In my new role at SAP, I am part of the team that puts together the amazing SAP TechEd events. This past week I had the great pleasure of kicking off TechEd Las Vegas (next week it will be TechEd Amsterdam, and early December we’ll be in India for TechEd Bangalore…) I can’t possibly do this tremendous event justice in one short blog post (hundreds of hours of educational content, 6500 live attendees, over 20,000 online, the events reach a total of over 200,000) and many others have posted their own thoughts (Susan Keohan) and personal highlights (@Jelena_Perflijeva). However, I would like to share a couple of small, but very interesting “Ah-HA!” moments I experienced over the course of the event – one of the things that makes attending great conferences and speaking with smart people such a joy. (think the Serendipity Economy).
Have the iPhone/iPad trained us to customize UIs (user interfaces)?
I remember reading a study in 2007 that talked about how Napster had shown many millions of Internet users that the web was not only cool, but useful. That the music-sharing site had, in fact, trained us to perform transactions online, creating comfort with behaviours that would support the rapid growth of online shopping as well as social media. In the context of a discussion around SAP’s co-development of Fiori, an apps-based user interface technology, Sam Yen (SAP’s global head of design and user experience) pointed out that, similarly, the iPhone/iPad has trained us to expect the ability to customize UIs. This is, of course, a relatively new space with an enormous amount of potential, not only to make the user experience better/more intuitive, but also to gather an additional layer of data (not only what you did, but how you set things up to best do it).
The “digital layer” is a given at conferences – but now attendees want to take their content home
This was a really interesting one. It’s been a given for a while now that conferences must have robust digital layers to meet attendee (and online lurker) audience expectations. No surprises there. But what happens when attendees have an amazing augmented experience via a highly useful mobile app? When they share pictures, make comments and connect with others – and then want to take that content home, or into another platform? During a lunch with the SAP TechEd app leaderboard winners (those who had used the event app the most) we had a lively discussion about how the content these folks had created could be exported from the mobile into a desktop (“If I could even get a Word document…”) or online experience (“What about if we could bring the content into an SCN forum thread?”). It was a great question that I had never heard asked before – and I expect it to come up again as the lines between online, offline and IRL continue to blur. Finally, this is my favourite picture of all from the event, and I would like to know just how one comes to own their own personal SAP t-shirt cannon?? Sign me up!
Picture from “SCN is 10!” celebrations at DemoJam #SAPTechEd, courtesy Martin Gillet
So, two small (but interesting) discussion points from a rich, lively event that had thousands of attendees. If you attended or watched online, what did you come away with from #SAPTechEd? I’d love to hear in the comments below.