“Is that the place with the excellent coffee?”
This was the response from most people when asked whether they had visited the SAP TechEd 07 Community Clubhouse in Munich. The coffee really was excellent and not only because it was free either. However, the Community Clubhouse was so much more than just great coffee. It was a chance for the Partners, Customers and of course Community Contributors to get the chance to come and talk, face to face, to the people that make the SDN and BPX site possible.
This was my first ever TechEd and I have to say that from the word “Go!” I really enjoyed the entire experience. From Community Day on the Tuesday, which gave me a chance to see the faces and meet the people that I have previously only known by name and in some cases their outrageously high Community Points totals, right through to the Friday, which was the final day where it all wound down, I had a great time.
Community Day was a nice introduction to TechEd for me, since it is a much more intimate affair. It involves a smaller group of people, many of whom represent the more well known and extremely active contributors on SCN. As you can imagine, this group is very passionate about the direction of the Community and are here given a chance to speak directly to SCN’s VP, Mark Yolton and the Community Evangelists, Mark Finnern and Craig Cmehil, who are all there throughout the entire day to interact with.
The day culminates in a Q&A session where the group are granted a private audience with Mark and Mark. This gives them an opportunity to voice their opinions or indeed concerns for the Community in the format of an open forum.
The Community Day Party that ensues is also noteworthy of mention, particularly when it is held 24ft underground in an old brewery where the beer is flowing and the conversation and community spirit fuelled.
It is not until the first of the show days that you realise Community Day was the calm before the storm. With scheduled as well as impromptu expertise sharing sessions on the various Knowledge Tables around the Community Clubhouse, as well as the hundreds of additional training sessions and hands-on workshops being held during the event, it can be hard to participate in everything of interest, much less to find time to partake in the plentiful food that is available throughout the day.
Staffing the SDN Knowledge Table, it was particularly gratifying to receive so many positive comments about how the SCN Site is such an indispensable tool for so many of the Customers and Partners on client sites. Be it during development, implementation or configuration. Being a member of the Platform Team, where we can be somewhat removed from the direct comments of the users of the Site, it made me realise and understand that even something like an availability rate as good as ~99.8% for the Site, can always be improved upon when SCN is considered such a critical tool.
So would I recommend a visit to TechEd?
Put it this way, if you enjoy gaining and sharing knowledge, socialising and networking, seeing new cool technologies and their application, or even just partying, you have to experience the buzz. I’ll certainly be looking forward to my next opportunity to participate in SAP’s Premier Technical Conference.