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SAP Insider HR-BI-GRC-CRM-Financials 2013 conference was held in Amsterdam on 11 – 13 June with over 1500 attendees. It was a wonderful event with wonderful SAP Insider organization, great attendees and valuable content. Due to being both an HR and BI Professional, I mainly split my time between the sessions from these two areas. Some points that drew my attention the most are as follows:

 

  • SAP is now in Data Mining field; even stronger than the competitors due to the distinction in in-memory solutions with SAP HANA.
  • HR core product on premise is still the traditional SAP HCM module as we know it, while core product on cloud goes towards SuccessFactors Employee Central.
  • SAP offers SAP Enterprise BI and SuccessFactors Workforce Analytics for Workforce Planning and Analytics on premise and cloud respectively.
  • With “BW on HANA”, we will be saying goodbye to multi-dimensional infocubes –at least won’t need them as often as before- .

In the following paragraphs, I will be sharing my insights on the sessions I have attended day-by-day, by addressing some of the tweets I have published during the event.

JUMPSTART DAY

     

Due to some family issues, I did miss the jumpstart day where some valuable pre-conference sessions were held. I regret that I couldn’t make it!

DAY #1

Keynote Speech – David Ludlow & Thomas Otter

Tuesday – the very first day of the conference – started with the “Keynote” speech -not very surprising though- . It was planned to be held by David Ludlow, Group Vice President, Product Marketing, SAP Cloud  and Jessica Kane, Vice President, Global Business Execution Architecture, SuccessFactors. However, with the last-minute change, Jessica Kane could not make it to the conference, so Thomas Otter, Product Manager, SuccessFactors  took her place. In the keynote, mainly the roadmap of SAP HCM for the upcoming year is discussed. Some information and a quick demo on SuccessFactors is provided. In short, the main idea is that SAP is offering the traditional HCM and BI solutions for on-premise while SuccessFactors is positioned in the cloud.

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The ultimate 2013 BI developer survival skillset gude – Mico Yuk

Mico Yuk is a great presenter and an analytics guru. So if I tell you that the session was so enjoyable and informative, you would not be surprised, would you? Mico shared many points from her past experience on how BI developers should adopt to the ever changing BI world. Some of the most important points she mentioned were:

– Train IT professionals on communication skills

– Think and develop mobile first (Never postpone mobile development, or you’ll go home!)

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– Deploy rapidly (go for agile methodology)

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  – User adoption is your only KPI

Guidelines and best practices for deploying ESS and MSS on mobile devices – Jeremy Masters

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Yet another great speaker who came from overseas: Jeremy Masters. In his session, Jeremy talked about HR self-service trends on mobile devices along with the applications available in the market. The insights were important; since although ESS/MSS is still mostly used on computers nowadays, this trend is going to change at a great pace within next year as more and more people will switch their preferences to mobile. If you want to get detailed information on HR related mobile applications, go to SAP Store (on web or via device) and follow menu items Browse By Department – Line of business – Human Resources. Then you will see lots of applications on MSS (mostly), ESS, XSS and Travel management.

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The 2013 guide to SAP enterprise performance management (EPM) 10.0 solutions – David Williams

In this session, David Williams concentrated on how EPM can be utilized by finance people for all three process areas: Strategize and Plan – Analyze and Optimize – Close and Disclose. Then some overview of the EPM product family –namely; SAP Strategy Management, SAP Business Planning and Consolidation, SAP Profitability and Cost Management, SAP Financial Information Management, SAP Intercompany, SAP Financial Consolidation, SAP Disclosure Management, SAP Notes Management- is introduced. What drew my attention the most is David mentioned a Turkish baking company, Uno, as having done the first BPC on HANA project in the market. Congratulations!

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A technical guide to pinpoint and resolve performance issues in your SAP Netweaver BW landscape – Joerg Boeke

This was one of the most technical sessions I have attended in this conference – it tasted like a TechEd session. Joerg shared very important insights on how to enhance BW landscpe performance. For the ones who are in BW business or are very much interested in system performance issues; some SAP notes mentioned by Joerg are as follows: 857998, 550784, 803958, 1338276, 1275318, 1171650, 10113912, 1634276, 1431798, 1705026, 1510916, 69455, 1035990, 1025307.

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DAY #2

 

An innovative guide to planning and executing an SAP enhancement package Project within your HR environment – Martin Gillet

This session, by the fellow mentor wolfpack member Martin, was a valuable time to learn – and remember- SAP enhancement package involvements for SAP ERP HCM from 1 to 6. In addition to giving detailed information on the enhancement package contents, Martin was also really successful on persuading the attendees to challange and effect SAP to release new packages involving the needed functionalities. (Just a quick reminder: You can check and download the latest enhancement packages via http://service.sap.com/swdc)

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How to transform HR data into HR intelligence for more informed decision making – Steen Revsbech

No tweets for this session as there was no Internet connection on the fifth floor! 🙂 In this interesting session, Steen shared his experience on how to analyse and combine HR quantitative and qualitative data to enhance company strategy. 

