A door opens. I step through it.

photo from ThijsFr’s brilliant flickrstream

At the end of January,  I’ll be leaving SAP.

It hasn’t been an easy decision, but I’ve been offered an opportunity that I simply can’t ignore.

I’m grateful to SAP for the opportunities it has provided for me for more than a decade. I’ve made many friends, and working at SAP has shaped much of my working experience. Through SAP I’ve met and worked with some of the leading companies in the world. I’ve had the pleasure of getting smarter through the osmosis effect of hanging out with clever and open people. Without SAP, we would have not learnt German, nor felt as at home in this formerly strange land as we now do.   It has been far more than just an employer to me and my family.

My valedictory sentiments echo Jeff Nolan’s, especially with regards to blogging.  I could write of many incidents and memories, some happy, some sad, but that would fill a book, not just a blog post. I’ve much to thank SAP for.

Stepping through the door.

I’m joining Gartner, where I’ll be researching and covering the HCM-HR space.  I’ll be working closely with Jim Holincheck.  There is a world of innovation beyond SAP, and I’m determined to learn more about it.  Feel it is time for me  to view the software world through a different lens.  Gartner will be ideal  for me to do just that. During the epic interview process I’ve met many of my new colleagues, and it is a place where curiosity thrives.  Curiosity is my oxygen.

This blog, the conversations I’ve had in the blogosphere, and enterprise irregulars board made me realise that I enjoy writing and thinking about the industry a lot.   When Gartner called, it just seemed to be a great fit.  In making the decision to leave SAP and join Gartner,  I’ve relied on the advice of several friends, some of whom I met via the blog.  My wife  has been a rock of rationality.

We plan to stay in Germany, and I’ll have a broad European and global focus. There is a lot of innovative HR technology in Europe and beyond that I’d like to pick up on, and enterprise 2.0 / social media hold huge potential to impact HR.  I should also be able to expand my PhD work in compliance / CSR  and data protection law.

I’m excited about the change, I’m nervous but somehow confident.  I’m bringing experience and an open mind. It will be a blast.

Robert Frost said it best.`

Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,

And sorry I could not travel both

And be one traveler, long I stood

And looked down one as far as I could

To where it bent in the undergrowth;


Then took the other, as just as fair,

And having perhaps the better claim

Because it was grassy and wanted wear;

Though as for that, the passing there

Had worn them really about the same,


And both that morning equally lay

In leaves no step had trodden black.

Oh, I marked the first for another day!

Yet knowing how way leads on to way

I doubted if I should ever come back.


I shall be telling this with a sigh

Somewhere ages and ages hence:

Two roads diverged in a wood, and I,

I took the one less traveled by,

And that has made all the difference.


From  photobunny.


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68 thoughts on “A door opens. I step through it.”

  1. Thomas,
    I am so very happy for you, this is a great opportunity and Gartner is still the leader of the pack after all these years. I am looking forward to watching you develop in this new role, I have every confidence in your abilities and character. My best wishes and, as always, should you need anything at all just call.

  2. Thomas, congratulations on what I know wasn’t an easy decision. As Jeff said, Gartner remains the top of the heap in its field and I for one am thrilled to see them bolstering their team with someone like you. Having come to know you through the Irregulars I know you to be thoughtful and capable of critical analysis.

    Best of luck and I look forward to many conversations in the future.


  3. Congratulations and best of luck, Thomas! I hope that Randy and I can spend some time with you and Charlotte while in Berlin in late May. I’ll miss you at Sapphire!

  4. It’s been an honor to get to know you through cyberspace and say I have a friend in Germany whom I have never met face to face. Thanks to you and your curiosity and secondarily, the web. I wish you the best and hope to meet you in 2008. Good luck! Jeffrey

  5. Thomas, you’ve been thinking and writing like a pro Analyst for a long time, so now you’re going to the right place to really practice it.

    And in a few years you can graduate to be an Enterprise Irregular. But wait… you already are! I’m confused:-)

    Joke apart, it sounds like a great move, congratulations and a Happy New Year!

