Day 1 of SAP TechEd 2020 is in the books, and there’s plenty to let sink in – here are my initial thoughts.
First off, very well-produced show – massive improvement to what we saw in summer at SAPPHIRE NOW. I loved the all-digital studio and the blending of live content and recorded clips. A great melange and reassuring to see SAP gets ‘digital.’ Also, I truly enjoyed the line-up of well-known community peeps, developer advocates, and seeing some of the next generation paving the way! SAP got such a deep bench of talented & genuine employees, and it’s great to see them in the spotlight! Well played.
The session catalog
Content is king, and there’s plenty of valuable sessions. Good to have more and shorter ones compared to the past. But why were so many interesting sessions booked out from the get-go? Makes little sense in a virtual format, but there’s hope that they’ll make that content available afterward.
That said, I’m still looking for a “What’s currently on/Upcoming sessions” type of page on the website – is it missing, or am I just not able to find it?
Personally, I could have listened to Beth Shores and Craig Cmehil going down memory-lane on previous SAP TechEd conferences for much longer, even though it did trigger this ‘TechEd Withdrawal syndrome’ to a certain degree. Still, very casual and nice opening to the show, and I can think of no one better suited to do this than Craig. A cameo of Marilyn Pratt and Mark Finnern would have been the icing on the cake! 😉
First off, Juergen Mueller was very confident and authentic, and the delivery of the keynote was spot-on. I also liked the ingredients and length of the keynote and the fact that SAP is very open and transparent on the execution side and admitting where there’s room for improvement. It seems like Christian Klein’s leadership style and values are being cemented -that’s a very positive signal and the best way to forward.
One example of this was when Juergen spoke about the Intelligent Enterprise program’s deliverables and the progress being made on the Suite Qualities (Wave 1). Apparently, they moved from 15% completion to 80% on these critical topics. Good to know – but what is still missing and when to expect those deliverables was not mentioned. And that was one thing I noticed in general; given the virtual format, it would have been so valuable to get some idea on which sessions go into more detail on the topics being mentioned in the keynote. As-is, one needs to search the extensive session catalog for further information.
He then continued to speak about the various developer personas and the whole spectrum from no-code to low-code to pro-code. These have been topics near and dear to my heart for a long time, and hence I am excited to hear SAP’s take on it. Again, there were few details, and I would be very interested to hear how SAP envisions these personas to work together and how the tooling supports this collaboration. I’m staying tuned for more.
The admission that SAP needs to get better at becoming the most developer-friendly company is raising expectations on that front. All the announcements about an extended trial period for SAP Cloud Platform, free learning offerings, etc., are good first(!) steps in that direction. Also, judging from the strong presence of the Developer Advocacy and Community Teams at SAP in the whole TechEd show makes one hope that these departments – and their agendas – are getting more traction: good!
The biggest news I recall was the newly introduced multi-tenancy feature for the ABAP offering as part of SAP Cloud Platform (Project Steampunk). That is very exciting news and will certainly help to get further traction on moving the ABAP developer base towards the cloud and embracing side-by-side extensibility scenarios. I need to do further research before commenting more on this topic, though. Besides that, there were only a few minor announcements – but that is not necessarily a bad thing as steady progress on the main pillars: Integration, Extensibility, and Data-to-Value is critical anyhow.
That said, I don’t remember Juergen talking about “Business Services” at all in the keynote, or did I miss it? This topic was a key element in SAP’s positioning related to the hyper-scalers and the poster child of how the company intends to separate itself from the more technical portfolios of AWS, Azure, and Google. I probably need to look into the new roadmaps being shared at roadmaps.sap.com/go/btp.
In the same vein, I was expecting more details on the SAP Graph and One Domain model; both essential parts to tackle the integration challenges being reported back from all SAP user groups worldwide. I guess that’s just a consequence of a short, crisp keynote, and there are dedicated sessions on these important topics to go deeper.
All in all, the keynote provided a comprehensive framing for the coming days, and it featured a solid mix of quick demos on key topics, selected customer stories, and the SAP Mentors acting as the community sounding board. In short: a good combination, nicely packaged and delivered!
So, Day 1 has me hungry for more, and I’m looking forward to two more days of SAP TechEd. Wish I could have continued with the Developer Keynote this morning, but why was it scheduled at stupid-o’clock at 5 am CET? Guess I have to wait for the replay, but from what I got at Twitter it has been an informative & exciting session, plus more importantly, all the good stuff (read: tutorials) the Developer Advocacy team has been working on is available on Github. Nice!
Alright, that’s it… I’d like to wrap this up with a shout-out to all the people at SAP that must have been working super hard the last couple of months to reboot the SAP TechEd experience this year – great job!
Special shout-out to: Craig Cmehil, Cecilia Huergo, Thomas Grassl, Svea Becker, Ian Thain, Maximilian Streifeneder, Rich Heilman, Thomas Jung, Mynyna Chau, DJ Adams, Rui Nogueira …. was great seeing you on the big screen. Keep rocking!