I have to say that it’s a real pleasure to select an SCN member each month and talk with them. Each time I learn new things – sometimes technical things, yet! – and I am always amazed by the dedication of these people.
William Li is the SCN Member of the Month for June 2012. A long-time SAP employee, he has been an SCN member since its inception! He remembers hearing former SAP executive Shai Agassi speak about “SDN” at the time, and how it encouraged him to become a member.
June is Appreciation Month on SCN - see Jeanne Carboni's blog - and it is good timing to recognize William’s contributions to the community: by liking, sharing, rating, bookmarking his blogs and documents, the community has shown William its appreciation for the quality of the contributions. As an example, he got 16 bookmarks for this document on Gateway vs PI! This also helped me identify William as the Member of the Month – with a little extra help from someone – you know who you are…
William, 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’ve lived in St. Louis, MO, for 30+ years now. I started with SAP end of 1998 as an ABAP tools consultant, then as a java developer at SAP Labs. I joined the NetWeaver RIG in 2003 to focus on XI/PI. In 2010, I joined the Solution Management team to focus on Process Orchestration.
I enjoy hiking. Among the many places I've been to are the Smokey Mountains, Yosemite, foothills of the Himalayas in Tibet, and including a 27-mile hike in the Grand Canyon. My next goal is Machu Picchu in Peru.
I’ve visited cities in 26 countries so far, with South America as the only continent I have yet to visit.
Note from Laure: William's 27-mile hike in the Grand Canyon was a hike down to the bottom (Colorado river) and back up. No mules, just a group of hikers with backpacks and plastic bags to bring their waste back. Hiking down to the bottom of the canyon is not easy: you start all excited and energized, but as you go downhill the temperature rises, you get tired, and you then need to go back uphill! It is recommended to do this over a couple of days and not in the summer months!
When did you become a member of SCN and what brought you to this community?
I joined (then) “SDN” when it was originally started. At that time I was already active in other communities such as Microsoft and Oracle. I found them to be very useful in helping out with questions, information and interaction within the community. Back at that time I was glad to hear that SAP was also starting a community.
How does SCN help you in your daily activities?
When I have any SAP-related questions, SCN is the first place I go. However, I use Google to do the search.
Note from Laure: ;-) If you haven’t heard about it yet, read Jason Lax’s blog about the Custom Google Search for the New SCN
How do you find the time to contribute to SCN?
Actually, this is quite easy. I used to keep a lot of notes and personal documents, especially How-Tos, that I collected throughout the years working with customers and colleagues. It became very difficult to organize and look for information among these documents when I needed it. So I started publishing blogs on the information I found useful and think I will need in the future. This way, as long as I have access to the internet I have access to them and am able to find them easily. This is therefore purely for personal reasons.
The additional time to put them in blog form is really not that much. Articles (Documents) are quite time-consuming. Some of them can be 70+ pages. I normally put these together when there is a need for a proof-of-concept, customer demo or customer questions. So, I document them and take screenshots as I go, combining them into the project.
Note from Laure: I have to admit this is the first time I hear this reason for contributing on SCN. But hey, it’s been working and William has received tons of positive feedback about his content and he engages with fellow members regularly.
William also shared with me that getting the same questions from several customers made him realize how much more efficient he would be in responding to them via blogs and documents that would later benefit the community at large. On SCN.
What do you like most about the community in general?
The interaction with the members of the community and the willingness of everyone to share information.
You have contributions that got dozens of bookmarks, and most of your recent content has been liked, rated or commented on. I find this pretty good, but I’d like to know if it inspires when you get so much feedback from the community?
I am happy to receive the feedback, which at least is telling me the information I provided is useful. I try to reply to most of the question, but sometimes there is just not enough time because some of them require additional research.
Other than PI and Process Orchestration, are there areas of SCN that you follow and like to get updates from?
Mainly the highly publicized products, e.g. HANA and mobility.
Note from Laure: Here I wanted to check why William doesn’t follow spaces or people, and I’m glad I could help him: He hadn’t realized that in the user profile you can edit your preferences and define what you want email notifications for. William thought that by following spaces or people he would get an email each time something was contributed, but this is something you can avoid by setting the right preferences. See below what I have myself:
I saw on LinkedIn that you are connected to Christina Miller, the TechEd content guru. It’s a wild guess here, but can it be that you presented sessions at TechEd in the past? Just wondering…
Yes, I was a TechEd speaker every year since I joined the NetWeaver RIG in 2003.
Note from Laure: Rock Star! Who else has been a TechEd speaker every year since 2003? Please let us know via the comment section of this blog.
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?
I think that if you feel that certain information you like to keep for future reference, then you can share it with the community. Or, if you responded to the same question from three different people, then you can share it in SCN. There will probably be many others interested on the same topics.
Easy question: Mac or Windows?
In my family of 4, I am the only Windows user. I am the only person without an iPhone or iPad.
Note from Laure: I told William that being a Mac user at SAP is heroic, I can attest. Instead, I recommend to get an iPhone. But I think he’ll get Android in the end just to test it out. Fair enough!
Is there an SCN member you admire (OK… you can name a few)?
Yes, Michal Krawczyk. He is awesome. He is extremely knowledgeable. I don’t think he ever goes to sleep. I don’t know where he finds the time to contribute so much.
Note from Laure: I was expecting this name to come up. Michal is an SAP Mentor and respected expert in the PI area. Let’s find out here how many hours of sleep he gets each night and how he manages to do it all! Michal, we are waiting for you to comment in this blog! Hi!
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.