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Before I get into my list, I need to list a couple of things to keep in mind. You know, for my other list.

  1. I’m really writing this for the community of people who work for a North American company who uses SAP BusinessObjects but not SAP anything else. I think a lot of what I say will apply to classic SAP shops as well, but they aren’t really my focus here.
  2. I’m posting this on SDN because, quite frankly, more people will get to read it than if I post it on ASUG.  
  3. I like Americas’ SAP Users’ Group (ASUG). A lot. I’ve been a volunteer since the GBN days, get free access to some events they sponsor and very occasionally get travel expenses reimbursed. They did NOT ask me to write this post.

Without further ado, here are the top 5 reasons every SAP BusinessObjects shop should be happy with ASUG at present:

1. They’ve extended the Valueship program

“The what?” you say. Valueship was a program initiated by ASUG to let BusinessObjects members to have free ASUG memberships for a year to allow us to see the full value of ASUG before bucking up. During that year, ASUG has been going through a lot of transition and hasn’t had nearly as much time to focus on us as they’d like. As such, Bridgette Chambers and her team at HQ have given us another preview year. If nothing else, that proves that they see a lot of value in us.

2. They’ve created ASUGNews

As I’ve mentioned in an earlier list, ASUG.com is a bit of a gated community. There is 20 years of content in there, but it isn’t necessarily easy to find, and you have to be a member to get access to it. I recognize that they didn’t necessarily create ASUGNews to correct that and make me happy, but it does feel that way. This website’s editorial team (or as I like to call them Tom Tom and C-Rock) is not only a voice independent of SAP, but one with incredible access to not only SAP employees from every level of the organization, but to customers of every stripe. Go read some of their articles; it is neither marketing drivel or vendor bashing. Just insightful, readable commentary, and even the stuff that doesn’t apply to us is understandable and interesting.

3. They’ve listened

We’d really like to talk to you. OK, here is a summit put in place specifically so we can all talk to each other. Us BOB-ers are a different sort of customer than traditional SAP folks. OK, we’ll give you a strategic SIG, which we’ve never done before. We want to keep our conference. OK, here’s your conference, and you guys get to plan it. We’re still not convinced. OK, try before you buy, for another whole year.

That’s pretty responsive.

4. They let us volunteer

I know that “letting us volunteer” sounds a bit silly, but I’ve gotten far more out of volunteering in this community than I could ever hope to get back. I’ve gotten to meet amazing people, I’ve gotten besides the scenes access, I’ve gotten to shape the direction of the community, and I’ve gotten myself etched onto glass. I honestly can’t imagine being a member withot volunteering, because it just makes the experience so much more enriching. I suggest when you are at a fall conference this year (SAP TechEd, SAP BusinessObjects User Conference, or Community Focus) talk to a volunteer, see what they get out of it, and consider signing up for yourself.

5. They’ve given us Tammy

If you’ve been within 20 miles of the Business Intelligence area of ASUG, you’ve met, heard of, or taken advantage of the hard work of our own Tammy Powlas. She’s a longtime SAP BI person who has been volunteering for ASUG since before I was. She works tirelessly to keep our program running, and knows everything going on within it. I’m honestly not sure how any of us got along with out her. If you see her this fall (and you probably will, she seems to be everywhere), be sure to thank her for her time.

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  1. Jarret Pazahanick
    Excellent article and I think SAP customers in general should be very happy with the direction ASUG is headed. On a side note I have been consistently impressed with quality of content and engagement from ASUG News from day 1 and think that Courtney and Tom are doing a great job.
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