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Some Demo Jam thoughts

The Demo Jam is a very powerful event at SAP TechEd to show latest innovations by customers, partners and SAP. No sales pitch allowed. No powerpoints or prezis. Just your demo and a timer set at 6 minutes. I even remember some teams doing live coding on stage.

The last few years a lot is said on the Demo Jam event. It has become a marketing event for SAP, the rules of the game have been changed, it’s only SAP on stage, … Maybe you can recall the lively twitter stream during and after last year’s Demo Jam. Thorsten Franz already wrote a great blog on the On Genuine Demo Jam Awesomeness and he refers to another great blog by Michael Koch, What Is Wrong With SAP TechEd Demo Jam 2009.

Please allow me to share some thoughts on the Demo Jam as well.

What makes Demo Jam so great?

  • Live shows on stage by fellow SAP NetWeaver enthusiasts, some very serious and others hilarious
  • Customers, Partners and SAP employees willing to offer spare (own) time to work on their proposal. No strings attached, just to show their peers what they came up with.
  • An enthusiastic host who energizes the crowd
  • Timing of the event: at the end of the first day a plenary session to allow everyone to join
  • Location of the event: keynote hall to host a huge crowd
  • Live broadcast on the internet
  • It’s the ultimate goal for an SAP NetWeaver professional to participate in Demo Jam just once in your life 😉

What makes SAP losing its Demo Jam power

  • Last year 5 out of 6 teams were SAP teams. I’m not saying SAP employees are not allowed to participate. But the balance just doesn’t feel right. Were customers and partners not able to enter a good suggestion? I just can’t believe that.
  • And then, when you have entered a proposal but unfortunately got rejected  – you only get an email stating the fact that you are not in. Thank you very much 🙁 Why not adding a jury report to get the feeling that a team of professionals judged your idea.
  • Evaluate the rules of the game. Is it about showing the latest releases of SAP products, innovations that are almost productized or is to show what you can achieve with SAP NetWeaver technology. One golden rule is that powerpoints are not allowed, please also exclude commercial presentations, either from SAP (like the Business Objects hype from a few years ago) or partners.

The Gamification of Demo Jam

We’re all talking a lot about the gamification of SAP, why not do the same with the Demo Jam. The Gamification of Demo Jam. Open up the event! Bring it back to the community!

  • A public jury – here on SDN – judges all the proposals. All community members are allowed to vote for one entry. The 6 proposals with the highest amount of votes make it to Demo Jam stage.
  • At SAP TechEd the stage is set and the contestants have their 6 minutes of fame to do their thing.

  • After demoing, a professional jury shares a short feedback on what they saw. This jury is formed by hot shots out of the SAP world, let’s say Vishal Sikka, Björn Goerke, … 😉 Rock stars on stage, just like with The Voice talent show.
  • When all demo’s have been shown, the public jury comes in again. The crowd (onsite or online) cheers for their favorite team and the top 3 gets selected.
  • With a short recap the 3 finalists are presented again, what did they bring to the stage and what was the opinion of the professional jury.
  • Then the final battle: again the onsite and online crowd cheer for their favorite and the winner gets selected.

It is fun!

Don’t get me wrong, I really look forward to the Demo Jam in the SAP TechEd agenda. But I hope to see more SDN community participants on stage. Let’s not forget that participating is fun!

At least that’s what we (André Stuij, Bas Bach and I) experienced while preparing ourselves for the 2010 entry. We didn’t get selected for SAP TechEd, but fortunately we were able to do ‘our show’ at the VNSG (Dutch User Group Conference) in April 2011. We ended up second, right after a team that showed Momentum (now called Work Order Mobile) on the iPad. And yes we felt bad about that, losing from a commercial available product.

But let’s stop whining about these results, please laugh along with me when I replay the BPM trains Demo Jam entry:

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8 Comments

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  1. Arun Bala
    Working for #DemoJam indeed helps to understand the subject & functionality better. It’s nice to learn more about it. I only cannot think of some good use case for this demojam 🙂 Just keeping that confidence! Do keep posting..
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    1. Twan van den Broek Post author
      Thanks for your reply Arun.

