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jelena.perfiljeva owns the record of the longest Member of the Month interview. So far 😉

We talked last week before the Easter weekend, and the initial 45 minutes ended up being an hour and a half! It was nice to finally meet the long-standing SCN member and talk about many things such as ABAP (not that I am an expert!), work, SCN, and family. In no particular order. Jelena is very passionate about SCN as a community and it was good for me, as a community manager, to hear her feedback and thoughts. You can also learn more about Jelena, as told by Jelena, in her Blog It Forward post.

And FYI - ℹ : Her name is pronounced [Yehlehna]

Jelena, can you tell us a bit about yourself, where you live, who you work for, and other things you would like to share with the community (hobbies, fun facts)?

I live in North Carolina and works for a company that provides metering solution for gas, electricity and water customers. I joined SCN while I was in a previous position in 2005 or 2006. Before I became a mom (my son is 4 years old now) I used to enjoy fine wine, travelling. Now I try to improve my cooking skills and honor my grandma who was a very good cook. I like to get cookbooks and explore cuisine from around the world. The good thing about living here in the US is that you get exposed to many different types of food.

Note from Laure: I know that I life is never the same again when you start a family but it doesn’t mean one should not enjoy a good glass of wine from time to time! I told Jelena that my husband and I open at least one bottle of wine every week and she should do the same. Our life starts when our son is in bed haha! We’ll see if she takes my advice…

In your Blog It Forward post you mentioned that you started with SAP by accident. What were you doing when you world was “turned upside down” (I’m kidding a bit ;-)) I mean, what technology, programming language etc. were you working with. And has this changed much?

At the time I was working with Unisys mainframes, for a company called Charmer Sunbelt that  had a mainframe legacy system. They wanted to implement SAP as a new instance and built a team to work on the project. I wasn’t supposed to be part of that team, I was just supporting the legacy system. But one person in the team left and I got the job. The transition wasn’t too difficult. I attended the ABAP BC400 class and the instructor also had mainframe background and therefore we connected well. For other programmers used to other languages, it may have been more difficult. From my own experience, both object-oriented programming and procedural programming can co-exist peacefully. Whatever old code used in SAP is not going anywhere.

paul.hardy published and excellent blog on "crossing the great divide" from procedural to object-oriented programming. It's my personal greatest SCN blog of all times.

When did you become a member of SCN and what brought you to this community?

I joined SCN early on, around 2005 or 2006, when I was assigned to the SAP project I told you about earlier. We were working with consultants at the time and they were very helpful, but I needed more and was pointed to SCN. I also found interesting topics there outside SAP, for example in the Coffee Corner.

After some time I saw a question that no one answered for some time. With sweaty palms I posted my answer and the original poster was very thankful for my help and gave me points. It was an uplifting experience to see that I really helped someone. I remember the T-Shirt I got after reaching 250 points, I still have it.

How does SCN help you in your daily activities?

I can always find something that prompts more research and it’s always a learning experience, even if it’s not related to SAP or ABAP. I scan blogs, I don’t stay in one space and I try to stay current and keep my brain active.

I like the Business Trends space in particular, there I find very interesting content there. As an SAP programmer I ought to understand the business users, I can’t be limited to technical knowledge.

A few examples of good content in the Business Trends space?

I think this Analytics blog by ray.rivera is brilliant. susan.galer3 also wrote a great post about your responsibilities as a content curator. jacqueline.prause’s Looking for a signpost in the desert is also a good one.

Unfortunately this space does not get as many visitors as it should, the contributors really deserve the recognition.

Another space I like to visit is the Career Center. As you know, former Member of the Month thomas.dulaney writes great posts there, such as this blog about what is the best SAP module for you. I recommend reading Thomas’ blog to anyone interested in career suggestions.

It’s been a year since the new SCN on the Jive platform. There were a lot of changes introduced back then and SCN is different from what it used to be. I personally think it is for the better, even though I would like to see better moderation tools and more enhancements made to the platform and it takes a while. What do you think? I remember you were sharing your feedback last year when we launched. Now, one year later, what is your opinion?

