Carl Lewis spent much of his time thanking ASUG, Nike, The Northwest Chapter, the Volunteers, SAP Partners, SAP, the Customers, and his Father (who provided Carl with some interesting quotes shared with us). I know Carl likes to credit many others for what was accomplished, but Carl certainly cannot deflect accepting thanks for thinking of and seeing through the first ASUG Business One Summit.
I really do not know how to even condense all that I saw, read, discussed, and experienced to give the idea of how well it was received. Here is a link to the presentation abstracts for you to see how much went on – http://jive.asug.com/docs/DOC-25638. But maybe the best testimony to how those three days in Portland went is to say everyone, without exception, said “See you next year!” followed with “By the way, where is the next summit going to be?”.
The Customers Shine.
But if I were cornered to pick one distinct area which impressed me and many of the other attendees, it has to be the presentations made by the Customers themselves. It isn’t they were “polished” speakers or had knock-out multimedia presentations. The most enjoyable part was their willingness to get up and share their own experiences (both good and bad) of how they are using SAP B1, Solution Provider Add-Ons, and a good dose of their own ingenuity to do some pretty phenomenal improvements for their companies. Enprise could never have found a better presenter than the RC Worst Company. Pretty amazing how RC Worst unitized SAP B1 and Enprise to grow and run their business. [Besides RC Worst Company has a great company motto of “Always Expect the Best from Worst” – how can anyone beat that?] On the downside of the Enprise presentation, I am very disappointed I did not win the rugby ball at the drawing!
Another great User presentation was done by Rob Burke of McRoskey Mattress from San Francisco. At the end of the session quite a few attendees were left wondering how Rob made it look so easy to eliminate a large number of steps (clicks) on the system during the manufacturing process. I think I wrote this down correctly; Rob’s company went from 26 clicks/steps down to six. I urged several Customers to attend this session beforehand and was glad to hear afterward they definitely wanted more information. Boyum-IT had their own good presentation, but personally I think Rob’s description of the ups and downs he encountered was more effective for the SAP B1 Users and Customers – it was real work, real solution, and real solid.
Another personal highlight for me was convincing Gordon Du (an SAP User) to come to the summit and then getting the chance to sit down with him. For anyone who has used the SAP Forums in the past two years or so, Gordon has probably helped you at some time. Gordon has about 38,000 reward points and I believe he is one of two mentors SAP has for B1. This guy just does not stop; he was passing out advice and answering questions for attendees during the summit. The only advice I can give to Gordon is to remember your business cards next time.
This might not be the place to do it, but I have to do it anyway! Nancy from Canada – you still have a demo due you or did you see enough? Marilyn from New Zealand – keep on making the business perspective priority number one. Addison of the The Fruit Company – get that GL Control Account balanced as it has to be right in SAP B1. And for my fellow Georgian Andee – a reminder to get with Carl about what you saw since it is worth every penny – believe me!
SAP Business Partners and Solution Providers.
The SAP Business Partners who were there certainly more than deserve the thanks Carl extended to them at the last session. Being with their Customers at the conference gave the Partners a chance to see possibilities with the Customer. I hope lots of attendees went back home with new ideas on solutions, improvements, and possible Add-On Solutions to explore. I mean, how could you return home without new ideas?
And thanks for and a comment to those Solution Providers in attendance – by sponsoring this event as you did, I hope you created new contacts to grow your business. All of the Solution Provider presentations gave Customers and Business Partners the chance to see your products in action and, more importantly, to discuss new areas to work on when they got back home. A vast number of Customers were certain they could not have attended the summit if it were not for the direct support given by the Solution Providers. Special personal kudos to Paul Cannon for staying to the last second, to Scott Frandsen for starting a lively discussion during the opening reception, to Gary Feldman for explaining the “cloud” to a Canadian attendee, to Brad Windecker for the videos (and, by the way, Jing works great). Last, but certainly not least, kudos to James Brading for using a great idea to keep us awake on Friday afternoon after lunch (I still want that rugby ball!).
Nike and ASUG as Hosts.
And now on to Nike and ASUG who get their share of thanks for making this a success. ASUG was effective in showing SAP B1 Users how they can benefit like all of their “big R3” counterparts. Carolyn might have pointed out what she thought the summit is all about, but I wonder if she thought so much could happen in three days on the first SAP B1 conference. It was pretty amazing to see all the tweets and snips going on about a small conference in the northwest (real close to Fritz’s 24/7 access with right now demand environment). Folks were watching presentations, hitting the keys on their cells, and networking face to face all at the same time – talk about multi-tasking! I guess I am old school because I turned my cell off and waited to get back to the hotel. The conference center Nike so kindly donated was absolutely perfect in size and location, the food was outstanding (and more than abundant), and the folks who worked there reflected what a great organization Nike is.
SAP Ties It Together.
And finally the thanks to SAP. Each of the SAP sessions were well done, but what were my two favorite moments? Lea Dvir; anyone who knows Lea is well aware that she is the most patient person there is in dealing with End Users and their never ending questions. Another attendee of the summit and I were lucky enough to have had Lea as an instructor in 2005(6?) in Pennsylvania (Intro Course to SAP B1). We were not the easiest group way back then, but somehow she survived. So, having seen Lea in presentations and web ex seminars, when Lea said she is extremely excited about a new feature or function in Version 8.8, it was time for us to pay close attention. Lea and I never got a chance to catch up, but, what the heck, another reason to attend again next year. The next personal highlight had to be Fritz Neumeyer’s keynote address. His slides contained some pretty darn good information about what small and medium sized companies mean to the economy (and, of course, to SAP). I have seen many of the facts or figures Fritz presented, but not in all one place. Carl Lewis said he would like to post all of the presentations in two weeks, so do not pass up a chance to get a copy of this keynote address if you can. But again, Eddie’s and Andrew’s presentations were also extremely good, the space just does not allow me to write more. Oh – and thanks to Thomas of SAP from the Netherlands for explaining how the Indo-Asian SAP market is going.
Overall the summit appears as if it was centered around the Customers and Users of SAP B1, as it should be. Again, just my impressions, but hopefully enough to give those not in attendance a feel of what a success it was. Everyone I spoke with at the summit felt the conference was highly beneficial and is something that should be done an a regular basis – for those who agree, please give two thumbs up to all of those who brought this off in such a great fashion.
Take care and I hope to see you next year – Zal