Leadership Advice From SAP Women In Enterprise Cloud Computing, Part 6: Step Out Of Your Comfort Zone

Jutta Lachenauer

For most organizations, measuring the success of diversity and inclusion initiatives has become merely a matter of numbers. However, creating equal opportunities for women leaders and people with other challenges is more than a numbers game. Diversity and inclusion must not be enforced; it must be embraced as an important pillar within the human resource strategy. This multi-part series shines a light on how women in leadership positions at SAP P&I Enterprise Cloud Services have risen to the top in their field. Each portrait shares insights, lessons learned, and tips for the next generation of women leaders in cloud computing.

In the sixth part of this series, Neha Jain, a local customer engagement partner in SAP Managed Cloud Delivery in Bangalore, India, speaks about the importance of stepping outside your comfort zone.

Step out of your comfort zone and find your own glass slipper

Cloud computing has become the backbone for the digital transformation of enterprises. India is one of the most rapidly growing cloud markets. Now in its second decade, it is a maturing market with many companies operating in a multi-cloud environment. Indian global players like Vodafone Idea Limited use the cloud as a fast and secure path to becoming an intelligent enterprise. With SAP as its partner, Vodafone Idea Limited has chosen to deploy the HANA Enterprise Cloud to navigate its business transformation.

Neha Jain is the customer engagement lead and primary customer contact point for Vodafone Idea Limited in Asia-Pacific, helping the company navigate the transformation process.

Neha started her technology career in 2007, after completing her bachelor’s degree in computer science, as an SAP Basis consultant. It was the first step to pursue her dream career in the tech industry. Neha developed a passion for mathematics and computer science in school and graduated best in class.

“Never stop being curious” is her philosophy and the foundation of her successful IT career. “Before you start something, ask ‘why’ this should be done. Sometimes what people ask for is not what they need. By getting all the details and background, you can find the best solution. If you are never curious enough to ask questions, what you deliver may not address the actual need,” said Neha.

Staying curious is not just about asking the right questions, it is also about sharing knowledge and going outside your comfort zone. True to her philosophy, Neha advises sharing knowledge to gain knowledge: “Don’t stay in your comfort zone. Step out of your worn slippers and try new ones on. This is the only way to develop new skills, unveil hidden skill sets, and progress your career. Share your knowledge and others will care about what you have to say.”

Neha’s focus is creating better customer experiences and helping others to do the same. As part of her mission, she joined the SAP HANA Enterprise Cloud delivery team in Asia-Pacific Japan. Her role as customer engagement lead is a demanding, 24×7 job. She is responsible for delivering all contractually agreed services, liaising with all delivery units to ensure resolution of delivery issues, and managing all customer expectations.

“It is not easy to be the customer engagement lead as a young woman. But the role was a welcomed challenge. It was my pair of new glass slippers; a move away from my comfort zone, but a perfect fit nevertheless. You have to show that you can go beyond the comfort zone and think ahead. That’s how you get accepted in meetings and by customers,” added Neha.

While technical and business expertise is important, equally important are believing in yourself and building confidence. “Take every opportunity to step up. Ask for career opportunities and you will see that possibilities exist at every stage of your career and life. For example, if you step into a meeting room with senior managers, don’t be shy. Share your voice and expertise,” advises Neha.

Neha recommends young talents take on a similar role to learn about the different facets of business requirements and customer service and to collaborate across teams: “Be confident and ready to accept challenges. But most importantly, enjoy learning and share your knowledge, then you’ll find our own (unbreakable) glass slipper!”

Learn more about how diversity and inclusion enable SAP to build a business beyond bias.

About Jutta Lachenauer

Jutta Lachenauer is the editor-in-chief and head writer for #devWire, the SAP Board Area newsletter for the developer community. With an extensive background in corporate communications, executive communications, internal communications, and change management, Jutta is a trusted advisor to senior management executives.