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Marcin Malecki

Global Program Lead

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We showed the customer that we could successfully deliver remotely. This inspired them to have even greater trust in SAP.

Marcin Malecki
Winner of the SAP Services Heroes Awards 

The Largest SAP S/4HANA Delivery Ever - 100% Remote

Imagine this: Working on the largest S/4HANA delivery yet, for a global customer from a different culture, one which includes a language barrier. Now imagine carrying this out during a pandemic in which every team member must work remotely – a completely unfamiliar circumstance for the customer. It sounds like a recipe for multiple problems; but in fact, the SAP Services MaxAttention team was able to deliver a series of highly sophisticated services for a customer in APJ, followed by successful go-lives of SAP BW/4HANA, SAP S/4HANA, SAP Ariba, SAP Concur and more.

In 2019, the customer, a large technology company, had been using SAP ECC6 for several years before deciding it was time to upgrade to SAP S/4HANA. They needed a system with more capabilities and flexibility for new markets and ongoing innovations. Alongside a partner, SAP Services worked as a trusted advisor to conduct the transformation.

As the program was underway, the unimaginable happened: A global pandemic hit, severely impacting countries and businesses around the world. In order to quickly pivot and adapt, SAP introduced dramatic changes in the way it ran its large-scale deliveries, which were now to be executed entirely remotely.

The COVID-19 pandemic created numerous complexities for this transformation program. Andreas Esau, an SAP Transportation Consultant, explained it this way: “We had time zone differences, cultural differences… And whereas before we could answer the customer’s questions by writing it out on a whiteboard, we were now constrained to emails and calls.”

Despite the difficulties they faced, the team persevered. According to Marcin Malecki, Global Program Lead, there were even hidden blessings: “We were able to show the customer that we could successfully deliver remotely. This inspired them to have even greater trust in SAP.”

Working with a customer from a very different culture can be a challenge. For professional reasons it’s critical to understand if the customer is satisfied; and it’s personally rewarding to be acknowledged for hard work. Andreas emphasized this, explaining, “It’s very important to get feedback, otherwise you can’t move forward and improve.”

Under these extraordinary circumstances, the SAP Services team went the extra mile to ensure that the customer was happy with the progress. When they received positive feedback, they knew they were on the right track despite the difficulties of remote collaboration. “Our team gave the customer a lot of support to help solve issues, and they appreciated that,” added Terry Yang, Analytics Architect.

When suddenly faced with working on an entirely remote program for a customer who was accustomed to working on-site, the SAP team members found a lot of opportunities for their own growth. They quickly discovered that they needed to be even more communicative and listen carefully to their customer, since they didn’t have the benefit of in-person meetings. Kun Wu, User Experience Architect, expressed that, “Without face-to-face communication, we needed to try even harder to walk in the customer’s shoes, so that we could better understand their concerns.”

Marcin agreed with his colleague, “We couldn’t entirely bridge the gap between the cultures on our team and the customer’s culture; each side needed to meet halfway and embrace our cultural differences. That was a key learning.”

Though the team learned a lot on a personal level, they also want to inspire their colleagues. “I want to share the experience I had with this customer to help inspire others,” noted Terry.

The team members said that they feel a sense of honor to have been recognized in the Services Heroes Awards. Juliet Zhang, HANA Modeling Consultant, said, “I’m really honored to receive this award. It means a lot to me that our work was recognized, and it has really encouraged me.” The team further explained that their success was only made possible by a larger extended team beyond their core team. Marcin elaborated, “I’m proud of the award, but on the other hand, this was a team effort from a much larger group. I want colleagues that were working behind the scenes to feel that appreciation.”

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