A few months ago, I blogged about Why (and How) You Should Become an SAP TechEd Speaker. I’m not going to reiterate how great and personally as well as professionally rewarding it is for the speaker. Many community members have responded to that post and shared that it’s a dream and an important personal goal for them.

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SAP TechEd: View from the keynote stage

I think SAP should revive the great tradition of calling for proposals and filling SCN community sessions in all TechEd locations. I went back to the original blog posts by the incomparable Christina Miller. From 2007 to 2009, she published a series of calls for proposals, announced the winners, kept encouraging folks, and reported from behind the scenes of SAP TechEd. Have a look:

This beautiful initiative has provided great motivation, encouragement, and reward to many community members. Look at the list of winning sessions and how many of these names are still active community members and contributors. Doesn’t this indicate a sustainable effect?

SAP listens to the community

SAP’s own CMO Jonathan Becher says that SAP has turned around the megaphone and listens to the community (and amplifies voices from the community for others to hear, too, I should add).

Community initiatives such as the SAP Mentors  program and the SAP HANA Distinguished Engineer Program make it a point to recruit non-SAP employees because that adds credibility and relevance. I think the same argument holds true for SAP’s big conferences, which would also profit from more community participation.

What do you think?

Have you attended a community session? Did you like them? Would you submit a proposal? Have you presented at a large conference, and what effect did it have on you?

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10 Comments

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    1. Thorsten Franz Post author

      Yes, it was long ago for many community members not to be aware of it – that’s why I wanted to bring it back into the community’s consciousness. 🙂

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    2. Fred Verheul

      Neither did I. I always thought this was only possible for Las Vegas (or more in general the US-TechEd), despite the fact I attended SAPTechEd EMEA all these years (shame on me 🙂 ).

      So thanks Thorsten Franz for digging it up. I fully support the idea that SAP should revive this tradition! I hope (and except) those responsible are listening. Pretty sure about Christina, since you tagged her already in the blog post, but let’s not forget Chip Rodgers just to be on the safe side 😉 .

      Cheers, Fred

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  1. Stephen Johannes

    Having presented at teched in previous year under the ASUG session umbrella, it would definitely be good thing if other parts of the globe would get the same chance 🙂 . The good part is that SAP would not have to sacrifice quality to allow for this, as the ASUG sessions at Teched are on mostly on par with the SAP presented session minus of course those put on by Thomas Jung, who can draw standing room crowds on Friday morning(day after concert).

    I will also say that the whole speaker support team at Teched is AWESOME from my experience! Another great reason to revive this tradition would be to allow more speakers from outside of SAP a chance to work with a really great group of people! 

    Take care,

    Stephen

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  2. Chip Rodgers

    Hi Thorsten and all,

    This is a great idea — and yes, we did do this for several years in the past, got some good experience, and also learned about some challenges in the process. 

    As some of the links you included show, we allocated a specific number of session slots for a community call for proposals, went through a selection process, included the sessions in the core content for Las Vegas, EMEA, and Bangalore locations, and had the speakers present the sessions.

    We had good engagement and some excitement around the process and the idea of presenting sessions at TechEd.  (Although we usually had too few session proposals for the Bangalore event.)  The challenge that we had is that, for whatever reason, the sessions in the end were not well attended and unfortunately also didn’t bring in good feedback on session evaluations.  (We ask for session evaluations on all TechEd sessions.)

    So, while we had some challenges with this program, at the same time, we had essentially “community content” being created as part of TechEd Las Vegas through the ASUG call for proposals and in EMEA through a customer submission process as well.  So we decided (I believe in 2011) to drop the SCN community call for proposals, instead relying on those alternative channels for bringing community content to the TechEd agenda.

    But this thread is interesting and valuable and I’ve talked with the team (Christina Miller Maria SquicciariniBernhard Steigleider Kreszentia Kuhn) and we’re going to look at the idea again and see if there are ways we could bring it back for 2014 — possibly rethinking the approach or process to bring some more really interesting content to TechEd through our always passionate SCN community members! 

    I look forward to talking with you about it in Las Vegas, Amsterdam and Bangalore this year!

    Best,

    Chip

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    1. Thorsten Franz Post author

      Hi Chip,

      Thank you for the background! It would be great if you could bring it back in 2014, especially by tapping into the passion of the SCN community!

      To give you some additional outside perspective, I don’t think the “customer submission” process for EMEA has worked very well, at least if measure it by how well it reaches potential contributors. 😉 I haven’t missed an EMEA TechEd in more than 10 years, and it’s the first time I ever hear of the process, even though I’ve been a regular contributor to TechEd (including EMEA through SCN) since 2008, and at other events such as DKOM and SAP Customer Information Days and SAP Industry Forums through various connections. So I think they treated the submission process as a “best-kept secret.” 😉

      SCN is a hotbed for excellence in SAP. Therefore, I think it’s a good idea that community content is also labeled “SCN” because this will help people see another way in which engaging in SCN can bring their career to the next level.

      Best,

      Thorsten

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