APJ Head of Portfolio, Ecosystem and Digital Marketing
At SAP, we believe that when you bring everything you are, you can become everything you want.
The interesting thing about SAP is that there are really, really bright people here, creating a very high intellectual value. The constant melting point of that huge intellectualism is a really interesting dynamic.
APJ Head of Portfolio, Ecosystem and Digital Marketing
Between the ages of about three and six, Len Augustine could make as much noise as he wanted and the neighbors would never complain. Actually, he says with a big smile that starts at his lips and goes all the way up to his eyes, there were no neighbors at all. “We were out west, in western Queensland near Injune (population 461) in the real bush,” he explains, “so there was no one for miles around.”
Len had two pet kangaroos, one of which was called (of course) Joey. “There were emus and goannas everywhere and there were possums that would come and go through the dishes as we went to bed in caravans. Then there were also lots of dangerous things too, as you’d expect.
“There was a lot of freedom back then. In those years, before I went to school, I lived with my parents a bit nomadically. We lived on a bus and in a caravan for two or three years, on and off. It was very cool. We shopped on a monthly or bi-weekly basis and we had powdered milk instead of fresh milk. And we had showers out of four-gallon drums, where the water would come through the holes that my father made in the bottom of the drum. He would just hang the drum off a big, sturdy tree. After showering under the tree, my biggest trick was not to get caught in a strong wind or a dust storm, or else I was back to square one!”
Ask Len what that combination of freedom and creativity did for him, and his response is immediate. “It does make you very resourceful when it comes to finding ways to do things. So you could probably say I had my initial SAP training as a child! Ultimately, whether I was going to become a farmer or move away from the land was a big debate. Probably from around seven or eight years old, I always said that I would be a teacher when I grew up. My goal was to do a diploma of education or an equivalent degree. So there was a very minimal probability of me landing up in a hi-tech global company!
“With teaching in mind, I went to the University of Queensland and that’s where life got interesting because I was drawn to computer science, in addition to maths and physics. I figured that if I was going to be a high school science teacher, having computer science up my sleeve would be okay. I went down that path and I never did the diploma of education.
“After I graduated, I went to Canberra, where I worked for the Department of Defence, building software on a Unisys mainframe from scratch. That’s why I have such a strong data management background, which is quite handy for SAP HANA.
“Then one day, I saw an ad for a job at one of the four mini-computer companies. I did a variety of roles with them before I became a global product head and I moved to Boston. Of the many important lessons I learnt in Boston, one was that you cannot take the turkey out of the freezer on Thanksgiving morning and expect it to thaw. That’s not going to happen, because it’s too cold.
“My fiancé and I spent a year there but that was the time that anything that Boston did was in trouble, mini-computers were in trouble. I teed up a job with an international computer software company, as their first product manager in Australia. I guess you could say I managed to get myself retrenched and relocated in one hit! I went back home, got married and started the new job, where I spent the next ten years, five in the region and five in the ANZ business.
“Then I joined SAP as marketing director for ANZ. I had a background in business development in network computing and e-commerce, so that was relevant to SAP. I came here in 2000, at the end of Y2K when everyone had just purchased ERP. It was also the introduction of GST in Australia, which meant that anyone who had software obviously didn’t want to buy any new stuff because they had to work out the implications of GST. And of course Sydney hosted the Olympics that year, which was like having another Christmas period in Australia. It was a perfect storm and those were hard times, but on the flip side, when you’re forced to try and grow a business from a standing start, that’s a very good learning curve.
“In that next five years, we launched supply chain management, we launched CRM, so there were a lot of new things. After five years of running marketing, alliances and restarting the channel that sales had killed, I joined the Asia-Pacific marketing team for five years. I did the equivalent of the general business and partner role, I did large enterprise and industry and then I did PCN accounts, which are the premium 100 accounts. I sort of went from the bottom segment of the market to the top.
“I came to Singapore in July 2018. It’s a really good role here because we bridge all of the content and solutions campaigns that Global creates, into the market units. Our role is to represent them for the things they want built and the storylines that would work in their market for each of the solutions. Then of course, we help each of the countries to understand what finally gets built and execute those as Demand Gen campaigns in the country, so there’s a lot of thinking and creativity around it.
“I don’t think in terms of my SAP career being twenty years, I would actually say I’ve been here 81 quarters! The interesting thing about SAP is that there are really, really bright people here, creating a very high intellectual value. The constant melting point of that huge intellectualism is a really interesting dynamic. It’s been an interesting career path for a kid who wanted to be a teacher. My father died about eight years ago and while he didn’t really grasp what technology was all about, I think as much as he understood it, he thought my career was great.”
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