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SAP Inside Track Palo Alto 2009 Summary

Friday the 29th of May we had our SAP Inside Track Palo Alto created by the SAP Community for the SAP Community mostly driven by the 5 I would like to say local SAP Mentors, but 3 of them flew in for the event: Matthias Zeller, Srini Tanikella, Harald Reiter, David Halitsky and Leonardo De Araujo.

I was worried for a while, there was Sapphire two weeks prior which didn’t leave us a lot of time to prepare the event. President’s Day made it a short week, Will people come?

At the end it was an amazing day. With the help from Martin Garza the ASUG N. California Chapter Chair. We were able to send out an invitation to the local ASUG members, which greatly boosted participation.

When register for SAP TechEd, don’t forget to check the “I am interested in additional information” field. If you did last time, and you live in California, Nevada or Portland, you got my personal email invitation to the Inside Track. Many signed up after getting these. Which proofed again that the most efficient social software tool is email.  

I really enjoyed the day myself, which is usually really tough for the main organizer, but there were so many helping hands making sure that the event runs smooth that things just fell into place. I even once or twice was able to sit down and enjoy the presentations myself.

A big thank you goes out to: Peggy Scott and Yael Wolf who provided general SAP Labs support like name tags and all the other little and big requests I had. Mariza Farrales for warmly welcoming everyone to the event. Mona Bhardwaj even though she was gone for most of the prep weeks before made sure that everything was ready to go. All the catering and room setup was outstanding. She personally went to Office Depot our Gordon Biersch night and got the red and green cards that made our panel discussion so much fun.

Thank you Jerry Kirkpatrick for sound and IT, who said the famous words half way through the first morning setup: “How about coming with these requests a week earlier?” He was so right and he still made it happen. 

Natascha Schuberth (great camera work ;-), Scott Lawley, Michael Sims, Gail Moody-Byrd , Vicky Shipkowitz and Brian Bernard who volunteered and made sure that the sessions in the three tracks went smoothly. In addition, an SAP Inside Track first, they were webcasting all 18 sessions. Most of them recorded, not all of them with sound unfortunately, details further down.

Thank you also to the speakers, I think we had a great mix of customer and partner experiences, new and exciting things brewing here in the Lab as well as some bigger picture outlook of where SAP is going.

130 people registered, oft them 30 of these for the online only portion. Throughout the day I counted about 80 people that participated in person and another ~60 online.

SAP Mentor Dennis Howlett was even active during the Future of Enterprise Software panel which for him in Spain was one in the morning.

I send out a questionnaire with 44 questions to all the participants and got 36 detailed responses. 3 where from online participants. A response rate of over 30% shows that people valued the event so much, that they were willing to sit down and answer 44 questions.

For the whole event we have an amazing Net Promoter Score of 75% (On a scale of 0-10 the average is: 9.17) That score is super high if you know that the average corporation gets a NPS of 16%.

Here some quotes from the Survey:

  • I made a lot of new contacts and really benefited from the event. Mathias Zeller Adobe
  • A very enjoyable and informative experience. Great to meet other community members face to face to share experiences. Very informative to see the future direction of SAP and cutting edge developments. Robert Leathem
  • Loved the way the panel was setup – new and refreshing with plenty of interaction with the audience. Met some old friends and made new ones – community at it’s best. Many thanks to everyone involved in creating this event. Harald Reiter
  • The biggest value of the day was meeting new people that I will get to know much better. 
  • Steve Bang SAP
  • Enjoyed the after-panel discussions that took place during the evening reception. Anne Hardy SAP
  • A good choice of getting SAP information out to the customers. A few of the presenters had to skip through the presentations due to time constraint. The meeting overall was very good and the cost was perfect. A great meeting to network with the presenters and peers.  Regards, Martin Garza ASUG N. California Chapter Chair   
  • This event provides a great base to not only know what is going on around in SAP and related technologies but what are partners and customers doing in the field. Jay Kapadia Larsen & Toubro Infotech Ltd.
  • Great event. Again, these are the type of events that bring the right people together. If the goal is networking or just get knowledge via sessions, this is just the right event at a PERFECT price! I would come back at any time. Leonardo De Araujo Beyond Technologies.
  • There was solid content and the speakers sometimes seemed to need to rush to fit in all the excellent info they had to pass along; to avoid this, I would suggest making the more technical sessions longer (e.g. a full hour, or break them into 2-part sessions).  Incidentally, when my partners asked if I would repeat despite the travel distance, I told them ‘absolutely.’ Mark Smithson
  • I really enjoyed the SAP Inside Track Palo Alto 2009 . It is a great opportunity to learn new fields and receive fresh and trendy information. SAP Inside Track has a great advantage to have a very flexible format (location, duration of the sessions ). The Panel where our leaders have stated their vision of the future and IT trends has been a great moment of the day. Jean-Francois Maitrot SAP
  • It was a great event. Hope to see similar events more frequently. Anand Bhambure Lam Research

