SAP Mentor Spotlight Interview: Tobias Trapp


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

Mindfulness and meditation can help organizations and teams around the globe.

With digital transformation, challenging customer requirements, and an unprecedented amount of change, the need for organizational agility is at an all-time high.

While both mindfulness and meditation have been around for many centuries, it is being revisited in the current economy. The ability to be present in the moment, less judgmental, and address information overload and distractions is very helpful when addressing complex issues.

Mindfulness and meditation help leaders and employees reflect, focus, reduce stress, and recharge to help unlock the potential of digital transformation including addressing new processes, uncertainty, and frameworks.

For Tobias Trapp, SAP Mentor, Enterprise Architect at AOK Systems GmbH, and SAP Press Author, he has put into practice the power of mindfulness and meditation to help make social and professional contributions in an ever-increasing connected world. He has taken this approach amidst his professional expertise which includes business process optimization, business rules management, SAP ABAP, SAP S/4HANA, SAPUI5, and integration.

In catching up with him we found out a lot more, including his passion for a work-life balance.

Anne Petteroe (AP): At the University of Bonn, you studied Mathematical Operations Research. That background could have taken you in any number of directions. What sparked your interest in software development and programming which led you to your current role as an Enterprise Architect at AOK Systems GmbH?

Tobias Trapp (TT): I have always been interested in business processes and how to optimize them. My college thesis paper was about finding solutions for a certain problem. The challenge was that the solution should be in some way “plausible” so that everyone sees the benefits. In fact, this problem from my thesis was so difficult to solve that I decided to look for corridors (aka other environments) containing such a solution. And this is the approach that I continue to use today.

Today’s enterprise IT has to change according to the needs of digitization. For example, the pandemic has made it clear that healthcare services, as well as administrative processes in healthcare, must be completely rethought and redesigned from the viewpoint of the end-user – the patient, insurant, healthcare provider, and so on. As a consequence, I am looking for solutions fulfilling certain requirements like security, stability, high volume capability and so forth.

AP: During the height of the pandemic, you wrote an interesting blog titled Meditation during Lockdown – A personal Experience. Given the fast pace of the High-Tech world and the marketplace overall, what are a few suggestions on how we can apply meditation to achieve a better work-life balance?

TT: In today’s world, the problem is that we always think we have to react within the shortest time
(i.e., our smartphone beeps and in a second we check the notification). But finding a good solution needs more than just a reaction. We have to understand the problem, accept the challenge, and respond to it.

Meditation helps me to find clarity. Am I just reacting? Or am I responding using all my curiosity, knowledge, and creativity…?

We all (hopefully) brush our teeth and get exercise…Why shouldn’t we also care for our minds?

The meditation experiment I described in my blog was very intense. I started with meditation some years earlier and it developed into a daily practice. I found it very useful to help me reflect and find out what is important in my life. Over time I discovered social engagement, and I am happy to say that in 2019 I was one of the recipients of the Brückenpreis (Bridge Prize) of the state Rhineland Palatinate which honors those who help build bridges, or connections, between people or groups and help shape a peaceful future.

Meditation is more than just some kind of “self-optimization” – it also has an ethical dimension.

AP: How did you become an SAP Mentor? What has the experience been like for you so far?

TT: To be honest, I don’t know exactly how I became SAP Mentor! I was nominated by the SAP Community, so I guess they liked my contributions. 😊

It took place around 2007. SAP was different at this time: more bureaucratic and (sorry for the harsh words…) sometimes certain individuals were a bit arrogant.

But SAP learned to listen to the customers, their needs, technical trends and so on. Change and transformation was necessary. SAP didn’t want to react; SAP wanted to respond pro-actively.

The first step in the process is to listen. With the SAP Mentors, they continue to choose a group of highly skilled and passionate people to share insights. I am extra grateful because I have learned a lot from other members of this group.

AP: You recently co-wrote the acclaimed SAP Press book, “ABAP development for SAP S/4HANA – The programming model for SAP Fiori” (German edition). How can the concepts in the book help IT and non-technical business workers team together to do more low/no code activities, to solve customers and operations challenges, and surface data more quickly?

TT: The focus of this book is not directly about low/no code activities. It discusses techniques, paradigms, and programming models that are necessary to keep custom and partner developments up to date. The challenges are huge, but necessary. The digital core of today needs modern user interfaces, high integration capabilities, built-in analytic capabilities, and much more.

We need to learn to simplify applications and learn how to build interfaces that expose functions of the digital core to cloud applications and microservice architectures. The creation of state-of-the-art APIs has many benefits – the enablement of low/no code activities is only one of them.

AP: There is a huge opportunity with SAP S/4HANA Cloud (intelligent ERP) and many other SAP products and solutions to obtain work that focuses in on SAP ABAP and related programming languages. Yet, for students and recent graduates, this career path can seem daunting. How can they find traction to get started and land a high-quality position in the industry and jumpstart their career journey?

TT: Personally, I think there are many interesting industries – think of healthcare and health insurance for example. With SAP S/4HANA and SAP Industry Cloud, SAP offers a digital core and technology stack to address today’s challenges. I believe you need challenging projects to gain skills and experience. Everything that I wrote down in blogs and SAP Press books, I learned at work. So, look for a company that follows an ambitious IT strategy.

Today, you need to understand different programming paradigms and you have to use different programming languages. ABAP is not enough…I also recommend Java, JavaScript, and Python.

When I look back, I always found it useful to have some training in Mathematics. It is a key capability that I find useful in so many ways.

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