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Be prepared

A decent preparation before heading to SAPPHIRE NOW can help to avoid unnecessary stress and ease your mind when the conference gets closer and closer.

Upon registration, you received a mail with a link to the main event website and important resources. Use these wisely to get acquainted with the options that are out there for you as an attendee. Don’t wait until there is only one week left before the conference because there is a vast amount of content available.

You can build up an agenda through the event website to get a planning going in terms of sessions to attend and things to do.

Don’t start just yet! Please read on for more tips before creating your agenda.

Enjoy and try not to exaggerate

The first conferences I have attended, I tried to do too much in too little time. This resulted in not eating properly, running around like crazy and getting stressed out because my planning got totally messed up. I ended up feeling exhausted and slightly disappointed because I didn’t get to do or see what I planned.

Since then I have changed the way I create my agenda for the conference. Focus on a number of “must see” or “must do” items. Leave sufficient room free to network, eat, take a break or do something unexpected. You can for example create a top three of what you want to get out of the conference and leverage those to help create your schedule.

Networking can be more powerful than you might expect

Don’t underestimate the knowledge that you can gain from talking to peers. One of the most powerful aspects of such a conference is networking. Networking is build into the conference so there are sessions that provide such opportunity, but networking is also all around the conference.

There are networking sessions, there are SAP partners hosting evening events, there is serendipity that steps in and gets you to talk to a random person, there are SAP Mentors that are attending the conference (around 50!) who are often keen on sharing knowledge and talking to other attendees, there are pre-events such as ASUG sessions, there is the SAP Partner summit, there are evening drinks at the hotel bar, there is a concert on the last day and much more. Some of those might require separate registration and payment so check out your option ahead of time.

To layer or not to layer

One of the things I didn’t expect the first time, was the temperature in the conference hall at SAPPHIRE NOW. Around the time of the year the conference takes place, it’s often hot outside in Orlando Florida so walking from the hotel to the conference in a shirt is fine. Inside the conference, the air conditioning is running and since plenty of business persons like to wear a suit to such a conference it isn’t exactly super warm inside.

For me this was something unexpected the first time I attended.  So, if you are sensitive to lower temperatures, bring layers because otherwise for you “winter is coming”.

Comfortable shoes if you plan to move around a lot

The SAPPHIRE NOW conference hall is huge. The first time I stepped into the conference hall, the sheer size took me by surprise.

As a SAP Mentor, we are having meetings with executives and teams of SAP and we move around plenty between the Hilton hotel where there are meeting rooms and the conference site where the conference takes place and sometimes the utter other end of the conference hall where there are other meeting rooms still. The distance is impressive and going from a session from one side of the hall to the other side of the hall, going from meeting to meeting, we walk a lot. So, for me, comfortable shoes are definitely a must to survive the days of the conference.

They should hand out awards to attendees who walk around on fancy shoes that are not comfortable. Again, it depends on how much distance you cover in a day but in general, if you want to attend multiple sessions, discussions, networking, keynotes and more, be prepared to walk a nice distance.

Read other blog posts to know more on how to prepare for SAPPHIRE NOW

I wrote this blog post before I read Tammy’s blog post so I noticed some overlap there so it must be true also. To know what the overlap is, you will have to go and read Tammy’s blog post. There are blog posts from the past, check Tammy’s blog post for those as well and there might be more blogs coming in terms of getting ready to prepare for SAPPHIRE NOW.

Last thing, super important

Bring your smile along with you and enjoy the event! Feel free to stop me and say “Hi Tom” if you spot me somewhere, it’s always nice to meet and get to know others, what they do in the SAP ecosystem and what their thoughts are on SAP in general and SAP’s direction and strategy more specifically.

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5 Comments

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  1. Tammy Powlas

    Excellent, Tom!

    I thought about writing a follow-up – such as “go eat at Denny’s” across the street – I know we’ve eaten there, Jim Spath, Steve Rumsby, etc.

     

    Looking forward to the conference.

    (1) 
    1. Tom Cenens
      Post author

      Thanks.

      Sounds like a plan to eat at Denny’s again. My hotel is a bit further down to the center (of what I think is the center) so I’ll use Uber to go back & forth.

      I’m looking forward to meet up with everyone again since it has been awhile that I was able to attend.

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  2. Jelena Perfiljeva

    If you’ve only attended TechEd in LV before, keep in mind that SAPPHIRE is about 3 times bigger both in terms of attendees and space you’ll need to navigate. Also I found the venue layout to be rather odd and inconvenient if you need to get somewhere from one side to another. At Sands Expo, there are multiple escalators, clear signs and not too long corridors. In Orlando, if you make a wrong turn – that’s it, you might as well be in a parallel universe.

    Even though I’ve already known about comfortable shoes sometimes I underestimated the sheer amount of time that finding the route and walking can take. Make sure you have minimum 15 min. between the events unless they’re next door. And make it 30 min. if you need to use a restroom or get water.

    I was surprised to see many ladies in the business suits and stilettos there, and I agree – they need an award! It was painful just to look at them but they were even smiling.

    (1) 
    1. Tom Cenens
      Post author

      I got lost a couple of times in terms of finding the right room (meeting rooms can be challenging) or place the last time I was at the conference but I found the staff was very helpful. I tend to ask if I don’t know where I’m going and I spot someone who’m I believe can point me in the right direction.

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