Teched this year is home game for me – it is a 30 minutes drive from where I live. So, on Monday afternoon I drove over to the Convention center. Registration was a breeze – took about 2 minutes to do that. Next up, I had to find where fellow mentors were. That was easy – a tweet to @jspath55, and Jim tweeted their location right back. Mentors were camping in front of the communication central.
5PM was when Mark Finnern started the mentor meeting. We got our Mentor rugby shirts, and goodies. And 30 minutes later – SAP CTO Vishal Sikka joined us. It was a terrific one hour that followed – and I am VERY impressed with this man. He has great vision. Mark Yolton spoke to us too. This was my first opportunity in meeting several of my fellow mentors in person. I was particularly keen to meet Marilyn Pratt, and at the end of the mentor meeting – I got an opportunity to get say hi in person. Special thanks to Jon Reed and Jim Spath for introducing me all around. We all had dinner together, and that is where I met Michael Koch. We had a great conversation on CE.
Tuesday morning started early. I showed up at breakfast around 7.30, wearing my mentor shirt. From that time, till I left – I don’t know how many – but SEVERAL for sure – asked me “What is this SAP mentor thing”?. I explained the best I could, and have asked Finnern and Yolton to print us little cards to pass on when we get asked this question 🙂
Key note was awesome – Zia/Vishal/Ray was a heavy weight combo, and it was very enjoyable. And Ian, the guy who assisted Vishal with demos, was exceptional. He deserves an Oscar. There were no big product announcements – but the commitment to cloud computing was very clear, as was the commitment to co-develop and co-innovate with partners.
Right after key note, I attended two sessions – one on BPM and one on MDM. I was pretty pleased with the progress made in BPM between what I saw at last teched, and what I saw today. My only gripe is that the UI part is pretty boring. They also have a great vision on what are the next few things they are going to get into the product. MDM one was good too – but I thought was a bit vague from the roadmap perspective.
After lunch, there was yet another mentor meeting with Zia Yusuf. I enjoyed that session too – and it was very nice to see SAP execs engaging deeply in meaningful topics – today it was more on social media and how it affects business processes.
Stephen Johannes and I had our expert networking session righ after the meeting with Zia, so we missed the last 10 minutes or so. The expert session was fun. We ditched our presentations, and just sat around a coffee table and chated with CRM customers about their pain points, and what their priorotoes are etc. The major concern that came up was lack of a suitable training coure for weclient development.
After this session, I walked over to the Business Objects Pod to find my new friiend, and fellow mentor Ingo H. I am a HUGE fan of Ingo. He is a straight shooter – and I had all my BO questions answered in 15 minutes.
Just when we were winding up our BO chat, both Ingo and I got pulled by Dan Maloney into an expert networking session with Usman Shaikh and his Ecohub team. They were looking for feedback on Ecohub and how they can improve it. They were genuinely interested in what we had to say. We were also joined by a lady from SAP field services who leads rapid prototyping, whose name i cannot recall at the moment. In our adjacent table, Zia was having his session, and the ABAP crowd was having the time of their life meeting with Horst Keller.
Mark Finnern invited us to a reception to unwind, and it was a lot of fun. My big regret is that I had to come back home before demo jam, to take care of some other work.
I am pretty excited to see what tomorrow has to offer. My own ASUG session is scheduled for the morning. may be it is time for me to go prepare for it now.