A jump start into organizing an SAP Inside Track
Last year we (it was the SAP table of regulars in Munich) hold the first SAP Inside Track in Munich. Gregor Wolf and I decided to write down all our activities during planning and organization. So we wrote it simply down. Maybe it helps you for your SAP Inside Track event – especially if it’s your very first one. Maybe it helps you as a kind of checklist and in combination with the great Five Cool Tips For Running Successful SAP Inside Track!! blog by Jansi Rani Murugesan running an own Inside Track should be easy as that 😎
The mentioned points of time are very save dates for first time organizers. If you do it a second time you will get an own feeling when things have to be done – but it depends on where you are and how difficult it is to get a suitable venue.
Feedback is very welcome and if you’ve any questions don’t hesitate to contact us.
|8 or 9 months before||Time to meet||Initiate a meetup in your city with people who are willing to help you make the SAP Inside Track happen. Maybe everybody knows everyone already – if not it’s a good opportunity to get to know some nice new people.
|8 or 9 months before||We need a date!||The next meeting you should be able to announce a date for your event. Consider any other events in your city (like (trade) fairs, festivals…) which can be a massive impact on the hotel room situation (like Oktoberfest in Munich leads to fully booked hotels) – so avoid any weekends where you can imagine trouble for your participants to get a place to sleep. Have a look at the Event Wiki Space to see the dates of other already announced Inside Tracks. Try to avoid multiple events at the same weekend – this includes SAP TechEd as well.|
|8 or 9 months before||A rough agenda||Before you start you have to think about whether to hold a “pre-conference event” the evening before (some participants might arrive the day before due to long travel time) and a “after-conference event” – both are a good way to get to know each other, talk about everything you like to and have a drink together. You should announce that on your wiki page.|
|8 or 9 months before||Create a wiki site at the event space
||You have to promote your event. Luckily there exists an dedicated space on scn.sap.com. Have a look at the various existing pages there and use it as a template. Even if you aren’t sure what exactly to write you can lean on existing texts – but read it carefully before publishing. Thus the event location might not be clear at the moment you can provide a hint to declare it later.|
|8 or 9 months before||Register form||When publishing the wiki page you have to link a registration form where attendees can declare their participation. At #SITMuc 2013 we did that by a simple Google spread sheet- just have a look at your gmail drive and create a document. It’s easy as that.
|8 or 9 months before||Social Media!||Create a Twitter hashtag like #sitNL or #SITMuc – and spread the information into the world. Mention every meetup concerning the event on the social media platforms like Twitter, Facebook, Google+, LinkedIn, XING, …|
|8 or 9 months before||We need sponsors!||Unfortunately there are some costs coming up with your event – first of all the rent/fee for your event location, the rent for technical equipment … so you need some sponsors – use your connections to local companies to collect some commitments for donation.
Don’t worry if the amount collected isn’t that much, you can tell the attendees that a admission fee has to be raised – declare that on the wiki page mentioned above.
But be aware that even during the event some new sponsors can appear (that’s what we called “surprise” :-).
And if you’ve got someone directly from SAP to hold a session at your Inside Track you will receive 500€ from the SAP Mentors for your event. And do not forget to contact SAP Press – they often donate to Inside Tracks by providing books (print or online access), too.
|8 or 9 months before||Financial topics||The sponsors might need a bill for their donation so you have to declare someone (who own’s a business) to take the role as the “host”. The host has to receive the bills (e.g. for the venue) and has to write bills for the donators. Please check this with your tax adviser in case of any doubts or uncertainities.|
|7 months before||How many attendees will we have?||Maybe you’ve got first feedback from the community already so you can estimate (with a little hope, of course) the possible number of attendees – you will need this number for finding a conference venue, pre-/after-conference event location, lunch, coffee and drinks. Be aware that this number can change over all the time during your preparation – communicate any relevant changes to your (pre-/after-)conference venues!|
|7 months before||Where to go?||
The next thing is to define a location – depending where you are this can be a very time consuming part, so start as early as possible.
|the whole time||What to show?||The very essential part of your event is the content being presented. So make a call for contributions – ask your team who wants to make a presentation. If you use an existing wiki page as template you can find a separate table for contribution suggestions – so advertise on SCN (by comments, likes….) Even if a contributor cannot join the event personally it’s possible to participate remote – have a look at #sitNL oder #sitMAN, Thoresten Franz and Gregor Wolf did some remote sessions and it were great fun.
Use direct connections to SAP if existing – maybe you get someone directly from SAP to hold a session 🙂
|depends, but approx. 2 months before||Pre-/After-Conference Event locations||For your pre-/after-conference meetup you will need a location. Collect suggestions within your local organizing team – everything is possible: a restaurant (watch out because it could become difficult to find a restaurant acception reservations for 30+ people), a fair, maybe at home (if there’s enough space and someone can cook for so many people 🙂 – be creative and early (to avoid presure to yourself).|
|2 weeks before||How to get there?||Remember to provide detailed information about how participants can find your conference venue and the pre-/after-conference event location as well. Reference map services like Google maps or Bing maps by storing pre-configured links to them from your wiki page (just have a look at the existing SIT wiki pages). If neccessary provide pictures of subway station exits or signifcant houses to ensure everybody finds you.|
|2 weeks before||Session voting||If you are in the comfortable situation to have more presenters than you can put into your timetable you have to let to decide the registered attendees. At #SITMuc we sent a mass mail by using Google Mail in combination with the mail addresses collected by the Google spread sheat mentioned above (search for “mail merge” for Google).
|1 week before||Information email to the contributors||After evaluating the result you have to select the voted presentations and send an information Email to all people who had provided a suggestion. You need two Mails: one for confirming the session and the other one for rejection.|
|as early as possible, maybe 1 month before||Equipment||
You will need a lot of technical stuff to get your event done. Things like
|1 week before||Build the agenda!||After the sessions have been voted you have to build the final agenda. Please be aware that someone can get ill or arrives delayed – ask the other suggestors to be prepared as well. Plan enough time for the sessions – at #SITMuc we had speaking time (30 or 40 min.) + 10 min. Q&A and after every two sessions a longer coffee break. Consider enough time for networking and discussions.
Send an Email to the attendees when agenda is finished.
|1-2 days before||Print your agenda||You will need to print out the agenda (best if you’ve got the possibility to plot it) and hang it out at your conference venue.|
|1-2 days before||Collect your equipment||If there is any equipment you need to rent it’s a good idea to pick it up two days before the event by minimum. So you’ve got some time left if there are any problems (perhaps a defect or something else).|
|1 day before||One day left||Tomorrow will be the great day you have been working and waiting for so long. Send a “Last minute information” Mail to all attendees with information about the time table, how to get there, the weather and everything else you want to tell. Go to the venue and meet with the staff for last questions and take care that everything is well prepared for tomorrow (so you can relax even more at the pre-conference event). Make a commitment with the staff of the venue when to meet at the next day – consider the time needed for last preparations so be there approx. 1.5 hours before official start.|
|here you are||Pre-Conference Event||If you decided to hold a pre-conference event then this evening your event starts. Remember that you have to get very early tomorrow 😉|
|#SITxxx event day!||This is the announced date for your SAP Inside Track event. Be punctual and as early as possible – you might face some unconsidered issues.|
|After-Conference Event||Everything is done – so now you can relax and have fun 😉|
|The day after|
|Evaluate feedback||Use a Google spread sheet for getting feedback on the whole event (location, food, beverages, atmosphere, …) and the presentations/sessions as well.|
|optional: SAP Press books vouchers||If you have won SAP Press as a sponsor of your Inside Track then you have to get in contact with them – this is just a reminder|