SAP Community Network…rebooting…

There’s been a some traction in SAP-land regarding the SAP Community Network this month. And for once, it’s not necessarily negative or even ‘meh’. What happened? SAP CEO Bill McDermott re-iterated his support to strengthening the struggling SAP Community Network; announcing new leadership and focus based on his comments on Michele Crapo’s LinkedIn blog in late 2017. As a SAP Mentor and long-time SCN contributor, I was heartened to see Bill publicly put his word on the line. And frankly, I was pretty happy to see SCN moved under Bjoern Goerke’s organization and then thrilled to read that Thomas Grassl would be involved, as well. I consider Thomas a friend and know that he is truly passionate about building up a strong SAP developer ecosystem.

For those who may worry about the whole ‘development’ focus, I would take the ‘developer’ title and loosely apply it. Thomas and I have had many discussions over the years around what we each think constitutes a developer and I believe that he doesn’t really limit that distinction to just those who code ABAP, UI5, or may know what Git is. There are many, many Community members who aren’t developers in the ‘push/pull/commit’ category. Are users who write SQL to place in a Crystal Report Command Object not developing? What about folks who write BEx queries?

Those who think themselves as only ‘end users’: you should benefit from a re-invigorated SCN, too. To me, it always seemed that as when the developers were engaging, the ‘end users’ were more comfortable to speak up. At this point, you now had users helping users directly, talking about issues and how to make their lives easier. When the entire community is engaged, you now have an effective and non-trivial feedback loop to SAP.

I look forward to a re-energized and engaged SAP Mentor Program, too. While I’m honored to be a SAP Mentor and thrilled to have the Mentors recognized directly by Bill, there’s work for us to do, too. The entire community will be watching the Mentors, seeing if we lead the way. If we do not, then I feel that then it may be time to retire the initiative and start fresh. As my career progresses and I add other vendor tools to my SAP wheelhouse, I have yet to be introduced to a program as dynamic and influential as the Mentors. It would be a shame to lose the Community’s spokespeople, but if there was something new to take its place in a reborn SCN that continued the same traditions; then it should be considered. But if the Mentors lead the way and are successful, then long live the SAP Mentors!

There are a LOT of good comments on Bill’s blog- partly reminiscences of a time gone by, others requests of what a rebooted SCN portal should have. My opinion is simply this: information needs to be easier to find, relevant and TOGETHER! Long-time SCN users remember the days of ‘Spaces’ and a central ‘Start’ page that tied them together. SCN needs to feel relevant again, but without the marketing fluff and ‘Asking for a client’ nonsense. How do we get there and what does it look like? This should make for some FUN discussions, both internal and external to SAP.

I will also admit that my contributions to SCN have greatly diminished. I am one of those who have become disillusioned by the changes and had the same response as a lot of others: stop participating. I am excited by the possibility of ‘coming home’ to a revitalized and reenergized SAP Community. I would hope that others share my excitement and can use this as a call to action to bring others. Communities like SCN only grow organically. And like a garden, growth will take time and some fertilizer. But I have not been this excited about anything SCN-related in a long time…and that’s a good thing.

BI+A 2018 Session Announcement

So…2018 has arrived and you’re thinking about what conferences you may want to attend. You’ve got the ASUG/Eventful BI+A 2018 Conference on your radar and are interested in how different folks are using BI in the Healthcare system, right? Then I commend your choice in attending the conference and heading to this session:

BI + Analytics in Healthcare: Panel Discussion (Monday, 2/19 at 2:00pm)

Join a panel of BI practitioners as they discuss how Business Intelligence is used throughout the healthcare system. Ranging from payors to providers, the panel is using technology in exciting ways. With both moderated and questions from the audience, this panel promises to both entertain and educate.

A panel of SAP BI professionals, who happen to be long-time ASUG Volunteers (and a couple of SAP Mentors) chatting? What could possibly go wrong with this formula? Join me and my good friends, Jamie Oswald (Mercy) and Jennifer Cofer (Providence Health) as we try and educate in a light-hearted manner around a big subject.

Do you have questions you’d like the panel to answer? Leave a comment and we’ll see what happens! Look for my ‘On the way to…’ blog entry right before the event in February. The agenda looks great and it may be trouble only limiting myself to three recommendations!!

Happy New Year!!

SAP Inside Track NYC 2017: Event Overview

Thank you to everyone who registered for and attended SAP Inside Track 2017. The SAP Next-Gen spaces at 10 Hudson Yards was a great location and we had a really nice sized turnout. Not too big, not too small. We were able to use the space appropriately, even with some last minute restrictions because of an event with the Governor of New York taking place after SITNYC. We also had a chance to take in SAP’s ‘Immersive Video’ experience first hand. Usually reserved for SAP customers and visiting executives, SITNYC attendees were able to view the 4k 3-D experience specially designed for New York City.

