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I went to the local SAP Users Group Chapter meeting today.  I don’t always go, as the agenda is often full of content that isn’t applicable to me, or there’s maybe only one session I want to see and it’s hard to justify the trip.  This agenda wasn’t that enticing either, but it was being held at a new location, Johns Hopkins at Mount Washington, so I drove over.

Traffic was worse than I expected, so I showed up a couple minutes after the first speaker started.  Not an auspicious entrance, though I spotted a couple people I’ve met at prior ASUG meetings, and one former colleague.  And the first session was about Solution Manager, which we’re using to a minimal degree, though nothing to do with ChaRM.

 

Top 10 Tips to Keep You Out of Trouble When Implementing ChaRM

Speaker: Nathan Williams
SCN ID (I think) – SolManiac

 

I asked a question at the end, about someone having an existing, mature, non-SAP specific change management tool, and got a non-answer about blueprinting.  Others asked about interfacing other systems (e.g., Remedy) which seems a logical question to look into.  I suppose if a company has no tool, or an expensive dysfunctional one, then Solution Manager should be looked at for change control.

 

Sorry this picture is fuzzy; I tried an available light shot with limited success.

 

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HR Security Tips & Tricks (Not In Your Manual)

Speaker: Brett Deeds

SCN: (not found)

 

We’re not using SAP for HR, so I wasn’t very engaged during this session.  Brett knows his stuff, and really showed how an overhaul of security rights may be time-consuming, but is worth the effort in not just securing a system for audit purposes, but to keep data headaches to a minimum.

Brett gave this material at the 2010 ASUG Annual Conference (session 2012), so if you have access to the conference proceedings you can see the slides, ASUG member or not(05/19/2010 @ 2:00 PM – 2:45 PM).

 

One takeaway for me: the use of ‘ ‘ as a value that prevents people from executing menus.  Not sure if that makes sense later, but it did during the presentation.

 

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Crowd Scene I

 

Available light, handheld.

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SRM 7.0 Upgrade Experience

Speaker: Dow Weeks

 

SCN: not found.

While, again, we don’t run SAP SRM, the parallels to non-SAP methods, and to other SAP software besides SRM, and in particular, managing an upgrade from older to newer versions is always a good story.  Dow spoke from the experience of managing  a war-room for an implementation.  And this was an implementation not a strict technical upgrade due to the changes with a 7.0 version, including major workflow revisions.  The stories about vendor catalogs were fascinating, as were the insight into researchers who can “order anything they want”.  I believe it – I worked for some of them as an undergraduate.

 

Dow presented at the recent 2010 ASUG Fall Focus events.  I found 3 sessions online that he spoke or co-spoke during.  It sounds like he may put this topic in for the ASUG 2011 conference, and I’ll recommend it to my peers.

 

The photo is a little sharper as I put the flash back on.  But that highlights people in the back of the room more than the speaker.

 

image

 

SAP Business Social Network Overview

Ron Needham

Jim Long

SCN ids: not found

 

This topic was the most mysterious on the agenda, and the presenters kept up the mystery during breaks by not revealing their subject matter.  They had quite the repartee going, with first one side of the room speaking (Jim on the left, no Ron on the left), and then the other.  The slides were all marked confidential, and the topic was an SAP pilot project that has a few testers, but is not guaranteed to be a product.  I asked if this was bloggable and got a qualified yes.  So I can talk about it, but only in general terms.  I looked around the web and found more than I’ll share here; ASUG members have the slide deck now in the MD-Baltimore Chapter space, for those who know where to look.

 

globalbusinessincubator is a good key word.

 

I found this link online, while listening to the content:

 

http://www.kdnuggets.com/jobs/10/05-16-sap-machine-learning-expert.html

 

So if one of your daily tasks was as follows:

  • “Create adaptive models that generate high-value data elements (e.g.,  performance predictions, behavior classifiers) for inclusion in the  Content Initiative’s aggregate reference file of SAP customer and  third-party data.”

I would say that’s a high-end task list, and that companies like Google and Microsoft are going after the same dog food (just sayin’).

 

(And I am not making up the “nuggets” part of that URL – honest!)

Photo, available light, a little less fuzzy than the others, and obfuscates the slide content.  Which I could read from the back of the room.

 

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Crowd Scene II

  
image

 

Optimize a Long Hanging Fruit / Accounts Payable / and Implement Expandable Imaging Technology

Brian Shannon “Principal Process Strategist Business Services”

 

Okay, doing finance, or IDOCs at the end of a long day can be testing the audience stamina.  On the plus side, we’ve learned to save the big prizes until the end, meaning no one got up and wandered off if they were there when Brian started.  I’m not in AP, though the coverage was interesting and didn’t veer into too technical or too much marketing hype (though I could have done without seeing and hearing the vendor name once or twice per slide). 