List of all sessions with Net Promote Score (NPS), average feedback score, recordings and comments

Welcome and Keynote: Meeting the challenges of tomorrow – how can intelligence make you better at work? – Mark Finnern / David Meyer – Recording NPS: 35% Averge: 8.29

  • Entertaining musical Intro from Mark
  • More accordian, and maybe bagpipes
  • Basic details helped creating basework for other session
  • Welcome was warm,good way to engage from the beginning by Mark and David was great at setting up the vision

Speed Networking NPS: 31% Average: 7.96
Not my cup of tea

  • This was a very good opportunity to meet with others and exchange cards. Maybe more time can be allocated.
  • Good to have a list of person and their company/business profile.  This will cut down sometime to discuss.
  • More of a formal icebreaker would help. The more structure the better when it comes to making nerds interact. (-:
  • More structured/enforced switching; perhaps pre-defined ‘stations’ with numbers. Some sort of short formal activities to encourage interaction
  • Great idea, but I think that some people were not ready for it. Maybe find a way to improve that part?

Envision the Future of the Business User Workplace – SAP Mentor: Matthias Zeller NPS: 44% Average: 8.56 Comment:

  • Not enough time for this interesting topic
  • more relevant content as to how SAP will help realize this future
  • Saw part of this at SAPPHIRE. Great presentation.
  • It was insightful on what the future could look like

The art of Learning and Leveraging Newer Technologies, with special emphasis to SAP NetWeaver  SAP Mentor: Srinivas Tanikella  NPS: 33% Average 8.11.

·         Waiting for a blog on this topic

User experience technology and analysis Jay S Kapadia
NPS: 44% Average: 8.22 Comment:

  • Hope to get the material

Custom Adobe Interactive Forms using the ISR Framework – including mobile approval via Blackberry SAP Mentor: Harald Reiter  NPS: 35% Average: 7.94

  • More screen shots less powerpoint
  • Very knowledgeable person and was able to provide do’s and don’ts

See latest SAP BusinessObjects Innovation Center prototyps: “Social Network Analyzer”, “Business Objects Explorer on the iPhone” Laurent Bride
Recording NPS: 42% Average: 8.75

  • attend for 5 mins and want to learn more.
  • That was one of my favourite, it seemed really appropriate with the current trend.I do believe in defining the platform and I think SAP Could learn a lot from Google Wave

ESME as example of Super interactive apps with Lift and Scala David Pollak
NPS: 50% Average: 8.3

Metadata based access control to NetWeaver portal content SAP Mentor: Harald Reiter
NPS: 30% Average 7.8 Comments:

  • Room was tight squeeze
  • May be Mr Reiter can provide the code behind this concept?

NetWeaver as a Stack for Scientific Research SAP Mentor: David Halitsky
NPS: 7% Average: 7.4  David’s session was a bit away from mainstream, therefore hard to get high marks. Comments:

  • David should blog on this – it seems like SAP has a lot of action items
  • David brought up 4 good points he called 4 gorillas that SAP could look at it in from the futuristic point of view as far as organic R&D

Adobe Flash and SAP- changing the user experience Andre Salazar Room
NPS: 55% Average: 9.11 Comments:

  • Good information and will explore more after the demo in-house.

