What a great week it has been. So many interesting sessions, so many great people, such inspiring talks…
It’s hard to make a pick. I just can’t decide which sessions inspired me most, which Ideas got me thinking most. So I’ll just try to pour as many of my experiences and thoughts into a comprehensive story. Initially, this blog spanned 7 pages in my MS word Editor, so I decided to split it up in smaller blogs per topic, and linking through from here.
First things first though. Let’s have a small overview of what this hectic week was packing.
Just like last year, the focus was on HANA, Mobile and Cloud, with a touch of social, a sniff of administration and a good seasoning on software engineering. New, for me, this year, was the whole User Experience movement. More on that later…
As usual, HANA was very prominently available. Vishal seemed so fond of his little girl, that even the bet on the amount of HANA mentions did not stop him. The main message about HANA that I will be taking away from this edition is: “HANA is not just about speed, it’s about simplification, but you’d better do a code review before moving your applications to HANA.”
Read more details in my impressions on HANA
Having invested a lot of time and effort in the past years on the mobile area, I was keen to see the direction SAP is taking. Sybase Unwired Platform was the mobile flagship of SAP, but I have the impression that SAPUI5 and NetWeaver gateway are quickly cannibalizing on SUP.
There is a lot going on in the skies over SAP. The entire cloud offering is continuously expanding like a huge hurricane of Magnitude 5. I just hope it doesn’t wreak havoc in our organizations and floods our datacenters.
It’s no surprise that the major part of the cloud offering uses SAPUI5 for the front-end. It looks like this is quickly becoming the preferred UI for decoupled applications. (UI on the client decoupled from the services in the backend, contrary to WebDynpro for ABAP, where there is still a very tight coupling between front and backend.) Anyway, a lot is moving in the cloud. The latest addition was the NetWeaver Cloud Portal. It looks cool, it’s pretty easy to use, but I’m still questioning the use case.
We love our social media, and so does SAP. No wonder with a CIO like Oliver Busmann. There was a very short session with Jon Reed on how companies were applying social media. A bit of a weird session as well actually. I was expecting Jon to blow us away with brilliant slides and insights, but instead, he just jumped in the crowd and started asking people for their opinion.
He made us think. Damn you Jon, my head still hurts!
But he did trigger something. Details in my brainwaves on social.
Next to the brain jogging from Jon, there was also ye’ole social media pub ehrr… Hub. For a social place, I was kinda missing the fun factor.
That goes for the entire clubhouse btw.
Where in Las Vegas, there was a race track, in Madrid, we had a coffee counter.
I even asked the information desk where the clubhouse was. (“the What?” -“clubhouse, you know, with the race track and the lounge area…”)
No race track, no fat-boys, no lounge bar, no flipcharts and whiteboards!
Feedback for Next year
So feedback for next year: Give Jeanne Carboni and her team the freedom to create a REAL clubhouse! I want to see a lounge corner where people can relax and rest their tired feet; where networking is encouraged by creating a relaxed and open atmosphere; where you can share knowledge by creating impromptu meetings with whiteboards and round tables.
Also, I don’t know about how others experienced it, but the WIFI was horrible.
The Q&A sessions didn’t quite work in the current setup either. You have a sessions on both sides of a cardboard wall. If one speaker is loud, and the other is quiet, it’s a waste of effort to attend the session on the quiet side. On the other hand, the expert sessions work brilliantly, so loose the Q&A approach, and foresee more expert lounges. We ask questions there as well, and we have seating.
I noticed too that, depending on who you ask, you can get very mixed messages on the same topic. I talked to Yariv Zur on the “Visual composer & SAPUI5” initiative and was very thrilled by it. 2 hours later though, during the UI Roadmap sessions, Visual composer was disadviced as it was, and I quote “still in maintenance, so tolerated, but don’t expect anything new”.
I’m worried now. I had actually been actively helping in the promotion of visual composer in our company as a means to quickly create screens for BPM flows. Can we get a clear direction here?
All in all, I had a great experience. My feet are still hurting ,my head is still buzzing, but I sure am a happy camper, and I’m so glad that I could meet up with old friends, former colleagues, people from SAP who helped me out and Mentors I look up to.