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Introduction

By the time this gets published, there will be about a day left to get the early bird prices locked in. And the more the merrier, so hopefully this is timely to inspire you to have one last go to get your manager to approve your attendance. Hope to see you in Vegas!

The History of SAP TechEd (as seen from my eyes)

I’ve been lucky and privileged enough to attend many TechEd’s over the years and the content each year plus the networking and good times always makes this a must attend event in my mind.  The TechEd’s that stand out the most are:

  • MGM Grand ’03 – my first and a great introduction to the power of TechEd (I was hooked);
  • Boston ’05 – most enjoyable location for me so far even if you did have to walk 30 minutes to get to the conference centre, and going from one side of the conference centre to the other meant you could miss 5 minutes of your next session – First TechEd that had a community lounge if I recall correctly.  Definitely one of the better years in terms of new content and the overall vibe (which has continued in later TechEd’s);
  • Phoenix ’09 – best concert I went to at a TechEd so far (something to do with a band enjoying themselves with people not hogging the front of the stage while taking phone videos but actually dancing and singing along and enjoying themselves).

   

Of course, last year at the Venetian (yet again!) would have to be my best to date, but that was my first year as SAP Mentor, and when Al Templeton and I won entry into DemoJam followed by winning the cup, I would have to say it wasn’t a real TechEd experience for me. The first half I was completely stressed out and the last half I was on cloud nine and taking nothing in except the good times. 

So it’s back to a real TechEd this year and I have high hopes of this being the best TechEd year yet.

What’s different you might ask?

SAP is really becoming More Open and Transparent

Firstly, as many others I’ve talked to have noticed; SAP are more open and transparent than they ever have been and are really looking to crowd source their direction more than in the past.  A risk some might say, but for me, that gives SAP kudos, and accessing key people at TechEd for strategic direction of products and platforms is just one of the benefits of their tactic for the rest of us.

Hands on with New and/or Maturing Products

So Sapphire released a lot of 1.0 and 2.0 and greater products but this is where I challenge SAP to really let us start to play with these new products.  It’s hands on time if you want to keep it real.  We need hands on with: HANA, SUP, Gateway, BO, Duet and maybe some cool hands-on scenarios leveraging River, StreamWorks or maybe even showing us how PI/BPM co-location is going.  The last time I remember so many innovative new direction products at a TechEd was during the Shai Aggasi days of TechEd! 

RoadTrip!

Now I don’t hate US Airports but I do try to avoid them as much as possible; hence I’m hitting the road with a few friends to get to TechEd, but this time with an extra couple of days up our sleeves; we’re hoping to try visit SAP in Palo Alto (even if it’s just to knock on the door to get a coffee with anyone who’ll say hi to us so close to TechEd). At the very least, we should be able to get up at dawn and see the sunrise view over San Francisco that we’ve seen Mark Finnern show-off regularly in the past on Twitter. Oh, and for an Australian where rock acts are usually rare and expensive, it’s mandatory to try catch a famous rock act while passing through California (Def Leppard or Sammy Hagar…decisions decisions).

Innojam 2.0

Last year was the first attempt at what is now called Innojam and with the theme of Gamification; it appears to be heading back towards more of a “hacker night (and then some)” event.  Let’s see how this formula pans out as I’m not sure how gamification and Biz Fire concepts work together, but should be cool regardless.  If the recent Gamification work that was shown at SAP Palo Alto is a sign of what this will be like; I’m thinking we might see some amazing concepts.  

Side note: Personally I’m thinking that the hacker night still has its place; but maybe there may just need to be an underground version of this somewhere.  As Al Templeton suggested recently in a tweet.

Al Templeton Coding Dojo

FYI – I didn’t know what a Coding Dojo was either.

DemoJam

Another DemoJam but no Craig Cmehil! I’m not sure how this will be hosted or organised this year, but we’ve changed hosts before and survived, so I’m looking forward to how the new host will go with this.  Hopefully at least Def Leppard will still play the theme song (Let’s Get Rocked at concert volume is nice).

I’m sure the content will be getting even more interesting this year.  I’m hoping for:

  • A good gamification demo from Innojam;
  • John Astill to come through with another awesome DemoJam entry (You’ve already got my vote John);
  • Someone using Xbox Kinect to approve work orders with facial recognition and photo’s attached as the signature with actions such as thumbs up or thumbs down to approve or reject the purchase order, and
  • Of course hopefully not too many mobility apps that are bound to demonstrate why my ipad 1 is obsolete, and I now need an iPad 2.

     

What will be especially great is getting to sit back, hang out with everyone and cheer for the best entry on the night.  Plus watching the poor suckers – I mean the lucky individuals this year and instead of thinking; “I should enter DemoJam”, be able to remember how awesome it was being up there.

