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What to look for at the ASUG SAP BusinessObjects Conference

I am firmly convinced this will be the most interesting ASUG SAP BusinessObjects User Conferences we’ve had in years. Kicking off next Monday in Orlando, there are going to be great things to do on-site, and even some pretty compelling story lines to watch from afar if you aren’t fortunate enough to make it to the event in person.

Better Sessions

Hands-on is back, and in a big way. Nine tracks that were realigned to better serve your interests. SAP-sponsored microforums. And, as at any ASUG event, all of the community-provided education you can shake a stick at. There’s a reason why this is the premier BusinessObjects educational event in the world.

Big Themes

One of these will be HANA. Sorry. You just can’t escape it. There will also be mobile, and hopefully the focus at this conference will be on what we can do with mobility in the BusinessObjects space today, or at least a more unified and definitive mobile BI roadmap. When will Exploration Views be available? What else will be supported in BI Mobile? Will we ever have a mobile solution that caters to your whole repository? Is there hope for Xcelsius on the iPad? Expect to hear these questions asked a lot next week. Hope to hear them answered confidently.

Stronger Focus 

With keynotes from Steve Lucas and Sanjay Poonen, we’re gonna have some real bangers on the main stage, but I think they are going to have two main challenges if they want to really connect with this largely non-SAP ERP audience both on the keynote stage and off. First, how will they take the main themes at SAP for the the last two years (HANA and in-memory, mobile apps provided through the Sybase Unwired Platform) and make them compelling for an audience of people who haven’t been convinced that those technologies will ever apply to them. Second, how will they handle the whole Ramp-Up/GA storyline and STILL convince people to go to BI4.0 and NOT wait for BI4.1. It’s very clear that SAP wants its customers to move to BI4 quickly, but the last year has made a lot of customers understandably gunshy. Bonus challenge for SAP? Try to make it all week without taking potshots at Oracle.

More Coverage

This has been a big year for social media in the BusinessObjects community, and I’m really looking forward to some of the content coming out this event from the likes of Dallas Marks, SAP Mentor of the Month: Tammy Powlas, Mico Yuk, Michael Welter, Derek Loranca, Dave Rathbun, Eric Vallo, Greg Myers and many others. Nic Smith will be there. The most exciting development will be the presence of ASUGNews and there studio set on the Show Room Floor. I don’t ever expect this event to warrant the analyst coverage that ASUG Annual Conference/SAPPHIRE or even SAP TechEd get, but I think making it easier for people who can’t attend the event still drink some of it in can only be a good thing.

The Return of the Conference as an Event 

If all of that didn’t convince you that this is going to be the biggest BOBJ event in years, let me remind you that Jim freakin’ Belushi and the Sacred freakin’ Hearts are going to be there. Don’t forget that the BI4 Launch Party will be huge (and I’ve been promised this time Mico has secured a room big enough for the event – RSVP now to be on the safe side). Heck, even the Diversified Semantic Layer Tweetup will sweep up all of the riff raff not ready to go to bed after the BI4 party. For the first time in years, this conference is going to be an Event-Event, not just a Learning Event, which is really, REALLY impressive considering that the educational side of it has gotten way better, and that the price is still WAY below SAPPHIRE and TechEd.

And the thing I’m probably most excited about is that all of this (heavy-hitting SAP keynotes, a concert/party, a bigger “event”) reaffirms that 5 Reasons BusinessObjects shops should be happy with ASUG on BOB and on Twitter and at other ASUG events. BusinessObjects people, it’s time to enjoy ourselves.

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