  6. Thomas

    Congratulations to you and what a way to go into 2008! Gartner are well lucky to have you. I will miss you in Walldorf and thanks so much for your wise counsel, encouragement and for introducing me to the blogoshpere. A goodbye this is surely not. Congratulations and good luck.

  7. Thomas,
    Congratulations on this move. Clearly, you know how to analyze 🙂 – I guess Gartner will now be paying you to do what you are naturally good at and enjoy!
    Good luck. Look forward to following your research for years to come.

  8. Thomas,
    All the best! On behalf of the ones being left in the SAP – good luck! We’ll miss you and your insights in the long dark corridors of the mothership … 🙂

  9. Thomas,
    Congratulations, my man! Gartner landed themselves a big fish with this one. This sounds like a great opportunity and definitely a good adventure for you. Kudos to you and your road less traveled.


  10. Congratulations, Thomas. Sorry to lose you from the ranks of SAP, but happy for you to take the next leap in your professional experience and career. I hope we continue to see you at SAP events.

    Best regards,

    Mark Yolton

  11. Will miss you terribly. Wonderful opportunity for you and such a positive for Gartner. Keep in touch for your SAP friends over here in the US!

  12. Thomas,

    Garter’s gain is a loss for the good Starship Enterprisey.

    Nevertheless, having you out roaming the industry will be of great value to the entire community. I’m looking forward to your analysis and insight.

    Good luck,


  13. So these rumours were true then…Well done for getting out of a comfort zone! Jeremiah has been his usual eloquent self so all I can add is that Analysts always benefit from a reality injection!

  14. Hi Thomas,

    Congratulations to this great opportunity!
    It was a pleasure to meet you within SAP even if it only for a very short one.
    And I’m gonna watch out for Gartner publishings with Your name on it 🙂


  15. What an amazing opportunity… I’m thrilled for you. I’m sure you will soon stir things up at Gartner too. But please don’t stop blogging … we have thoroughly enjoyed your musings 🙂

    Best wishes

  16. Thomas,
    Congratulations! I wish you every thing you are looking for and more. And, I look forward to seeing your work at Gartner! Keep up the blogging! And, happy new year.
    Best regards, Patti Fletcher

  17. Thomas,
    Congratulations on your new position! SAP’s loss will definitely be Gartner’s gain. Even though I won’t be running into to you in the halls of SAP, I do hope that I will get a chance to meet up with you and Charlotte again the next time I visit the mothership.

  18. Whooooaaaahhhhh!!! Fantastic piece of news, Thomas! Just catching up with all the action. Congratulations on the move!! I am certain 2008 is going to be a superb and exciting year for you and really happy to be able to continue reading how you are getting along in this new adventure! Keep up the superb piece of quality work you’ve been doing all along! And congrats again!!

    And a Happy New Year, too!!! 😀

  19. Thomas,

    A note only you could scribe and one thought through just as you do best. To better yourself is key to continue to learn and exploit pastures new, capitalising on all journeys taken thus far is one worth promoting the academic in you as well as the career. Please forward your new contact details and sure to see you in your new role. Thanks for all your support over the past years and keep in touch.

    Good luck Thomas.

    Best wishes to you and the family for the New Year.


  20. Thomas – I am so happy for you! This is a great move. You will be an incredible asset to Gartner. As a long time client I see you adding tremendous value to their content portfolio. You will be missed @ SAP!

    Best of luck in your new role and for the New Year,

  21. Thomas, Congratulations and all of my best wishes — our loss is Gartner’s gain. Please know that I am better at what I do for having worked so closely with you.

    We’ll miss you very much!


  22. When wishing you the best a note of thanks for your mentoring. SAP loses and Gartner gains a tailored and elegant gent whose sartorial (and writing)style is an asset to whatever environment he inhabits.

  23. Thomas,

    I’ve been enjoying your blog. Make sure, wherever your career moves, that it moves with you.

  24. Congratulations, Thomas! Leaving one great company for another. I’m sure it wasn’t an easy decision. I look forward to continuing to work with you in your new role.

  25. Thomas,
    Wow! Congratulations, all the best for your new role. I have enjoyed your blog since I first chanced upon it and I trust that your new employer will allow you the freedom to continue blogging as SAP have.


