Espresso Tutorials Author Profile: Kathi Kones

Espresso Tutorials

Fabian Bentz

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Author Kathi Kones catching up on her reading in Ireland.

Learn more about SAP List Viewer (ALV) – A Practical Guide for ABAP Developers author Kathi Kones.

How did you get your start with SAP and SAP development?

I was on a cross-functional rotation at a manufacturing plant and almost missed the chance to participate in the implementation of SAP at General Mills in the mid-1990s. My assignments since joining the company in 1987 had been varied: a laptop/email roll-out to remote sales personnel, programming in CoBOL, Lotus, and Paradox, consumer coupon tracking and control, and local area network support.As I prepared to move back to Minneapolis from the plant, one of the managers told me there were still opportunities on the SAP project. I accepted and joined the Sales and Distribution team in a programmer-analyst role. As my journey continued in R/2 and later R/3, I moved back and forth between full-time ABAP developer and SAP programmer-analyst roles.

Twenty years later and now working as a consultant, I have no regrets about focusing my career on SAP.

What are you most proud of in your SAP career?

In 2010, I had the pleasure of working on a 6-country SAP implementation in Asia. The business and IT project team members spanned 11 countries and were co-located at critical times during the course of the project.

I was responsible for the Finance master data. The data load process and the cutover task plan had to be designed from scratch, and I put together a repeatable process for loading data, tracking changes, and documenting the data rules for use on future implementations.

It was my first time using the Legacy System Migration Workbench (LSMW). The global master data team shared best practices with me at the start, and the business and IT analysts for Finance provided support throughout.

What are some of the most important trends that you see currently impacting SAP developers?

A trend I’ve seen at some companies is the isolation of resources with functional knowledge from those with technical knowledge. In contrast to this, I had always been part of a collaborative work environment where business analysts, IT analysts, and developers worked closely with one another. The benefits of the collaborative approach: better communication, less rework, lower cost, and an agile resource pool.

Another trend is the declining number of positions available for onshore/in-house developers. Coding is a rewarding activity, but fewer employees have the opportunity to experience it.

Why does SAP development/ABAP matter?

I’ve heard claims that end users will do their own self-guided discovery in data lakes in the future. It would be unrealistic to think that they will all have the same enthusiasm for the task or that developers will become unnecessary.

Experienced developers know how to get the most out of existing code (standard or custom) and how to code to support business agility and improve supportability. Skill is achieved by doing the work, over a span of time and with the guidance of mentors.

In R/2, I had an opportunity to create an Accounts Receivable Follow-Up system using ABAP. For little cost, we implemented an integrated, real-time tracking system with reminder functionality and a branch to standard SAP transactions. A talented development pool can provide alternatives to the purchase of bolt-on solutions, solutions that sometimes come with interface and database complexity.

How do you stay up to date on SAP development topics? What resources do you regularly use?

It’s ironic in Information Technology that things change so quickly yet remain so much the same. There will always be new things to learn, trade-offs to weigh, and user experiences to improve.

For high level and advance awareness, I’ve relied on the SAPPHIRE NOW/ASUG and the SAP TechEd conferences.

For specific needs, I’ve made heavy use of search engines to guide me to relevant information in the SAP Community Network, the SAP Notes and Knowledge Base, and third-party websites.

Books published by Espresso Tutorials are excellent resources. I recently purchased Matthew Johnson’s SAP Material Master—A Practical Guide to prepare for a new assignment.

What is your favorite vacation spot? 

I’ve been to Ireland 13 times on holiday. I enjoy the cultural sites, the scenery, the history, the food, the pub culture.

I daresay I’ve seen more of Ireland than my home state of Minnesota. I’ve taken fiddle lessons there, joined an Irish audience to watch a significant film, and been mistaken for a local.

One of our most memorable trips found us unable to get from Lisdoonvarna to Galway because of flooding across the roadway. After seeing tourists disembark from a bus stranded in deep water, we decided to turn back to Lisdoonvarna. In Minnesota, finding a motel room can be difficult during a blizzard, so we quickly rented a room at the local hotel, then popped our heads into the police station to ask when they thought the road might be passable again. They assured us that the “coast road” was open and that we could leave any time we wanted. Well, we stayed in Lisdoonvarna instead and enjoyed traditional music at the pub that night from lads who had arrived via the “coast road”.

Learn more about SAP List Viewer (ALV) – A Practical Guide for ABAP Developers.

This book is geared towards ABAP developers and offers detailed information on how to use SAP List Viewer (ALV) to display business data with an interface that lets users rearrange, sort, total, and download data. Obtain comprehensive information on how to write a basic ALV program. Walk through a detailed training scenario and get tips on how to adapt the scenario for your company. Readers will master two ALV types: control framework and function modules. Identify when to use object-oriented techniques and when it may make more sense to quickly adjust existing ALV programs. By using practical examples, tips, and screenshots, the author brings ABAP developers up to speed on SAP ALV.

– Learn how to write a basic SAP ALV program
– Walk through the object-oriented control framework and function modules
– Get tips on adding sorting and grouping features
– Dive into how to add editable fields, events, and layout variants