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Today was my first full day in Orlando for ASUG2012 and SAPPHIRENow conferences.  Yesterday I attended the speaker orientation meeting and a reception to welcome newly selected members of the SAP mentor “wolf pack.” I enjoyed reconnecting with quite a few of my Mentors colleagues, but I’m glad I made it an early night, so I could be rested and ready for a jam packed day.

This morning’s team breakfast gave me the opportunity to reconnect with members of PwC’s SAP Security and GRC practice whom I had not seen in several months and also to meet some PwC colleagues for the first time.   After our breakfast I was able to catch part of the ASUG keynote. I enjoyed the remarks by champion cyclist Lance Armstrong and his positive message of life after his treatment for cancer, living with respect but not fear.

Security Influence Council: Customers Making a Difference was first up after the ASUG Keynote this morning.  Greg Capps and I gave an overview of the solution enhancements that SAP has delivered and are in process which were a direct result of customers working with SAP on our council.  Our council has made a lot of progress in the areas of the NetWeaver Platform and SAP GRC, but we are still at work on improvements to several other solutions. This session also included an update on SAP Single SignOn (SSO), given by Kristian Lehment of SAP AG . Once again this year Greg and I were happy to be sharing some of the council’s successes and encouraging more SAP customers to participate in influence initiatives. If you are interested in helping other customers bring improved usability to SAP security, email influence@asug.com to join us.

At lunch I sat with  Greg and with SAP Mentor and long-time ASUG volunteer Butch McNally and swapped stories about our activities of last night and the morning’s sessions.

After lunch I attended an ASUG presentation, Role Optimization and Reduction using SAP GRC Role Management, presented by Chris Radkowski from SAP Labs. For me, the most exciting portion of his presentation concerned a new GRC solution that is so new, it is still in proof of concept stage, a GRC Role Analysis tool. The vision for this solution is that the tool will extract data from your GRC system and use that data in analytics powered by SAP HANA. Some reports that are envisioned include Action Usage by User, Role and Profile; Unused Roles; and Orphaned Roles. Customers who are interested in this new tool concept can see mocked up screens in the Analytics area of the show floor, and watch for announcements concerning a Customer Advisory Call.

Later this afternoon I went to the SAP Mentor Meetup in the ASUG Lounge area and enjoyed hearing about highlights from the day by some of my SAP Mentor colleagues. No surprise, a lot of the chatter was about SAP HANA.

The afternoon keynote featured SAP co-CEO Bill McDermott. I’m sure many others will blog about his message. For me, the key take-away from his remarks was his breezy confidence in SAP as a company of destiny.  I did have a little chuckle at his comment about staying humble following his claim that “SAP is the most impressive big data appliance in the history  of IT.” I think this guy could sell ice to the Eskimos; you gotta admire that confidence.

Time now to join some colleagues for dinner and swap stories from our day in Orlando. Thanks for following along with my impressions from SAPPHIRENow and ASUG2012.

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