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There is a reason Minnesota is known as one of the “hardest working states” in America. The metropolitan area is an agglomeration of some of the biggest Fortune 500-1000 companies; many of which are SAP customers, and many of which are present here at the SAP Forum Minneapolis-St. Paul today. “There is no finer customer base than right here,” John Graham, COO of SAP, proudly stated during the keynote this morning at 3M. John, himself a Minnesota native and current resident, introspectively spoke about how we must rethink the future, and how our innovations are designed to help the world run better. Chuck Byrne, Vice President, Business Transformation, 3M complimented this sentiment announcing that their business
lives innovation on a daily basis. The presentations throughout the day continued to be just as relatable, riddled with hometown humor: a running theme of jokes about state hockey, teenage empowerment, and even the analogizing of HANA to Battle Star Galactic. The synergy between our supporting partners (Accenture and 3M), and the more than 100 customers and prospects in
attendance is a testament of the culture demonstrated today.

We took a hard look at the trend in analytics, and the social network phenomenon. Amy McNee, Vice President, North America Solution Engineering, SAP, recounted a story that very much exhibits that the visualization of today’s youth is completely different from our own. A father says to his daughter one day, “You sound like a broken record.” To that she replied, “What’s that?”. These are our very near future consumers and decision makers, and we must embrace the importance of collaboration in social networks. We also heard from Dirk Holman, IT Manager, Medtronic, on the subject of analytics during his presentation and during a
well-attended “Meet our Customer Roundtable” he hosted over lunch. During an interview, he shared with us, “The leading edge is going to SAP analytics. In 2016, we anticipate using the HANA appliance FULLY for real-time loading of data and reporting, and long text analytics.” He went on to add, “”SAP analytics is very well received by our users. The access to data and guided ad hoc reporting is critical.”

ConAgra’s, James Aesoph, also hosted a Meet our Customer roundtable, attended by customers and net new prospects representing some of the largest corporations in Minnesota. James said the event was a “great forum for large companies like us. It provided the opportunity to strategize together the thoughts we make independently. We can quantify our decisions as we see the decisions faced by others. It raises new questions we would not have thought. There is real value here.” This was the
consensus amongst his peers, “We like that we can meet in small groups as opposed to SAPPHIRE and TechEd. We don’t have the time to understand what others are doing like we do here.”

Medtronic and ConAgra are not the only receiving positive feedback from their users. We saw some impressive results from Schwan Food Company around SAP HANA. And Joe Piepgras, Solutions Manager, General Mills, told a funny anecdote of how after their CRM implementation, it was scrolled in big letters “I heart CRM” on the conference room whiteboard. He declared, “General Mills has extremely high initial user adoption of SAP Mobile.” Another customer highlight included Amy Clements,
Director of Enterprise Sourcing and Procurement, United Health Group, talking about their confident choice in Ariba as the face of their ES&P. SuccessFactors and SAP giving an SAP cloud solutions overview, and between sessions and roundtables, customers and prospects combed the “Experience SAP” Innovation stations and Design Thinking pod for revelations around SAP’s most
exciting solution offerings.  

Now it’s time to hit the networking reception before everyone here is off to the boys’ state hockey tournament tonight!

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