I am your SIT reporter. And with this new blog series I would like to give you some interesting insights. Let’s start today with some basic information, a short historical review around the globe and questions about this event.
Before we go into detail I would like to start with a brief introduction and some basics on SIT that might be new to some SAP colleagues, community members or customers.
What is SIT and why is its atmosphere so special?
SIT is a community event where SAP Community Network members come together to share knowledge about SAP related topics. It is low-cost, often sponsored or even free and informal: everyone who is interested may take part. There are no rules, only guidelines and these are pretty loose (e. g. presentations are open info exchanges or discussions). So, everyone can profit or contribute: act as presenter, take part in discussions, exchange information, realize networking or enjoy the social get-togethers in the evening (or additional regular tables). To keep you up to date about the actual SITs you may follow SIT on Twitter.
“SIT is a source of inspiration; a great opportunity to meet others and people who use SAP software, people they really have the pain to use it.”
Who can organize a SIT?
Everyone can organize a SIT event. All you need is to complete an SIT Impact Form (please contact AJ) to request monetary support from SAP for your event. The monetary support is for food/room bookings/stationeries but not for travel expenses. If you have further questions (e. g. about IT, live streaming, recording) you may look at this info blog and contact our SCN space moderator AJ. To prepare the organization you can use Eventbrite as registration tool, the SIT logo generator, Wiki for an openly visible attendee list (example), or for an easy Wiki-table agenda (agenda.sitfra.de) you may get some hints from one of the SIT Frankfurt organizers Christian Braukmüller, Hendrik Neumann or even create your individual SIT App for it. Also helpful are the Top Twelve Tips for Successful Inside Tracks. Create a blog here to announce your SIT event, the speakers, the attendees, and also the sponsors. SCN wants to support your event through the official SAP Community Network channels on Twitter, Facebook and Youtube (don’t forget to include the registration link and a hashtag (recommended hashtags are #SAPMentor, #SCN and #SITxxx where xxx stands for country or city). After the event it is recommended to conduct a survey by using Google Forms or SurveyMonkey (example) and to post a wrap-up blog in SCN to showcase the impact of your event.
What is the role of the SAP Mentors?At every SIT you can notice people (“men/women in black or blue”) dressed with special T-shirts with big numbers on their back, to discover the secret behind these numbers you may just ask them, it is the SAP Mentors. So, SAP Mentors are the top community influencers of the SAP Ecosystem. All of them are hands-on experts of an SAP product or service, as well as excellent champions of community-driven projects. This group is made up of about 160 experts and they are trusted community advisers that help SAP’s customers and partners make the best out of their investment in SAP, nominated by the community and selected by the SAP Mentors Advisory Board. Here you can get further information.
When did the first SIT take place?
A short flash-back in history: Some of you may remember that before SIT there was a Community Day, there was a SDN Day and before the SDN Day there was a SDN meets Labs in Palo Alto and in Walldorf.
The first SIT was founded in 2009 in the UK (London) by Nigel James and Darren Hague. They created also the name for it: ‘SAP Inside Track’. Topics like SSO and Metadata were already on the plate and a learn-from-each-other-brain-storming-session, also a topic wish list was included on the Wiki page. Having created this starting point, a lot of other countries followed with their own SITs, like NL in Eindhoven, US in Palo Alto, Canada in Montreal, Brazil in Sao Paulo…
How did the SIT move forward?
In 2010 the first German SIT took place in Bonn, followed by Turkey with Istanbul, Israel with Ra’anana, India with Bangalore and Australia with Sydney. Let’s take the SITs in Germany (Bonn) and in Israel (Ra’anana) as examples for that year. SIT Bonn, organized by the SAP Mentors Thorsten Franz and Tobias Trapp started with a special technical configuration: The voice of the conference system was picked up by a microphone and led to a guitar amplifier. So music played an important role at this SIT, as the air guitar playing is shown on the picture. And one of the impressive topics was the non IT-related presentation about the use of ontologies and its engagement in a social project in Germany called “Stolperstein” (stumbling block) about paving public places with cobblestones, engraved with the name of past Jewish people from the neighborhood, who were murdered by the Nazis. And it was Christian Braukmüller’s first SIT: ”Reaching an empty business park on an early foggy Saturday morning, entering the silence of an office building at a non-working day – and being overwhelmed by rooms filled with SCN folks: my all-time Community heroes sharing their thoughts. Wow!” From the SIT Ra’anana, initated by Gali Kling Schneider, there is a Youtube video and one of the key topics were the augmented reality and an close look into the SAP Research Center in Ra’anana.In 2011 the already mentioned countries took part in realizing a SIT, and onboarding Italy with SIT Milan, which was organized by Sergio Ferrari, providing an interview of the “ABAP Ninja” Andrea Olivieri and a results questionnaire. Then came the SIT down-under, initiated by Graham Robinson with a demo jam challenge and real business scenarios.
