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After having been unable to attend last year’s SAP TechEd, now SAP TechEd && d-code, I’m excited to get back to Las Vegas and get my techy hat back out of the closet and dust it off.  As it relates to the daytime educational conference content, what I’m looking forward to the most is getting into the technical details underlying the latest SAP Business Planning and Consolidation release (10.1). Lucky for me, there are a couple of hands-on sessions that will allow me to get some screen time with the 10.1 release on HANA:

Minimizing Data Replication Using SAP Business Planning and Consolidation” (EA162) – I always enjoy Sheldon Edelstein’s sessions as they’re well-constructed and well thought out (his is EA162), so this one is a can’t miss for those working in the EPM/BPC space.  If I had a dime for every time I heard “we have to duplicate our data again?” from a customer, I’d be a rich man, so I’m all for ‘minimizing data replication’, so it will be good to see just how practical and easy it is in session EA162. 

Integrated Planning Solution with SAP Business Planning and Consolidation” (EA260) – When SAP bought Outlooksoft and turned it into BPC seven years ago (has it really been that long!?), it sent a lot of BI-IP folks clamoring, mostly about whether their recent investment in that product was in jeopardy.  Fast forward to BPC 10.1 on HANA and the new ‘Embedded’ Model and there is essentially the BPC front-end on top of a BI-IP like back-end (i.e, BW), seemingly the best of both worlds.  Only time will tell if those BI-IP customers will cutover to this latest BPC version, but it’ll be good to get a glimpse of how these pieces fit together in session EA260.

Other intriguing sessions for me are the closely related “Analysis Office and EPM Excel Client Unification” (EA216) and “Road Map Q&A: SAP BusinessObjects Analysis Office and EPM Excel Client” (EA817) as I’ve heard a lot of pleading in the SAP customer base for some direction on whether one of these two products would fall by the wayside as, quite frankly, a lot of people are tired of having to find a way to manage so many Excel add-ins and trying to make them play nicely together.  Hopefully this will give those of us an inclination as to what the future holds for these products and whether there is an end of life foreseen for one of them.

Unfortunately, I registered too late for the conference to sign-up for the 5-k—that would have been an interesting race to be a part of, so I’ll have to say that I’m most looking forward to is kickin’ it old school with Huey Lewis and the News.  Having just recently subjected my kids to the Back To the Future movie series, which HL&TN provides several songs for, it will take me back in time to the days of my youth. 

As far as advice for first-timers, I will offer a few brief tid-bits:  1) try to pace yourself – Las Vegas has a lot to offer, but take it easy for the first few nights so that you can make it through the week.  2) Be sure to actually sign-up for your two hands-on sessions as soon as you can so that you can reserve your spot!  3) Check out the “Session Level” on the Agenda Builder as a guide to each session’s skill set level.  You may find yourself in an ‘Advanced’ session when you may be a ‘Beginner’ and could find yourself totally in over your head.  4) Lastly, try to make it to DemoJam, if you can, because it can be quite entertaining to see how creative people can be with seemingly (and typically) boring enterprise software.

I hope that each of you enjoy TechEd whether it’s your first time going or you’ve attended too many times to count!

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