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Community Advocate
Community Advocate

The SAP Mentor Spotlight Interview Series highlights key strategic topics and provides insights from SAP Mentors and SAP leaders on turning ideas into innovative approaches that impact people, process, and technology.

Staying curious can add value to both a personal and professional journey. Whether developing a set of daily principles, or applying experiences to compelling business and IT trends, the key is to have an open mind, and make continuous learning an ongoing practice.

As an SAP Mentor, tom.cenens, co-owner and technical lead of Nessi Tech NV based in Belgium, appreciates the importance of leading by example and not settling for the status quo. He applies these standards in his own journey, and in addressing a broad range of customer requirements including SAP S/4HANA, scaling data models, and virtual work environments.

To learn more about Tom’s views and his many accomplishments, I had the pleasure to ask him a few questions so he could share his insights.

Stacey Fish (SF): Tell us about your career journey. What is your role at Nessi Tech NV as a co-owner? What got you interested in what you do now?

Tom Cenens (TC): From a young age already, I knew I wanted to become an IT professional like my father. As I grew older, even before starting my career, I had another dream, being independent one day.

As a C-level executive for Nessi Tech, I am involved in many aspects of running the company. I am also functioning as a team lead for the technical Nessi Tech’s working hands-on, doing expert consulting.

The willingness to improve myself and continue to learn and thrive is what helped me get to the point where I am at today.

SF: On your Twitter Handle you share the motto, "Stay curious!" As an active SAP Mentor, and a co-owner of Nessi Tech NV, how does an inquisitive approach help you make advancements in your career?

TC: As a child I would break toys to check how they work internally. Curiosity to know how things are done and the willingness to explore new options and learn in the process has always been in my genes. Due to this curiosity, I have explored many different aspects of SAP and related technology throughout my years and have seen my career grow by a large extent.

SF: How did you become an SAP Mentor? What does it mean to you to be in this program?

TC: I became SAP Mentor by being a very active SAP Community member. After I picked up the book “Purple Cow” by Seth Godin, I decided to give blogging a shot.

I became top contributor multiple years in a row, attended many SAP events, and I was providing a lot of feedback to SAP. The combination of all these activities led to me becoming SAP Mentor.

It is an amazing group of people whom I have learned a lot from. The program has allowed me to provide feedback that can reach the right people within SAP in a fast and efficient way. It has also provided me with a tremendous amount of insight into SAP and a strong network. I am grateful to have been granted this title and opportunity.

SF: When you work with organizations on SAP S/4HANA Cloud initiatives, what are examples of the key steps that you explore (and recommend) to achieve real-time processing speeds, dramatically simplify the IT landscape, and scale data models?

TC: On an infrastructure and application level it needs to be ensured that the involved components can deliver the necessary functionality, speed, and scalability.

It is always a good idea to start exploring options early in the transformation journey. This can (for the most part) be easily done nowadays leveraging cloud infrastructure. Quick prototyping and testing can give you a very good sense of what is possible. Be curious!

You can explore without having a clear vision, but it is essential that the organization works on defining their transformation journey before going into details.

SF: As organizations emerge from the pandemic how have customers changed their IT and related business outlook?

TC: The pandemic has shown certain weaknesses in how businesses were running. It caused customers to shift priorities. Now they know that to thrive they must optimize their IT and business further. Most of our customers are speeding up migrations to SAP S/4HANA, or they are already running on S/4HANA and are now introducing improvements and new processes.

They are actively preparing for the future and are aiming to be more prepared in case another unforeseen event takes place.

At the same time, remote and flexible work has picked up and is here to stay to a large degree.

SF: On one of your profiles you share that you live by these principles, "Lead by example, do meaningful work, stay down to earth, create win-win situations, act in a respectful way, be proactive, stay honest, be thankful, and do not settle for the status quo.” How do you suggest incorporating these principles as daily practices for students to develop skills and land meaningful jobs in IT and business?

TC: Developing a set of guiding principles can act as a reminder of the person (or company) you aspire to be. It can also help you make decisions. You can create your own written list and improve/adjust it over time. Try to live by those principles and make a habit out of them by practicing them on a daily base. Personally, I do my best to further improve myself and my work based on these values.

I highly recommend reading books to get inspired. They have helped me tremendously. Explore many different topics such as what matters in life, how to run a business, how to overcome fear, how to thrive, and how to believe in yourself. You name it, and you can find interesting reading material on it.

SAP and the SAP Community provide opportunities to explore the future of technology and collaborate to enforce continued learning.


How do you stay curious? Let us know in the comments below!

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