Oh no, Jim Spath is already ahead of me in The SAPPHIRE Mentor Blog-off! Time to catch up.
In case you’ve missed my status update and other SCN posts – this week I’m partying attending ASUG/SAPPHIRE conference in Orlando.
On Monday (AKA Day 0, which oddly makes me think about some global pandemic rather than SAP conference) apart from ASUG pre-conference sessions (extra fees) there is not the whole lot going on. For lack of other entertainment I arrive much earlier for the 8 pm Mentor reception at the Hilton hotel to scout the location and immediately run into none other but the newly knighted fellow Mentor Matt Fraser. The “teenage girl at The Beatles concert” level excitement ensues.
The “OMG! OMG!” continues as I notice Marilyn Pratt and finally get to meet Jim ‘The Legend’ Spath in person. It is also great to dispense hugs to many other Mentor family members as well as to meet the new guys and girls. Susan Keohan dispenses some suspicious star-shaped devices that we need to give to a non-Mentor and take a picture of the lucky recipient as being “touched by the Mentor”. I might be a bit fuzzy on details but heck, if Sue says I’ll roll with the program.
On the way back to the hotel room some gentleman notices my colorful Mentor shirt and asks: ‘Do you work for SAP?’. Ugh, <facepalmslap>. ‘No, kind sir, I just sort of work with them’. ‘Well, you look like a walking ad for them!’ – he blurts out. Oh dear.
‘Good Morning’ SAPPHIRE style
Day 1 (AKA Tuesday) starts with a keynote 1 out of 4. We arrive about 20 minutes earlier and – holy shnikes! – this place is huge!!! First the car drove around forever, now we’re walking forever to arrive at the keynote site that is the size of an average stadium or two. Others must have been camping there since last night because the only remaining seats are occupied by the bags, coffee cups and are reserved for some mysterious Media Analysts. The Mentors didn’t get any assigned seating and were told to disperse among the mortals. Which is where I end up somewhere in what looks like might be a different tax jurisdiction.
The keynote (presented by Bill McDermott) is called ‘Run Simple’ (watch replay here). From what I’ve seen and experienced, my own and SAP’s definitions of “simple” don’t frequently agree, so I find myself having a mental argument with the keynote’s talking points almost Beavis and Butt-head style (smirks et al). The biggest point that deserves mentioning – there was a lot of talk about ‘data’, ‘digital economy’ and ‘things’ but the biggest part, in my opinion, is still people. And when we understand that, the complex questions presented at the very beginning would not seem so complex anymore. ‘How do I find and retain talent…’. Um, have you tried just treating people nicely? Not as “the employee number 70879” but as, you know, a human being?
On a bright side, the keynote finishes 20 minutes earlier, for which I’m sincerely grateful because finding a room for the first session is a bit more complex than I expected. While I’m standing in the middle of the show floor looking for a way out, another attendee (obviously mislead by the shirt) rushes to me asking ‘are you giving directions?’. I point him to the virtual map few steps away. Helpful Mentor mission accomplished!
On the long way to the lecture location I find some ASUG posters that look eerily cult-like:
Lots and lots of suits all around (the escalator looks like one big grayish wave), this is a major departure from TechEd where jeans and casual shirts were prevalent. Ladies in high heels and gentlemen dragging around roll on briefcases. This is definitely not your SAP “techie” crowd.
First session BT1453 ‘Warner Bros.: Technical Deployment and Support Considerations for Running SAP Business Suite on SAP HANA’ turns out to be geared towards hard-core Basis folks (i.e. not me), but the presenters do a decent job and, judging by the reaction from the room, people to whom it made sense seemed happy. Unfortunately due to lack of time I didn’t get to ask the most important questions about Batman vs. Superman or whether HANA is helping Warner Bros. to make better movies.
There was a huge line to get lunch and food made me think of TechEd quite fondly. (This information should be of special interest to Paul Hardy 😉 .)
Second session BT404 ‘Build Your Own Hybrid, Mobile SAP Fiori Apps Rapidly Using SAP Web IDE’ left me slightly confused. I didn’t quite get what would be the specific advantages of hybrid apps (this seemed an important distinction) but at the same time IDE itself seemed simple enough and hardly worthy of a designated session. (Really, if IDE requires special explaining then it’s just not very good.) I might have missed something, but it would’ve been nice hear to more practical advice.
The last session EA2331 ‘SAP Architecture Support for Enterprise Architects – From Business Process to Landscape Planning’ was actually quite enjoyable since I could understand every word (finally!). We were told about different sites for SAP solution, innovation, etc. discovery and planning. One of those tools I already commented about on SCN. Pretending to ask a question I got a chance to rant to the unsuspecting presenters that SAP seems to hide information too well.
I shamelessly skip keynote 2 out of 4 to meet Kristen Scheffler (AKA The SCN Fairy Godmother) and the enlightening conversation with her is without a doubt highlight of the day. Kristen also graciously agreed to be my “touched by the Mentor” and I even upgraded it to “hugged by the Mentor”. Top that, you guys! 🙂