  26. Thomas: I have never seen so many responses to a blog post in my life. Speaks volumes about the kind of person you must be, and your impact on our world. I trust you made it a condition of your signing with Gartner that you can attend the HR Technology Conference, 15-17 October, in Chicago along with SAP’s David Ludlow and occasionally Elena Ordonez. Look forward to meeting you there…Bill

  27. Thomas: You and I have never meet or had a conversation, but welcome to the world Of Human Capital Management software. My US company is owned by Bond International Software in the UK (BDI on Londond Stock Exchange) and we would love to have you come to visit us in the UK and talk about our plans for the Global HCM software space.
    Congratulations, Tim Giehll, CEO

  28. A big pity for SAP but a good thing for you, for Gartner and for the industry. I’ll miss working with you but look forward to doing that in a different setting. God’s Speed!

  29. Thomas,
    It’s hard to leave, but the excitement you’d miss if you didn’t!

    Clearly, this is a natural evolution of you. You will do well and I wish you, along with all your other avid readers, much success.

    Now, find a nice place (with a guest room) in Berlin so I can visit!

  30. Thomas

    I think back many years to when you and I were greenhorns at SAP South Africa. Kudos for the exemplary way you have grown through the intervening years and all the very best at Gartner. I have no doubt that hyperactive cortex of yours will get a good workout in the new role. I look forward to seeing in action at the local Gartner Symposium. Nihambe kahle umngane. SC

  31. Thomas,
    Congratulations!!!! Leaving a great company like SAP is never easy. I’m certain you will be a great asset to the Gartner team.

    Take care,

  32. Thomas,
    that’s great news! Congratulations and all the best for this new challenge!
    Sounds like exactly the right thing for you!
    Take care,

  33. Mr Otter,

    Excellent news, for you but perhaps not SAP and our customers.

    Anyway, as we like to say in my native tongue Go n-eirí an bóthar leat – may the road rise to meet you!

    Best of luck!


  34. Dear Thomas,
    this is not a public performance feedback session in my role at SAP but a big thank you for your excellent networking skills … even beyond South Africa ;-). The HR Best Practice Network you initiated and inspired with life will continue as an evidence of your knowhow and skills in communication. The Best for you at Gartner … and I hope that network meets network.
    Take care

  35. To my favourite south african(s), Charl included

    Tom, well done you on this great opportunity!
    life is for living – I generally find that what you put in is what you get out !
    With your professionalism and can-do attitude, success at Gartner is a given.

    thanks for our wonderful friendship of many years and remember, the Dublin Irish are rooting for you!
    hugs always, Fiona.

  36. Thomas,
    A great loss to SAP and gain to Gartner.

    Having known you for a number of years and spoken about the HR market on a few occasions I believe the market is only just catching up with your thinking of 5 years ago!

    I am sure we will come in contact in your new role.

    Keep in touch and lets go out in London next time you are over


  37. Thomas,

    I am sure this is a excellent move and you will love writing and presenting your view on what will happen in the industry.



  38. Congratulations Tom, a new page is turned. The road not taken is indeed well trodden so you have done the right thing to satisfy yourself, I’m sure. I hope we will be able to interest you in your new role professionally and as friends we will enjoy many more chinwags – over a cuppa if not a strong coffee with cream….
    Regards and best wishes,

  39. Dear Thomas,

    Encouraging decision – great move – real challenge – let’s stay tuned and see how you are going to make this a next great career step. You deserve it – the force is with you and for sure your friends!

    Take care for now and just wish you all the very best in your new role,


  40. Hi Thomas

    long time indeed, and this is momentous news.

    The road less travelled is the adventurer’s choice. Good one.


  41. Thank you for all your support these past 10 years for supporting HCM, Outsourcing, BPO and beyond. It’s definitely an exciting time to be getting into research for HCM with the new social networks popping up all around us. It’s not many people who get to do a job they are totally cut out for and one they enjoy. For that alone you are to congratulated. The very best of luck but then I’m sure we’ll be seeing your name at the bottom of the Gartner reports we get.

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