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What I expect at ASUG/ SAPPHIRE Now 2014

Whether this is your first time to attend the co-located ASUG Annual Conference and SAPPHIRE Now, or if you have attended many times, each year’s event has both returning events and something new on offer. My friend and SAP Mentor colleague Jim Spath has written an excellent post about missing the event this year. I was not sure if I was going to be approved for travel funding either, but just a few weeks ago my approval came through, so I had to pull together my plans in fairly short order. Here is a peek at what I expect at this year’s Orlando conferences.


I am not a huge fan of the keynotes either, but I do plan to attend Bill McDermott’s keynote to see if he has anything to say besides beating the drum for HANA-Fiori-Lumira-whatever is next’s week new shiny he might be trying to sell to us. ASUG’s keynote with guest speaker Captain Chesley B. “Sully” Sullenberger III is likely to be fairly typical of the ASUG keynotes: long on inspiration and rah-rah-rah, short on details to take away, but I could be pleasantly surprised. The guest keynote on Thursday morning with NBC TV’s Saturday Night Live alumni Dana Carvey, Kevin Nealon, and Dennis Miller, oh yes, and a few other speakers, too, might just get me into the convention center in the morning, which is always tough the morning after the Celebration Night. Speaking of the Celebration…

Celebration Night

Jon Bon Jovi strikes me as a very good choice for this event. You can read more about it here. I have been getting myself in the mood for the concert listening to his greatest hits double CD. Bring on the Bad Medicine! To me, Bon Jovi’s charitable work made him an obvious choice aligned with SAP’s own Corporate Social Responsibility initiatives, on top of his recent top grossing tour.

ASUG education sessions

My employer sends me to these conferences knowing that I spend a lot of time in ASUG volunteer and SAP Mentor activities, but they still expect me to bring back some learning to share with the team. The ASUG education program is considerably slimmed down, if not to say nearly emaciated, compared to that of years past, but I do expect to spend a good chunk of my time hearing from my fellow SAP customers. ASUG sessions I plan to attend include:

  • How Cargill Made More Efficient and Effective Use of GRC Emergency Access Management
  • SAP’s Fraud Management: Going Beyond Fraud
  • How Newell Rubbermaid Leveraged MSMP & BRFplus Workflows in SAP GRC 10 AC Implementation
  • Security Control Center by SAP Active Global Support
  • Trust but Verify? Auditing your Business Processes in SAP
  • Rooting Out Fraud, Bribery, and Corruption with SAP HANA Applications
  • Understanding SAP HANA Security Concepts and Mitigating Risks

If you have never attended any ASUG education sessions, I encourage you to find some of them in the session catalogue and add them to your agenda. ASUG members aren’t trying to sell you anything; they are just sharing their own hands-on experiences in the here and now, and telling you the good, bad, and sometimes ugly of their project, with lessons learned that you can take back and apply at your own implementation.

SAP Mentor and ASUG Volunteer activities

You can spot us by our shirts; both SAP Mentors and ASUG volunteers are generally seen wearing distinctive logo shirts. You may see us sitting in blocks at the keynotes. Here are some of us onstage at TechEd (photo courtesy of SAP photography):

5-28-2014 1-30-20 PM SAP Mentors.png

Many of us only see our colleagues at these events once a year, or less, so please excuse us if we seem engrossed in conversation. Both the SAP Mentors and the ASUG volunteers have new blood coming into their groups, and I am looking forward to meeting my new colleagues as well as reconnecting with long-time friends including the Mentor wranglers and ASUG staffers. If you spot us chatting with other attendees, feel free to step up and join the conversation.  If you spot us running down the corridor at top speed, stepping out of the way is probably a good idea; many of us are often double booked and tightly scheduled, resulting in racing from one end of the convention center to the other, all week long.

One place to meet ASUG volunteers is in the ASUG Hub, and I invite everyone to stop by when you get a chance between sessions. If you come by when I am there, I will be happy to help you get an ASUG logon account, find the ASUG Chapter nearest you, or answer other questions.

ASUG Community Meetings

One of the events I look forward to most at these conferences is my community meeting. Volunteers for ASUG SIGs and Chapters have the opportunity to schedule community meetings to introduce the volunteer leaders to the members, share what is going on with our community, and hear about member interests and concerns. I will be facilitating the Security and Internal Controls SIGs joint meeting, on Wednesday afternoon at 12:30, and I invite all my readers to attend. For those of you who are not yet ASUG members, these meetings are your chance to hear from members what ASUG has to offer and also hear what is on the minds of ASUG members. Wondering what to speak about at an ASUG Chapter meeting or SIG webcast? Come to our meetings and ask us.

I plan to follow up with another post on how this year’s conferences met my expectations, so stay tuned for a follow up from Orlando. Safe travels and see you all soon!

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      Author's profile photo Tammy Powlas
      Tammy Powlas

      Very good, Gretchen.  I look forward to seeing you next week.

      Next week be sure to tag your blog with #SAPCC per Marilyn Pratt challenge listed here Your mission, should you decide to accept it...

      Author's profile photo Marilyn Pratt
      Marilyn Pratt

      As I already commented to Jim Spath I'm ready to start the challenge now 😉

      So if Gretchen chooses to tag her blog #SAPCC I'll view it as part of my promissory note 😀 . It's all for a great cause Your mission, should you decide to accept it... I Care, I Gave, I Inspired

      Author's profile photo Jim Spath
      Jim Spath

      ASUG members aren't trying to sell you anything

      ASUG Installation members aren't...

      Author's profile photo Former Member
      Former Member
      Blog Post Author


      Yes, you are right, that is an important distinction. I suspect that due to the reduced numbers of ASUG education sessions this year, the speakers for most ASUG sessions are likely to be installation members, as that is generally the preference. But indeed, attendees should make note of who is giving any presentation whether the session is ASUG or SAPPHIRE Now, and consider their motivation.