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A couple of weeks have passed now since we closed the doors on our first dedicated EPM conference and I want to take a few moments here to reflect on a great event.

And so it was on a cold and wet day in Dallas that our conference began…yes, you read correctly it was indeed cold and wet, much to my dismay having just left a very cold and wet Manchester in the hope of finding a couple of days sunshine before settling in for winter back home in the UK. But although the weather outside was a little disappointing our conference experience was much different.

 

The location, Union Station was very impressive and quite unlike the other conference centres I have visited in the US. An impressive building, with an interesting history, and I’d have felt quite at home there as a tourist let alone a visitor to a conference. The venue worked really well to accommodate the various conference workshops, keynotes, presentations and breakouts as well as the exhibition hall. It was one of those spaces that easily lent itself to a business function of this nature, but likewise in which everyone felt very at ease and comfortable with their surroundings, so all in all a great location for the event.

While day 1 started with some pre-conference workshops the main event didn’t begin until lunchtime with an excellent keynote from SAP’s Christian Rodatus (Twitter @crodatus), followed by customer presentations from Marathon Oil and The Schwan Food Company who spoke about their experience using SAP Business Planning and Consolidation, powered by SAP HANA, as well as Flextronics who told us about their experience of integration business planning with BI solutions. A great first day with some terrific customer speakers, which we rounded out with an evening drinks and networking reception in the exhibition hall.

Day 2 started with a blast as we heard about “Beyond budgeting to next generation management” from our guest speakers, Bjarte Bogsnes (@bbogsnes) of Statoil, and Steve Player (@MrForecast), of the Beyond Budgeting Round Table. I hadn’t heard either Bjarte or Steve speak at a conference before and would highly recommend that if you ever get the chance to hear them speak somewhere that you take it – they were great! Obviously both very knowledgeable in their field of experience, they were also both very enigmatic speakers who brought life to their presentation through enthusiasm. That really set us up for a fabulous second day of the conference as we heard from both SAP colleagues as well as more customer speakers including Ascend Performance Materials, Buckman Labs, AltaLink, SunEdison and Delek.

All in all the conference went really well thanks to a combination of terrific customer speakers, supporting business partners and a wonderful audience.

For any readers interesting in learning more about some of the conference discussion points, why not take a look at the following video interviews recorded at the event:

Finally, as a closing note, I’d like to thank the many attendees, speakers, business partners, colleagues as well as the conference organizer TA Cook, who all helped to make the SAP EPM Conference a success. See you again next year!

Chris Grundy

SAP solutions for EPM

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