We had a fantastic lineup of speakers covering topics all over the SAP ecosystem, as well as attendees that matched that broad coverage. It was really great to see folks from different backgrounds chatting about all different kinds of technology. With the perfect audience size, we were able to have some great pizza delivered from Joe’s, too!

A hearty thanks to the following folks for their assistance in making SITNYC 2017 a success:

  • John Astill for being the best co-coordinator around.
  • Ann Rosenberg for allowing us to use the SAP Leonardo Center
  • Sandra Moerch-Petersen for on-site logistics assistance
  • George Yu for arranging a trip for attendees to SAP’s ‘Immersive Video’ experience in the Executive Briefing Center
  • Jason Cao and the SAP Mentor program team for lunch and SCN support
  • All of the speakers
  • The community for rallying back to support Inside Track in the ‘Greatest City in the World’

Both John and myself look forward to planning SITNYC 2018 and are already thinking about kickstarting SAP Inside Track Newtown Square for Q1 2018. Stay tuned to our Twitter pages (@golasalle and @JohnA69) for announcements!

As for SITNYC 2017- here’s some shots of the space and presenters. Like them? Then make sure to register and come next year!!  Want to look at the session materials you missed, check them out on Github.

The ‘Makers Space’ setup for SITNYC!
Henrique Pinto holding court on SAP Data Hub
Christoph Rein educating attendees on Neural networks
Greg Misiorek closed the morning out with a discussion on Open Source Bitcoin vs Hyperledger Blockchains
Dhaval Desai talks about SAP Leonardo and the Digital Supply Chain
Caetano Almeida speaking about running MRP Live in S/4HANA
Asim Mian closes the day presenting about SAP running their business via Cloud and Mobile

SAP Inside Track NYC 2017: Before You Go

Thanks for registering for SAP Inside Track NYC! We look forward to seeing you on Monday at the SAP Leonardo Innovation Center. Here are some last-minute reminders before you go:

  • Kick-off will begin at 9am. Grab your coffee and buttered roll and join us as we review the day’s agenda and go over some ‘housekeeping’.
  • Your bag will be screened and put through an X-Ray machine by Hudson Yards building security.
  • Depending on crowd size, lunch may be provided or we will break in time for folks to grab and return for the afternoon sessions.
  • The SAP Leonardo Innovation Center is on the 48th Floor. We will be in the ‘Maker’ Space.
  • We’ve updated the agenda with a new session and added a tour of the Innovation Center during the lunch break. Check out the current agenda here.
  • You will get an automated reminder email from Eventbrite with your ticket info.

Address:
10 Hudson Yards
New York, NY 10001

We look forward to an exciting Inside Track event at a great space. See you on Monday!

Derek Loranca
John Astill

Agenda

SAP Inside Track 2017: Last Call

Last call for SAP Inside Track NYC registrations is happening now. Tickets are almost sold out and we’re expecting a great crowd for the return of SAP Inside Track to New York City! We’ve also added a session on Neural Networks to the agenda and made lunch ‘interactive’ by moving the SAP Leonardo Center tour and demo to happen during lunch.

Check out the new agenda below and click on the SCN Wiki for more details or head to Eventbrite to snag one of the last available tickets!

SAP Inside Track NYC 2017 Agenda Now Available

I’m pleased to announce a great lineup of sessions for SITNYC 2017! Ranging from Blockchain to MLS, HANA Big Data to SAP Leonardo; SITNYC has a great lineup of sessions on tap. We’ve got SAP Mentors, independent thinkers and SAP speakers ready to share their expertise with the SAP Community. All you need to do is register.
(Please note: registration will close Friday 11/3 at noon, in order to allow for building access to be processed.)

There are some really good sessions on tap. If you’ve been thinking about a day trip to the city, this would be the perfect opportunity. On top of some cool presentations, you’ll get the chance to spend the day in one of the coolest new development spaces in NYC: the SAP Leonardo Center. SAP’s Next-Gen Lab area, it is a really neat maker space and a great place to have an event like SAP Inside Track! I was able to get a sneak peek at the location while attending a SAP Analytics meeting at the adjacent Executive Briefing Center:

Innovators Wanted!

As you can see, it’s going to be a great day of community delivered learning and networking. Last ditch friendly reminder: Registration is still open, but will close Friday 11/3 at noon, in order to allow for building access to be processed. Questions? Easiest way is to ask myself or John Astill via Twitter. See you at Hudson Yards!

On the way to…Microsoft Ignite 2017

This episode of ‘On the way to…’ is once again brought to you by my house. I tried to get a picture of Charlie on my easy chair, but that didn’t work out. I ended up finishing this blog on my back deck, so you’ll have to settle for a picture from there instead.

