Four days of learning, fun, and exposure to some of the best minds in SAP from Australia and around the world. Whatever you wanted to know about SAP, there was someone who knew, or knew someone who knew it….
- Solution Manager / Basis ? Tony de Thomasis
- ILM / Basis ? Karin Tillotson
- GRC / IDM (aka Secuirty) ? Gretchen Lindquist
- User Interface ? Graham Robinson
- Business Objects ? Ingo Hilgefort
- ABAP ? Thomas Jung
and these are only the SAP mentors we were priveleiged to meet at the MasteringSAP conference held in Sydney Australia earlier this week (and the associated SAP Inside Track). Others who were present included people like Bob Raines from the New Zealand Defence Department (who will share everything he is allowed to share, and is very polite about what he is not allowed to share), Mark and Juilan from The Gallagher Group (New Zealand) who presented on How Visual Composer liberated their infrequent Users from SAPGUI (they used standard ABAP engine components and Visual Composer to quickly and cheaply build a functional web based BW and CRM system for their sales force), Rejele (also from New Zealand) who gave a presentation on the compelling case for Maximising Your Technology Investments Through Effective Change Management and Training, a compelling bottom-line oriented case for effective end-user training, and Kristian Kalsing who gave a very interesting and enligtening SAP/Microsoft technical interoperability tutorial, and so on. And these are just the highlights that spring to mind.
I’m a Netweaver Technical Consultant (or BASIS Consultant, if the system is old enough), so I tend to be interested in sharing the more technical aspects of my day to day work, and the more technical sessions of a conference. For example, I facilitated (probably too grandiose a term for the amount of work involved…) a brief session at the Inside Track afternoon (Sunday). I left there knowing a lot more about virtualisation (my ‘specialist’ subject) than when I arrived.
While there were a lot of technically minded individuals att both the Inside Track day and conference, a big emphasis of this years conference was on using technology, either SAP or partner technology, to bring real dollar value to the end user. A good example of this was Gretchen Lindquist’s presentation on Getting the Business involved in SAP Security. It was not at all technical, instead focusing on the need to get the business, the people who work with the data and rely on it for their day to day jobs, involved in the management and security of the data, and the various types of people from within your organisation that are required to get data security right.
Rejele’s presentation (Maximising Your Technology Investments Through Effective Change Management and Training) went right to the heart of this, talking about getting the best value out of what you spend on your SAP technology by educating users in a proper, timely, effective manner. While it’s not just an SAP failing; end-users (especially for occasional users) seems to be an expendable item when the schedule hits the fan. However, Rejele was able to show how combining Change Management and effective training made an impact on the bottom line.
At the other end of the scale, technically, was Tony de Thomasis’s presentation on how to proactively manage a very large landscape by using Solution Manager automation. In short, a very technical presentation about a part of the SAP landscape that appears to have little impact on the end user or business. Even here, though, was recognition that there’s a business driver behind this automation leading directly to (those magic words again) an immediate impact on the bottom line. In fact, Tony’s presentation went to the level of suggesting the order of implementing the Solution Manager technologies, to get the biggest bang for the buck as soon as possible.
One of the most important things about these events are renewing old friendships and making new ones. Apart from the people named above, I’d like to thank Karin for introducing me to ILM, and being such a nice person, regardless of her SAP abilityt (and by the way, I have learnt all I know about Texas from the Simpson’s, and now Gretchen Lindquist and Karin Tillotson – King of the Hill had nothing to do with it), the team from Murray-Goulburn for keeping the off duty hours entertaining, Natasha and Shane for the party goodies…. My apologies for missing anyone.
However, the biggest thanks must go to the organising committee, and the event management. There are very few conferences, drawing people from such a wide ecosystem as SAP, that can scored 4.47 out 5 for overall satisfaction!