Digital SHEro Claudia: Making her way to SAP consulting with courage and pragmatism

Portrait von Claudia

“Make it easy and just do it!”

Claudia is a trained optician and later dared to take the step into university studies and then into the IT industry. With the flexibility she has gained, she balances her job and family life and has found her passion in SAP consulting. There are always new challenges in consulting, which she approaches with pragmatism. And that’s her advice to women who want to follow their path to IT: “Make it easy and just do it!”

Welcome, Claudia! Please introduce yourself briefly.

My name is Claudia, I am 56 years old, and I have been at valantic since 2018. Before that, I spent 15 years in internal consulting. There, my focus was on procurement and logistics. During my time at valantic, I have also been involved in the areas of master data, customer management, and suppliers.

When did you think of going into IT?

Frankly, the thought never occurred to me. Instead, I found that IT plays a crucial role in large organizations when thinking about processes and striving for change. IT is essential to optimize or change processes. Especially in larger projects, it is helpful to understand and be able to apply IT. For me personally, this does not mean that I can program or have a classical education in business informatics. I actually come from the area of processes and found it exciting to map them in SAP, adapt them, and try out new things.

What did you study or what kind of education do you have?

After finishing school, I completed an apprenticeship as an optician and worked in this field for several years. Then our son was born, and I realized that an optician’s working hours are not compatible with family. I always wanted to study at the university, but this didn’t happen initially. When a university of applied sciences opened in Bocholt and my son was in kindergarten, I decided to study economics with a focus on accounting, controlling, and financing. I completed my practical semester at Siemens in Purchasing, where I was offered a job after completing my studies.

What topic did you write your thesis on?

My diploma thesis dealt with the topic of standardization in logistics controlling. During my practical semester at Siemens, I had my first contact with SAP and thus got deeper into the subject matter by studying technology and customizing. Before using internal IT resources, we always looked at what was possible with SAP. Although we did not have permission to customize, we were allowed to gain insights. We then looked for solutions that were technically feasible. We also had a great manager who sent us to congresses to see how other companies do things.

Women at valantic- Digitalheldin Claudia

How did you decide to switch from internal consulting to external consulting?

The idea of leaving internal consulting came due to the company’s economic situation. The uncertainty about whether the company would continue to exist and the constant news about job cuts prompted me to look for new opportunities. First, I applied for positions in internal consulting. During a job interview, the HR department asked me why I didn’t want to switch to external consulting because my ideas would fit in better with that. That made me think, and so I ended up working for a small consulting company in the Bielefeld area.

Are there any differences between internal and external consulting?

In internal consulting, you have close contact with colleagues and processes at the company, which is very exciting. However, it is more difficult to make changes because you often encounter resistance and are not always taken seriously as an internal consultant. In external consulting, on the other hand, you are more open to changes and innovations. If you come from outside, customers often take you more seriously because you can look at things in new ways. You also ask many questions and scrutinize established processes, which often leads to innovative solutions.

How was your start in external consulting?

Getting started was challenging at first, as you don’t start big projects immediately and you don’t know the team so well. But over time you get to know many different teams and customers, which makes getting started easier.

Have you ever stopped learning or are you still learning new things in your job?

I have never stopped learning. You always have new customers, the technology is evolving, and there are always new challenges and solutions that you can learn about.

What type of person do you need to be for consulting?

There are different types of consultants. Some are communicative and like to work in a team, while others are more analytical and detail oriented. Both types are important in consulting because they have different perspectives and abilities.

Can you tell us what it’s like to work as a woman in the IT sector?

In fact, I was often the only woman in meetings, both at the beginning of my career and in consulting. But now I see more and more women on our project teams and also at customers. There are also an increasing number of women in senior positions, which is really a positive change. But I would love to see even more. It’s important that young girls see that they are just as technically gifted as their classmates, and that IT is also attractive to women.

What would you advise women who want to go to IT?

I would advise them to just get started and not let any doubts stop them. IT is not rocket science, and there are many things that you can learn. It’s helpful to be pragmatic and to do things easily. You don’t need to know everything; you can get help when you need it.

To conclude our interview, what is your slogan as a digital SHEro?

“Make it easy and just do it!”

Thank you, Claudia, for your insights and perspectives. This was an exciting interview!

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