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Decisions, decisions: suggestions for planning your week in Orlando

The SAPPHIRENow/ ASUG Annual Conference web site has launched this year’s agenda builder tool to help attendees get maximum benefit from the event. However, when you first open the tool and see that there are over 1300 entries, how do you narrow them down and not overlook the hidden gems? I would like to offer some suggestions.

Just below the “Customize Your Experience” section, you see 10 options for filtering the list.

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Therefore, before you get started, think about what is important to you to get out of your week in Orlando. Searching on SAP Content Category and ASUG Content Category are good starting points, but don’t stop there. I encourage you to do keyword searches to help ferret out the sessions that might be otherwise overlooked. The ASUG sessions are cross-referenced at the Special Interest Group (SIG) Community level, such as BITI, Business Intelligence, Services and Support, and Financials, but if you are looking for sessions under one of the sub categories, you may not find the cross referenced sessions. This is where the keyword search will help you find all of the sessions that mention the subject most meaningful to you.

For example, let’s imagine your hot topic is SAP security. If you look under SAP Content Category, well, there isn’t anything listed, so that filter is no help. If you choose the BITI: Security, Compliance, Governance, and Identity Management filter on the ASUG Content Category side, a list of 8 sessions is returned. Clear that filter, and do a keyword search for security, and lo and behold, 48 sessions are listed. 

If learning about SAP’s business intelligence solutions is what you want to get out of the conferences, note that there are 11 sub categories under BI in the ASUG content categories, so use those sub categories to narrow down the search to your specific interest areas.

If GRC is your main focus, again, try a variety of search filters. The SAP content category of Governance, Risk, and Compliance returned 6 sessions; a keyword search for GRC returned 14, but a keyword search on compliance returned 88 sessions. Compliance might be only a secondary topic of some of those sessions, but read the abstract for more details; for example, it might be an industry session in an industry of interest to you.

So what if your keyword search returns more than any person could hope to attend in a week? Then filtering the list further at this point is probably a good way to go. Look under Event Activities to select the particular kinds of SAPPHIRE and ASUG sessions you want to attend. Are you looking to make a purchase decision?  A SAPPHIRE session is a likely place to hear about return on investment and the value proposition of the project. Looking to hear lessons learned and tips and tricks from SAP customers and partners? Be sure to check out the ASUG education sessions. Looking to hear how SAP customers are influencing the direction of SAP solutions, or wondering how you can get involved in influencing SAP? Be sure to include ASUG Influence Council sessions in your search. The SAP Demo Area and Demo Theaters are the place to see SAP solutions in action. Just out of curiosity, I did a search on the Test-Drive area, but nothing was listed there; I’m not sure why that was even listed as an option. Don’t overlook the Hot Topics section if HANA or others among those topics are on your radar.

One trick that experienced attendees know to do is to not eliminate those double bookings that inevitably creep into your agenda. Keep them there, but decide which session is your first choice and which is your backup. If you get to the first choice session, and it is not what you expected, you already have a fall-back plan. The most important thing is to start soon. Don’t wait until you get to Orlando and are overwhelmed with all the choices. Plan ahead so you can get the most out of your time at SAPPHIRENow and the ASUG Annual Conference.

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