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Author's profile photo Craig Cmehil

Sessions for SAP Community Day and SAP TechEd

It’s July and that means it’s time to submit your session ideas, however there are a couple of “catches” you need to be aware of and of course it’s always good to understand the benefits behind submitting!

First I want to address this year’s call for proprosals for the entire SAP TechEd event, it’s slightly different than previous years as this year’s call has a theme! 


SAP TechEd 2009 Call for Proposals: Sustainability


SAP Community Network Member Exclusive!


We are pleased to announce this exclusive opportunity for members of the SAP Community Network (SDN, BPX community, and SAP BusinessObjects community) to submit session proposals focused on sustainability and green ITfor SAP TechEd. Don’t miss this chance to represent your community and help others learn how they also can incorporate more sustainable processes when working with SAP technology.

SAP is committed to improving its own operations to become more sustainable and to delivering customer solutions to improve sustainability on a grand scale, which inspired us to make sustainability one of our featured hot topics for SAP TechEd 2009. We will showcase your best sessions focused on sustainability and green IT in Phoenix, Vienna, and Bangalore.


The deadline (like for Demo Jam) is July 31st! So be sure to take this opportunity!

Now for those of you who may not be ready for such a big audience or perhaps you are simply not going to be able to make it to one o the SAP TechEd events this year, then we have of course another opportunity for you (actually it’s open to EVERYONE!)

For the past several years we have held a “Community Day” the day before the SAP TechEd event in the US, EMEA and India. This year is no different – the format however has changed…

Last year we noticed the rise of the “SAP Inside Track”, events organized by the community focusing on the “Session” aspect of the Community Day and also slightly on the “Networking” aspect of the Community Day. We began as a team to discuss what 2009 would look like since we very much enjoy seeing the community self organize their own “SAP Inside Tracks” and then also taking into account the concepts of sustainability, environment, carbon and of course green we began to formulate the following plan. We would of course continue to host both aspects, both pieces of our Community Day but we slightly alter the way in which we did so. This later changed into a complete alteration of the concept which we think will appeal to even more community members around the world and have a larger impact.

2009 will see the first ever “Virtual BoFs” to make up the first part of Community Day, the sessions. We will do a call for proposals in July followed by a voting in August and then we will host via SAP Connect 20 sessions (perhaps more or less depending on submissions) in September. We will invite each presenter (if present at a physical SAP TechEd event) to attend a “Networking” session together with SAP Mentors the evening before the event starts thus adding the second piece of the Community Day!

Remember BoF sessions at a Community Day are the perfect way of saying “here I am and I have something to share!”

So there you have it, 3 major ways to share with the entire community and SAP Ecosystem the cool stuff you are working on!

We can’t stress enough the value that exists from participating and submitting to one, two or all of these areas nor can we express easily in words how doing so has changed the lives of so many in the community! If you ask them though I’m sure they would be willing to share their story!

I personally participated in a session submission to the “SDN Meets Labs” event in Walldorf back in 2005, my submission granted me the ability to bring someone else for free to the event, my status in the community and being so active granted me another seat. So 3 of us from (my old) company drove down to Walldorf and took part in the event. My management was amazed that my efforts granted all three of us a free pass to the event and were even more amazed at the amount of collective knowledge we returned with!

My presentation was about using integrating web content and you can SDN Meets Labs: Integrated Web Content. Well that was the plan, however right as I was about to do my presentation I discovered a problem our server folks had made several changes to the proxy at work and I was no longer able to actually do what I inteded to do – I quickly changed tact though and my presentation morphed into how to live debug your BSP applications with external web content.

The comments I received from folks afterwards and I mean there were some “heavy hitters” sitting in that room watching me made my day, actually better said it made me realize that the time and energy I put into learning about the technology was visible and those compliments have stayed with me ever since!

One small disclaimer, what I was showing that day I had also submitted as a BoF session at the BoF, TechEd Munich ’04 – RSS, HTTP and BSP even, the session was selected by as you can see from the post this was one of those times that the planning of BoF sessions was actually at a less than ideal time and most of the BoF sessions for EMEA that year actually didn’t take place.

