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Hisae's Story

At SAP, we believe that when you bring everything you are, you can become everything you want.

I see that as SAP’s gift to me. I got a chance to go to Germany, China, Korea, Australia, the United States and also Mexico. It was really a fantastic opportunity for me to widen my skills, my experience and my vision.  

Hisae Seko

The gift was not wrapped meticulously in commemorative paper. Nor did it sport a ribbon or a special hand-written label. In fact, it wasn’t even apparent that it was a gift, until much later.

But Hisae Seko, now in her 21st year at SAP Japan, looks back on a watershed moment in her SAP career and has no hesitation in saying it was a gift that broadened her focus and truly gave her a global view. That key episode took place about 14 years ago when she first started to think about leaving the company.

"Our business had been changing," she explains. "SAP decided to move the incident support operation from Japan to China and while I was involved in this change, the hardest thing was that there was no concrete role for me. I was in the transition team and I was involved in the setup phase of the new operation, which meant I went to help my Chinese colleagues set up their own careers in incident support."

"But in the process, the main task that I used to do moved to China and there was no new opportunity that came to me. At that time, even though there was no task for me, I still came to the office every day but there was not really so much for me to do. I like to keep myself busy always, but at that time it was kind of boring. It was really a tough time for me to get accustomed to the new environment. It was very depressing and that is why I thought about quitting my job.

"Luckily I was given an opportunity to continue. My management team - comprising not just Japanese but Germans, Filipinos and Brazilians as well - supported me very well. They really gave me incredible support to reinvigorate my career. Not only did they give me a new role, they also gave me an opportunity to work overseas for SAP. I got a chance to go to Germany, China, Korea, Australia, the United States and also Mexico. It was really a fantastic opportunity for me to widen my skills, my experience and my vision. It was great for my career. That was a key experience for me to keep my career at SAP. I see that as SAP’s gift to me.

"Back then, it was amazing to work in many countries and to interact with many colleagues. At that time I didn’t even recognize the true, deep value of that cultural exchange within my profession. I learnt a lot from my colleagues overseas and I became global through this opportunity and experience. At the time I didn’t understand it fully, but in retrospect I now know that this experience overseas with SAP was truly a valuable gift for me.

"Now, in my current role, which is delivery execution, I’m a Technical Quality Manager for Max Attention customers in Japan. Max Attention is the permanent support engagement for specific customers. I engage them and support the implementation of their projects as well as maintenance matters. Recently, we refocused on innovation topics for customers so we also gave them some tools – like S/4HANA and the Intelligent Enterprise – to create or to deepen innovation in their companies. Not only do I support customers, but I also lead them on the path to innovation in the best way that SAP can offer.

"It’s a long-term premium support engagement. Actually I have the tools to engage my customers very much closer, and these options have increased with every acquisition that SAP has made. I’ve seen such major changes in my time here. I started as a consultant, doing implementation of customer projects. After five years, I moved to the support organization because I was interested in the globalization aspect. We’re a global company, whereas the SAP Japan consulting organization was sometimes regarded as a domestic operation at that time, although this is certainly not the case now.

"When I was a student, I never really thought I’d ever work for an IT company. I actually majored in law, but one of my senior friends told me that SAP was a very interesting company and would be well suited to me, so I decided to take the opportunity to join the company after I’d graduated. At the time, I had no idea what SAP actually did. I understood the basic business but not very much more. It sounds quite funny, but it’s absolutely true.

"When I told my parents that I was joining SAP, I think they were shocked. They were really worried about me because they didn’t realize SAP was such a famous company even back then. It was so well known in the IT industry at the time, but normal people like my parents had no real idea about the company and the way it was regarded internationally. Firstly the name of the company was not familiar to them, plus it was a German software company that they hadn’t heard of.

"Apart from the fact that I have younger twin brothers, I also have an identical twin sister and she was hired by a well-known global computer hardware company. In Japan back then everyone knew about that company, so while my parents were very relieved with my sister’s choice of company, they were really worried about me at the time and their biggest concern was that I would be laid off soon.

"Having graduated from the law faculty, I think my legal training gave me the ability to look at details in order to find a different point of view. I learnt logical thinking in my university days and that really helped me understand technology as my career progressed.

"I do yoga on weekends and on Mondays I have my own specific strategy to start the working week. Monday mornings can sometimes make me nervous. The weekend has ended and we have to switch momentum because the new working week is starting. Each Monday I have a meeting with a management team and sometimes there are serious faces in other meetings. But I keep my energy for Monday mornings because I choose my favorite clothes to go to work for the first day of the week."

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