Assemble your Tribe. Enterprise Community Building in the 21st Century
Recording. NPS: 92% Average: 9.38. (No, I didn’t fudge the numbers  😉 I actually thought I could have asked the audience first what they would like to know and tailor my talk accordingly, but forgot. I am really humbled by these high marks. Thanks so much.)

  • Interesting to hear how much effort it takes to build and run a community like SCN and the challenges
  • Interesting perspectives on community networking
  • Highly interactive
  • an important presentation enjoyed the second time through also. (saw it in Orlando)
  • Excellent PREZI presentation!
  • Mark did a terrific job in sharing with the audience his experience; that was very insightful

Spark – Enabling Grassroots Innovation inside of SAP Rebecca Sowards-Emmerd, Will Gardella Room  NPS: 57% Average: 8.71 (No comments)

Cloud Computing at SAP Frank Stienhans
NPS: 67% Average: 8.92

  • Very interesting topic and it seems you can get a lot of benefit from this technology
  • Need to learn more on license cost, … set up.. ROI
  • Frank seemed a bit uneasy at times during the presentation. I don’t think he should. His English is good, he knows very well his session and the content was great!
  • Will be good to see something in production and not in Beta

Blue Ruby – an exploratory Ruby VM in ABAP Juergen Schmerder
Recording NPS: 58% Average: 8.75  Comments:

  • I only attended 1/2 the session but was very interesting topic
  • novel idea, just not particularly relevant for us yet

Best practices in the development of Business Classes in Object Oriented ABAP SAP Mentor: Leonardo De Araujo
NPS: 36% Average: 8.27

  • Very knowledgeable presenter and topic close to my heart
  • Comment for myself: I think I should have set the expectations clearer. It was a session for people that works and already adopted SAP OO ABAP. Not recommended for users that still didn’t get the importance of OO ABAP
  • Waiting for a blog on this topic
  • Leo’s approach of Business object made some sense to me especially because I could understand his perspective from having been in both sides especially in the business side of things 

Docupedia Community Documentation Will Gardella
Recording. Sorry that one didn’t make it into the questionnaire 🙁

Panel: Future of Enterprise Software: Rami Branitzky Managing Director SAP Labs North America, Anne Hardy Director Platform Research at SAP Research Center, Palo Alto., David Meyer VP Emerging Technologies SAP Business Objects, Mark Yolton Senior Vice President SAP Community Network Global Ecosystem & Partner Group, Kaj van de Loo SVP in the Office of the CTO at SAP, Host: Mark Finnern SAP Chief Community Evangelist
Replay NPS: 57% Average: 8.6
Comment: Interesting. I wonder if it had enough meat for the participants but the Twitter stream seemed to indicate it was valuable and insightful.

But the best feedback statistic I got was the following: Of the 36 people that filled out the questionnaire, 18 that is exactly 50% thought it was so good and valuable, that they agreed to help organize the next one, and I have their email addresses. How cool is that..

We collected 12 pages of tweets on that day: (additional 2 leading up to it)

Examples in reverse chronological order: 

Ray Wang from Forester:

rwang0: impressed with the SAP mentors, inside track, and community programs. good stuff gentleman @finnern @MarkYolton @mprosceno View Tweet

hreiter: Had already people calling me this morning because of Adobe session I gave at – #sapinsidetrack last Friday >>nice! · View Tweet

mspork: happy that @annehardy stuck to her guns re packaged software – the future is lean and all about collaboration #sapinsidetrack· View Tweet

brianbernard: @SAPInsideTrack Thanks for the great day, and @finnern thanks for the bday accordion song! #sapinsidetrack View Tweet

srinitanikella: @finnern #sapinsidetrack well organized – great job View Tweet

skeohan: @finnern #SapInsidetrack – missed some of the sessions, but it was still great. Next time #Sapinsidetrack@Boston?? View Tweet

