP in Berlin in 2016, Kristin lived and worked in Spain whilst studying for a Masters.
“I moved to Spain with only very basic language skills and continued my Masters. I knew that in four months I would need to sit exams in Spanish. This was a great motivator to immerse myself in the language and dedicate myself to becoming versed enough to understand the topics and write exam answers.”
Not only did her passion for learning the language help Kristin to pass her exams, but in March 2020 she helped fellow travelers to return home safely after the borders closed in some countries in Latin America due to the pandemic.
“In March 2020 I was on holiday with my family when we were given 48 hours to leave the country due to the spread of COVID-19. Very little information was provided, just a sentence – you need to leave the country. It was very difficult to get a hold of travel agents in Germany and even if you were successful not much could be done. In most cases, travelers were re-directed to the country's travel agency partner. When fellow travelers noticed I speak Spanish I spent the last few days of my holiday in the hotel lobby helping people complete the online forms to register for repatriation, and understand the instructions given to them by the authorities. People were devastated so I tried to help where I could.”
It’s this spirit of providing help that Kristin has witnessed in her own time at SAP.
“I didn’t come from a technical background. I studied business, and so when I came to SAP in a consultancy role, I was very excited to extend my knowledge about new technologies. I soon met many colleagues who were able to answer all my questions and helped me to continuously expand my knowledge. I never encountered a closed door. I love to learn new things, whether that is languages, skills or perspectives, and SAP provides a great environment for that. It doesn’t matter what background you come from, as long as you are willing to learn and understand our products you can add value.
Diverse perspectives also help you to learn. Bringing different ideas together is what takes us a step forward. That outside-in perspective is what I appreciate and makes teams interesting. A few years ago, I started working with a colleague who is from Ecuador. During breaks and lunch-time, he told me about his country. Since I was a child, I have been fascinated by the Galapagos Islands. After hearing so much about this wonderful country I decided I had to go there, so in 2019 I realized my life-time dream and travelled to Ecuador to hike up the Cotopaxi volcano and see marine iguanas and giant tortoises!”
When she’s not travelling the world, Kristin is passionate about defining Go-To-Market strategies for SAP HANA data anonymization and realize its commercialization. But what does this entail?
“Solution management is about taking our products to market. In my role I am a connector and a central point of contact. I work with sales teams to understand customer requirements, marketing to ensure the messaging we put out is positioned appropriately, and I work with development colleagues to ensure that whatever they are building is relevant to our customers. What I love about the role is that no day is the same and all the conversations are different.
My role within the data anonymization team specifically was to simplify the existing Go-To-Market materials, make them more concise and present them to our customers. I am also working on building more awareness internally in order to realize more data-centric use cases and integration scenarios.
In Stephan Kessler’s story we learned that data anonymization for SAP HANA originally came about through applying his PhD thesis to his work at SAP. But Stephan is not the only one who has been able to apply his studies to his daily work. In a previous role, so did Kristin.
“In my consultancy role I worked on a demand generation tool which had also been the basis for my Masters’ thesis. My manager at the time had an idea to put together a survey to understand how much customers have progressed in their endeavor to digitalize their supply chains. This project gave me the possibility to work with people in various different roles, which was also a great learning opportunity.”
Outside of work, Kristin finds opportunities to disconnect from the digital landscape through her love of piano.
I started playing the piano when I was 10 years old but living in Spain and other countries meant I had no opportunities to keep playing. When I returned to Berlin I went to a piano builder with a friend and walking into a room full of different pianos I realized what had been missing from my life!
I now play three or four times a week. It’s great to fully disconnect and only concentrate on the piano and the music you are playing. This for me is true relaxation and mindfulness.
Meet Stephan Kessler, Kristin’s collaborator in the development of SAP HANA data anonymization. Theirs is an unrivaled IT solution with applications from healthcare to tracking CO2 emissions and buying habits. It is all about giving a capability to society that helps to protect people’s privacy while making use of their data.
Tip: Click the image to learn how we’re building a world without barriers.