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SAPTeched – Full court press

On Tuesday, October 22, SAP TechED in Las Vegas kicked into high gear.  There was, of course, a highly anticipated keynote by Vishal Sikka. While I did not get to see the whole session, it’s available for your viewing pleasure here.  What impressed me most?  Those high school kids who built a warehouse management tool using Lego, a Droid tablet, and of course, HANA.

It amazes me how young people are growing up with technologies like HANA right at their fingertips, when all I had to play with as a kid was sticks and dirt. 

I had an ‘expert’ networking session at 10:00 AM – immediately following the keynote, so you could say Vishal was my opening act 😉  – so I headed for the show floor to get acquainted with the layout, locate my lounge, and get my props out.  I was pleased to see quite a few people, about 20 or so, show up.  The show floor then got very busy, so I had to use the microphone, but after my allotted 30 minutes was up, we simply migrated over to the community clubhouse area to continue our discussions.  There was one guy texting a co-worker who was in a hands-on session; she was passing him questions for me.  Another gentleman, Loren Bratzler turned out to be one of my most-engaged attendees.  He was super enthusiastic about learning even more about SAP Workflow, and we tried to debug a few issues together.  Gosh, I hope it’s OK to post his badge photo here. 

I stayed in ‘expert networking’ mode for a while, and then the SAPMentors got a special treat – we were invited to a session with Vishal.  He held up pretty well under our questioning.

Then back to the Community Lounge I went, fielding texts from my 13YO all the while.  He was not being a happy camper back home.  But while I was relaxed on a beanbag chair, who should come by, and allow me to take her photo to cheer him up, but Kelly Weaver of SAP-Press.  She is going to be my inspiration (and that of many others, I am sure) in the coming months as we work to update the book ‘Practical Workflow for SAP’.  This update will be quite challenging, and Kelly is in charge of cat-herding, so if you see her, wish her luck.  She’s gonna need it.

Readers of Practical Workflow will be pleased to know there will be encore performances by Jocelyn Dart. Alan Rickayzen, and some other luminaries in the WWW (Wonderful World of Workflow).  As with the current edition, all proceeds will go to benefit Doctors Without Borders.  If you prefer not to wait for the book, you can always show your community pride by donating here.

Following some clubhouse time, the evening was looming large… There was the networking reception on the show floor, and then demojam.

Demojam, if you are new to this whole geeky thing, is where 6 (or so) teams submit applications to demo their home-made apps.  They each have only 6 minutes to complete the demo.  Sacrifices to the demo gods are routinely made.  Powerpoint displays are roundly booed. 

It was great time, with a little opportunity to thank some community members first. 

Chip Rodgers and Maggie Fox kicked it off by inviting these members on stage.  I am honored to be among those who were invited.  We also found out that Mark Finnern was voted ‘The Real Founder of SDN’!  Surprise! Anyone who watched that video was scared into voting for him 😉


Then the fun started.  I am not going to prejudice anyone by revealing my favorite pick, but the HANAdeck group did a great job.  I invite you to check it out here. 

Afterwards it seemed hard to let all the fun and merriment disappear, so Jocelyn Dart and I posed for a ‘Women of Workflow’ photo.


I have my usual ‘serious as all get out’ professional face on, as you can see. 

I think people can learn a lot from Demojam.  You don’t necessarily have to be a supergeek like Greg Myers or John Astill (although I am sure it helps) – but having a fun idea and using technology to solve it – what’s not to like???

I hope you’ve been enjoying these little trips down memory lane – or walking TechEd with me.  More to come!

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    • Oh, if only.  I need to tend the home fires for a while; I leave it to you to make sure people feel like they’ve been ‘touched by a mentor’ in AMS.

  • Thanks Sue – what I say is all that playing with sticks and dirt just made our generation all the more creative. 😉

    For me John Astill’s extreme sacrifice to the Demojam gods was the highlight – hopefully his blood pressure is back under control after all that treadmill running!  That and the marvellous opportunity to stand on stage with so many heroes of the SAP Community –  Chip Rodgers, Maggie Fox, yourself, so many many other SAP Mentors, fellow SCN topic leaders such as Jelena-of-the-unpronounceable-surname (thanks Graham Robinson!) and look out at all the incredible people who are all part of the SAP Community Network whether as a TechEd attendee, forum crawler, blogger, documenter, data geek, moderator, mentor, or on the SCN team itself such as Laure Cetin and Gali Kling Schneider who were just wonderfully welcoming for my first (but hopefully not last) speaking engagement at a TechEd. 

