Just came back from the ASUG SAP BusinessObjects User Conference and these are my thoughts and feedbacks.
First of all, it is always great to see all the familiar faces in the SAP BusinessObjects user community. The conference was very productive. I have obtained some very useful information and had some great dialog with SAP Management. I enjoyed the wonderful lunch conversation with Pierpaolo Vezzosi, who will be the SAP Lead on the Semantic Layer Influence Council.
I like the way they arranged the Educational Sessions this year. They kept the sessions within the same track in the same room. This reduces a lot of walking back-and-forth. Kudos to ASUG HQ staffs on this excellent logistic plan!
We had many great speakers with great contents. But we also had some below-par speakers with barely enough contents for 20 minutes….and the session was supposed to last 45 minutes. The Design Teams might need to do a more thorough review of the presentation contents in advance next year. Those speakers with less than 20 minutes of contents should never be selected.
I was the Chair of the DFW BusinessObjects User Group and now the Program Chair of the DFW ASUG Chapter after our merge. At the local user group level, we used to survey our members periodically on what topics they would like to see in the user group meetings. Based on the survey, we determined the topics for the next user group meeting. After we nailed down the topics of each track, we then went out and seeked the speakers for those specific topics. I think the conference organizers should take a similar approach on developing contents.
While talking to the people at the conference, I sensed that there was a concern on whether we will have a dedicated SAP BusinessObjects User Conference next year. It was great that Bridgette Chambers, the CEO of ASUG, has reassured us that there will be a separate conference for as long as the SAP BusinessObjects customers want it.
At this conference, we launched the Influencer Summit. We identified 4 top issues from the user community (based on a survey earlier this year) and we had nominated volunteers to lead the initiative on addressing these 4 top issues. We will be working alongside with executives from SAP which is a great news. Such initiative will not be successful without the sponsorship and partnership of SAP. More information will come from ASUG HQ on this initiative.
ASUG will also launch a Road Show alongside with local Chapter meetings. This will faciliate better communication with the user community nationwide. Formal announcement will come from ASUG HQ later.
At the Influencer Summit and at the Keynote, Steve Lucas, Senior Vice President of SAP, had announced that in Q1 and Q2 of 2010, the Emerging Segment (i.e. the SAP BusinessObjects products) outgrew the Managed Segment (the traditional SAP products). SAP BusinessObjects portfolio has accounted for 52% of SAP’s licensing revenue in the first half of 2010… more than half of the total revenue!!! That highlights the importance of this portfolio to SAP as a whole.
Among these segment of customers, about 60% of them do not own any other SAP product. Therefore, it is utmost important for us…the SAP Mentors, the ASUG BusinessObjects Ambassadors, and all the wonderful ASUG volunteers…to insure these customers are well-represented, their voices will be heard, and their needs will be fulfilled!!!
We all have heard about the Tech Support problem the SAP customers are experiencing, and the lack of assistance from their account managers/representatives. SAP is doing something about it…finally. Mary Brigden, the Vice President of SAP, is heading up a Customer Success team. Each customer will be assigned to a Customer Success Manager. They are dedicated to customer satisfaction and to help the customers to overcome any obstacle. As Steve Lucas has stated, SAP was like in a football game where they fumbled the football and had nobody to recover it. Now they are trying to correct this mistake. It is good to see SAP is addressing the issues and refocusing their commitment to their customers.
TechEd in Las Vegas is about one week from now. Look forward to seeing everyone there. If you see me in the hallway, please feel free to stop me and talk. I love to hear from you. 🙂