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(Title shamelessly stolen from David Ippolito)

Just back from Barcelona I’ll try to share my impressions of this year’s main SAP technology event.


Happy Birthday!

Before we forget – TechEd is 20 this year, so it’s time to celebrate (and celebrate we did!). I’ll also ponder about the future farther down, but let’s start with all the good stuff).


TechEd  ==  Community

To me TechEd has always been about the people, and not at all about the technology (sorry…). I do not want to downplay the massive efforts to transport technology knowledge to customers, partners and developers, but as an SAP employee I’m immersed in that all year anyway, and to me the interactions with other visitors provide value I can’t get anywhere else.

I may also be a bit biased. As part of that group called the SAP Mentors, who – by definition – are prime examples of living and breathing community I have experienced the enrichment that community can give, and the good feeling of sometimes being able to give back. If you want to experience that yourself I invite you to visit one of the many SAP Inside Tracks and I’m sure you’ll understand.

I was extremely happy to see that this year also saw the much asked-for return of the ‘official’ SAP Community representatives (even though the name we heard more often this year was “The LEGO People” – branding ain’t easy).

SCN, the SAP Community Network, just saw another technology re-birth recently, a much talked about topic at TechEd (the word “tag” seems to have been mentioned a lot. “Backlog” no less 😉 )

In the age of social networks, and many alternative channels such as Twitter, Jam, Slack, Stack Overflow and others SCN may no longer be the only place where SAP technologies are being discussed, but it will always be a special one.

FUN!

One way to measure the success of Community is when people find together over common passion, and invest time and effort to share that passion with other people. The SAP TechEd Jam Band, this year branded as the “SAP HCP Jam Band”, is living proof. If you manage to get corporate officers to join the band (and come back!) you know you’ve got something going – and you know you have awesome corporate officers!

Technology!

Even though I purposely did not book any sessions I have had lots and lots of great conversations with people happy to share their new technologies. It’s when you see the passion in their eyes when you understand how proud they are to shape the future.

HCP definitely is the future for SAP – it was pervasive at TechEd. You also had a hard time avoiding IoT which is discussed EVERYWHERE. Even though there are many new developments Mobile is so ubiquitous it doesn’t even immediately appear as a separate category, it has become the new normal.

Pondering…

Having said all that, this year felt different. I couldn’t quite put it into words immediately, but then I read Ian Daniel’s blog:

TechEd is Tired at 20

A lot of what Ian writes resonates with me. Here’s a few of my critical thoughts:

  • This year all the sessions, even the community network sessions, happened in a separate area away from the main floor. That meant that you couldn’t just drop by and listen in. I know everybody complained about the noise from the show floor in recent years, but in my opinion this is the other end of the range.
  • I understand that having hands-on sessions is important for many people, but I’m wondering if that kind of knowledge transfer could not be served by serving those sessions as mini-OpenSAP courses instead. _Then_ come to TechEd and do something creative with your knowledge.
  • While sessions were overbooked all the time and many more people wanted in many presentations in the theatres had lots of free seats. Again, frontal lectures are probably a waste of time and space and could maybe be served otherwise as well.
  • Can we please get the Community Clubhouse back? This used to be a place of many a great conversation which is missing. There was a lot of open floor space that sometimes looked empty.
  • I’m sure a beach party is a highlight for many visitors, but having an event on-site would maybe get more people to stay and mingle. Food & drinks are fine, I rate conversations higher.

I’m sure I could come up with more, but I’d rather give it some time to settle. I dearly love TechEd for the opportunity it presents, and I’ll hope the community will see many many more!

Oh, I also took a couple of pictures – head on over to the Googles and have a look if you’re interested:

https://goo.gl/photos/hDmBU2e7t1meDcnC8

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2 Comments

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  1. Jason Cao

    Hi Frank,
    Thank you for sharing such a balanced recap of your experience at SAP TechEd. You’ve listed many things I see as highlights as well for TechEd (ie. community, technology and fun).

    One of the tips SAP Mentors shared in a recent SAP Community Call to help attendees get the most from TechEd was to “do something you would normally not do.” Whether is dancing to the music of the HCP Jam Band, or striking up a conversation with an attendee you’ve not met before, the reward from exchanging a smile and a handshake will surely outweigh the risk of feeling uncomfortable.
    Many attendees do expect to get education and content from TechEd for their time and money. So some critical feedback, new ideas and clear expectations are always helpful to make the conference better in the future.

    Frank – thank you for the pictures! They are always so vibrant and you do such a good job of capturing the energy and emotion of the moment.

    (1) 

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