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Not only have I been delayed and distracted getting around the new SCN, the time period between ASUG Annual Conference planning and the travel planning deadlines just gets shorter and shorter. I got involved in planning a pre-conference session early in 2012; many meetings, phone calls, and emails have gone back and forth since then with a gradual but not quite-there-yet curriculum planning complete. I know this will be a great event, yet I’m shaking my head how much time it takes herding lots of cats toward a room.

Before going over the activities of the past few weeks, a small diversion to show how to register for a pre-conference day session (AKA “In Depth“).

Start at or click on this image.


As we got the contents brain-stormed, we put this out as an overview:

There is no topic hotter than mobility. And you have to begin somewhere. This session will be an encyclopedic introduction to the world of mobility. Attendees will get the latest SAP solutions and gain insight into current technologies, challenges, and future trends. Learn how to exploit the benefits of a good mobility strategy to improve business scenarios or open a new channel with customers. Get tips to leverage existing investments. Presenters will acquaint participants with new applications and tools, such as Sybase Unwired Platform to deploy mobile applications and Sybase Afaria to help manage a complex network of devices.

Attendees will also be able to test by implementing a sample-use case in online live demonstrations, including: SAP Material Availability, Sybase Unwired Platform – HWC App Create and Afaria Demo.

We then refined the title to be: “SAP Mobile: Platform and Applications Deep Dive” – meaning we want to go into what platforms (both infrastructure and distributed) are viable options, but how applications are developed, procured, managed, and evolved.

Lots of cooks have been working on this stew…  It seemed everyone we had on a call or an email chain would suggest 2 or 3 other experts to include in the agenda. For a while, we seemed to have more potential speakers than we have attendees registered. We needed to make sure possible speakers would be able to get to the conference, and most years SAP attendance is only guaranteed for a small portion of those we’d also like to speak at the ASUG side of the conference. And not only do names drop in and out out the running, Mr. Murphy also has faults to deploy.

So, what is in the agenda at this point, and what is either cut from the program, or still not determined?  We’ll definitely have segments about SUP, with my direction being to ask for more technical and less high-level overview conversation. We want to have as much hands-on, networking by moving around, and two-way, or more-way conversations as possible, under the constraints of room size, available technology (anyone ever have wireless communication issues at a large tech event?), and expertise we can muster. SUP is definitely in the mix, Afaria to a limited degree (I figure an hour of that is plenty, not counting hallway chats), mobile devices and apps, and supply chain/RFID/transportation, etc.

We plan to have the single room set up with family dining style round tables, rather than the rectangular press-conference grid of rows of chairs facing the supreme leader of the topic. I want to have not just pre-programmed breaks, where attendees wander out in the hall to check their email and bolt down coffee, tea, and something snack-like, but set periods of exercises or topic breakouts. If you are going to be in this room for Mobile, be prepared to share. It will be mmy role to make sure the speakers stay engaged with their audiences, and vice versa, that the audience steers the speakers to topics of concern.

What’s been challenging for me to communicate to the intended speakers, and to the channels for intended participants, is that “Mobile” is many things. In general, it’s easy to say, oh, yeah, mobile devices: smart phones, tablets, vertical industry specific devices, scanning guns, RFID readers, but then when you get past the growing proliferation of those you get to even more hype about what the backend infrastructure of a mobile strategy is like, whether it’s going to be connecting remote users to central data centers, or is it more ambitious, with web services gluing together disparate parts of a service operation. I’m expecting there to be concrete advice on the pros and cons of strategy options, reality checks on the level of effort to get from where you are now to where you could be, and as solid as they can be visions of what the mobile world will look like in one to two years.

The breaks during the day are set up to coordinate with other pre-conference day sessions, meaning you’d be able to network with additional SAP community members, not just those in the Mobile room. We’ll have 2 ASUG volunteers, as well as another SAP Mentor, to challenge the speakers, to challenge the audience, and to zero in on areas that need work from the SAP and partner side, and from what I’d call end user computing.

The number, duration, and value of the planned live demos is what will make or break this session. We can’t do a Tech Ed style full immersion of the room, and we don’t want to just show a video of how something works, so the usefulness of these demos as takeaways or thought provokers is going to be our challenge as speakers and facilitators. I need to get my rehearsals down pat!

Are you persuaded this is a day you want to make indoors, rather than out in the Florida sunshine? I know that can be a tough call, spending part of the weekend working, when there will also be a full agenda during the rest of the week with ASUG and Sapphire content to absorb. What questions would you have, even at this late stage in the planning cycle, that you’d want to hear from SAP or Mobile partners? Does the Syclo deal change the situation? Does HANA take away from other projects such as Mobile? Are there too many terms, too many products, too much to choose from? Let me know!

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  1. Former Member

    Interesting that Jim. When I was at DKOM in Karlsruhe it was the cloud stuff aka SuccessFactors that drew by far the largest crowds. Mobile? Much less so. Seems that internal dev resources are not aligned to customer needs – at least in one geography.

  2. Jim Spath Post author

    Dennis – Over the years, I’ve observed that developers flock around the shiny new stuff (starting back when the Radio Shack TRS-80 Model I was released), while peons like me have to keep the stuff we’ve accumulated working, or move content from the oldest school to the not-so-oldest school. Everyone’s got mobile devices, some have many. This session should help people keep the glue from melting.

    Actually, I’d almost prefer less developer resources on mobile, to keep the number of different product names and flavors to a manageable bakers dozen or less.

    1. Former Member

      Good point on product naming etc. But…if SAP gets its backside into gear on this topic then I can see many indie developers flooding (maybe not quite but you get my drift) with all sorts of interesting apps that take advantage of all that code and process stuff that SAP has already got.

      If I can make it (and am allowed in) then I’d like to hear what users are saying on these topics.


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