I’ve now attended TWO SAP Inside Track events in less than a week. Last weekend I was in London, this past Friday I attended Newtown Square virtually, courtesy of Adobe Connect and the four camera setup people self organized. Though both events took slightly different forms, both were excellent.
This time around, I tuned into Jon Reed and Leonardo de Araujo’s SAP Certification: The Certification 5 Report session, Jim Spath’s Working the Crowd, Tammy Powlas’s ASUG Workflow survey debrief, Bhavesh Bhagat’s audit feature session and a part of Marilyn Pratt, Trevor Carlow and Christine Merten’s Introduction to Knowledge Exploitation. I also jumped into one of Thomas Jung’s sessions for 10 minutes.
It is clear to me that SAP Inside Track is starting to achieve a balance between uber geek stuff and more business focused topics. This is goodness. Much of what we see around SAP events are geek related. Not that’s a bad thing but SAP as a company is moving towards providing more business focused solutions where the tech is something of a given. Sure there is much to learn and anywhere Thomas Jung tips up you just know there’s going to be an eager audience. The same goes for anyone talking about bleeding edge stuff like mobile technology or alternative ways to layer new applications.
Bhavesh’s session for instance is topical in the context of business failures, the need for improved transparency, sustainability and the role of audit in that change. It made a nice counterpoint to James Farrar’s session on sustainability, opening up questions for me about how SAP will manage the combined sustainability and financial audit needs given that SAP audit functions are most likely to be delivered by the BOBJ people.
Apart from the obvious tie between Michael and Jon/Leo’s sessions, it is interesting to see that without a lot of trying there seems to be the development of topics that can cross pollinate between disciplines.Marilyn et al’s discussion which had a good focus on search has relevance across multiple topics including the embedding of social computing inside SAP apps plus the obvious one of improving SDN/SCN.
What’s especially heartening to me is the fact these events are rapidly becoming something to which SAP ecosystem partners can easily attend/contribute alongside ASUG (and other SUG), assorted people who have topic interest plus SAP Mentors. In fact anyone with a broadband connection can get in on the action now that we’ve seen what is possible using Adobe Connect. It is an evolution of the SAP Community that should be welcomed by everyone. The ability to pick’n’mix makes it especially valuable for those who are pressed for time.
For a bit of fun, I quickly ‘stole from Craig Cmehil and Marilyn Pratt’s Flickrstreams to assemble an Animoto which is at the top of this post. It gives you something of a flavor of what the event was like.
Suggestions for the future? Having seen Adobe Connect working so well out of Newtown Square, it would be really good if SAP and Adobe between them could offer Adobe Connect as a form of ‘sponsorship’ to all Inside Track events. It isn’t perfect but it provides at least two channels htrough which attendees can consume and participate. First, the video and sound links keep virtual attendees in the action. Second, the chat allows virtual attendees to pose questions. Virtual attendees could be hooked into the live action via video in the future.
Another suggestion is to have a category for SAP Inside Tracks under ‘points development’ and SCN posting ‘category.’ The fact these events are springing up all over the world and are only likely to grow in popularity tells me there is a genuine need and usefulness.
Final words: Congratulations to Rich Heilman and others who put #sapitnsq together and drew such a vibrant crowd. Even from this view from the cheap seats 4,000 miles away I could see people enjoying themselves. Like London last week, they are showing that it is not TOO difficult. The thing they’re demonstrating that is possibly lost in much public debate around SAP is that engaging on SAP topics can be FUN. How often do you hear that?