 

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Dual screens – in this room, since it was really 2 rooms opened up, each projector acted separately.  Whether they could have shown the same image I don’t know, but it was sort of fun to see each presenter orchestrate simultaneous “next slide please” with their respective button pushers.

 

 

And the best part of the day?  I didn’t need to listen to any whinging about “SAP Inside Track” and other fluff.  Just hard knocks useful stuff (SAP Labs, excepting).

 

[UPDATE: 11-Nov-2010 – link to ASUG blog – registration required – a lot of the same stuff, but not entirely]

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    1. Jim Spath Post author
      Tammy – I thought as much, from his company contact information.   Not sure if I’d call it a prize, but Meredith gave (threw) me an ASUG notebook for suggesting a topic for the next chapter meeting in February 2011. I didn’t drop my card into the bowl for any gift cards.  On the other hand, I came away with a half-dozen business cards, not including the virtual references above.
      I’ll share more of my notes on the ASUG members version of this post.  Maybe.
      Jim
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    1. Jim Spath Post author
      Kenneth:  It’s a fair criticism to state many vendors present and are present at ASUG chapter meetings.  As a site host last year, the costs of the facility and food must be defrayed.  Either a customer, a vendor, SAP, or some combination pays.  We provided the hall, and the vendor provided food (last year).  The meeting yesterday was at a customer facility, and again, the food/drinks were underwritten by customers and vendors.
      More:

      *)  Running quality chapter meetings is hard work.

      *)  SAP “Inside Track” sucking the life out of good speaker resources doesn’t help.

      *)  Losing quality SAP Points Of Contact doesn’t help either.

      *)  I’d rather hear from vendors than all SAP.

      *)  SAP stiffed me at our hosted chapter meeting last year, leaving me to scramble for a replacement at the 11th hour.

      *)  Meeting vendors and other SAP users face-to-face is invaluable.  I did not collect as many business cards as I usually do, but others did.

      *)  If you have ideas on limiting the mutation we’d love to hear them!

        Thanks.

      Jim

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      1. Kenneth Moore
        ASUG = America’s SAP User Group, not vendor sales pitch.  I would like to see more of a two-thirds ratio at the chapter meetings.  2/3 customers sharing, 1/3 other.  Last one I went to it was very vendor lopsided.

        Just to qualify, I too am no stranger to hosting the facility for a chapter meeting.  I have also presented.

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    2. Tammy Powlas
      at least for me, is not just content, but meeting people and gathering new ideas.

      For instance, this year, I learned how the State Department uses BusinessObjects to track the success of their mission

      I learned how a vendor has optimized ABAP source code

      I learned about outsourcing SAP support

      I learned about how fragile security can be

      I learned how BusinessObjects can help master data governance

      Most of these are from partners/vendors, but I also got to meet several people and fellow customers who offered to help us with our Solution Manager implementation, in case we had questions.

      I look forward to hearing your suggestions.  Part of ASUG is also the Networking part, and Chapter Meetings are the best way to do that in a small and informal setting.

      Tammy

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      1. Kenneth Moore
        As the old saying goes, you get what you pay for.  This can be the difference a lot of times with volunteer organizations.  As I replied to Jim, 2/3 customer presentations and 1/3 other would be a reasonable ratio and more representative of the ASUG original cause – SAP customer involvement. 
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        1. Tammy Powlas
          to have had 2 customer presentations, 2 vendor presentations, and 1 from SAP; this to me is well-balanced.

          Have I been to chapter meetings where it’s all vendors?  Yes, but I’ve heard it’s only because 1) customers aren’t offering to present and 2) sponsors are needed to cover expenses.

          It’s a tough year, money-wise, as I know ASUG Developer Tools Days is short on sponsors and won’t even be providing lunch this year.

          So while I like your idea of more customer presentations, how do we entice more customers to present at ASUG, yet still cover chapter expenses?

          Thanks,
          Tammy

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          1. Kenneth Moore
            That meeting somewhat balanced. 

            All vendor meeting – I’d say to that, if you can’t do it right, don’t do it half-way and turn off members with an all vendor meeting — routinely.  If it is all vendor, hopefully, it is a customer success story and the customer helps present.  I’m okay with customer success story vendor combo’s.  I think that qualifies.

            You might want to consider having a combined chapter meeting with a neighboring chapter.  Meet at a half-way point.

            Also, consider having a virtual chapter meeting.  However, that may actually cost more.  I don’t know.  Similar to the Tax Reporter year end webex.

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