What I find even more interesting though is that the content from my sessions is still in demand today despite the changes to technology and I still get a few comments and questions a month around it!

I’m so very glad that I took the opportunity way back when and I hope you do the same!

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      Author's profile photo Thorsten Franz
      Thorsten Franz
      Hi Craig,

      I think it's great that community members have once again the opportunity to share and contribute to SAP TechEd and I like it even more that through SAP Inside Track and the Virtual BoF Sessions there is even more variety in the way we can contribute.

      Last year I submitted some session proposals and was selected as an SCN contributor and gave a presentation at TechEd. Frankly, this was the happiest moment in my SAP career. 🙂 Being allowed to present at TechEd felt was greatest reward imaginable for much extra work spent building up knowledge and understanding of the technology we work with.

      Needless to say, I'd love to submit more session proposals this year. There are a lot of interesting topics about which I feel very passionate and believe I have something to share that would make an interesting presentation: custom development, experience working with SAP technology as an Independent Software Vendor, ABAP + Java coexistence, and so on.

      Unfortunately, I find it hard to see the sustainability angle to my most heartfelt topics. Thinking about how to add a sustainability angle to these topics feels, to me, artificially construed. And because I honestly believe that community participations should come from an honest passion both for the topic and for sharing. What does this mean for me?
      * Probably no SAP TechEd session proposal because it seems to me that sustainability is a must.
      * Perhaps a virtual BoF session proposal (yay! although presenting in person is more fun than a video conference, but a video conference is pretty good and participating in the networking event the evening before TechEd would be great!)
      * No TechEd Demo Jam proposal - this is a dream and I wish I had a few weeks' time to put into it but that's not possible this year -- not your fault and I hope next year I'll be able to propose something 🙂

      My struggling with the theme may be due to my lack of exposition to the topic and I may be able to look at it quite differently in the future. However, I believe it is no coincidence that in the sustainability sessions from TechEd 09 Phoenix (, Basis topics such as system landscape, operations, and tuning seem to be represented more strongly than development topics.

      To be honest, I have the slight (and until now secret :)) hope that SAP will open up thematically and allow TechEd session proposals outside the sustainability area. I think the SCN community has a lot of "general" contributions to offer to the TechEd delegates and it would be nice to see those  contributions happen. If you look at it from an attendee's point of view: Why should all the bread-and-butter contributions about technology, nifty things you can do and ways to solve problems beyond sustainability issues come from SAP employees and none from the SCN community?

      Best regards,


      Author's profile photo Former Member
      Former Member

      Thanks for bringing the comment/question over to the blog.

      This is one of those decisions that tend to haunt you all year and into the next year. Over the past couple of years we've been able to do a call for sessions from the community and the SAP TechEd folks have always been generous and provided us with a fixed number of slots to fill, in fact due to the great content we've always been able to bump that number up each year. In the past years we've often done a call, selection and then voting, then we went down to a call and selection by a panel of peers in the community and that model has been in place and working beautifully but what we never did was try and focus the content to a specific theme or set of themes.

      Every year the general event has a theme of sorts and most of the content revolves around that, how that is selected is probably a blog post if not an entire series unto itself so I won't dive too deeply into that other than say that it's never an easy choice.

      Well with that in mind we began over the years to realize that quite often community content does not always fit to the general tracks and sessions of the event despite being awesome content! So as a test we made the very hard decision to focus on a specific theme, in this case Sustainability, which we feel needs attention from the broader world (we only have one Earth and we all need to do what we can right?) and initial feedback from sample groups in the community at the beginning of the year were positive to this direction.

      Is this a final decision, for this year yes we are going to see it through and then evaluate the results to make a decision moving into 2010.

      Do I regret giving my stamp of approval from the SDN side, yes and no - yes because I knew that it would prevent some from submitting but a very big NO because I know there are some fantastic proposals coming in around the theme and with a little thought I bet you could submit as well. The interesting things about this topic is that it touches everything, and I mean everything we do so it's just a matter of stepping back and looking at it from a slightly different angle sometimes!


