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SAP Run Better Tour in Houston, including Q&A Session with Hal Zesch and Mike Wendell

The SAP Run Better Tour has had some spectacularly high profile events along the way, and I wouldn’t blame anyone for wondering if the tour had anything to offer beyond news about BI4 and mobility. I’m happy to confirm that the Houston agenda offered a wide variety of sessions.

My day started with the Women’s Leadership Forum, hosted by Twila Day, Senior Vice President and CIO, Sysco Corporation. Her remarks focused on key qualities of leadership and lessons she learned along her career path at Sysco.
















The key takeaway for me was her emphasis on confident decision making; even if you don’t have all the information you think you need, make a decision and forge on anyway. She also emphsized the value in having several mentors, both inside and outside your organization.

After breakfast was the keynote; the first speaker was Eric Ranta, head of Value Engineering for SAP North America. His message was the high level themes many of us heard at ASUG/ SAPPHIRE Now.  The next speaker was Hal Zesch, who is recently retired and formerly SVP and CIO of Valero Energy. His topic was Optimizing Risk in a Risky World. I enjoyed his remarks on Manufacturing Integration and Intelligence (MII) and Operational Risk Management (ORM), two solutions that I was not familiar with.

Then it was time for my Q&A with Hal Zesch and Mike Wendell from SAP, VP for Process Industry Solutions, and I had the opportunity to learn more about those new-to-me solutions.
















It made sense to me that the value of MII is the automatic capture of key data early in processes, enabling better decision making. As for ORM, the takeaway to me is that ORM bridges the gap between your enterprise risk strategy and the business operations, enabling management to measure against operational metrics to see where there are deviations from the plan, taking existing SAP solutions and adding  new analytic capabilities.

Following the Q&A, I attended a business analytics session, Business Analytics: Changing the Game, presented by Jason Rose, Senior Director – Business Intelligence, SAP.  His remarks focused on the value proposition of business analytics: enabling you to know your business, act boldly, and decide with confidence.

My second morning session was The Unwired Enterprise: Trends in Mobility, presented by Matthew Schwartz, VP for Enterprise Mobility at SAP America. I took away his 3 key trends shaping enterprise mobility: devices expand, data expands, and decision points expand. I was taken aback when the speaker referred to MDM as Mobile Device Management; the “old” MDM, Master Data Management, still shows up in solution maps, but maybe it is soon to be renamed, if not already.

At lunch I attended a partner session given by HP. I was interested in hearing about the various options for cloud service delivery and transformation to the cloud. Russ Stanziale from HP spoke on Modernizing your SAP Environment with SAP HANA. He focused on factors driving the HANA decision: analytics focus, technology advancements, and speed of change.

After lunch was the session I was really looking forward to attending , A Strategic Guide to SAP BusinessObjects Governance, Risk, and Compliance SolutionsI really wanted to hear about the ramp up of GRC 10.0. Unfortunately for me, the presentation was more high level,  basically on the value proposition of GRC solutions. I did notice that the solution map included a new partner solution called Oversight Systems, for monitoring transactional processes for process errors, inefficiencies, and potential fraud.

The final session I attended was SAP In-Memory Computing and SAP HANA: A Comprehensive Review, presented by Aiaz Kazi, Head of Technology and Innovation Platform Marketing for SAP. I was very excited when he noticed my SAP Mentor shirt and commented that he was happy to have a Mentor at his session. The first speaker all day to notice! For me, the takeaway was his explanation of the need for speed, It made sense to me that HANA will empower businesses to analyze large amounts of data that we just could not analyze up to now.

The day wrapped up with a partner networking reception. I enjoyed speaking with one of my colleagues from the ASUG Houston Chapter, Jim Shepherd from Hess Corporation.

The key takeaway from the day for me was the SAP Run Better Tour is a good place to hear about new solutions and their value propositions. Customers and prospects who are on the fence should definitely attend.

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    • Thanks, Sue! I am just glad I was able to be there to represent the SAP Mentors, since no others attended, and then share my observations.


    • Tammy,

      That is a shame that the DC event was canceled. I suppose that means that we are going to need to encourage those in the area to attend ASUG and SAPPHIRE Now to catch up on what they missed from the tour.
      Glad you enjoyed my reporting!