On September 14th 2013 some 30+ SAP enthusiasts arrived in Manchester for SAP Inside Track organised by myself and fellow SAP Mentors Phil Kisloff and DJ Adams. Inside Track is a community event run by SAP enthusiasts for SAP enthusiasts and we had attendees from Consultancy, End User, SME, LE, Analytics, Dev and every other background which added to the fun.
Organsing an Inside Track is not easy and is quite time consuming so why do we bother? Personally I get a lot of satisfaction out of running events like this and have done similar before but this was different. Better.
We managed to get an all star cast of speakers and presenters on a range of topics from Lumira to HANA to SUP and even a non techie session about end users, SAP Partners and what each expects from the other which was really interesting. One theme that came out in nearly EVERY session was “Engage the users before doing anything”. It may sound obvious that you should check with users if they will like the new screen flavour you are going to create in Personas or if they will actually use the new calendar functionality in the Mobile Service App you are going to build but it is surprising how often this is missed. Design Thinking was mentioined and discussed a lot and it is great to see some real stories about how it works.
Inside Track is informal. There are no rules only guidelines and these are pretty loose. As such, the presentations were very conversational and almost like friends in a bar discussing a topic rather than typical presenter / audience. Because of this, the speakers got pretty creative with their slides and graphics. There were no black text on white powerpoint slides here! I think that the relaxed atmosphere made the dabate even better. A lot of people are afraid to ask questions after most presentations but, when conversation is encouraged during a presentation it can spark some interesting discussion and it did.
Inside Track is a great way to make contacts and form friendships. Because it is relaxed and people talk to each other they get to know each other and what area they specialise in. There were a number of new business opportunities that came out of Inside Track Manchester and certainly we are all looking forward to meeting up again, posisbly at TechEd, for some beers.
Inside Track is a great place to learn about new SAP products. I was in a number of sessions and heard things like “I hadn’t even heard of Lumira” or “Personas is great, why haven’t SAP told us about this?” – I’ve worked with SAP products for a few years now and it seems to be a company policy that they don’t want to publicise their cool new products to existing end users. The average SAP user who may not trawl Google looking for SAP News and may not be massively active on SCN won’t find out about something unless SAP tell them or they come to an Inside Track. Personally I am going to get going with Lumira. It is free!
Thanks to all attendees and speakers. Particularly those who flew in from Mainland Europe to attend! Thanks to Gareth Ryan for his full write up here: http://scn.sap.com/community/events/inside-track/blog/2013/09/16/sap-inside-track-manchester–sep-2013–sitman–my-perspective
If you want to organise an event there is some funding availble from SAP and you can do what we did and get a sposor to help with costs. Thanks Bluefin Solutions. My suggestion: Get a date booked and start planning!