You’ve heard the phrase, “Life’s not a sprint — it’s a marathon.” Meet Karl Kesselring, who embodies that idea both figuratively and literally. A seasoned endurance athlete, Karl, our SAP Ecosystems and Enablement vice president, has completed a whopping 170 half marathons over the past decade, as well as 17 full marathons and a number of triathlons. Finishing a marathon takes patience, a plan, the willingness to trust the process and mental strength and focus. What lays the foundation for a successful race are the same things that foster success for complex SAP projects. And that’s why Karl is the perfect person for the job.
Prior to your joining NTT DATA, you worked for SAP. What kinds of things did you do there?
I spent more than 25 years at SAP. I originally started as a consultant at its German headquarters, working in that role seven years. I then relocated to the U.S. and for four years, I helped establish the public services practice for North America. I spent the last 15 years working out of the North American headquarters in Philadelphia, where I alternated between field GTM roles and global strategy/business development duties with a focus on the partner ecosystem. My time at SAP gave me extensive experience in several industry verticals, like financial services, public services, higher education and manufacturing.
You have a unique perspective of the SAP ecosystem from your time there — tell us about some of the trends you’re seeing in the marketplace and how NTT DATA is addressing them.
I joined NTT DATA in a new role for the company — VP of Ecosystems and Enablement. I represent the company as we develop our ONE NTT charter, an organization that aligns to the SAP leadership globally. SAP is a significant GTM ecosystem not only for us, but for all the other companies that contribute to our SAP business. I coordinate with these companies, including suppliers and other joint GTM market entities, in pursuing SAP opportunities that will ensure the best business results for our clients. I am also charged with working closely with our analyst community and communication activities around the SAP practice, including events such as our upcoming SAP SAPPHIRE NOW + ASUG Annual Conference in May.
NTT DATA has a significant market share in helping clients with their S4/HANA migrations and greenfield implementations, with a seven-to-eight percent market share of the global market as part of NTT Group. Considering how many fish live in the pond, that market share in S4/HANA (and specifically ECC to S/4 HANA migrations) is very impressive. To me, it illustrates a level of trust our clients have in our people and our capabilities. And NTT as a global group (including group companies like Dimension Data) delivers a unique offering that none of our competitors can match. We can help with everything from the bottom of the stack all to the way to the top. I think our infrastructure capabilities are particularly impressive — and they help make us a true global player by offering a mix of onshore and offshore consulting services with infrastructure, data centers and delivery in every geography to meet our clients’ needs.
With your extensive background working at SAP headquarters in that ecosystem, you have a unique viewpoint of the players in the marketplace. What makes NTT DATA stand out to you?
Our business consulting is an unsung skillset; helping our client come up with the “why,” not just the “how.” I’ve been really impressed with NTT DATA’s ability to walk the client through their set of business problems, help them define their highest priorities and come up with a plan to accomplish their goals in the time frame they desire. It’s like approaching a marathon; looking ahead to a finish line that’s very far out on the horizon. Success in this area depends so much on strategy. Experience alerts you to some of the roadblocks and you can plan ahead for contingencies. It tells you when to push and when to pace yourself, and what hills will slow you down or pick you up. It also teaches you to rely upon those who have gone before to help you avoid the inevitable pitfalls.
And even though a marathon is a solo venture, a runner never succeeds alone. Getting to the starting line and making it to the finish line requires a team of partners and supporters. And that’s what our SAP Services clients ultimately get from NTT DATA.
Post Date: 4/16/2019