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Thoughts on the first day at SAP TechEd 09

My week at #SAPTechEd 09 started out with a Monday afternoon meeting of the SAP Mentors, where SAP CTO Vishal Sikka gave us a preview of his remarks at the keynote session this morning and took questions from the Mentors. My key takeway was his emphasis on the fact that accelerating change is nothing new, so accept and embrace it. So the challenge is to build systems that will last and be in use through many years of ongoing change and uses that we cannot predict.

If you missed the keynote this morning, be sure to check out the video replay on the TechEd web site.

My education agenda for today started with one of my allotted hands-on sessions, Business Process Management and Security – Inextricably Intertwined. The exercises for this session had us configuring a purchase order process in a BPM system and configuring it for single sign-on. My organization has not deployed BPM yet, but I still really enjoyed this session. I came away with a good concept of how the web services are configured to provide the security necessary for such business scenarios.

Next up was Security and Identity Management overview, one of the Expert Networking sessions in the Community Clubhouse. Gerlinde Zibulski from SAP labs led an open discussion of security architecture issues, including portal role and user management options. The Expert Networking Lounges are very cozy places for informal discussions among small groups, and the Clubhouse area is open enough so that noise was not a problem. I encourage everyone here in Phoenix to check out the schedule and see if any of these informative sessions will fit into your agenda.

After my lunch break, the next session in my agenda was Minimizing Costs of Compliance, Audit, Security, and Risk Management in Financially Tough Times, a presentation topic that seemed tailor-made for me. The speaker’s theme was that compliance is not something just for the good times; in fact, tough times require even more focus on compliance and risk management. I certainly agree with that assertion. I wish his remarks had been more platform neutral, since many SAP customers have deployed certified SAP partner GRC solutions, but he did provide some good platform-neutral takeaways on getting the most bang for your compliance buck.  His assertion that “most SAP customer are still remediating those 1.5 million SOD violations” should certainly be a wake-up for those in that position mid-way on the path. Automation across your landscape helps you maximize your ROI on compliance solutions. Where are you on the compliance path?

My last education session of the day was scheduled to be from the Sustainability track, Developing and Deploying Greener IT Strategies. Unfortunately the speaker was a no show, and the session was cancelled, which was very disappointing. So I am heading over to the Community Clubhouse to check out the action in the networking lounges and the ASUG area.

I’m looking forward to the Networking Reception this evening. Although I have already seen many of my SAP Mentor colleagues, there are still a lot of acquaintances from past TechEds whom I’m hoping to see here in Phoenix. Please stop me and introduce yourself if you see me there!

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