Yes, you read that right. Microsoft Ignite/Microsoft Envision. For the first time in 8 years, I won’t be at SAP TechEd. I am totally bummed out that I won’t be with my fellow SAP Mentors for our 10th Anniversary celebration, as well as the ASUG Volunteers and other nerds; but sometimes corporate funding priorities and additional job responsibilities make for changes in the direction of the winds.

After the impact of Hurricane Irma, I was unsure if the I-Drive corridor would be back in business for 20,000 attendees. But emails from Microsoft say that OCCC is ready and they’re going on with the show. They are doing a non-perishable item collection, so I’m hoping that there’s a lot of donations made.

For the first time in a while, I am going into a major technical conference as a ‘new’ attendee. I’ve done as much due diligence as I can: watched Microsoft’s videos, read the MS Tech Community and combed through a bit of Twitter. Here’s some of the tidbits I’ve gathered:

  • We’re at the Orange County Convention Center in Orlando. This makes me happy as a long-time ASUG Annual Conference/Sapphire attendee. I’ve got a full understanding of the lay of the land and am surprised to see that Microsoft is only using the South Hall and not both.  But they are using the West Hall, which ASUG Annual Conference doesn’t use.  With my Envision pass, I will also have access to  sessions at the Hilton.  Microsoft is also using the Hyatt Regency for session rooms and auditorium space.  (Sidebar: I remember when it was The Peabody.  I wonder where the ducks went?)  All of that means one thing: comfortable shoes are a requirement. Sneakers are likely my standard shoe by Wednesday afternoon!
  • 20,000 people are expected.  Another good parallel to ASUG Annual Conference/Sapphire.  At least I’m used to handling big conference crowds.
  • The swag is on point and I should get to the expo floor early to grab some.
  • There are plenty of BI & Analytics sessions, but they are definitely spread out amongst the campus.  I’ve been spending a lot of my time trying to come up with a good travel plan.

We’re at the Orange County Convention Center in Orlando. This makes me happy as a long-time ASUG Annual Conference/Sapphire attendee. I’ve got a full understanding of the lay of the land and am surprised to see that Microsoft is only using the South Hall and not both. But they are using the West Hall, which ASUG Annual Conference doesn’t use. With my Envision pass, I will also have access to sessions at the Hilton. Microsoft is also using the Hyatt Regency for session rooms and auditorium space. (Sidebar: I remember when it was The Peabody. I wonder where the ducks went?) All of that means one thing: comfortable shoes are a requirement. Sneakers are likely my standard shoe by Wednesday afternoon!
20,000 people are expected. Another good parallel to ASUG Annual Conference/Sapphire. At least I’m used to handling big conference crowds.
The swag is on point and I should get to the expo floor early to grab some.
There are plenty of BI & Analytics sessions, but they are definitely spread out amongst the campus. I’ve been spending a lot of my time trying to come up with a good travel plan.

Now, there are some questions that I don’t think I’ll be able to answer until my boots are on the ground:

  • What is the ‘actual’ dress code?  I am thinking by the speakers and topics on the Envision schedule, that their dress code will be more business casual and there won’t be much deviation. I’ll get the feel for that on Monday,  but will ‘dress up’ a bit more than usual on Monday.  The Ignite side seems a bit more casual, so I’ll just have to wait and see!
  • How does everyone interact?  Is it more like ASUG Annual Conference/Sapphire or SAP TechED?  More techies that business users?  Equal mix?  More suits than sneakers?  I’m pretty good at figuring out these vibes and am looking forward to the challenge.
  • Sessions?  How are they run? How do the speakers interact with the attendees?  To be honest, I’m really interested to see the Microsoft format to compare to SAP.
  • Overall vibe. You can tell the difference between SAP TechEd and ASUG Annual Conference/Sapphire.  There’s something innate in the air surrounding each event and if you’ve been to both, you know what I’m talking about.  I’m really interested in seeing what kind of vibe my ‘spider senses’ can hone in on.

What will be a new feeling is going to a major technical event without knowing a single person. My Microsoft BI contact? Nope. A good friend who is a Microsoft Account Executive? Can’t make it. The only person I have a meeting with is my corporate Account Executive. Which will be nice, since I’ve never met him before. But other than that, I have zero plans and no drinking buddies. Staci says that I’m always making friends, so I’ve got that going for me! But honestly, I may just lay low, take in the landscape and go where the winds take me. Or a car. I will have a rental, so I may just visit Disney Springs for some early Christmas shopping one night or drop in on my family.

I’ll be keeping an eye on all the SAP Mentors 10th Anniversary excitement, as well as trying to check out whatever ‘Big Data’ announcement SAP will be making from TechEd. If you see or hear anything from Las Vegas that you’d like to share, tweet me. I’m looking forward to posting a new kind of trip report in a few weeks, too. If you’re going to Orlando or Las Vegas, safe travels. See you in Orlando next week (and hopefully next June for ASUG Annual Conference/Sapphire 2018)!

(This blog also posted on SCN and will do the same for the post-conference blog.)