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Going to SAP TechEd, Phoenix? Make the most of it…

As most of you know, SAP TechEd is SAP’s premier annual technical education conference and you would not want to miss it. Even if you attend it, you want to make the most out of it. But, the sheer magnitude of the event with around 500 sessions can be overwhelming. To make the most out of the conference, you will need to plan ahead. This will be my sixth TechEd and I still remember the first one was the most exciting one (may not be the best one though – 2004 San Diego was probably my best one!). Here are a few tips on how to make your trip a memorable one. I will first concentrate on the hands-on sessions as I always felt that TechEd Hands-on sessions are better than any training sessions. So, make the most of these.

 

  • Sign up for a hands-on session that you can make use of immediately after going back to work. I feel once you learn something and don’t practice it, you may not remember it for long.

 

  • It will be good if the session is valid for your current release of software (unless you plan on an upgrade in the next 6 months).

 

  • Make sure you know at least the basics of the subject before you go to the session. So, if you chose a hands-on session for e.g. on “ABAP and XML”, at least learn the basics of XML prior to the session.

 

  • Make sure you report to the training room at least 10 minutes before the session. There is usually a queue at these sessions, so be there on time to grab a comfortable seat. Sitting right next to an LCD projector may not be comfortable, especially if it is a 4 hour session.

 

  • If you are late to the session, you may not be allowed inside – This happened to a colleague of mine. I remember he was late by 5 minutes and by that time, the room was already full. Remember it’s not a ‘Guaranteed Seat’… (Unless rules have changed this year).

 

  • Don’t lose hope if you could not sign up for your favorite session, Just go to the session room at least 10 minutes before the session and join the queue – Nothing guaranteed, but you might end up in the session if you are in the first three in the queue. Again, this is purely based on my own experience and no guarantee at all that you will find a place. In fact, your wait might be in vain sometimes.

The reason why I emphasize so much on Hands-on sessions is because this is the easiest way to justify your TechEd investment. A few years back, I went to one of those sessions on ‘ABAP and XML’, learned quite a bit, came back and migrated a legacy application into SAP. That itself was a big justification! I think the easiest way to convince your boss for your next TechEd trip is to show something tangible that you learnt from this year’s event, that helped you resolve a business issue.

As for the other sessions,

• Be very focused on what you are looking for. Focus on a few key topics.

• Try to address any of your current business / IT issues.

• Don’t forget to get the speaker’s business card – Believe me, it helps!

• Do not hesitate to ask any questions. Don’t ever think it’s a silly, basic question.

• Try to have a 5 minute break in between sessions. I have never been to the Phoenix convention center – usually these buildings are big and it takes at least a few minutes to go from one end to another.

*   Sign up for ASUG sessions – These are mostly Customer driven sessions – Get to know their experiences, best practices and make the best use of them in your projects.

*   Sign up for “Meet the Experts” – refer Natascha Schuberth’s blog

*   Meet the Mentors – you will find most of them in the SDN Club house.

*   Meet SAP product Managers – you will see them in the sessions (as a speaker or co-speaker). It will be good to meet them – will be good to get their insight on leveraging different technologies, Do’s and Don’ts etc…Also, let them know your own experience with their products.

*  Join the Demo Jam – wonderful event and I am sure you will not want to miss this! From what I’ve heard, this year’s event is supposed to be really good and extremely competitive.

Remember TechEd is not all about the education sessions – there are plenty of opportunities for networking.

Follow SAP TechEd on Twitter using the hash tag #sapteched09

My next blog will be on my session CD205.

Just one last note, do not miss the influence sessions – this is your gateway to influence SAP and its products through your valuable feedback. ASUG provides the perfect platform for this; sign up for the influence councils – end of the day, we all need to leverage our SAP investment. Enjoy learning while networking and networking while learning!

See you in Phoenix…

Best Regards,
Srini

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