Moving to Australia, Joining EV Technologies and a post of thanks ….

As I navigate my way through life, I have realised that we tend to go through certain “phases”. From the carefree student days when you thought life was “hectic”, to the newly wed phase when you slept till lunch time on week-ends and had more free time than you realised. Then the kids join your world (I have three aged 7,6 and 2) and your life becomes a blur of dummies, nappies, disrupted sleep and no personal time what so ever. As my wife and I are coming out of that last phase in our life, with us starting to wake our kids up for a change, we are about to embark on the next big adventure in our lives and that is moving to Australia. My wife and I have lived in both America and London together as a couple, but as a family, we have only lived in South Africa with the odd overseas adventure/holiday.

Something that only South African’s will understand, is that when you are born and bred in this part of the world and say you are emigrating, then it generally causes a stir amongst your friends and peers. Maybe it is our dark past filled with apartheid that makes South African’s think this way ? The reason I say this, is that we were “cut off” from the rest of the world and lived in isolation by reading/watching censored media, and as a nation became very insular. When you say you are leaving, I feel that many South Africans (my close friends and family included) feel that you are turning your back on South Africa, which is always an interesting perspective.

About 18 months ago, my life took an unexpected turn for the better. I have always been an uber nerd, but stuck down on the tip of Africa in Cape Town, no one in the international SAP community really knew about what was happening down here.  To Mark Yolton ( now with Cisco) and Mark Finnern of SAP and your team, I will be eternally grateful to you for selecting me as an SAP Mentor and allowing me the privilege of meeting so many amazing colleagues, and now friends, who form part of the “wolf pack”. So thank-you, thank-you, thank-you for this opportunity, as it has opened doors for me that I never knew existed, as well as assisted me with the platform to help share my knowledge and expertise globally, as I love to be able to do this. To all my fellow SAP Mentors, it has been an honour to get to know many of you, and thanks so much for your time, wisdom, perspective, deep technical knowledge and passion for what you do !

Looking back, I guess I owe much of the recognition to my now good friend, fellow CrossFit Addict and SAP MentorJosh Fletcher, as he first invited me onto the DSLayered podcast series to do some recordings with the crew. To EricGregJamie and Josh – thank-you so much for welcoming me with open arms into the DSLayered fold and for putting up with my “band-width” issues and constant ramblings about Sybase IQ. I have always been convinced that you never really hear what I have to say and that’s why you keep inviting me back. You have all become good friends, and the perspective and insight you share in our back channel chats will always be treasured. I am struck with amazement, almost daily, by your passion for the community and all the time you put aside for something bigger than yourselves. I am so looking forward to DSLayered 2.0 and the many fun times we have ahead of us in the years to come.. Thanks guys !

With a new found global outlook on my career and life, just over a year ago, my wife and I had a rare moment of sanity, having an “alone” breakfast together, where we discussed the pros and cons of looking at opportunities abroad and we decided that this was in the best interest of our family. With our eldest daughter moving quickly towards her teens, we decided that if we were going to look at options, we needed to move fast.

The excitement quickly turned to reality, and there were two main hurdles at this point. 1) Where are we going ? 2) What am I going to do with BI in the Box ( this was my local SAP Consultancy partnership that I started and was my 4th child)

I believe that there are no chance meetings in life, and while in Melbourne at an Eventful Group conference, I met Kurt Bilafer from SAP, who had recently moved to Singapore from the US and was focussing on the Analytics (BusinessObjects) space at SAP. We got chatting about the local APJ market and all the growth and possibility in the region, and  looking back now I think my mind was made up there and then, sitting in the Hilton Business Lounge, that my skill set would fit perfectly in the APJ market and this is where our family needed to go. To Kurt, a personal note of thanks to you for being amazingly supportive over the past year, and for always having time to discuss opportunities and for welcoming us into the APJ region

The toughest decision for me was what to do with BI in the Box. My staff were like family to me and we were as closely knit as a team could be. Through the 6 1/2 years, it was as though we all “grew up” in a way. We had kids, bought houses, sold houses, went through the highest highs and the lowest lows, but all that time we stuck together as a unit. After getting insight from my two mentors here in Cape Town, I knew that I had to sell the company, as being 8 hours away, it would be near impossible to manage the business. It was strange to accept that by selling the business was the best way to look after my team, ensuring they had job security and a career path going forward. The day I let every-one know, was a day I was dreading, and as I drove around to see each person individually, the meetings were full of laughs and tears, but the team stood by me and supported my decision. To the BI in the Box team – thank-you for every-thing over the last 6 1/2 years. Thank-you also for holding the fort while I have been jetting all over the place and for always giving more than I have ever asked of you! Thank-you !

