I just finished my session at the SAP Financials Conference 2010 in Orlando. By my eye, the customer turnout seemed to be up about 10% compared to last year’s conference and there were more vendors and exhibitors too… another sign that this year should be more active on the customer front.
Here were my takeaways from the conference:
- BusinessObjects. Quite a lot of material on Business Objects though maybe not as much as I had expected. I saw Access Control in GRC. On the Financial side there was an excellent session from SAP on PCM and how best to manage it with existing CO-OM and CO-PA solutions in ERP. As expected, a lot of coverage was given to the SAP BusinessObjects Planning and Consolidation tools compared to only two BCS sessions. It’s interesting that the conference can serve as a measuring stick for the industry as a whole in a way that the SAP sponsored functions like SAPphire can’t. The WIS Expert conferences are dominated by Partners and Customers (Where are you ASUG?) so SAP’s opionions and market direction isn’t as prevalent here. Based on that, BCS is dead and customers appear to be buying into BPC.
- IFRS. Anything and everything to do with IFRS was covered. From a purely SAP ERP Financial perspective I sense more and more people are now recognizing that there is much more to IFRS than just migrating from the classic GL to the (new) SAP GL. I’ve sensed for awhile that most customers assumed that one was dependent on the other (it’s not) and that they are one in the same (definitely wrong). But there was enough material and sessions that customers will start addressing IFRS soon. Maybe this year… but more likely they’ll continue to just gather information and cutover later. They have until 2014 and there needs to be more clarity as to how IFRS will be interpreted here in the US. There were several sessions on how to best approach the adoption of IFRS; major implications, project planning, key tasks, etc. All in all it was a very informative area.
- In spite all of the new material for these new areas, the basics in FI and CO saw plenty of coverage. I’ve always thought that customers still struggle with the basic block-and-tackling of SAP and that none of us should lose sight of this in spite of any of the new stuff… in this case, “new” is anything that came out after 2000 (<– that’s both a serious statement and a joke at the same time). FSCM, BOBJ, OutlookSoft, etc. There are still numerous inefficiencies in basic GL processing, LIV, and most any other core FICO process that should warrant plenty of focus. The sessions reflected that.
- The SAP GL. This has been one of the dominant themes at the SAP Financials Conferences for several years now. 2010 didn’t see any drop off and the materials are getting better and better. Plenty of informative guides on how best to implement the GL, different approaches, segment reporting and document splitting. I sat in on some sessions from MI6 Solutions, QS&S and Vortex Solutions that were quite good.
- Audit. There were 18 sessions on Audit as compared to only 8 for FI and 12 for CO. I sat in on one session regarding GRC controls which got a bigger turnout than I would have normally thought. As a consultant that tends to butt heads with the Security folks, I can’t say that I was happy to see this. But seriously… 18 sessions on audit? For an SAP event? Wow. It just surprises me that there was that much coverage and the turn out was as strong as it was.