An in-depth look at the current solutions for in-memory predictive analytics from SAP and its future roadmap – John MacGregor

 

We laughed a lot as we learn about Predictive Analytics – John is a great speaker who knows how to keep the attention alive. He mentioned that SAP entered Data Mining field with Predictive Analytics product five months ago – I believe SAP will be the number one in the industry as competitors lack the HANA power SAP has, and prediction business finds its real value only if it is applied on “Big Data”-. John emphasized the main strengths of SAP Predictive Analysis as SAP HANA in-memory appliance at the center, an in-database predictive analytics library (PAL) and modelling tool that looks a lot like SAS Enterprise Miner and IBM SPSS Modeller. With R open source integration, you have even more room for developing your prediction algorithms. And lastly the great news: If you visit the following address, you will be able to get a 30-day trial for Predictive Analytics tool : http://www.saphana.com/docs/DOC-3527
. Don’t wait, predict and act now!

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Introducing SAP Netweaver BW on SAP HANA: Capabilities, decision criteria, and technical prerequisites – Uddhav Gupta

In this session, Uddhav explained capabilities of SAP BW on HANA systems. One of the most shocking BW change when it comes with HANA is the elimination of the need for infocubes in most of the cases; especially if they are used to enhance query performance. This is because you no longer need the star schema logic as HANA offers you column-oriented read-optimized table structures and in-memory calculation engine. As Gupta mentioned more than once, BW on HANA offers the speed as if all your BW system is composed of BWAs; isn’t that incredible!

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SAP solutions for Predictive Analitycs – Charles Gadalla

There comes a mini-session on the favourite product of mine: Predictive Analytics. Charles made a short demo of the product and answered some of the questions on text analytics and web mining capabilities. For unstructured data, Chris suggested Hadoop integration. In short, all data mining capabilities are there in the product but you need to do some academical work to make it work.

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8 tools and techniques to prevent and resolve the most common query performance problems in SAP Netweaver BW 7.3 – Joerg Boeke

 

This was another TechEd-like session by Joerg Boeke. Joerg shared a lot of useful insights on how to enhance query performance in BW. Some of the SAP notes he mentioned include 1681396, 630500, 911939, 1371598, 1137994.

DAY #3

Guidelines for utilising strategic workforce planning and analytics capabilities from SuccessFactors to execute on your business strategy – Peter Howes

In this session, Peter Howes explained the relationship between Workforce Reporting, Analytics and Planning. He also shared some important insights on how an Talent Analytics project should be conducted for the sake of maximum effectiveness.

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Self-service data discovery for business users and analysts using SAP Lumira (formerly SAP Visual Intelligence) – Andreas Krause

Another very hot topic was on stage in this session : Self-service BI, or Lumira as it is named by SAP. Self-service BI aims to lessen the burden on IT professionals and give other business professionals the ability to create visual reports just as the way they want. Some of the capabilities of Lumira were introduced such as semantic and geographic enrichments and “light” predictive capabilities. There was a short demo of the product as well. By the way, for the ones who are curious about the origin of Lumira name: It means seeing the light where lumen is light in Latin and mira is see in Spanish. For more information, check out Timo Elliott’s blog – http://scn.sap.com/community/lumira/blog/2013/05/10/sap-lumira-why-did-we-change-yet-another-perfectly-good-bi-product-name

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How to more effectively track and measure business performance using SAP Business Planning and Consolidation and SAP Strategy Management – Malcolm Faulkner

 

Faulkner shared some important information on how to utilize SAP BPC and Strategy Management modules of EPM for the sake of maximum effectiveness in the organization.

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Enhance usability and process efficiency by implementing goal and performance management – Hanne Holm Hjortshøj

In this session, Hanne shared her experience from previous Performance Management projects: common pitfalls they faced and how these were resolved.

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Best practices to ensure efficient data models, fast data activation, and performance of your SAP Netweaver BW 7.3 data warehouse – Dr. Bjarne Berg

 

This was one of the best sessions I have attended during the conference. With his broad level of knowledge on the subject, Berg made the audience happy, shocked and excited about their SAP BW systems. There were a lot of capabilities introduced in the session that are coming with BW 7.3 including but not restricted to : Semantic Partitioned Objects (SPO) and HybridProviders (HP). Berg also provided a detailed guide on how to clean the existing BW system in order to achieve a successful migration to HANA .

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How to adapt the latest data analytics solutions from SAP to empower your financial team – Henner Schliebs

This was the last session I have attended –and missed the second half to catch my flight-. In short, Henner explained the SAP’s Financial Analytics solutions for the following areas: Net Margin Analysis (HANA/Non-HANA), Predictive Finance (HANA/Non-HANA), Finance Intelligence (HANA/Non-HANA), Embedded Analytics (Non-HANA), Operational Reporting with SAP HANA, HANA Live for Financials, Commodity Risk Analysis (HANA), Fraud Management (HANA) .

LAST WORDS

It was not just the conference in Amsterdam though. There were waffles, bicycles and canals everywhere. It is one of the most beautiful cities in the world. Hope to experience the city again on November 5-7 for SAP TechEd!

In short, it was a great conference with great people and great content. I have already started looking forward to the next year’s organization!

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4 Comments

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  1. Sven Ringling

    Thanks for this. As one can never attend all sessions and also may see things from a sometimes too narrow perspective, it’s always good to have somebody else’s key take aways in a nutshell. Very readable style, too 🙂

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