One Republic

As I said earlier, Train at Phoenix was one of my favourite concerts at TechEd and although Train is not one of my favourite bands – they were humble enough to put on a great concert; and again, I’ll stress – if you’re at the concert this year and in the first 10 rows; put down your phone and start dancing or singing along. This really makes a huge difference to the bands atmosphere.  With this in mind and the general impromptu nature of One Republic, we could have another great show on our hands. Maybe they’ll even invite a few guys like David Hull and I up on stage to jam (@chiprodgers – any chances?). 

Networking & Friendship

So I have no idea how the Mentors will stand out at this year’s TechEd, but I’m sure we’ll stand out like…like…maybe I should just say SAP Mentors at TechEd.  The opportunities that being an SAP Mentor gives you at TechEd is amazing, not to mention just the people that just say “hi” and introduce themselves.  Again, last year just flew by and I had no idea what was goingon but hopefully I’ll be a little more prepared this year.

Wrapping Up

And finally, I’ll definitely be planning on getting down to the Piano Bar more often this year, and I plan on requesting the theme from Cheers, because that’s what TechEd feels like for me now…

“Where everybody knows your name…And you’re always glad you came”!

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8 Comments

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  1. Marilyn Pratt
    Had to look this up too, but now that I did, understand that we are already working on one virtually. Heike van Geel and Dick Hirsch are already collaborating on: Driving Innovation with Inclusion and Design Thinking.  They are helping create a virtual, multi-cultural, multi-skilled team to throw development skills at some game changing buisness challenges. Premise: that an inclusive team creates more innovative outcomes. 
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  2. James Oswald
    Last year was my first TechEd (and my first year as a Mentor) and I was just blown away. Coming froma  BOBJ-only background, I was really shocked at the amount of content there that I was interested in.

    Bottom line: Run, don’t walk to your manager to get a check in the mail while you can still save enough money to cover a few Vegas buffets!

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  3. Martin English
    Hi Matt,

    This is only my second TechEd, but after last year’s one, I couldn’t miss it; I totally understand your enthusiasm !!  I found the conversations and face to face time with people to be just as valuable as the sessions. 

    The only thing I’d add to your comments is that, coming from a place where the SAP Admin Community supports conferences of maybe 200 – 300 people, I did find TechEd a little overwhelming at first.  If possible, arrange before hand to meetup with people, or even have someone you can buddy up with when necessary.  The social life WAS good for meeting people, although the Piano bars can get a little noisy if you have anything serious to discuss / plan.  Last year, there were some tools available through  your registration that assisted with making personal connections – take advantage of all of them !!!

    PS If you want to talk to Dennis Howlett, check out the car park (he’s a smoker) – I bumped into him there on the first or second day, and found him a delight (and very informative) to talk to.

    PPS Obligatory Plug – If you want to get your own  copy of the SAP NetWeaver ABAP 7.02 Trial Version, on the Amazon Web Services cloud, attend my “Moving SAP Netweaver from on-premise to the Public Cloud” session.  I’ll cover more than Amazon Web Services and SAP, but with SAP’s recent announcements with AWS and Rapid Deployment, I hope to provide you with some useful information.

    looking forward to seeing you there !!

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  4. Susan Keohan
    Yes, it will be a fantastic TechEd this year (as it always is) and yes, I will look forward to seeing you at the Piano Bar.  But true Bostonians tend to shun the theme from ‘Cheers’ – even if the words do hold true.  I guess we will just have to have a bidding war with the piano players.  And plenty of folks know how that will turn out 🙂
    See you then!
    Sue
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  5. Matt Harding Post author
    Marilyn – Interesting you say that – I was discussing Al’s idea with him today and we see both agree that the informal hacker night is of interest to us, but also a more ongoing dedication to offer time to a good cause or something really innovative with a real outcome and appropriate tooling (not necessarily the latest tools from SAP that no one has access to really) is  something worth putting our time into. We definitely need to discuss further in Vegas.

    Jamie – Yes – BOBJ really took over a lot of TechEd the last few years, but it’s more balanced now 😉  – And luckily, I’m my own manager this year so I’m all sorted.

    Martin – Nice plug – I should probably plug Al and my ASUG session too but I’ll save that for another blog in the future.

    Sue Sue Sue – If I have to, I’ll get up and play it myself.  I did play with the words a little but for you the words would be corrected (and “they’re” always glad you came).  I’m thinking I need to put together a custom SAP Mentor/TechEd “Theme from Cheers” version because you’ve said that now 😉

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    1. Michelle Crapo
      Sounds like fun to me!  I would love to be there. 

      I totally agree with you.  There is no place like Teched for the SAP “techie”.  It’s a great place for so many reasons.

      Looking forward to seeing you there,

      Michelle

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  6. Community User
    Awesome blog, Matt! Sorry I didn’t see it before now. All I can say is a big +1, as I agree with everything you’ve said here… especially the part about us jamming with One Republic. \m/

    “Cheers!” 😉
    David.

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  7. Mark Finnern
    Hi Matt,

    Love your summary and it makes me excited too to go to Las Vegas to the SAP Techie family reunion, where everybody knows your name 🙂

    See you all there, Mark.

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