Whenever I have doubts or questions, I just have to reach out to my network for advice. That’s the beauty of working at SAP. There are so many people to turn to. It’s truly like being part of a family.
Rashmi Shiva Prakash
Millions of people use SAP solutions every day. Whether it’s to analyze inventory levels, to project and plan for financial risk, or source for sustainable suppliers, our users rely on SAP applications to keep their businesses running at their best.
And as economic climates and business environments evolve – at times, suddenly and without warning – so do our customers’ needs and it’s important that our solutions evolve to meet their needs.
For product managers such as Rashmi Shiva Prakash, feedback is key to ensuring that a solution is the best that it can be. Feedback can come from multiple stakeholders including customers and users, as well as internal sales, operations, infrastructure, and architecture teams.
It is the product owner’s job to weigh and prioritize feedback to make sure the development and deployment of new or updated features can be delivered on time, reliable and as efficiently as possible.
It’s a constant balancing act, and vital to a product’s success and customer satisfaction.
She says, “When I’m building something, customers’ requirements are top of mind. I consider it a successful release when customers use the features immediately and respond positively.”
As a Senior Product Manager of Supplier Life Cycle and Performance Management at SAP Ariba, Rashmi is part of a team responsible for the tools that help organizations, from global multinationals to small business owners, onboard and manage their suppliers and reduce risk and chaos.
Product managers wear many hats. To successfully navigate and unify the priorities of different teams can be daunting, but Rashmi’s 13 years at SAP has helped her to excel in a role she is deeply passionate about.
Rashmi started her SAP career in 2008 as a Quality Assurance Engineer in India responsible for the rigorous testing of products to ensure they met the highest standards before release.
In 2012, she was offered the role of Senior Functional Analyst, which exposed her to the world of product management.
“In my early years at SAP, I developed strong domain and product knowledge and realized that I was interested in working on the product side of software. As a functional analyst I acted as the liaison between product management and the engineering team. My job was to understand our customer’s requirements and define their use cases to help the engineering team build solutions based on those requirements.”
In 2015, Rashmi moved to the SAP office in Palo Alto, USA, for a project that needed someone with strong product knowledge of SAP Ariba. After a year, the new Supplier Life Cycle and Performance Management team was being formed and Rashmi was tapped to join as a Quality Expert.
“Although my title was related to QA, the truth is that I was never restricted based on my job title and was given the opportunity to work on all aspects of the new product. I was working partly as a product manager and as a QA engineer. I absolutely loved the freedom I had to explore, and when the position of product manager opened up, I applied for it.”
In her new role, Rashmi started working closely with Molly Bresnahan, a Business Process Consultant based in Philadelphia. As part of the deployment team responsible for supporting end-to-end implementations of customer projects, Molly is on the frontlines everyday hearing from different customers about their business challenges and how SAP products were meeting their needs.
With every new feature that Rashmi and her team released, Molly was quick to share customer feedback, helping to refine and improve the product with every iteration. Although Rashmi was already talking to customers as part of her workflow, she realised that Molly’s daily interactions with customers could provide her team with quicker and more in-depth insights from a larger pool of perspectives.
Spontaneous e-mails quickly turned into regular brainstorming sessions and their continuous collaboration has helped to increase the pace and efficacy of product improvements through user testing with real customers, among other benefits.
Rashmi says, “I love that I can share with Molly about an upcoming feature in our product roadmap. To help me test it, she turns it on for some of her customers and gives me their candid feedback before it goes into final production. It gives the teams bandwidth to implement things we might have missed without impacting our timeline. It’s incredibly helpful and makes our products better for everyone.”
The successful partnership has now become a best practice between the product management and deployment teams.
Rashmi sees this regular collaboration at SAP as a strength – not just for business but for her career as well.
“At SAP, collaborating and networking with others opens many opportunities. If I hadn’t built my network, I might not have moved to Palo Alto and do what I’m doing now. I’ve seen colleagues raise their hands for new projects that have opened doors to new roles. I encourage everyone to take on new challenges at SAP without thinking twice.”
The best part about working at SAP? You are never alone.
Rashmi says, “Whenever I have doubts or questions, I just have to reach out to my network for advice. That’s the beauty of working at SAP. There are so many people to turn to. It’s truly like being part of a family.”
Meet Molly, one of Rashmi’s colleagues who she collaborated with on Supplier Life Cycle and Performance projects. She works for SAP Ariba as a Senior Business Process Consultant.
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