At first, I didn't think about attending an ASUG Chapter meeting...then I saw Jonathan Reed of @jonerp was coming so I simply had to attend. Then I saw it was going to be at Richmond International Motor Speedway. I simply had to come, having never been at a NASCAR track before.
Kudos and thanks to Rudy Hendricks, ASUG Chapter Chair volunteer, for putting together such a great event. He explained that ASUG Volunteers do this work on their own time, and they start out with a zero budget, relying on sponsors to help support the meeting. I carpooled to Richmond with a co-worker.
We find the place, and immediately run into Jon Reed. We get off the elevator and are greeted by Cheerleaders from the Richmond UFL Destroyers.
It was also great to finally meet Kristen Scheffler of SAP Business Analytics Support in person too.
This is Kristen with Jon Reed
The ASUG Volunteers kick off the day with drawings from the Cheerleaders. Jon Reed wins a hat:
Dennis Bickmeier, President of the Richmond International Motor Speedway, welcomed everyone to the event. The speedway holds 93,000 people! He explained their upcoming NASCAR race September 8th.
Timothy Coffman of SAP Business Analytics Support was up next discussing Remote Support with BusinessObjects (now called Business Analytics). It was very interesting, as I've used these tools and it was great hearing a "behind the scenes" story on support. I think I will write a separate blog on this.
We started into the next session but then the fire alarm went off which forced everyone outside in the 100+ heat. We had to wait for the all-clear from the fire department before we went back in. I liked how Rudy termed it an "impromptu" networking session. During this time, I spoke with Tim and Jamie Bridwell, SAP Business Analytics Support, and they both confirmed they will be attending the ASUG BusinessObjects User Conference in Orlando in September.
We had a great lunch, followed by Jon Reed's session on "Honey I Shrunk the Support Package". Jon engaged the audience about using Panaya software to help with upgrades and support packs. He was also great at engaging the audience: we learned that not many customers are taking advantage of the testing component of Solution Manager. Once customer, who just went live on SAP this year, expressed concerns about implementing their first support package in the system.
I want to thank the ASUG Volunteers for the Virginia/North Carolina Chapter, especially Rudy Hendricks. Rudy told me he's been volunteering for different organizations for over 30 years. He has a great passion for volunteering.
I also want to thank the sponsors of this chapter meeting:
DataXstream, EPI-Use America, Etiah, excel4apps, Open Text, Panaya, Worksoft
I also want to thank Kristen Scheffler, Jamie Bridwell and Tim Coffman of SAP Business Analytics support for attending and all of the other great speakers (including Jon Reed).
Lastly, Rudy confirmed that there will be another chapter meeting at this same location next year, so if you are in the area, I encourage you to come check it out. At the end of the day, free pace car rides were offered to those brave souls who were willing to sign a legal waiver.
It was great, unique, one-of-kind event.