    My one comment for next year – we need more women up and speaking!  We have such a fabulous group of women in our mentors and SCN leaders – Tammy Powlas, Marilyn Pratt, Marcia Walker, Moya Watson, Sue Keohan, Gretchen Lindquist, Karin Tillotson and so many others – but we need the voice of more women in technology IMHO. Not only do we need the diversity of opinions if technology is to serve us all and serve us well, but the more we talk about Empathy and Social with respect to technology – am I wrong in thinking this is mother’s milk to the ladies of our SAP Community?!

    Don’t get me wrong – I love all our guys and it was a privilege to meet with so many irl – but please let’s get some more female voices in the mix.

    This TechEd was simply unforgettable for me – Amsterdam and Bangalore you have a lot to live up to!

    • Hi Jocelyn,

      We do have many of the same favorite moments. 

      And you’re right, of course, about hearing more from the Women in Technology.  Although none of the women mentioned are exactly shy 😉

      What can we do to encourage more diverse speakers and contributors?  I am working very hard to encourage some specific people to up their game and overcome the natural tendencies to shy away from public speaking.  You’ll soon know if I have been successful. 

      In particular, I feel as though my hornswaggling paid off – I got to co-present with you, you had amazing energy/ideas/knowledge that your shared.  And you got to meet many people you had wanted to IRL (In Ridiculous Lederhosen) – cc: Karin Tillotson Marcia Walker @kelly_weaver.

      • It’s really interesting to look back on this thread.  Hindsight is 20-20, but of course, in 2017 it is completely reversed — and we are working very hard to get enough men on stage.  We try but we just don’t find they are interested — maybe because they are at home with the kids, and we know that those who say they have family responsibilities just don’t have the time for these events.  It’s a concern, either way — as much as it was for us back in 2013 — we just can’t have a homogenous group and expect to survive as a species.  We’ve moved the needle but what have we really learned about being inclusive?

      • What – you mean a SCN badge is not enough incentive? Who’da thought!

        And yes the SAPMentor women are fantastic – which of course is why they are mentors. 

        Agree with the diversity push… and LOVE Moya’s take on it!

        I’d really like to see some women up there maybe co-presenting on topics such as Empathy, Social, psychology of UX, etc. and relate that back to real examples of how we use SAP or SAP-inspired solutions to support initiatives.  I would also *really* love to see someone from the Accessibility group come up and give all these designers a whole different take on UX design and software… now that would really be something!

        Plus we had those great sons of SAP execs doing that Lego Robot demo – ok I think one of them had a ponytail, but where are the *daughters* of the SAP execs hmmm?  Secretly dying to see a Hannah do a demo using HANA. 😉

        Maybe we should even encourage Maggie Fox to give some sort of session around women in IT? 

        Worth a try.

        • Hah – Hannah doing a demo of HANA.  Wonderfully meta!

          I seriously don’t mean to be flippant, but often I feel like women have a hard time moving the women-in-IT issue.  Sometimes I’d like to turn it around to see if men even notice when there isn’t or is nary a woman on stage.  And sometimes I wonder why (more) men don’t refuse to participate in only-male tech activities (kudos to the ones who do). This is completely not mentioning any transgender individuals or those who for whatever reason don’t strongly identify either as male or female or balance somewhere in between.  Therein may like a key.

          • And I’d agree with that but also the issue is not just women in IT, it’s a question of diversity full stop.  It was just so very obvious at TechEd – I’d really be interested to see the final figures, but even just by casual observation I would be surprised if there were more than 20% female attendees and the ratio of speakers I’m guessing from looking around the speaker room was less than 10%.  I was really glad to see Maggie Fox up front at least but we need a lot more. Goals for 2014!

  • Sue – It was a pleasure meeting you and I hope to interact with you and many of the other workflow experts in the field.  No problem posting my badge picture!  I appreciate the kind words as well.  I am still getting caught up here but I will be pinging you with some of the items we discussed that I am working on.

    And what is the deal with the SCN profile pictures?  I had them take my picture.  Do you know if I have to do anything else before the picture will be attached to my account?

    • Hi Loren,

      You should be able to upload your picture to your profile.  And when you do?  You will probably get a badge!!

      Looking forward to hearing more from you.