It seems like it was yesterday. I remember that what made the transition easier was posts from people like oliver who shared his “Anatomy of a Go-Live”. I appreciated the honesty and technical details. I wish there were more changes and improvements to the platform today, and that opinions brought forward were taken into account. I still use bookmarks to go where I want to go, I find the navigation difficult and I think we lost a bit of the cohesiveness we had in the past. Everything is split into these sub-communities, aka. spaces, and I don’t go to the home page anymore. It would be great if the home page was designed for me and showed only the type of information I am interested in. After all, SAP could pull a lot of information from my S-User ID!

What would be the top 3 enhancements you would make on SCN if you could?
I’d start from ground zero! Idea Place is a great source for improvement ideas.

How do you find the time to contribute to SCN?

I’m a big friend of the baby step concept. It’s difficult to find large chunks of time now that I have a family. I find time for SCN around lunch time for instance, and I use fragments of time throughout the day to check blogs and go to the forums. It’s like exercising 😉

What do you like most about the community in general? In your BIF post you explained how you think empathy is everywhere on SCN, I assume this will influence your answer to this question 😉

SCN is a unique community, I’ve never seen a community as rich and diverse as SCN. Everyone here has different interests and experiences, I enjoy the personal connection, the interaction, and the various perspectives from all over the world. It’s like a worldwide watercooler!

What technology recently had you most enthusiastic about?

SAP HANA. I took the 6-week online course at the  Hasso Plattner institute and got a certificate. I haven’t seen HANA in action yet but from what I heard and read it’s great technology, a revolutionary concept - the kind that we may not see in our lifetime. Not everyone needs cloud or mobility, but in-memory database affects everyone. I didn’t go to TechEd last year but seeing the replays, the only thing interesting for me was HANA. I’m excited to see where it’s going to take us. Hasso’s enthusiasm is contagious.

Note from Laure: I almost had to stop Jelena here, she was going on and on and it was like a good SAP Marketing pitch! I don't know if sounding marketing is a compliment to a programmer, but I really mean it here.

Are you excited to see more game mechanics coming on SCN (Chip’s announcement blog) or are you rather reserved or worried about it?

I’ve heard about it in the context that it might help improve involvement and increase content quality. I’m undecided for now. Not specifically excited, but I’m waiting to see what it brings.

If a new member came to you and asked for your advice on how to be an active and respected member of SCN, what would you say?

Search before you post. Give an honest appreciation of other members who’ve helped you. Do things that you would like people to do for you. Help because you want to be helped in return.

Is there an SCN member you admire (OK… you can name a few)?

This is a loaded question! I feel like an Academy Award winner who gives their speech and fears they may miss someone… Until the music stops them 😉

I must mention two people who have qualities that I lack: marilyn.pratt and lakshmipathi.ganesan. They have such wisdom and zen-liked patience, it’s almost unbelievable! I wish I could learn from them.

There are many other people I admire but I hope I won’t offend them by not mentioning them here.

Easy question: Mac or Windows? Or Android?

Definitely Windows. That’s what my son would chose. We have an Android tablet at home and he definitely connects as well.

Note from Laure: For me… well, by now you must have guessed. At home it’s all Mac and my now 21-month old just learned to unlock my iPhone. This is becoming dangerous for me!

Are you on Twitter?

No. Sigh. I’m not really into the whole social media thing, I have privacy concerns. I’m more into writing longer posts. I used to have an ABAP blog, The Friendly ABAPer. I still get comments there. I haven’t updated it in a while due to lack of time. I could blog on SCN though, I need to find the time.

Note from Laure: We sure would like that!

Every month, a member of the SAP Community Network is recognized for exemplary behavior: sharing knowledge with peers, being helpful and taking on additional tasks to support community engagement. See the list of previous SCN Members of the Month.