Hi everyone, my name is Sameh Zakhary and I am currently undertaking a summer placement with Centrica in the IS Stream. After about 5 weeks into my placement I would like to share with all of you my experience so far and a reflection of being a member of a very busy IS core-systems support team working in SAP Basis.
Before applying to the summer placement at Centrica, I have to admit that I thought it would take more than 10 weeks for me to really get involved and achieve my potential in the role. My main questions were around how much I can do or see of such a diverse business in just 10 weeks? Can I get the opportunity to understand the complexity, and even more importantly make a contribution to the business? I wondered about the type of responsibilities I will feel comfortable with. All of this was answered during my first couple of weeks. I was given the opportunity and support at each step to advance to where I wanted to be. I have chosen a quick but steep start, which to me felt like riding a roller coaster; I enjoyed every bit of it.
Here is how I can describe the situation; I was given a few tasks to familiarise myself with the environment in the first week. Going through these tasks did not only build my knowledge and confidence, but provided me with great exposure to other teams (development, environment support, release planning/management …). Once I moved confidently, I was able to request to get involved in more activities beyond my immediate scope, and I was supported whenever I needed help. In fact, my manager was always encouraging and mentoring me at the same time. I did not dive into SAP before, but during the placement I built up confidence so that I can perform many of the required tasks with the excellent training opportunities. During my second week, I have shadowed a colleague performing one of the most complex operations of managing projects code movement across development/test massive landscape and finally into production systems. The next time this operation was performed, I got the opportunity to be part of the team performing these tasks across many systems. It is a great environment to develop and achieve, as everyone is happy and supportive of my learning journey.
Coming to the mid-point of my placement, I have been able to form some ideas for improvements to the existing processes. These were a result of many constructive meetings with my colleagues and my line manager during which I was offered great advice on prioritizing in the time I have and aligning them with the business. As such, I decided to pursue what best matches my passion and is aligned with the business.
Another major step-up in my placement was that I became responsible for running a small project that involves upgrading our SAP landscape across all the test and development environments. This was quite a big responsibility as these environments are used for delivering high impacting projects with critical business value. I had just been introduced to the various processes and I have taken on the challenge to fully understand them. I was allowed to take the responsibility and that felt great. Help was readily available when I needed it. This project did not only allow me an amazing chance to interact with various teams, but also to communicate externally with Centrica suppliers. I had to work with teams that are working in different continents across different time zones. This was an amazing chance for me to see the project to completion and feel the sense of satisfaction and achievement by delivering successfully to our clients and working as part of SAP delivery team.
To summarise, my overall experience is that it is a great opportunity to utilize all my energy, and apply not only my existing skills but to learn much more. I got all the support from a wonderful team and talented managers who gave me a great push to get through the complexity smoothly. I now realize “Love Simplicity” is one value that is greatly valued within Centrica.
I am really enjoying my time in this placement. Every day I am learning new things, facing new challenges, and expanding my network. Having regular feedback is also helping me to develop myself and get all the benefit from this unique opportunity at Centrica.