MarkYolton: Special credit is due to anyone / everyone who followed #sapinsidetrack remotely. I can’t imagine it was easy/convenient. Thx for interest. View Tweet

chiprodgers: RT @finnern: #sapinsidetrack over. Had a GREAT DAY. Panel was a great ending. << Congrats Mark! Apparent from tweets –> went well! View Tweet

rwang0: the key to success for SAP – deliver on the promise of NetWeaver and customers will win. Hybrid options a must. #sapinsidetrack View Tweet

rwang0: Good to see Kaj Van De Loo back at SAP! Future of Ent S/W Branitzky, Yolton, Meyer, Hardy, Kaj van de Loo, Finnern #sapinsidetrack· View Tweet

rwang0: If you have a PaaS platform & a great dev kit, then SMB’s, partners, & cust can extend. NetWeaver needs to be PaaS’ed #SAPinsidetrack View Tweet

mike2003sims: Panel consensus: Google Wave will have a huge impact on Social Networking in/out of the enterprise #sapinsidetrack· View Tweet

jonerp: The debate about whether SaaS first wave providers will last shows: panel believes Saas is here TO STAY in ERP world. #sapinsidetrack View Tweet

GregChase: Social media trend linked to something else, biotech? Integrate our personalities with our social network? Thats a future. #sapinsidetrack· View Tweet

dahowlett: crush salesforce in 3 yrs? it won’t be sap that’s for sure #sapinsidetrack View Tweet

dahowlett: pubsub been around for 10yrs so why hasn’t it been leveraged? #sapinsidetrack · View Tweet

rwang0: @jonerp #sapinsidetrack if consumer andenterprise platforms merge, it seems that the consumer platforms may have the edge (trojan hrse( View Tweet

GregChase: Hmm, wasn’t peer-to-peer networks the original social media application? I don’t ever hear anyone talking about that…#sapinsidetrack· View Tweet

calipidder: @finnern ppl don’t know what they missed! Squirrels on motorcycles, giant fire breathing robots, monks on a rollercoaster 🙂#sapinsidetrack · View Tweet ·  ThreadShow Conversation

jonerp: 3 live #sapinsidetrack sessions now: View Tweet

skeohan: sweet, a little more #SAPInsideTrack for a Friday evening (here on the right coaast) View Tweet

nathomson: #sapinsidetrack Loving Mark Finnern’s “Assemble the Tribe” PPT. Not just the relief, but he’s a great and funny presenter. View Tweet

Leonardo_Araujo: Very interesting session at #sapinsidetrack – Cloud Computing at SAP !!! recommend it· View Tweet

RichHeilman: Getting a biology lesson from Mr. Halitsky at #SAPInsideTrack, takes me back to 10th grade Biology, got an A in that class. 🙂 View Tweet

finnern: @dpp esme is like a watercooler just cooler tm #sapinsidetrack View Tweet

dpp: @finnern is playing an accordion at #sapinsidetrack not something I expected, but very cool  View Tweet

gailmoody: Social Network Analyzer from Laurent Bride at #sapinsidetrack. People centric information to enable connections View Tweet

Leonardo_Araujo: @SAPInsideTrack and 25 + people at Harald’s session… “Custom Adobe Interactive Forms using ISR framework” · View Tweet

matzeller: RT @brianbernard: Standing room only for “Custom Adobe Interactive Forms using the ISR Framework + approval via Blackberry” #sapinsidetrack · View Tweet

Kamransh: Now the #sapinsidetrack schedule looks nice. rlly looking forward 2 the event now. Spread the wrd. (expand (via @finnern) View Tweet

Wow, I think this is the longest post I ever did. Better to split it. Next up tips and tricks on how to create your own local SAP Inside Track with the least amount of effort. 

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  • hi Mark,
    Great blog - you are to be commended for being able to capture everything. 
    As for the teaser - how to create your own local SAP Inside Track with the least amount of effort - Game On!  Keep me posted,
  • Well, session from David might not be "mainstream", but in my opinion it was the only one that truly required some thinking comapring to relaxing with flashy graphs or chatting about social media. I appreciated his session, though feel there was not much time for David to fully convey his process of thoughts.

    In general, thanks to everyone who organized and participated in that event. It was really nice.


  • Thanks Mark. I enjoyed collaborating with you on getting some of this pulled together. Great to see that there is such a big interest from others in the community to collaborate on the next SAP Inside Track Palo Alto.