Being as this is my first TechEd, I really wanted to experience what this conference really had to offer. To say that I was pleasantly surprised is the understatement of the year! But, especially coming right on the heels of a successful SAP BusinessObjects User Conference (SBOUC) in Orlando, what was TechEd like for me?
– This conference is truly meant for ‘techies’. While SBOUC had a LOT of real technical content, the overall uber-technical atmosphere at TechEd won hands-down. Demo Pods, labs, truly interactive hands-on sessions, expert networking lounges, HDTV’s broadcasting live hash tagged (#sapteched) Twitter streams, Innovation Weekend, Demo Jam…just amazing!
– The emphasis on networking and interaction was impressive. While content is important; having the ability to meet with experts like Ingo Hilgefort at an Expert Networking session (and get your questions answered directly) or talking with Derek Wang about BI4 at the demo pods (and having him show you personally some inner workings of the new CMC) blew me away.
– While I am sure some people are sick of hearing the word ‘community’ used over and over, unfortunately I’m going to add some more for you to complain about! Here’s just a sampling of the sense of community interaction at TechEd:
- ASUG members meeting with other members and commiserating over a drink at the ASUG Lounge. It’s always gratifying to see folks sign up after just spending a few minutes talking to a member and realizing what a great place and resource ASUG is!
- Watching the SCN community leaders talking with everyone and explaining the value of getting involved. It’s one thing to tweet, blog or post on about the value of SCN: it’s a completely different and effective dynamic to walk up to someone and talk to them. But be careful, Sylvia Santelli and her omnipresent Flip camera just might make you a SCN poster child like me!
- Having live access to SAP Mentors…these folks are thought leaders who WANT to share their knowledge and work with everyone. Where else can you strike up a conversation with experts like Jon Appleby and Matthias Steiner over drinks and get their viewpoints.
– At TechEd, I came to completely realize the full value that SAP places on the community. I was honored to have a seat on a customer panel hosted by Mark Yolton and explain how I use SCN to SAP’s analysts, bloggers and media attendees. Along with David Hull, Karin Tillotson, Greg Myers and Tammy Powlus, I was able to voice the how’s and why’s of what makes SCN MY community. This was a truly amazing experience and I’m sure you’ll hear more about this panel soon!
– I was definitely bummed out that I was unable to stay for the Thursday night concert by Lifehouse. Seriously? A mainstream act like Lifehouse at a conference for techies? Definitely new for me…
Glowing recommendations about TechEd being said, you could not get more SAP BusinessObjects content by volume than was found at SBOUC Orlando. There was BOBJ content at TechEd and yes, a lot of it did center around SAP integration and SAP datasets. But as BI4 comes down the pipe, I’m starting to see some good parallels. For example, while a particular session might talk about linking the unified semantic layer with SAP BW data (which doesn’t matter to me), the same concepts should work for MSAS cubes (which certainly does matter).
Finally, it seems to me that SBOUC just didn’t get some of the in-depth technical details that a BusinessObjects-centered conference could have gotten. I don’t think this was deliberate. I surmise that because of the timing of TechEd Berlin, SAP management meetings in Germany and TechEd Las Vegas- you just couldn’t have everyone be everywhere. But I do think there are ways to avoid this going forward…and I’m sure that there are going to be many, many conversations in the future about this particular topic.