For 2012 let’s have a look at the “dutch mafia” event, led by Twan van den Broek in Eindhoven (see recap) where Design Thinking came on stage (remotely presented by Phil Loewen). Another topic was security: “How to hack into your ABAP or Java system and how to prevent someone hacking into your system?” #sitNL is the traditional SIT recap with many fresh insights at the end of the SAP TechEd. Also in 2012 Singapore had its first SIT, organized by Jansi Rani Murugesan and Marek Kowalkiewicz, India with SIT Hyderabad, initated by Vinoda Macha.
For 2013 I would like to mention the SIT from Manchester, organized by Tim Guest, DJ Adams and Philip Kisloff, who created a SIT Logo-Generator (see below) and where user-experience was the key topic and a clear strategy for SAP mobility a big discussion point. Newcomer were countries from the east, like Poland with the SIT Wroclaw (Breslau) had its first attempt.
To get more participants, initiator Witalij Rudnicki changed the approach starting monthly evening meetups with knowledge sharing and beer being served. This group has grown to more than 200 people until now, and it helped to have enough participants for the SIT 2015 (with two code jams about SAP Web IDE and Hybrid App Toolkit and IoT with SAP HANA Cloud Platform) and, sure, for SIT 2016. And also Czech Republic with SIT Prague, organized by the company MERIIS and Daniel Riegel from SAP ČR: SAP Mobile Platform and its management with SAP Afaria and SAP HANA providing fast real-time data platform were hot topics at that year.
Should we charge a fee to attend Inside Track? This was the central question that came up on the SIT Sheffield organized by Tim Guest in UK 2014 because 135 people had registered but only 55 people decided to attend the event. Even if there were good arguments for charging the attendees, SIT remains to be a free or low-cost event until now. In the same year after the SIT Hyderabad in India Mahesh Kumar CV initiated a survey that got very good ratings. Besides of these, SITs in Chennai, India, with 255 participants (main topics: “the power of HANA Cloud” and SAP Mobility) and in Oslo, Norway (main topics: using HTML5 inside the SAP GUI; getting sensor data to the cloud) were new. In general 2014 was a special SIT year for India: 6 SITs took place in 5 differents cities, so 455 participants were counted for the second SIT 2014 in Hyderabad.
Concerning 2015, among others, the SITs in Walldorf, Germany (value of the community; marketplace; Splash and BUILD), in Joinville, Brazil (held in Portuguese language), Kingston, in Jamaica (Cloud for Analytics, Data Visualization), Tokyo with 300 attendees and realized as a 4 day event (day 1: HANA & Analytics; day 2: HCP & Cloud Integration; day 3: S/4HANA Technology; day 4: UX/Fiori Technology) and Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia (Lumira, HANA for Telecom, Big Data) were new SIT hosts.
The survey look back at the SITs in 2015 shows which SIT had the most attendees. Hyderabad was the winner with 310, followed by the newcomer Tokyo with 300. I want to mention also two smaller SITs, the SIT in Palo Alto with 50 attendees, initiated by Njål Stabell and Moya Watson, and listed in the diagram below under San Francisco and the SIT in Walldorf, organized by Katarina Fischer and Daniel Koller, with 70 attendees, you will find it in the diagram under Heidelberg.
2016 has started well with a SIT in Frankfurt that was perfectly organized by a professional core team. The crisp agenda and info presentation included topics like IOT, Smart City, or HANACar. SITS in Mississauga, Canada and Gurgaon, India are new and planned to come in June.
And besides of this: C’est ce qui manque est évidemment un SIT en France. Où sont les Français? Allô Paris?
So, a lot of SITs take place around the world in parallel, they are not centrally planned but all mentioned from 2014 on in a central Wiki page and announced especially via Twitter.
“SIT is a community meeting for developers, people of different companies share knowledge on a non-commercial base.”
Please, stay tuned. In the second part we will get some insights from well-known SIT organizers, check how satisfied SIT participants are and what their actual wishes are. In the third part we will take interviews with you, the SIT attendees … and above all we are curious about your feedback.
Disclaimer: This blog series content is based on my view/perspective and has only the intention of giving something back to our SCN community. I can’t mention all SITs or people engaged in it.