What I’m Thankful For… SAP Edition

(By Mike Raftery)

Yes, I know, Thanksgiving is next week. But I wanted to kick off the season and beat everyone else to the punch (look forward to next week’s Black Friday special edition). Sure, everyone loves to hate the faceless corporate giant that is SAP. The looming blue (orange?) logo, the water droplet picture, the acronyms in German.   Being the eternal optimist that I am, I wanted to point out a few things SAP-related that I’m thankful for. (Disclaimer, I’m not this narrow minded of a person, but being as this is a supply chain and SAP focused blog, I have to play to my audience. If you want my personal list, feel free to reach out to me and I’d be happy to share it.)

Opportunity to Build Something

This is something that I just love: the opportunity to be creative, stretch your skills and solve a problem. OK, fine, I’m not building bridges or skyscrapers, but there is a certain satisfaction to putting your own spin on a piece of functionality and knowing it’s better because you touched it. Since it is a small world, you tend to lap yourself, and when you see a feature, or idea that you developed, (sometimes implemented by someone else) there’s a bit of satisfaction knowing that you did that. While it is a virtual world that we live in with the SAP application, we model real things. And knowing that the work you do will be used by people to model real processes for years to come is actually a pretty cool thing.

Project Managers

So I would put this in even if my lovely wife wasn’t a project manager. Personally, I tend to be easily distracted. I can get overly excited and can lose track of deadlines or activities. So while the job isn’t exactly my cup o’ tea, I do appreciate them nagging me and am glad the role exists. Herding IT professionals is like corralling drunken cats, and it’s usually a very thankless task. It’s needed but rarely appreciated so I’m thankful they do their job. Even more so, I’m thankful it’s not my role.


It’s a small world and when you get into smaller pockets of functionality, it gets even smaller. It can be good and bad. Good because you build this brotherhood of people you can rely on, people who understand. Comrades that will be with you while you build stories that you will tell over drinks someday. It could be bad because you cannot make many enemies, or burn too many bridges, less you find yourself on an island. However, I have built relationships and made memories with people that I never would have met if I had not entered this career. I’ve seen places I never would have seen and had experiences I never would have had if I had not been a part of this small community. Every profession has these small communities that make large companies smaller and cities feel like neighborhoods. I’m thankful for those connections.


OK, OK so while this may seem like a shameless plug, hear me out. I’m excited for new things, new technologies and new opportunities. My current specialty of APO has been around for the better part of 15 years. While it’s been good to me, we have collectively reached the point where the community has figured out how to wrangle every last bit of functionality and then some out of the system. I’m now excited for something new. We will find new opportunities to create an advantaged supply chain, and figure out how to squeeze benefits out of new technology. I think it feels like we just got the new iPhone or the new Xbox and we are at that moment where we are about to take it out of the box and see what’s inside.

Assignments Close to Home

On a holiday that requires quite a bit of travel for most people, I’m thankful that my recent assignments have kept me close to home. While in college, the thought of business travel seemed so appealing. Jetting off to exotic locales, weekending on the beach, waltzing through airports. The reality is business travel is a soul crushing grind the vast majority of the time. So while I know travel looms in my future, I appreciate the fact I can eat dinner at home this year.

So that’s my list. No matter what you do or how rough a spot you might be in headed to the end of the year, take a moment to stop, look around and find a few things to be thankful for. Then go ahead and gorge on turkey and wine and head out the door for Black Friday. What a great country!

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