One of the biggest customer events this year!

SAP hosted one of its most interactive technology events, the Product Innovation Summit, on September 18th and 19th 2014 and I had the pleasure of working with the organizing team this year. The event is an exclusive forum for SAP customers across India region, to meet the minds that help their business run better. Customers got to interact with developers about our latest advances in Cloud, Mobile, Application, User Experience and Database & Technology in a one of-its-kind Technology Innovation Campaign.

Although we have seen many tech events at SAP, what makes Product Innovation Summit special, is the focus on customer participation and a co-innovation.

Highlights of the event

  • 352 Customers across 197 Unique companies
  • 3 Keynote Sessions
  • 36 Lecture Sessions
  • 36 Demo Pods
  • 12 Influence Pods
  • 36 Usability Test Sessions
  • 114 Speakers
  • 2 Customer Corner Sessions

Keynote Sessions

The event started with a warm welcome and a keynote session by Srikanth Gopalakrishnan – Vice President, Product Management, SAP Labs India. Srikanth focused on the SAP mantra of simplicity – ‘Simplify Everything, so we can do anything’. He also elaborated on how and what SAP is doing to ‘simplify’ the solutions and businesses for our customers.

This was followed by a Customer Keynote session by Niranjan Bhalivade  CIO – CEAT, who spoke about how migrating to SAP HANA eased many major infrastructure overloads at CEAT, letting them take tactical decisions in real time and reacting faster to market changes.

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Dr. Heinz Haefner, SVP – P&I – Product Management & Customer Services, concluded the key note sessions for the day by explaining the importance of customer collaboration, and also explained the setup and the avenues available throughout the Product Innovation Summit where customers can engage with and influence SAP.

The atmosphere was exhilarating as eager customer filled the keynote and lecture sessions to a full house.

Format and content

To help customers identify and participate in sessions that are relevant to their business verticals and areas of interest, we classified the sessions along three tracks: Cloud and Mobile, Database and Technology, Applications and User Experience.

We had the responsibility of ensuring that the customers get to see the brightest ideas in product and technology. We carefully analyzed the target audience and ensured that the topics were vastly enriched from last year. All topics for the lecture sessions, demo pods and usability testing were thoroughly scrutinized and handpicked to outpace the industry.

Customers showed high enthusiasm in the Q&A sessions and the feedback collected after every lecture session stood above 90%, indicating that the speakers did an excellent job in keeping the session interesting and interactive.

The demo pods were designed to provide more detailed information on the product & technology. Each demo pod was handled by two developers from SAP who showcased demos of their products or technology to the participants visiting their pods.

Demo JAM

Piloted this year in the Product Innovation Summit, we invited customers to submit ideas and teamed them up with experts from SAP. Customers and developers worked together on developing these ideas into a working prototype, as a run-up to the event culminating in a Demo JAM.  These prototypes had 6 minutes to win over the audience and the judges, thus concluding an eventful first day in a competitive and thrilling way.

Usability Testing

Yet another new program introduced this year, we invited customers to experience our latest offerings in a hands-on manner. Customers tested 4 important applications across 36 test sessions during the two days. They not only got an exclusive preview of our software, but also got to interact with our development teams and provide their feedback, thereby influencing the future roadmap. It was a precious 60 minutes that the developers had with every customers, since they received direct and candid feedback – something that is very difficult through any other channel.

Influence Pods and Customer Corner Sessions

The Influence pods were designed to create awareness and drive innovations at SAP Labs through the customer engagements. 
Apart from the above, this year’s product innovation summit also witnessed 2 Customer Corner sessions. The developers in SAP were invited to participate in these sessions, and to interact with the customers (Asian Paints & Deloitte). During these sessions, customers shared their experiences on using SAP’s products and technology and their ask towards development community.

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The Team that Made it Happen

The PIS 2014 organizing team worked tirelessly since many months to make this event a huge hit! The passion and enthusiasm that everybody displayed reflected throughout the two days, and our customers loved that.

Post the successful event, Biju Balachandran, chief organizer for Product Innovation Summit, had this to say in his thank you note:

A lot of customers we spoke to confirmed that attending this event once a year, not only offered them a lot of product insights and learnings, but also presents them with networking & eco system support that enables them to stay ahead in the industry.

Product Innovation Summit has now become a remarkable avenue for customers to meet the brightest minds that help their business run better. We will be back again next year as we take PIS to new peaks, with the prospects higher and the possibilities – endless!

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1st Row from top, L-> R: Suhaib Mohammed, Vittal Gopinatha Pai, Krishna Ramadesikan, Akhil Raj, Sougato Chakraborty, Manik Anand, Priti Dhingra, Victor Stanley, Madhuri Muthyalu, Suresh Srinivasan, Deepak Leelavinothan, Manoj Kumar, Manikandan Rajasekar,Muni Ramaiah, Arvind Sharma, Jerin Scariah Abraham, Shweta S

2nd Row: Monica Santosh, Abhiraj Suman, Abhishek Nath, Amitabh Mishra, Vinod Vijayakumaran, Marco Dorn, Biju Balachandran, Heinz Haefner, Mohan Kumar Jayarama, Sunil Kumar, Ayan Pandey, Nikhil S Babu

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