SAPPHIRE NOW and the ASUG annual conference 2011 in Orlando are over, and after I needed some time to recap the whole event I will now share my personal view. A SAP Portal (7.3) focused blog on the event will follow soon. It was my first SAP event as an SAP Mentor, and being one changes entirely how you experience an SAP event. Thanks to SAP for giving me the opportunity to be part of this amazing pack.

Pre-event

SAPPHIRE started on Sunday with the SAP Mentors welcome (I hope there is an NDA on it and nobody can post it on youtube). That's were the new Mentors get their shirts with their number and twitter handle on it (should I start an Idea   Place idea for a new twitter handle?).

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Keynotes

There were 4 keynotes, 3 from SAP, 1 from ASUG - I only attended the SAP keynotes. SAPPHIRE NOW transmitted the keynotes live, The specified item was not found.. The Monday keynote laid down the content for the next 3 days: innovation. Without innovation your company won't survive, and SAP made it clear that they do innovate: mobile, HANA, cloud, on demand.

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The Tuesday keynote mentioned many SAP customers, HANA, mobile and included live demos. It demonstrated the other focus of SAP and the event: customers.

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The last keynote on Wednesday focused on HANA and was fun to watch. Time is relative and when it is clear that you cannot make it in the given time, just add an additional hour. SAP HANA is here, it is a game changer and it will play a major role in the future of SAP. To get the most out of HANA you’ll have to combine it with at least mobile applications.

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Conference

My session schedule was full: after the Monday keynote I had the choice between 3 parallel portal related sessions and this didn’t really change during the following 3 days. SAPPHIRE and the ASUG annual conference are just too much for only 3 days; the conference should be at least 4 days. While on the ASUG sessions you get an in-depth view on the current problems SAP customers have and how they solve it, SAPPHIRE shows you what to expect from SAP in the near future. If you cannot focus on one event only, you'll have a problem with the immense size of the convention center: miss successive sessions or run. To give you an impression: I shot the following video while going on Wednesday from a mobility session to the ASUG SIG Portal Influencer session. Both were on opposite corners of the convention center - I needed more than 7 minutes for the walk.

After the portal session I had to go back to the mobility forum for another session. That makes more than 15 minutes just walking.

The SAP Community Network (SCN) too was present. I know of at least one micro forum session that was about SCN on Monday: explaining what SCN is and does, New SCN Community Social Responsibility Initiative for 2011, how to participate and the benefits it offers for everybody. The session was held by Chip Rodgers ... "Act 1" of SAPPHIRE NOW.

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SAP Mentors

SAP Mentors have the opportunity to attend mentor-only sessions with executives from SAP and partners, as well as access to the Global Communications sessions.

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Aslann and Finnern organized at the end of every day a SAP Mentors wrap-up. The location was communicated by tweets: not only SAP Mentors showed up but also a crowed interested to know who we are and what we do.

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Sting

SAPPHIRE closed with a Sting concert presented by SAP and Deloitte.

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What else?

  • Public transportation is nothing you can rely on. Save the money and walk.
  • Wifi at the OCCC actually was good; as long as you didn’t go down to the show floor.
  • I do have the coolest smartphone of all.
  • It is a good idea to follow the SAP Mentors (@SAPMentors) on twitter when there is major SAP event. This is not like the usual: follow them and with luck you will get some information. SAP Mentors communicate live from sessions and their conclusions during SAP events. It’s one of the best ways to stay up-to-date in almost real-time.
  • TechED Las Vegas, 12 – 16 September. If you don’t just want to participate but also be a speaker: check out this blog from Tammy Powlas.

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