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Roland Martin

Senior Data Scientist and Design Thinking Coach

Roland's Story

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


I feel that my work is appreciated and that I can be myself and trust my colleagues. And it is also ok to fail at times!

Roland Martin

Roland Martin is a Senior Data Scientist and Design Thinking Coach who lives 5km from the Tägerwilen office in Switzerland.

I can walk to work and back and enjoy walking through the forests on my way home. This gives me the possibility to get new and fresh perspectives when I need to think about a tough problem.

I came to SAP through an acquisition. After completing my PhD in Germany I was hired at a company called SAF in Switzerland, that was bought some years later by SAP. Being bought by SAP was the best thing that could have happened to us from a perspective of leadership, I must say!

I started as a Researcher (which is defined today as a Data Scientist mainly). Being in SAP I got the chance to develop myself in a totally different direction as well. I became a Design Thinking Coach and enjoy the possibility to work analytically (as a Data Scientist) and creatively (as a DT Coach). Bridging those two very different fields made me more efficient and effective in both areas (not to mention that I’m much more satisfied since I can work on purposeful tasks in very different topics).

As a Data Scientist, I try to find elegant solutions to tough mathematical problems that need to be solved in order to solve the End User’s problem. Because when we say we want to “run simple”, it means for me, to run simple for our customers (and this often means that our solutions get more complex in order to reduce the complexity in our customer’s businesses).

As a Design Thinking Coach and Trainer, I facilitate (customer or internal) workshops to investigate tough problems holistically and find solution approaches, guiding a diverse team in the process. Also, I train people who want to become a DT coach or give team trainings for teams that want to apply the Design Thinking Methodology in their daily business.

I consider myself to be the Batman of SAP. Playing the Bruce Wayne part by day, acting as a Data Scientist and become Batman at night doing Design Thinking to make the world run better.

As a Design Thinker, I make sure to understand our requirements in auser-centric way (and also act, if the requirements are not user centric) and as a Data Scientist I then try to come up with a strategy to solve the problem efficiently and effectively. I have seen too many solutions that were either not user-centric ordid not solve the problem efficiently. And some solution in our field require adeeper understanding of math to really do a great job.

I must say that this journey would not have been possible without my manager who believed in my strengths and allowed me to develop in a new direction. Also, along the way, a lot of SAP colleagues helped me whenever I needed it. Especially in the beginning a lot of colleagues proactively assisted me and it was never a problem finding someone who is willing to explain something or help with something although it meant more work for them.

That’s what I love about the culture here - that we act as a family. I feel that my work is appreciated and that I can be myself and trust my colleagues. And it is also ok to fail at times! You can’t do everything right, even if you plan to. Sometimes things go wrong. But I never got “punished” for a failure when I tried to do things right. We accept failure as a means of learning, and we live this culture.

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