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, processes, and technology.
Closing the gap between the “vision” and “reality” requires planning and execution.
For any IT or business challenge to succeed, it is important to have a determined perspective, dedicated people, and a defined process.
To address the gap, there are three key considerations:
Vision – What is the desired result?
Strategy – What will push the vision forward?
Execution – What tactical next steps are required?
Visionary efforts can breakdown due to a lack of buy-in across the organization with stakeholders. Important initiatives can be overwhelming and cause organizations to struggle to get started.
A shared vision with a very specific roadmap should be developed to address the great divide between the idea and achieving tangible results. When teams collaborate, enable buy-in early, and provide proof points (e.g., pilots or proof of concepts), there is a better chance to build the vision into reality.
For diego.dora, SAP Mentor and Managing Director at Diff Consulting, he has a passion for finding effective ways to close the gap between the “vision” and “reality” with customers. He has traveled many career journeys centered around a simple principle of “always learning and adapting.”
It was a lot of fun to catchup with Diego from his home office in Texas.
Stacey Fish (SF): Hi Diego! Your career journey started at the early age of 13 at your high school in Argentina, specializing in computer sciences. Next, you had great university experiences at the National University of La Matanza, where you were involved in research at the Laboratory of Open-Source Technology. From these earlier interests, what inspired you to branch out and start your own consulting firm?
Diego Dora (DD): Thanks Stacey! I had been in the SAP space for 17+ years, the last +10 years working mainly in the DACH (Germany, Austria, Switzerland) region with SAP’s latest technologies.
Realizing that there is an increasing demand for proper adoption of some of these technologies,
I decided to start Diff Consulting to explore new opportunities.
Currently, I see huge potential in the Cloud development, Infrastructure and Integration space:
SAP Integrations with 3rd party systems like ServiceNow
Cloud Native Development integrated with services from Hyperscalers
Advising companies in Foundation & Governance, Centers of Excellence, and Enterprise Architecture
There has been a revolution of new technologies and I’m here to enable customers. I look forward to working with SAP and Hyperscalers to help customers in the United States and Canada markets.
SF: As the host of the podcast series, "Cloudicorns,” what are some of the cloud technology topics that interest you? I see you have covered IaaS (Infrastructure as a Service) vs. PaaS (Platform as a Service), as well as other topics of SaaS (Software as a Service), SAP ABAP, and SAP Project System? How did the idea get started?
DD:As a person who started developing in C programing language more than 25 years ago, everything about useful NEW technologies fascinates me. The idea of creating the podcast came as an opportunity to share some of the knowledge that my cohost and I are constantly acquiring and provide a perspective that can help beginners and seasoned professionals.
We can easily create parallels and analogies between the Old and the New world, finding relationships and providing meaningful explanations to all colleagues from the Community who are interested in these topics.
My favorite topics these days are around Cloud Native Development, K8s (Kubernetes – open-source platform), Machine Learning, and System Automation. I use my personal time to learn non-SAP topics to then bring those ideas, mix them up, and come up with a new view of current SAP topics.
SF: What does it mean to you to be part of the SAP Mentors program?
DD: For me, it is an opportunity to share my expertise, but even more importantly to represent customers and colleagues in front of SAP board members, executives and product managers; providing them with open, frank, and constructive feedback.
One of my key professional missions is to find effective ways on closing the gap between the “vision” and “reality” with customers. I take this very seriously and feel very proud every time we accomplish some impactful results.
SF: In your career, it’s clear you strive to be holistic with your skills, expertise, and overall approach. You have comprehensive knowledge within SAP BTP (Business Technology Platform) and SAP ABAP Full Stack Development (e.g., Back-end and Front-end, Database, API and Middleware technologies). What are examples of where you have used this knowledge to help customers get started?
DD:A very good question! Having a solid end-to-end knowledge allows me to help customers and generate true confidence when setting up projects with new technologies. This skill and many experiences help address multiple considerations inside of a company and to help identify the priorities that will lead to key decisions and action. In other words, I wear many hats.
Here are some examples of how I can help different areas of an organization:
Infrastructure - Defining aspects related to networking and security when dealing with SAP Cloud Connector or exposing any APIs over the internet.
SAP Basis – Addressing how the load of a system could be increased by shifting to SAP Fiori Apps when migrating to SAP S/4HANA from an ICM (Internet Communication Manager) perspective, and what’s the corresponding parametrization needed to deal with a more web-based approach.
User Experience (UX) - Defining different new User Interface (UI) components needed for certain apps.
Development - Breaking down the different aspects of working with a Single Page Application framework like SAPUI5, or how to design an OData Service using SAP Gateway, or how to design a Backend in SAP BTP that connects with an SAP S/4HANA system via SAP Cloud Connector.
It doesn’t matter how flashy or trendy the technology stack is for the organization. The #1 goal is for it to be of service to others and bringing real value to customers.
SF: In your experience, what’s an example of how SAP BTP, leveraging SAP Fiori, SAPUI5, and/or HTML5, has evolved to improve user experiences by making them more consistent across applications, platforms, and devices?
DD:In my experience, working with SAP BTP and SAP Fiori (via SAPUI5) has increased the speed of innovation for my customers considerably.
The ability to decentralize certain sub-systems or applications where it’s key to show results in 3 or 4 months, instead of 6, 12 or 18 months is what makes working with these technologies so user centric, value driven, and deployable in a short time.
I led multiples successful projects where it was important to create side-by-side extensions, bring in certain data from SAP ECC, SAP S/4HANA or SuccessFactors, and enrich that data with SAP BTP in a unified experience (Browser, Tablet or Mobile). The key is to quickly obtain feedback from the end users and rapidly iterating this into the next sprint.
I consider myself a very early adopter of these technologies, from the time of SAP HANA Cloud Platform
to SAP Cloud Platform with the Neo Environment, to today with SAP BTP.
My motto: Always learning and adapting 😊.
SF: What is your advice for students and recent graduates who are entering the software development field and want to apply those skills at a technical and leadership level?
DD: Understand that your career in IT is not a sprint, it’s a marathon; and most of the subjects we learn are not a “one and done” situation. Create a healthy habit of continuous learning, continuous improvement, and remember that even if you go into a leadership role, you need to stay up to date.
You can’t advise your team or make critical decisions for your company without fully understanding the underlying aspects of the very things you’re deciding on it 😊.
So, find your rhythm, learn to love what you do, have fun, and enjoy the ride with other like-minded folks.