IT Hero: SAP Database Guru

Leonardo Gracioli
SAP Sr. Support Engineer
3 min read
IT Hero: SAP Database Guru

What Brazil-based Leonardo Gracioli loves most about his job as an SAP Database Guru for Rimini Street is the opportunity to learn new things.

“I’m always looking for challenging tasks—something that makes me feel I’m learning something new,” he says. “SAP is a big company, and its systems are very complex. Being an SAP guru is challenging.”

Gracioli works with Latin America team colleagues in Brazil, Mexico, and North America to provide SAP services, and collaborates frequently with Rimini Street’s security and AMS support teams. Gracioli’s team serves clients across Asia, Europe, and North America in a wide range of industries.

“I like to work with my colleagues from other countries because of the different experiences and different opinions,” he says. “It’s an exchange of ideas every day.”

A day in the life

Gracioli and his colleagues hold weekly meetings with clients to discuss and prioritize their pending needs for SAP services. Some clients want help with cases that he finds easy and can explain in about 15 minutes, but other cases involve thornier issues that require days of research and work to find alternative solutions.

SAP systems are large and complex, and have evolved over the decades they’ve been in service. As the technology changes, companies can run into problems when older elements of their system interact with newer features or processes that run on different standards. Users typically don’t know how to fix these snags, and Gracioli’s team steps in to resolve such issues.

“I like to teach and explain in an easy way,” he notes. “It’s a pleasure to teach someone when providing SAP help.”

An example of such a problem occurred when a client created new programs and did not properly test them, which caused issues that Gracioli had to unwind.

“We cannot control what a client is doing in the system,” he says. “That’s a challenge.”

In other cases, issues crop up that the client had no hand in creating. An example was a case in which a CPU server was reaching 100% of usage without a clear reason. Gracioli was tasked with figuring out why this was happening and how it could be prevented.

In such cases, he says, “the challenge is to understand how the system was installed and configured, what standard it uses, and how it’s structured. That’s the challenge: to understand what we are working with.”

A key lesson

Over the course of his years as an SAP guru, Gracioli has learned to always check all information about a case before beginning work. This is because clients may present only part of a relevant scenario if they don’t understand what is happening. Gracioli likes to ask many questions to ensure he understands the entire problem, then backs this information up and learns more by checking documentation before providing SAP help.

“I learned to never, never rely only on the first information we receive,” he says. “Double check and ask again.”

In one example, a client reported that all systems were not coming up as usual. After spending several head-scratching hours trying to discern the problem, Gracioli and a colleague figured out that the issue was due to the client having deleted a portion of the disk.

“We said, ‘We need to check your backup and restore the machine because you deleted part of the system, so the system will not work,’” he remembers with a laugh.

Be ready to learn

Gracioli has advice for those entering the field: Get a computer science or computer engineering degree, but even before that, spend 15 minutes a day learning—researching, reading, taking online courses, practicing.

“It’s a wide area, so it’s very difficult to learn everything in a couple of years,” he says. “I’m still learning now, after more than 20 years working in this area. And I think I’ve reached 10% of what I need to learn. I’m learning every day.”

He believes that people can enter this career from any other field related to IT, particularly database administration. The key is a desire to learn and try new things.

“What I like most is the challenge,” he says. “Every day is totally different.”

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