To my two Cape Town mentors – Firstly to Karen van der Walt: thank-you so much for all your insight, perspective and wisdom over the last 7 years. It has been an honour to work beside you and thank-you for standing by me through thick and thin and for being my sounding board in almost all aspects of my life. I am yet to meet any-one who understands BI the way you do, and doubt I will, so keep reaching for the stars as that is where you belong. Secondly, to Bryn Davies ( aka Skipper): thanks for always being the level head within all my chaos. I hate that we hardly see each other with me living on an aeroplane recently, but please do know that I have strived to run my business and treat my staff the way you did all those years back at Sybase. Thank-you for being an inspiration to me and for always taking the high road.

This leaves me with why EV Technologies I guess ? Eric and I started forging a friendship through the DSLayered channel, and about 2 years ago as business partners between EV Technologies and BI in the Box. I distinctly remember the first “work call” Eric and I had when we were looking at the two companies becoming partners, and the synergy between how we conducted business, ourselves and treated our staff as colleagues rather than employees was uncanny. From the first time Eric and I spoke about my proposed move, we were initially looking at the USA, until we first started hatching a plan to join forces in APJ. He has only been supportive and understanding, so thank-you so much for that. What Eric has built up with EV Technologies is something that I am proud to be a part of and represent, and the opportunity to call the many great minds in the EV Technologies team my colleagues was one I was never going to miss out on. Eric, I know the road has been longer than we expected, but thanks so much for standing by me every part of the way and being so patient ( for those looking emigrate it’s not simple). We both share the same vision for creating the best global SAP Analytics and Database and Technology team out there and now that things are coming to a head, I know we are well on the way to achieving that. Thank-you so much for giving me the responsibility to fly the EV Technologies flag out East, and I will do all I can to make yourself and the amazing team proud. Please also send my sincere thanks to Stephanie and the kids for being so understanding on all the travel as I know it is hard on them. Thank-you !

They say behind every good man is a great woman and in my case this is not an exception. I owe every-thing to my beautiful wife who has always stood by and supported me through all I have done. Not many people know this, but when I started BI in the Box, I was just offered a large promotion at a corporate and had a 13 month and 1 month old child. I wanted to resign to start BI in the Box – not smart hey ? Not wavering a step, my Mrs said “go for it – I back you” and the rest… as they say… is history. For those who know me personally, you know I am very “full on”. If I do something then I am 200 % in … it’s just how I am wired. Being “full on” can also make us not the easiest people to live with as the highs are highs and the lows are lows… so to Taryn – thanks for putting up with me all these years and for being the most amazing wife. I have said this to you many times before, but our kids truly are the luckiest 3 alive to have you as their mom ! They say “if you truly love some-one then set them free” and thank-you for doing just that and for letting me jet off around the world following my dreams and for holding the fort while I am away ! I look forward to the day when we are settled and I can return the favour as I owe you big time !

Shooo… that was emotional !

I know when you write a post like this you are bound to leave people out – there must be so many. What I hope to convey as I enter the new phase of my life, is that I am filled with over-whelming gratitude and excitement. Every fibre of me knows that, as a family, we are moving to an environment where we will all thrive in and become closer as a family, which to me really is the main meaning of life. If I love what I do, love my family and get to spend lots of time with them and love where I live… well to me then I won’t want for anything else in life.

If you read this far, then thanks for taking your valuable time to do so. As if fate was watching, our Australian family visa approval arrived in my inbox this morning, so it now really is GAME ON !



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