At SAP we are in it together. From our senior leaders to the managers to our employees, we are all in the same boat. And when the boat rocks, our leaders are there with us. We are all in it together at every step of the way.
Technology has become a central thread in our existence, changing the way we live, work, and even think. At SAP we focus on today and the next wave of innovation, harnessing technology that brings together changemakers.
Meet Jody Yang, the location head of S/4HANA Quote to Cashat SAP Chengdu offices. She leads a world-class team providing expert business transformation services to diverse industries across international markets.
Born and raised in China, Jody moved to the United States for college, majoring in computer science. After graduation, she chose SAP as her first job based out of the Palo Alto office in a fast-developing Silicon Valley. Starting out as a software developer in the Basis area, she subsequently moved into Supplier Relations Management (SRM) working her way up from developer to development architect. Over the next decade, she gained a wealth of technical experience while working with multicultural teams, picking up skills in effective communication and business strategy along the way.
In 2008, Jody decided it was time for something new. She left SAP to become an independent consultant for utility and public sector industries. Her experience at SAP was in demand and she wanted to better understand how SAP applications were utilized on the customer side.
Looking back, she says, “The best way to improve an application is to see how it is received and used by your customers. And when I returned to SAP, that perspective was invaluable for our teams.”
In 2012, Jody moved back to China and joined SAP again as a Senior Project Manager in the SAP Shanghai office. As a key member of the Program Management Office (PMO) team, her expertise in Supply Chain Management saw her leading major custom development projects in the transportation and logistics sector. In 2017, she relocated to Chengdu to become a development manager, developing talent and solutions for the S/4HANA Sales organization.
Since her return to SAP, the Chengdu office has expanded at a great clip, in part due to the expertise and skills that Jody has helped to develop at the location.
She says, “From the start, we took every opportunity to increase our development and grow as a team by taking on more tasks and requesting support to sharpen our skills. As we grew, we found ourselves capable of delivering more and more. Over time, we established ourselves as experts. This gives the team a sense of pride. As a team we have a ‘can-do’ attitude anda lot of trust. As a result, we continue to build more scrum teams and expand our areas of expertise. Now I lead a team of over 130 people made up of early career talents as well as experienced domain experts who take care of business functions across Sales and Solution, Billing, Pricing and Subscription Business. SAP is investing a lot in SAP Labs Chengdu and we are quickly becoming a strategic center for S/4HANA development.”
When she was re-applying to SAP, Jody recalls feeling confident in her industry experience and technical knowledge, but she wasn’t sure about taking on a people manager role due to her lack of management experience.
“I sometimes ask myself, what did I do to deserve this position,” she says. “Prior to the role, I had never been a people manager and I struggled initially because managing did not come naturally to me. I could not have done it without the trust of our leadership. The coaching, mentoring, and support has been invaluable.”
An important relationship she forged was with Karina Herrmann, a leader for S/4HANA Engineering Quote to Cash, based in Germany. Karina manages a group of engineering teams and with Chengdu growing to becomea key S/4HANA development center, both worked together to align on business and product strategy, making sure all teams work in tandem to achieve their goals despite the geographical differences.
Jody says, “Since Chengdu is still considered a relatively small location, I could easily have felt isolated and under pressure to make decisions on my own. I’m grateful to have Karina. She provides a big picture perspective, is intelligent, collaborative, and willing to help and share ideas. Our partnership has been invaluable to me. She often acts like a ‘sparring partner’, in that she challenges my thinking and helps me to come up with better solutions.”
At SAP, new people managers are provided with comprehensive resources on all aspects of people management from hiring and onboarding to skills and career development. However, what has proven to be most beneficial for new managers is an internal community of leaders that they can tap into, casually or formally, for guidance and mentorship.
“SAP did the right a thing by setting up a global workforce and that is why I get to work with people like Karina. Having diverse views and perspectives is key for companies to be successful and since we operate globally, help is available 24/7. I have had excellent coaches and support throughout the years at SAP,” Jody shares. “This has been very crucial.”
Since those days of uncertainty, Jody has become more confident of her skills as a leader. To new and future people managers, she offers this bit of advice.
“Whether you are managing a big or small team you need to be able to listen, motivate and help each member individually grow. And if you are managing a team of managers, you need to understand their individual management styles and help them be successful in their own unique ways. While I might oversee a large team of 130 people, I am not managing every one of them. I rely on my managers and trust that they can manage their teams. My job is to help all of us scale and build up more areas of expertise,” says Jody.
Jody sees her team as part of a larger team that is SAP. And success can only be achieved when everyone, regardless of seniority, function, location, age, gender or background, collaborates and values each other’s unique perspectives.
“The message I want to send to each and every one at SAP is that we are in it together,” Jody said. “From our senior leaders to the managers to our employees, we are all in the same boat. And when the boat rocks, our leaders are there with us. We are all in it together at every step of the way. I truly believe this,” Jody says. “At SAP, I am ‘in it to win it’ as a winning individual and as a winning team.”
Jody runs a team in Chengdu, China, and she works closely with leaders in development centers across the world to discuss product strategy and business insights. That’s how she met Karina Hermann. Together they are building breakthroughs between Chinese and European engineering cultures for the benefit of SAP customers.
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