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Having worked in SAP product marketing for some years, I’ve been fortunate to have worked on some terrific events, including global events like SAPPHIRE NOW, regional events like SAPinsider as well as country focused SAP Forums. By and large my role has been either a speaker or content owner, or in the case of SAPPHIRE NOW, one of many bodies racing in a dizzying whirlwind of activity to put on what has to be one of the biggest shows on (software) Earth. Usually for me participating and attending an SAP conference is a paint-by-numbers exercise as the organizational issues have been handled by a large central team, who work with clearly defined processes to make sure that everything is in place, on time. But because of the new SAP EPM Conference, November 5-6  in Dallas, Texas, my role has changed a bit.  Rather than being a contributor to this event I’ve become one of the organizing team. So, with direct knowledge to what’s happening as we gear up for our inaugural event, I wanted to give you the inside-scoop on what we have in mind for our new conference.

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To begin let’s talk about the structure of this event which provides two full days of content.  Day one, November 5th, starts with deep dive workshops in the morning, followed by conference sessions in the afternoon. Day two, November 6th, offers an entire day of information packed conference sessions. Both conference days are full of content across the spectrum of enterprise performance management, from strategy management and business planning to profitability analytics and the financial close to disclose. And to ensure the content is relevant and credible to our audience, many of the sessions are reserved for our customers to tell their own story, in their words. In these customer sessions our event attendees can hear the final word on just how and why EPM can bring tangible benefits to business, and business financial processes.

I won’t go into event details here because the event site provides all the agenda specifics you need. Instead, I want to draw your attention to what I consider some key sessions and speakers, and why I believe this event is one that, if you’re even remotely interested in EPM topics, should be on your “list to attend” in Q4.

As with most conferences our keynote speakers will speak with confidence and credibility, being leaders in their field and bringing substantial experience. SAP’s Christian Rodatus will start things off with his day one keynote talking about how new technology is impacting the Finance function. Our day two keynote speakers, Steve Player from the Beyond Budgeting Roundtable and Bjarte Bogsnes of Statoil, will expand on this theme, with a session on Beyond Budgeting and Next Generation Management. A word of warning though – these keynote speakers are so good that you’re likely to walk away inspired with the possibilities that EPM has to offer!

Hot on the heels of our keynote speakers we have a raft of SAP- and customer-led sessions – a veritable wall to wall agenda of EPM best practices that you’re going to love to hear. The customer line-up is impressive, thanks to some terrific work on the part of my colleagues in product marketing and our valued business partner sponsors. Customer case studies will be delivered by Marathon Oil, The Schwan Food Company, Barnesandnoble.com, Delek, AltaLink and others. SAP led sessions will cover best practices, roadmaps, and news around our solutions for strategy management, planning/budgeting and forecasting, profitability and cost management, financial consolidation, and disclosure management as well as Financial applications.

Finally, a note about our partner sponsors, including Column 5, Optimal, the Aster Group, Performance Analytics and Macrospect. You will find them in the SAP EPM Conference exhibit area where attendees have the opportunity to ask their own subject matter experts questions and hear more about the partner offerings, tools, and services for SAP solutions.

All in all our first SAP EPM Conference is shaping up very nicely indeed. With such an array of SAP, keynote and customer speakers, as well as subject matter experts on-hand, I can’t recall any event which has contained such a rich assortment of EPM content and experiences. I’m confident that there’ll be something here for everyone who works with or manages performance management in their organization.

That completes my overview, which I hope has peaked your interest.  Be sure to have a look at our conference website, where you can view a full agenda online or download to read at your leisure. Also follow us on Twitter #SAPEPM2013  and @SAPEPM for the latest news and views on conference sessions and content.

And, of course, if you like what you read, then why not register and come to see us at the event. We’d be delighted to meet you!

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