Some things I gathered from walking around the Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin Conference Center…
- There felt like there were a LOT more people here than the last time I was at a GBN/ASUG conference (that would be Dallas, 2008). While I’m still waiting to hear about the final tallies, it seems that more than a thousand people were in attendance last week!
- It felt like that the demand for BOBJ topics continues to grow…many of the sessions I attended were full or close to capacity. I have heard, anecdotally though, that some sessions were a little lighter than others and that caused some overcrowding. I guess I must have picked the right ones to be at!
- The keynotes were generally well-received. I was going to skip the first keynote, as motivational speakers aren’t my cup of tea. But I am glad that I went to hear Bridgette Chambers launch the BOBJ Strategic SIG and the BOB Board collaboration agreement. In addition:
- The first keynote was quite entertaining. I appreciate Peter Sheahan taking the time to try and tailor it for the ‘intelligence’ market, but thought it would have gone over just as well without it. Funny and relevant, it was not the standard motivational speech that I was anticipating. And that was a good thing!
- Steve Lucas’s morning two keynote was great! I laughed out loud several times and really enjoyed the self-deprecating slant at one of the BOBJ communities targets of opportunities- the dreaded S-ID logon! Even though Steve is now on the sales side, he is a BOBJ person at heart and understands the needs of this community…I think it’s great that he’s taking a vested interest.
- As to the BOB Board agreement, I did get asked several times what it entailed and I wasn’t really sure myself. So I can only imagine that more than a few people came out a bit hazy as to the details. I would think that more details are forthcoming- we’ll just have to stay tuned!
- The final keynote, while well executed and entertaining, left me wanting more depth. While I know that SAP is still finalizing BusinessObjects Enterprise 4, (+1 for new name usage!) I think that we were left a bit lacking on details surrounding BO4. I expected to come out of here with a much clearer picture and roadmap in regards to BO4. I would hope that the most detailed information would be given at the dedicated BOBJ conference. If the TechEd feedback is that there was more BI4.0 coverage in Las Vegas than at SBOUC, I am going to be very disappointed.
- Session topics covered a wide range of subject areas, allowing for folks to be a little more choosy as to what they felt like going to. I think that this also caused some of the issues surrounding overcrowded rooms, as the organizers really had no way of tracking who would be coming to what sessions.
- I also talked with folks who complained about several of the sessions being light on content. I even heard that one particular session (non-BOBJ, apparently) was only 7 minutes long! I can only hope that this is just a case of ‘whisper down the lane’.
- As a BOBJ only customer, I really loved the balance between SAP Integration and platform agnostic topics. I give the conference design teams kudos in keeping the focus to just the BOBJ topics. I know that the ASUG Chapters and SIG’s are working on trying to find a good balance- I’m glad that SBOUC was able to, as well.
- Pet peeve- when presenting and you’re given a template: USE THE TEMPLATE! One session in particular, the speaker didn’t even attempt to just ‘tweak’ the template to add his firm’s information/marketing slogan/etc- he just totally used his own. This included a completely different color scheme, advertising taglines/URL and slogan in the slide master. I know that my corporation would have preferred for me to use our standard template, but I told them it was a requirement to use the matching template.
Overall, the technical sessions that I attended went pretty well. Not every presenter can have the expertise of a Dave Rathbun or the polished presenting style of a Greg Myers- and I’m not looking for that every single time. I’m just looking to learn something from your session, so I can avoid giving you a ‘1’ or worse- me just walking out.
The proof is going to be in the overall feedback from the attendees and especially the first time attendees. If there’s enough constructive feedback, I think we can raise the bar even higher for next year.
I’m sure that everyone has their own opinion on the conference and related proceedings. I’ve decided to put the ASUG specific thoughts on my ASUG blog. As soon as it’s available, I’ll update the blog or add a comment. This is also my first year going to SAP TechEd…I’ll try and have a more timely first-time attendee blog post from Las Vegas!