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Author's profile photo Jim Spath

Conference planning

This blog is about my volunteer job helping create a program for the biggest SAP user group conference, ASUG 2008, which will be co-located with Sapphire 08 in Orlando from May 4 – 7, 2008.  Abstracts are submitted by SAP customers, employees and partners.  We choose what will be presented, in what order, and in what rooms.  Mostly.

Going in game plan: 1400 abstracts = 800 accepted + 200 alternate + 400 rejected.

BITI has over 200 abstracts to review.

On Saturday morning, I had 18 in the Mobile Technologies track, including influence sessions and redundant entries yet-to-be-deleted. I had ranked 11 that were there in December, and have to rank 4 more today.

OK, that’s done.


Up early, on the bus for a winding ride to SAP HQ.  Met a few friends at breakfast, such as Gina Marchese, one of the SAP liaisons to ASUG, who is always chipper, and always ready to listen and help get things done.

 After breakfast we had a few speakers orienting us for the day, which gave opportunity for us old-timers to ask questions concerning progress of current initiatives, and for first-timers to learn what to expect.  We learned about organizational changes where ASUG will be hiring full time staffers to execute our mission instead of being all-volunteer based with out sourced professional help.

I started an “eventtrack” on twitter so if you can reach that you can see my impromptu musings written during the planning event. 

After that we, went to the first breakout sessions where we tackled the coordinated grids for education and influence.  Later in the morning we received an advance copy of the Sapphire sessions so we could look for potential overlaps, but no times there.

Planning events is a big logistical challenge, and I’m not sure we have the best tools for scheduling so many simultaneous activities, and we aren’t well coordinated with Sapphire.

My wish list for conference planning includes distributing 3D maps so attendees can figure out their path of least resistance from session room to session room (and lunch, and water fountains

Saturday (almost a week later)

I intended to publish this blog while working on the conference schedule, while also working on a monthly user group newsletter, while also staying in touch with my regular office work, and with home.  Needless to say, not all of these happened.  I got the newsletter out on time, and have nearly completed the schedule for Mobile Technologies, but there is one session to normalize, and a pre-conference event still up in the air.

My judgment of twitter (OK SAPpers, who wants to be a Twit(terer)?) is it has great potential, and I’ve already picked up a few gems in just a couple months (e.g,, but as almost no one else seemed motivated to try new toys while trying to get old work done, I didn’t get the return I had hoped for.

I will try it out during a conference at the end of January and see what develops.

Concluding Thoughts

We say Adiós! to Señor Influence, Marco Valencia, who has been the SAP / ASUG contact for the Influence program for several years.

As of 12-Jan-2008:

1426 abstracts submitted total
 220 unprocessed
 471 accepted
 215 alternates

BITI (my team)

202 abstracts submitted
20 unprocessed
74 accepted
35 alternates


Hotel space is filling up fast, so if you are going to ASUG 08 / Sapphire 08 register now – []!


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      Author's profile photo Marilyn Pratt
      Marilyn Pratt
      Folks that want to understand more about what  eventtrack is might want to check out eventtrack link and Craig's  Power of Collective Streaming... explaination.  For any of the folks engaged in their respective community days around the globe could be a really great help