Those of you from outside Australian and New Zealand may have missed it but last week was arguably the most important week of the year for SAP technology people in the region.
The week kicked off with SAP Inside Track Sydney on Sunday 20th March. While many of the other SAP Inside Track events have evolved into traditional presentation sessions the Australian version has retained the format pioneered by the original SAP Community Day concept. The day very much follows the “un-conference” format with hardly a PowerPoint slide to be seen.
I opened SAP Inside Track Sydney by welcoming everyone and introducing some of the SAP Mentors that were in Sydney for the first time to the audience. There were around 65 attendees and it was great to see that many were attending their first SAP Inside Track. We then broke into a series of three 15-minute speed networking sessions. This is a great way to break the ice and get people talking to each other and sharing their own SAP stories.
The main part of the day was a series of birds of a feather sessions based around the topics the audience had indicated they were interested in. The sessions covered WebDynpro ABAP, POWL, Business Objects, Code Exchange, Amazon Web Services, Workflow and Mobile Development. It was great to see the enthusiasm for every discussion with everyone leaning forward in their seats to catch every word spoken. Due to flight delays and other issues several of the people who had volunteered to lead BOF sessions were unable to do so – but in every case there was someone willing to step in and ensure each topic was addressed.
A brief snippet from SITSYD
For me the highlight of the day was the BOF session on mobility – it was also the cause of my biggest regret of the week. I am terribly disappointed that I didn’t get this discussion video taped as it was absolutely fascinating. The main participants were very generous in sharing their knowledge and experience. At one stage it seemed like Chris Paine, Al Templeton, John Moy and Thomas Jung were having their own private debate about the relative merits of JSON and OData. The rest of us felt like children eavesdropping on an adult conversation hoping not to be noticed and sent to bed to miss the rest of the discussion.
That evening the great DemoJam showdown took place. This was the result of the current North American DemoJam holders Matt Harding and Al Templeton challenging Thomas Jung and Ed Herrmann during an Enterprise Geeks podcast following their win in Las Vegas. There were over 100 people in the audience to cheer for and be amazed by five contestants who each only had 6 minutes to show off their entry.
Thomas and Ed’s entry introduced us to new technologies such as “Free Bier” and “SLiPPRE” and demoed how they could be used to predict the outcome of World Cup cricket matches. Matt and Al showed the power of Semantic SAP. Other entries included Martin English showing SAP systems in the cloud and Nigel James with iApprove running on SAP River. Chris Paine and Neale Gardiner had by far the most ambitious entry called Mobile Advanced Detail Sensing Helicopter Integration Toolkit. This entry was both mad and sh#t at various times – but very entertaining.
Voting was conducted via SMS and was extremely tight – in fact so close that it was probably a fatal error for Ed to leave his phone behind as Chris and Neale were declared the winners by a single vote from Ed and Tom. Congratulations all around followed by post mortems and what-ifs.
My FlipCam was used to record one side of the stage so I am afraid I can only show you Nigels’ entry and the Semantic SAP entry from Matt and Al. I suggest you pay close attention to Al – he is hillarious.
iApprove Demo – Nigel James
Semantic SAP – Matt Harding and Al Templeton
SAP Inside Track and DemoJam were the perfect kick starts for the Mastering SAP Technologies conference held over the following three days. This conference is in it’s sixth year and continues to grow year on year. This year there was over 330 attendees with many of them attending for the first time. Mastering SAP Technologies is very much like a SAP TechEd albeit considerably smaller. It is really the only event in our region that focuses solely on SAP technology topics and is therefore very important to all SAP practitioners.
Thomas Jung, Ed Herrmann, Anne Katherine Petteroe, Jim Spath, Sue Keohan, Kevin Benedict, Tony de Thomasis, Nigel James, Paul Hawking, Matt Harding and Myself made up the record compliment of 11 SAP Mentors attending this year. Other overseas speakers included Gunther Schmalzhaf from SAP and Jon ***** from Boeing. In total there were over thirty speakers presenting more than 45 sessions.
For me these events are a great opportunity to talk face to face with my customers, my partners, my colleagues and my peers. While it is easier than it ever has been to stay in touch via email, telephone, social networking, etc. I still value any opportunity to meet in person. And from the feedback I received from many of the attendees they feel the same way. They really appreciate the chance to meet and become friends with people who have the same interests and face the same challenges as they do.
I encourage you all to check out the blogs, podcasts, photos, videos from other attendees such as Jim Spath and the Enterprise Geeks that will give you a better idea of the energy and fun we all had. You can find the official photos at http://www.masteringsap.com/tech
I hope we get to see even more of you there next year.