A win-win situation for SAP & SAP HANA customers.
That's how I can easily describe the HANA operation expert summit in one sentence. My blog is late (some months) but that doesn't matter, the message it brings out stays relevant and important. I hope this event becomes an annual appointment on my agenda.
The event was concentrated around the operations part of SAP HANA and since many SAP experts are in or near SAP Walldorf, SAP gathered them up and delivered a two day event including a keynote, networking dinner, roadmap sessions and group discussions with the experts from SAP.
I've told this before and I really had this impression: All the customers running SAP HANA who were present where happy about the fact they are running on SAP HANA. That's an important pointer. I hope all customers who have it and leverage it are happy about it. If not, more reason why you should be at this type of event as it provides the opportunity to give direct feedback and discuss issues with SAP. Merely being there and giving feedback might already solve your problem.
The topics were picked with the help of surveys done by SAP (organizer Kathrin Henkel) up front to check what attendees were looking for in terms of information and around which topics they wanted to discuss. Unfortunately I missed most of the keynote because I had to do a workshop presentation at customer side, in Belgium still. I arrived late in Walldorf and I walked in near the end of the keynote (like last 10 minutes) but I could still get a sense of what was shown during the keynote. I saw some examples of non-traditional SAP HANA use. With that I mean, non SAP BW or SAP ERP based scenarios.
After the keynote, the networking dinner started and it was organized in a way that each table had two SAP HANA experts present to provide an entry point for discussion and allow participants and experts to get to know each other. The concept was good and it was an enjoyable evening. One of my Belgian colleagues was there with me so we ended up furthering the discussion in a local pub near the center of Walldorf.
The next day, presentations were on the agenda where the experts explain the current status and roadmap for the different topics related to SAP HANA. Again, well organized and pretty interesting from a participant point of view.
After the presentations, break-out sessions were planned in to discuss topics with the relevant experts, network and exchange knowledge. The discussions were interesting and most of them brought interesting information and insights. Notes were being taken by SAP to ensure follow-up.
Networking was left mostly to the participants because of rules / regulation (sharing personal information) and therefore I do believe there is room for improvement here. Perhaps participants could be allowed to opt-in up front to share their contact details with other participants early on or create a SAP JAM group for longer lasting social contact around the topic.
Participants received (optionally) a SAP HANA operation expert polo (check the video) which I personally like a lot and a doggy bag to have food for the road back home. I really liked both. Provide me with (good looking) sponsored clothing like that and I wear it proudly. Why? Because I'm proud to be part of SAP's ecosystem and I believe in SAP HANA. I enjoy spending time on SAP HANA, it’s as simple as that. It’s exciting, new technology that has already started to make an impact on the world around us.
You can have a look at the overview video to get an idea of what the event was about: