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Dear readers,

Now that Ive been back home for a few days, after a bumpy and longer-than-planned intercontinental flight, it seems like the perfect time to share some thoughts and experiences around SAPPHIRE NOW 2013 before the memories start to mix together.

It was an exciting event indeed! Great venue, lots of interesting content, high energy flowing on the show floor and plenty of people who gathered in Orlando, Florida to hear what is new in the SAP world.

Based on the positive feedback I collected directly while speaking with customers, partners and colleagues; I am quite convinced that most of the attendees were pretty happy with the event. I definitely reached my personal objective of checking the “reality temperature” of SAP HANA. Judging from the many testimonials, use cases, solutions, start-ups and announcements, SAP HANA is red hot, and the vision that Dr. Hasso Plattner shared with us only three years ago is now a concrete, growing presence in large and small organizations globally.

As usual, there were many events and sessions happening in parallel, and one can never manage to attend all the interesting presentations and discussions. But I want to share with you my highlights.

1.   Hasso’s speech. No offense to the other excellent keynote speakers, but I do have a preference. This year Hasso was somehow less visionary than we experienced recently when he talked about SAP HANA, but I found his approach toward tricky topics such as multi-tenancy and virtualization refreshingly pragmatic and very sensible. I loved when he called his PhD students on stage and they had the chance to present their research in front of such a large and qualified audience. I guess they had a very special time. This is definitely not the old-time SAP.

2.   HANA Enterprise Cloud. SAP is becoming really creative with helping customers to embrace SAP HANA, and removing the roadblocks and hurdles they face in their path toward innovation. Now, I understand that the cloud police will have concerns about the Bring Your Own License model. But today, if you – our customer – has an idea, we can start to work on it literally right now. And we can do that with reduced start-up costs and no concerns about procuring hardware and growing HANA management skills. I think that’s pretty cool!

3.   Meetings with IT Analysts. Thanks to my friend Andy Stahl, the impeccable leader of the Global HANA Services organization, I had the opportunity to meet several analysts who were very interested in hearing and learning about our capabilities and experiences relating to SAP HANA as a development platform. Frankly, I was left with the strong impression that some of the customer cases I presented to them were well above their expectations. Custom application development on SAP HANA is real, baby!

Bill McDermott keynote featuring Under Armour. I love the brand and I am a loyal customer. My excitement was really high when Kevin Plank, Under Armour’s CEO, spoke about taking big bets with big partners and highlighted their successful collaboration with SAP to implement a solution called Sales Order Allocation and Rescheduling (SOAR), which is powered by HANA.  Watch the clip just advance the video to minute 45:52. I believe it was the first time that a solution I am so directly connected with got such fantastic exposure during a SAPPHIRE major keynote!

5.   SAP HANA everywhere. Put simply, this was quite overwhelming. Somehow not surprising, but still… Not only SAP presentations, but also partners were featuring HANA in all the possible flavors and angles. And customers seemed not to be talking about anything else!

6.   Finally, this year SAP Services provided a very comfy and cozy area to have impromptu meetings, exchange impressions and information, rekindle relationships with other SAP old-timers and sometimes simply rest for a few minutes. Well done, and very appreciated!

If you want to get a direct feeling of my experience at Sapphire, you can also check out this short video interview available now on YouTube.

So… these were my high points of the event. Were you at SAPPHIRE NOW as well? What were yours?

Cheers,

Francesco

Follow me on Twitter @FrancesoMari_

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