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TomCenens
Active Contributor

<disclaimer> This is not a dream, this really happened.</disclaimer>

This is the story of how SCN has been extremely important for me in my career. SCN has helped me grow on professional and personal level. I hope this blog post will inspire others to step up and take action.

None of the below is made up, this is real, this happened and it could happen to you too.

Getting introduced into the world of SAP – March 2007

In 2003, when SAP’s Community Network originated I started studying for a bachelor degree in informatics. Only in 2007 when I started as a junior SAP basis administrator I got introduced to SAP’s Community Network. In my first years on the job I mainly used the community network to look up information, read blogs and solve problems.

Digital detox – December 2010

Late 2010, I was in Bruges during what nowadays would be called a digital detox vacation and I stumbled upon a book of Seth Godin: Purple COW – Transform Your Business by Being Remarkable.

Writing blogs – January 2011

The book inspired me to step up and take action. My first idea was to start blogging on SCN.

I still remember that after only a few blog posts, marilyn.pratt mailed Mark Yolton. I don’t remember the exact wording anymore but she pointed out to him that they should keep an eye on me.

This one mail inspired me to an extent that is almost impossible to describe. I practically lived on SCN for months to come because of it. It shows how one small thing, one e-mail, can be the source of massive change.

One change, one interaction, one blog post, one e-mail can be like a snowball, being tossed down a mountain. The snowball might hit the slope but it could also turn into a bigger snowball and eventually cause an avalanche.

My first SAP event, ever: SAP TechED – November 2011

Once I was active on SAP’s Community Network, I started to make a lot of new, digital friends. While the digital world can be a marvelous place I longed to meet them in real life. During that first year, I already realized how important SCN was going to be for me. In October 2011 I wrote the blog post “A word of thanks” to express my gratitude towards those who believed in me. This is one of my blog posts which I still feel today. Reading the outro will give you a sense of what I was feeling.


I got my chance at SAP TechED Madrid, in November 2011. My active participation in the community had propelled me on stage. I was called on stage as Top Contributor for the category SAP Netweaver Platform. Listen carefully to the words of Mark Yolton and try to live in the moment, feel what I felt at that particular moment as if someone was saying those words to you, right now.

For me, it was a magical moment. I was so amazed by the whole thing that I even forgot to clap for the first few minutes for the other top contributors because I was nailed to the ground still trying to work through what had just happened.

It didn’t stop there either. nathomson introduced me to the #SCNotty awards and convinced me to participate. To participate I had to create a 30 second video to introduce myself to other community members. Right before going to SAP TechED Madrid, my SCNotty entry for SAP TechED Las Vegas received the award “Best Impression of Flavor Flav”.

In the embedded video above, you can see my second rap video entry for SAP TechED Madrid. My wife asked me "Who is this HANA girl" and I had to explain SAP used HANA as a product name. It was not easy to convince her that it was really a product name.

Because of my continuous participation in the community, I was asked if I would want to help by hosting the SCNotty award show at SAP TechED Madrid. Together with gali.klingschneider and sylvia.santelli we put up a little rap show and we had a blast showing the participant videos and announcing the SCNotty award winners.

During the course of SAP TechED I met a lot of community members, SAP employees and SAP Mentors and I really liked it. Everyone was very friendly, open and welcoming. Connections were forged that have been strengthening ever since. Again, the snowball effect was at work.

All the little things caused other little things to happen and before I knew it, big things were happening. It’s a dish that consist out of the opportunity presented to you, a sniff of courage, serendipity, a pinch of luck and a whole lot of positive energy.

First SCN Member of the month – March 2012

I became SCN’s first member of the month in March 2012. By that point in time I was already convinced to a large extent that all that I had been doing before made sense. I wrote multiple blog posts on the effect of SCN and the importance of being active in the community and writing blog posts. A set of co-authored blog posts provide the evidence. How has blogging changed my everyday life?

In the meantime, my blog posts on technical topics where influencing SAP and behind the scenes, I had also gotten involved in influencing SAP. I was testing SAP products, providing feedback and seeing SAP introduce certain changes caused by my feedback.


New Year New Spring New SAP Mentors – April 2012

In April 2012 another big thing happened. I started the month by going to the Virtualization&Cloud week in Palo Alto (CA). My first trip to the US in my life and I enjoyed every second of it. Ever since I started blogging on SCN, everything led up to this moment. My involvement became stronger and stronger and now I was meeting up with community members and even the actual community team on the other side of the world (well, almost the other side of the world).

I came home and shortly after, the new SAP Mentors were announced and I was on the list!!! This was just amazing. The easiest, most understandable explanation I can provide people when they ask me “What does this title SAP Mentor mean?” is that it is comparable to being “knighted”. Everyone understands what that means. You get recognized for something you did, something good, something extraordinary.

Being active on SCN and in the SAP Community at large has without a doubt led to this particular moment in time where I became a SAP Mentor.

My first SAP TechED as a SAP Mentor – November 2012

Since I became a SAP Mentor, the snowballs have grown and have a larger impact, a higher chance of turning into an avalanche. The SAP Mentor program opens doors and provides me with a lot of opportunity. Without a doubt, it has had the largest impact on me and how I see the world around me.


SAP TechED Madrid 2012 led to the writing of Empathy + Serendipity = #likeneverbefore which describes the importance of empathy, the intriguing nature of serendipity and the amazing feeling, the atmosphere that was caused by SAP TechED. With over 27.000 views it's safe to say it went beyond the boundaries of SCN.


This is huge!

As I’m being sucked into the SAP world more and more, I’m finding it to be ever more interesting and fascinating. My involvement in SAP has grown tremendously over the course of the past year and I can honestly say I’ve never been happier in my life.

As I write this blog post and continue to write it past midnight I realize just how important SAP and in particular the SAP Community has been in my life so far. I’m really excited and I’m looking forward to what the future will bring us. I truly believe we are only at the beginning of a new era.

As a SAP Community Member you can be on the front row to witness it.

What do you need to remember from this blog post?


SCN is a unique community and you can really shine here.

You will find community members to be extremely helpful to guide you in this maze of possibilities and opportunity.

You will find a motivated community team that is ready to place its members, who add value to the community, into the spotlight.

You can make friends here, meet them and learn from them.

This community is created by SAP but it is not just about SAP, it reaches beyond SAP.

The sky is the limit and you can start right here, on SCN!

Outro

Remember the disclaimer which started this blog post? You can say this one closes the curtain:

<disclaimer>In fact it didn’t stop happening. The dream goes on. </disclaimer>

Happy 10th anniversary my dear friend.







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