Adapting and Innovating: A Journey of Resilience in the Tech Industry

Adapting and Innovating: A Journey of Resilience in the Tech Industry

Nicki Kracun: Marketing & Revenue Operations | Go-To-Market & Sales Enablement | Partner Ecosystem Alliances | Program Management | Business Intelligence & Analytics | B2B & B2C | SAP alumni. Connect with Nicki on LinkedIn.

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Q1: Describe a project or achievement you're particularly proud of and how it reflects your skills and strengths.

Nicki: There are two perspectives from which I can approach this question: as a leader and as a doer. As a leader, my role as Chief of Staff for the Database and Data Management team at SAP stands out.

The project involved reorganizing the company's structure from vertical to horizontal lines of business, which required a deep understanding of various functional areas, from development to sales.

This reorganization involved a team of about 15 people, where my role was to act as a strategic facilitator.

The key challenge was to articulate and define the roles and deliverables required for each functional area. This process demanded a comprehensive understanding of the jobs to be done, which was essential for establishing the new organizational setup from scratch.

We conducted a four to five-day strategic workshop, focusing on fostering trust and collaboration among key managers and executives. This process not only helped in setting up the framework for the organization but also built a close, cohesive, and trusting team.

This project, dating back to the end of 2014, laid a foundation that was later adopted across other lines of business within SAP.

It played a crucial role in the company's transition to cloud products, a significant shift at the time, and contributed to maintaining a year-over-year growth of 10%. This transition was essential as we observed a pivot in on-premise revenue, which was counterbalanced by a start in cloud license revenues. My pride in this project stems from the collaborative framework we established, which was successfully executed and integrated into the company’s strategy.

This experience reinforced my passion for working with diverse teams, particularly with developers. While I've always enjoyed working closely with developers, I found my strengths lie in understanding customer pain points and addressing internal challenges, particularly from a marketing and sales perspective. This project demonstrated my capacity to lead strategy sessions and propel organizational transformation, resulting in a 2% increase in operating margins throughout SAP.

Additional Insight:

When asked about memorable quotes or observations related to the project, I recalled the phrase, "Culture eats strategy for breakfast" by Peter Drucker. This quote was particularly relevant to our experience at SAP, highlighting the importance of educating and aligning the team's culture with the new organizational strategy. In a large company like SAP, where various business units compete for resources and attention, this alignment was crucial for the successful implementation of the new structure and strategy. The quote encapsulates the learning that, despite a strong strategy, the cultural aspect within the team and organization plays a vital role in achieving success.

Q2: What unique perspectives or approaches do you bring to your field of work?

Nicki: My unique approach to my field of work stems from a blend of being social yet introverted. This duality aids me in being particularly observant, especially in new situations, whether it's a new project or a new team.

My strength lies in keenly observing processes from start to finish, identifying areas that can be streamlined for efficiency, cost-effectiveness, and better results.

I have a natural inclination to see how things could be improved and recognize that different approaches can yield different outcomes.

My experience has taught me that much depends on who you work for and their understanding of your mindset and approach. In my previous role, I had the opportunity to propose various improvements. While these suggestions weren't always implemented, this experience underscored for me the value of a supportive work environment that respects and appreciates individual perspectives. It's a lesson I carry forward in my career with great appreciation.

My skills are not just limited to observations but are also data-driven. I am proficient in coding with SAS and SQL, enough to be considered dangerous. Additionally, I am well-versed in various Business Intelligence (BI) tools like Power BI, SAP Analytic Cloud (SAC), SAP Explorer, Tableau, etc. My capability in these tools allows me to effectively visualize data, provided I have a deep understanding of the underlying information.

Q3: How have you adapted or innovated in past roles to meet new challenges?

Nicki: Adapting and innovating in my past roles, especially after being with a company like SAP for 16 years, was challenging yet rewarding. Over time, I've realized that while SAP had robust software products and a strong market presence, the skills and tools we used were cutting edge. This foundation, however, provided me with a unique perspective and a deep understanding of the industry, invaluable assets in continuously evolving and integrating with emerging digital trends in various environments.

From an innovation perspective, I've always pushed myself to learn and grow. Whether it's about situational management, becoming a better leader or manager, or fostering a collaborative, consultative style, I’ve constantly sought to improve. I've never shied away from working with people smarter than me; in fact, it motivates me to reach their level of expertise. Currently, I'm looking for a dynamic, intelligent team that can run a business effectively while supporting each other.

Connect and Collaborate with Nicki Kracun

Are you impressed by Nicki's insights and expertise? Do you see potential synergies or opportunities where her skills and experiences could be a great fit?

Please reach out and connect with Nicki on LinkedIn. She is currently exploring new opportunities where she can apply her extensive knowledge and innovative approach.

Whether it’s for collaboration, a potential role, or simply to exchange ideas, your engagement could open doors to exciting new possibilities. Let’s support each other in building a more connected and forward-thinking professional community.

— Bill

Bill Fox 
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Pioneering Leadership from Within | Unlocking Organizational Potential