      You just pointed put the most complex thing of the Demo Jam event — to come up with a good use case 😉

      What might help is to sit together with your peers, have a pizza and start brainstorming. It doesn’t have to be a topic that uses the newest technology. It can also be the innovative use of existing technology.

      Twan

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  2. Sascha Wenninger
    Hi Twan,

    Some really great ideas – I do like the public voting on pitches, as well as the “X-Factor” format on the night, and hope that SAP consider implementing some of those ideas.

    Now, we just need to get you to Las Vegas… 🙂

    Sascha

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  3. Jan Laros
    Hi Twan,

    I guess you know how I feel about SAP Demo Jam and on how it has become an event of huge commercial importance, but I’ll try to elaborate here too to share it with fellow SDN-geeks.

    I don’t know if it was on purpose, but Demo Jam has grown from a tech demo by enthusiasts to an event where it is VERY important to be on stage with your commercial product or company name.

    You gave a perfect example with the VNSG Demo Jam:

    BPM Trains: Cool demo, funny role play, innovative use of recent ‘state-of-the-art’ SAP technology and NetWeaver consultants of different companies working together as a team. What commercial importance? Competitors worked together to entertain the crowd and evangelize on the product they love!

    However Momentum won! A standard commercially available product, so important to the newly announced Mobility strategy by SAP, that they actually bought the intellectual property. It was of great importance to SAP to promote the product and why not choose the biggest Dutch SAP related Event to do so?

    Fine ofcourse. BUT WHY DEMO JAM?

    Main question:

    How can we persuade SAP to make a strict separation:

    – commercial and promotianal talks (VNSG, SAPPHIRE, ASUG, marketing events, etc.) on one side
    – tech demo’s and fun stuff that are initiated by the passion of NetWeaver People (e.g. Demo Jam on Teched and VNSG)

    Unfortunately ,I don’t know.

    Regards,
    Jan
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  4. Stephen Johannes
    I agree the demos at demo jam were nice, but they were exactly what you expect for people who have the “commercial” resources available.  As much as I love to see the new stuff shown off, have we fallen over the “edge” and can no longer show how to innovate without bringing in the ringers.

    I think also the real question is that are there enough submissions from the folks working out of the “geek garage?” or are they so discouraged by the well funded “teams”, that they stay away.

    Perhaps the real way to “win it back” is to violate the rules slightly and crowdsource the effort to level the playing feel.  If you don’t work for company developing a commercial product as your demo, then you can use the power of the entire community to build what you need.  The catch is that you still have to have “representatives” that will lead the effort and promote the team.

    Oh next rule, show how to be innovative without using any edge products as a real challenge.  In otherwords limited to core mainstream features of a major netweaver release.  You get an ABAP stack and Java stack and the development tools.  In other words show how you can trick out the core suite using the tools available.

    Yep this swims heavily against the marketing of new solutions, but then it would greatly increase the ability for everyone to participate, as even Netweaver Trial Edition from SCN would be what you need to be able to enter the fray.

    Take care,

    Stephen

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  5. Tom Van Doorslaer
    Hi Twan,

    Your arguments definitely cut wood. The balance between SAP teams and Partners/customers has always been very much to the side of SAP. And I agree that a demo jam is not the place to showcase publicly available products.
    It should be about: “Look what I can do by combining things like never before!” The demo jam must be a showcase for the future, not the present.

    I’ve also had the pleasure of doing a local demo jam on the world tour, but was disappointed to see how some contestants bent the rules. None the less, it’s a thrilling experience.

    Making the entire process more transparent and including the community throughout the selection procedure might result in even higher quality and better balance.

    cheers,

    Tom

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  6. Tammy Powlas
    I don’t have a lot of experience with DemoJams

    I agree we should less of SAP on the DemoJam stage…except…

    It does seem to me that SAP’s John Astill’s DemoJam Madrid entry was very much something he worked on at home and on his own time.  His win fits the spirit of DemoJam.

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