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The Customer Empowerment Circus Arrives in Heidelberg

The 31st of January was one crazy day for the Customer Empowerment team. Due to a larger than expected planned turnout, we had to move the venue from the SAP Walldorf campus to Heidelberg in order to accommodate all those who said they were attending.

Bright and early, customers arrived at our Marriott conference room bringing us to a glorious 55 attendees. Some were local, others flew in for this event, but the idea of having face-to-face conversations with other SAP S/4HANA Cloud customers was an opportunity too good to miss. Always an effective icebreaker, we had everyone in the room stand up and introduce themselves. The customer attendee pool was a mix of individuals from the supply chain and finance lines of business, technical IT folk, and partners. Just about every role – from CIO to project manager – was represented in the room. The energy was exciting – as if attendees were making a mental checklist of individuals they wanted to talk to during the snack and lunch breaks.

True to form, we dived into the most stimulating topic first – the customer panel – which highlighted the journeys of Manthey Racing, Innovabee, and DEE GmbH. Instead of having a dedicated Q&A session towards the end, Luis Orama, Vice-President of Customer Success at SAP, moderated the panel masterfully sparking conversations from all sides of the room. Attendees were encouraged to ask their own questions and share their own experiences and feedback, really making the panel as interactive and inclusive as possible.

Next, Sven Denecken, SVP, and Head of Product Management and Co-Innovation, created a solid foundation for where the Intelligent Enterprise was going – inspiring a level of confidence and showing customers that technologies like machine learning and artificial intelligence were not as far away as they might think.

Like the themes of conversation from the Barcelona event, integration proved to be a passionate topic in Heidelberg as well. Presenters Hari Prasad Subramanyam, Global Customer Officer for Strategic Customer Engagements, from the SAP Cloud Platform Strategy & Product Management Team, Niklas Meinert from the SAP Cloud Platform Product Management Team, and Dirk Recktenwald, Director of Product Management Integration & Extensibility faced tough questions around this topic –and they answered thoughtfully and candidly. Integration is a work in progress. It isn’t there right now, but we, as a company, are committed to getting it where it needs to be. It was clear that everyone in the room appreciated the honesty.

Nowadays, reputation and integrity are everything. This is what the Customer Empowerment program is built on – matter-of-fact, candid conversations with the subject matter experts who are in the weeds with these issues day in and day out working to create solutions. And to do that, customer feedback is crucial.

  • When asked how the event went, over 50% of the audience ranked it as “Exceeding Their Expectation” with 44% scoring it as “Very Good”.
  • When asked for the top reasons this meeting was important to them, 26% answered that the “Right Information” was covered throughout the day, 8% said “Executive Direction”, 23% believed it was “Customer Networking”, 21% said “Expert Advice”, and 16% attributed it to “Relationship Building With SAP”.
  • When asked if they feel better prepared for the future by attending this event, 96% responded with an unequivocal “Yes”.
  • When asked which session they found the most beneficial, 22% said Sven’s “Introducing The Intelligent Enterprise”, 13% said Bill’s “Realization of the Cloud Promise”, 22% believed it was “Listening to Our Customers” (Luis’ customer panel), 26% answered Niklaus & Hari’s “SAP Cloud Platform for the Intelligent Enterprise” session, and 17% agreed on Dirk’s presentation on “SAP S/4HANA Cloud Integration”

From our own conversations with customers, they told us they wanted:

  1. More events like this
  2. More time for attendee networking

Rest assured, we will be incorporating both of the above into our 2019 event calendar. For more information on upcoming events, go to the In-Person Events page on the SAP S/4HANA Cloud Community. We are always updating and posting new events so please check back regularly. In case you missed it, you can find Part 1 of this blog recapping the Barcelona Customer Empowerment Day here.

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