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The morning sessions sparked lots of discussions over lunch; before long, it was time for Christopher Young from B2BSX, with his presentation on lowering TCO through Custom SAP Solution Exchange. Young presented some example cases, but session attendees peppered him with questions betraying skepticism. I’m still dubious about how much cost savings can be achieved through custom code sharing opportunities, since the buyer would still have to support the purchased custom solution written by another SAP customer. It will be interesting to see if it catches on.

The next speaker, Steve Rosing from SAP Americas, spoke on business process modeling and how to establish and manage business process architecture.  The stats he shared on what I know as the “geek-suit” gap were grim; among them, 41% projects fail to deliver the expected business value and ROI. He made a convincing case for the value of business process optimization and explained the ARIS method of business process analysis.

After an afternoon break, the sessions resumed with Sunil Patel from Value Engineering, speaking on influencing the organization’s DNA through value management and benchmarking. Key takeaways included his mantra of on time, on budget, and on value; adding the on-value parameter requires a new set of tools; value DNA as a journey. His quoting a Forrester survey which concluded that CIOs and business executives often have conflicting agendas brought some quips and chuckles about the expected longevity of those CIOs.  Patel offered some good tips for adopting value management best practices and examples of successful value management practices.

The final presentation team, Wade Eyre and Brian Broda from TAIGA Consulting, offered a session of practical skills and a toolkit for today’s business centric EA organization. Some comments that resonated with me: a successful EA strategy starts with having one; too many organizations have such a loosely defined EA strategy that there is no meat on the bones. Having an approved and communicated mandate is another key. Don’t try to solve world hunger and be all things in EA; look for the small wins, and be sure to communicate the business benefits.  I thought this was an excellent practical session.

Paul Kurchina and Darin Paton wrapped up the day with a few  final  comments about future events. The attendees seemed enthusiastic about repeating the event here in Houston again this fall.

My observations here offered just a small peek into this informative day. I encourage everyone who works in EA, or would like to, in or near one of the upcoming EA Day locations to consider attending.

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