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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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!

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3 Comments

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  1. Twan van den Broek

    So true Tim, thanks for having me in your program. I really enjoyed sharing my fairy tale 😉

    Please find all community events in the SCN community events overview.

    And for

    Particularly those who flew in from Mainland Europe to attend!

    the people from the Mainland Europe – you are all very welcome to join sitnl on November 23rd, where we will celebrate our 5th anniversary. But of course sitNL is also open to our neighbors from the UK 😛


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  2. Somnath Manna

    For past 2 years every time I question myself why bother organising SIT event when attendance is thin, miniscule percentage of repeat offenders, challenge filling in 6 sessions. But better sense with sheer passion overcomes that feeling to go ahead and organise another year of SAP Inside Track at Bangalore. I hope more and more SCNers see this blog and relate to the event – its like mini-TechEd, get to know about new things in SAP that we overlook / do not get a chance to explore or even hear / see. Most importantly – its local and its free, All it takes for attendees is to invest 8-10 hours of their precious time.

    Tim – I completely understand the effort required on part of organisers managing logistics, drumming up interest all without backing of sales & marketing engine (ok SCN platform does that for us 😀 ). But as you said it gives great personal satisfaction end of the day! That’s what binds us into organise this Community event year after year,

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