TechEd Bangalore came and went in a flurry. This was my sixth TechEd and it has become my “annual pilgrimage”. Old is gold is perfect adage – I still carry my first TechEd bag to office everyday and surely I did not switch it for the new TechEd bag. If the TechEd bag is considered as leading indicator of times coming then surely there are no dark clouds around but bright sunlight 😉
Leaving aside the ranting now for some serious stuff – my takeaway from TechEd Bangalore this year. I blogged about my outlook of TechEd Bangalore with the sessions I planned to attend. Of course I did not make it to some of it but definitely made it to the Hands-on Sessions. In fact I managed an extra bonus session on Visual Intelligence. My primary takeaway from this year’s TechEd was not the three oft-quoted technology pillars namely In-memory Computing (aka HANA), Mobile and Cloud but desktop based Business Objects tools namely Visual Intelligence with Predictive Analysis.
The keynote surely missed Vishal Sikka’s on-stage presence but was made up by Bjoern Goerke and Sam Yen. Once again the power of HANA with intuitive user experience moving away from traditional complex enterprise UI was demonstrated through consumer-centric apps demo of Sentinel, Recalls+, Fan App and My Runway. Sam Yen who heads design and user experience highlighted one area where SAP has been building competency – consumer centric user experience. He outlined facts like 300K user screens within SAP applications, 80%+ still SAP GUI and WebDynpro that is 15-20 year old technology but it still works and is seen as the face of SAP for most user community. You should read his interview on DIY Design in SAP.info that very closely resonated TechEd keynote theme. He showcased App Designer that brings in Design Thinking based business scenarios into reality and SAP Screen Personas that will transform classic web dynpro screens to delightful HTML5 compliant user experience. To round off the keynote there was demo of Operational Process Intelligence using HANA as platform for next generation business processes built for a German retailer.
I managed to attend very few lecture sessions in between my Hands-on Sessions and Mentor meetups with Product / Solution Managers. But it is the Hands-on sessions that are really useful and I managed to sit in 3 this time.
TEC160 SAP Technology Highlights – Putting Them all Together truly stood to its name. I had my initial reservations as it was 4 hour session covering a breath of technology components. But it was well-paced and tuned to cover Business Objects Design Studio, Dashboards, BI Workspaces and then HANA Studio before moving into more technical stuff ABAP Web Dynpro UI.
AP161 and AP264 covered SAP Visual Intelligence with Predictive Analysis gave good hands-on experience on the products which recently went GA and available for 30 day trial. As a functional consultant I could relate to business usage especially around sales history pattern discovery that is key of any time-series based statistical forecasting process in APO that is my focus area. Special shout-out to Product Managers Vishwanath Belur & Reena Sethy for patiently answering queries around PA and how R integrated with PA and so on.
Atul Patel who leads APJ Market Analytics outlined the strategy of moving Big Data to Intelligent Data. Along with him Bryan Katis Solution Manager for EPM who outlined how BPC on iPad is expected to transform Supply Chain “Sense and Respond” capability. Predictive Analytics and Visual Intelligence as single product enabling “power users” not only discover data but build their own reports / dashboards removing the notion of long-tailed Business Intelligence Report development and deployment cycle.
A followup meeting with Michael Reh who outlined BI Applications strategy that currently has 13-16 individual tools with quite varied adoption. For example Web Intelligence is used by 60% Business Objects customers only ahead of Crystal Reports. Governance of self-service BI applications is another focus area with client convergence also in focus. From product standpoint single code line for VisI, PA, Explorer, Analysis for Office moving to same code line and rationalisation of the Business Objects product portfolio is something to look out for with already first steps taken.
Kaustav Datta who heads HANA Startup gave an insight of this program that started just before SAPPHIRE Orlando meaning 5 months old. Currently 150 startups out of 800 odd interested ones from around 17 countries are part of the program. The program provides 2 week bootcamp and provides HANA for 12 months period using HANA One platform. When asked what is it in for SAP to get into this engaged with Start-ups he quoted Hasso who said at Orlando “Startups bring out things 3 years ahead of what enterprise customers look for it” thereby providing SAP an outside-in research option. He urged going down to the HANA Startup pod in Clubhouse and take a look at a local company Mobilistics Business Solutions who have applied HANA in their drug distribution data generating insights. I did check out that and met P V Mohanram who is one of the guest presenters of #SITIND at Bangalore on 15th December.
Added in new blog 2012: The Year it was.
TechEd offers a lot more than SAP Tech(nical) Ed(ucation) and one of that apart from networking is the ClubHouse. Old-timers may have different opinion about the ClubHouse as it used to be bang in the middle (where SAP Live TV studio is these days) with place to sit down, had some fun (remember the Wii games), shared ideas in impromptu sessions – it still remains one of the favourite hang-out area. This year it was not just for the coffee but for the chance to get a pro mugshot oops headshot done. I grabbed the opportunity and finally retrieved my photo immediately seeing this blog post.
Networking and meeting old and new Community Members remains one of the cornerstone of TechEd. This year in between meeting my old manager(s), ex-colleagues, Community members it was great meeting Moshe, other SAP Mentors in person and Mark Finnern after many years (reminded him of the mustard yellow round-neck Community Day T-Shirt back from 2007). Of course made some new acquaintances of whom Kumar Mayuresh‘s passionate story about his switch from Biotech related job to IT that too in SAP made a striking impression.