      PS - what do you mean no Demo Jam!?

      Author's profile photo Former Member
      Former Member

      With respect to Thorsten mentioning his struggle with the theme and lack of exposition, may I suggest undergoing the e-learning tutorial by Chronos?

      Here is an extract from their site for immediate reference, please:
      "Chronos is an e-learning tutorial on sustainable development that was developed by the University of Cambridge Programme for Sustainability Leadership and the World Business Council for Sustainable Development.

      Chronos was designed to raise awareness and provide employees with an introduction to the subject of sustainable development. It draws on the experience of many of the world’s largest companies, and is aimed at a general audience rather than environmental specialists. The objective of Chronos is to communicate the business case for sustainable development and corporate social responsibility (CSR) as widely as possible, and the sustainability e-learning course is therefore offered at very low cost.

      Companies know that if sustainability is to be embedded in their organisations, their staff will need training. E-learning about sustainability and CSR provides a practical and cost-effective alternative to a conventional training course.

      Chronos has been developed by experts in sustainable development and it is also informed by best practice in corporate e-learning techniques. Its content – a mixture of information, video clips and interactive sessions such as role plays and quizzes engages and educates the learner simultaneously. Users have the opportunity to see how they would handle a variety of business sustainable development dilemmas. The English language version also contains a video welcome message by HRH The Prince of Wales."

      May like to visit their site for further details and the address is:

      Sam Anbazhagan

      Author's profile photo Former Member
      Former Member
      Hi Craig,

      I've had practical exposure to running Birds of a Feather sessions at TechEd US and Mastering Technologies in Australia and I really value the way that you can talk about a subject in a highly interactive way with the audience so that it's effectively interested people collaborating on information rather than a pure presentation with questions and answers.

      As I understand the Adobe meeting technology, you can ask questions via text, but if someone wanted to voice their opinion, the meeting would grind to a halt while they were opened up for discussion (my interpretation of what I've seen to date).

      i.e. The definition of BoF for me (which I base on Mark Finnern's original definition from a few years ago) is to collaborate with like minded people about a subject, and not just present to people interested in the subject.  I believe the term unconference came up a few times during the description 🙂

      Anyway, to my question... Has this style of meeting been thought about technically in terms of how we handle interactivity with participants virtually? 

      If so, then I'm fully on board (and personally plan to submit a presentation to discuss best practices for External Facing Portals which is a great topic to discuss), but if it's more a presentation followed by questions, then that holds far less appeal to me since I could be preaching wrong information without the instant feedback/debate I'm used to.

      Regardless of your answer, I know this is the fixed format for this year and it's an excellent idea if it does come off well considering many who can't make TechEd.

      Anyway, see you at TechEd soon enough,

      ps. Another perspective from a regular TechEd Attendee is that the BoF's happening at TechEd are great for those who come from other timezones and don't have anything to do on the Monday day except register.  2am BoF sessions will be hard to attend for me in Australia.

      Author's profile photo Former Member
      Former Member
      All very good points Matt! With any webinar style conference you have a few ways of dealing with it - what we've always done is leave the lines open and ask the participants to mute themselves unless they have a question at which case "ask away" that waiting until the end in personal opinion is the most ridiculous thing I've ever heard of which is why at the start of all my sessions I make sure everyone knows they are welcome to interrupt at anytime.

      Are we 100% sure this will work (time zones and all) of course not but we really want to give it a try to let everyone have the ability to participate and still keep that original "thought and idea" of the BoF session alive.

      On one level this will be an experiment on the other it will be more best practice as we've been holding sessions like this for awhile. We are all very anxious about it and very curious how they will come across and of course how many decide to participate so please submit away!

      Oh, one thing on time zones what i've thought about doing but not yet made a final decision is host it either morning time EU or evening time EU based on the speaker or whether to pick one single time everytime regardless of speaker - we'll be recording and the recordings will be published but for the live participation we are still debating on the "when" to go.