WARNING: This post will either make your blood boil, or will sort of resonate with your view, based on the people I’ve spoken with this year.

If you are in the first camp, please try and think of it as a quiet word from a really good friend who has your best interests at heart. If you don’t think you can do that, I suggest you read no further. So…

As an opener, I have thoroughly enjoyed TechEd this year in Barcelona. But, and there has to be a but, it is starting to show its age.

  • The idea of paying to get access to content is a little outdated now.
  • Having people travel from all over Europe and beyond to see and hear someone give a presentation in person seems almost quaint.
  • And, we are an awfully male, and awfully white, and awfully 40+ biased demographic as far as attendees go.

However…

  • Talking about ideas, and hearing other’s plans, I love.
  • Asking and answering questions with deep subject matter experts and product owners is invaluable.
  • Socialising with kindred spirits and being able to unleash your inner geek, I can’t get enough of.

So, I don’t want to be just critical and not offer any ideas, so here a few thoughts, to dismiss and disregard as you feel suits.

  • Simulaneous, mini TechEd’s with streamed content. The streaming is open to all. The content is open to all. The value, and hence the fee, is for SAPInside track type events, to discuss themes and network locally/regionally alongside the content.
  • In parallel, run openSAP courses, in person, in a day, and ship in university students and apprentices to bring some energy and enthusiasm and to become the new army SAP needs to make its ecosystem thrive.
  • Curated social media streams around topics to make content discoverable for those not there in person.
  • Provide some soft skills content, around career, communication, stress, diversity to attract a wider audience.
  • Consider adding a functional stream, showing our colleagues in business process roles how Tech can be used for them.

So I’m summary, I love aspects of TechEd, but, I worry that without disruptive change, it will struggle to make another 20 years.

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3 Comments

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  1. Michael Appleby

    Interesting perspective, but you might also consider that it is an opportunity to go face to face (as well as get out of the office for a few days) with people you probably already interact with electronically and frequently.  My biggest benefit of going to TechEd Amsterdam (2013) was meeting those same people in person.  As far as the age and demographics, I think you are correct in saying it should change.  Sadly, the age, to some fairly large degree, dictates status and experience in corporate ecosystems and their ability to scarf up the budget to travel.

    Demographics are a different issue and I have no ideas there.

    Cheers, Mike

    SAP Technology RIG

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  2. Ian Daniel Post author

    Hi Mike,

    I completely agree that the bulk of the benefit comes from face to face time, my only observation was for most of the delegates I saw, it was not face to face with the presenters, but more, other participants, and often around geography too. So, I’d have got nearly as much from a UK teched meet up, with streamed content, with a wider UK audience, based on a reduced price. This would allow more people to benefit, and hopefully push down some of the barriers to entry.

    Equally, I’d happily travel for an architecture focused meet up, where all European architects meet, with streamed content, and then some more interactive sessions with other delegates in person.

    Again, just thoughts, and no magic bullets.

    Cheers,

    Ian

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