Orla Concannon talks to Smart Futures about her career as a Support Associate at SAP.
What are the main tasks, responsibilities and skills required for your career?
I work as a Support Associate in the Customer Interaction Center in SAP.
In the Customer Interaction Center, we assist our customers via phone, email and online communications.
My role is to prioritise customer’s technical cases by analysing the effect on their business from a commercial perspective.
Describe a typical day?
My daily activities include taking inbound customer calls, emails and service requests.
One of my core tasks is to obtain business impact information from SAP’s customers in order to assess the criticality of their production issues or project plans and if necessary follow up with the technical teams for critical customer cases.
Along with that, I assist customers with navigation of the SAP Support Portal, in turn educating the customers on how to use the common functions such as downloading software and requesting license keys.
What’s cool about your career?
I really enjoy engaging with customers from all over the world.
I also love working in a diverse and multicultural team environment in the Customer Interaction Center.
Many of my colleagues are from different countries with different cultures and backgrounds, so I learn a lot from them.
What are the main challenges?
When dealing with customers from different countries, the language barrier can be difficult and challenging at times.
A second language would be an advantage in my role. This is something I would encourage students to think about.
If I could go back, I would definitely have studied a second language as I can now understand its value when working in a huge multinational company like SAP.
Who or what has most influenced your career direction?
I think my family members and peers have been the strongest influences regarding my career direction. I have always had an interest in business from a young age.
I also feel that my work experience has played a huge factor in my career direction.
As a Galway native, I had the opportunity to study business in NUIG or GMIT.
However, after thorough research I chose to study business in the University Of Limerick, because of the internship program incorporated into this four year course.
The University of Limerick has one of the largest cooperative education programmes in the European Union and has a strong reputation for high rates of graduate employment.
The proof is evident from my story, as I returned to work in SAP once I graduated.
Does your job allow you to have a lifestyle you are happy with?
Yes, SAP is a great company to work for.
The company is largely focused on developing and retaining talent within the organisation.
In the Customer Interaction Center there are many opportunities available to progress into different sub teams within this department, along with opportunities to develop into different roles in other departments.
My working hours are flexible which allows me to enjoy a lifestyle that I am happy with and the company provides many benefits to their employees, such as a complimentary three course lunch every day.
What subjects did you take in school and did they influence your career path?
In school, I studied Business Studies, Home Economics and Biology.
I would definitely say that studying Business Studies in school has hugely influenced my career path as it provided me with a strong foundation.
After this I continued to study business in college and I now work in a business role today.
What is your education to date?
I attended secondary school in Presentation College, Headford in Co. Galway.
After my Leaving Cert, I completed a four year Bachelor of Business Studies Degree in the University of Limerick.
What aspects of your education have proven most important for your job?
I feel that my education up to now is very relevant for my current role.
Having a strong background in business, I feel that I am able to understand and relate to the customers when obtaining business impact information regarding their technical cases.
What advice would you give to someone considering this job?
For my role as a Support Associate, a graduate of business or an IT related discipline is required.
A European language is desired, in particular German or French. I feel that an interest in customer service is essential for working in this position along with strong communication and teamwork skills.
What kinds of work experience would provide a good background for this position?
Work experience in a customer service role would be beneficial for this position as we are dealing with customers on a daily basis.
Every year, SAP hire many interns as part of their internship program. As previously mentioned, it is through this internship that I first began working in Customer Interaction Center at SAP.
This internship was a huge advantage to me on returning to my role in Customer Interaction Center.
From the beginning, I felt more confident and capable in my work environment by having this previous experience and knowledge.