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Author's profile photo Michelle Crapo

SAPTeched 2020 – Flop or Success?

My blog post is not really a review of Teched day 1 or 2 or whatever this day is.   (I just know I’m getting very little sleep)  My post is about what I think about the virtual format.

Worried:

It had me worried.  I’ll admit it.  When they first told us what we were doing for community sessions.  what was going to happen with regular sessions, and how to ask questions, I didn’t know what to think.  So I stayed positive.  Thought happy thoughts and posted here about how excited I was.  Because, you know, it’s TECHED.  I love Teched.

QUESTIONS!!!!

More questions were asked.  Every session that allowed questions got them.  I noticed more people than ever before where asking questions.   The ability to upvote a question was perfect.  Why?  Because a lot of people where thinking of the same questions I did.

Questions.  More were asked but some were not.   Strange.   But really kind of normal.  In person they were never all answered.  A lot of people were left out who had a question, but the session ran out of time.

So if you have any questions for me at all – well I blog a lot.   You can also direct message me.

Any other questions that didn’t get answered?  I have no idea what is going to happen.  Perhaps there will be some follow up.  But maybe not.  If it was your question or one you upvoted, that could be a frustrating part of the virtual event.  But there was a lot more going on.

Content!!!!

Well go take a look at the sessions.  And there are so many that haven’t even aired yet.  The content was what I would expect from a Teched.  Perhaps even better.  Better?  Yes, better because there was more of it.  And I’m getting to go to a lot more sessions than I normally would.

Hands-on!!!!

Yes, I was one of the lucky ones who signed up for a hands-on session and got in.  That was a problem.   There were so many people.  I have no idea how it could have been made any better.

Anyway my hands-on sessions was hands down (pun intended) the best one I’ve ever been to.   I was home.  I could relax and enjoy.  I had control of the computer without anyone watching every keystroke.  In my hands-on the presenters were brilliant.  Normally prior to your development, the presenter will quickly run through the demo.  Quickly – I’m guessing they would have had a bit of practice.  My presenters had a “volunteer”.  He had a question and they asked to display his screen.  The volunteer went through the exercises.  He was doing the demo piece.  His pace was a normal pace.  I was able to keep up with him.  He asked questions that I would have.   Wow!  Just wow.   That was so cool.

Running between sessions!!!!

Avoided.  I have to love that.  I did miss some of the networking that we did outside of the sessions.  But it was a trade off.  Not having to leave a session early to get to a different one was a nice change.

Needed a filler in between?   There is always Channel 1.  I hung out there in between sessions.

Want to find a different session?  Double click in your white space on your calendar.  It would bring up a list of live sessions.  No need to open and close doors to go to a different session.

Limited people from work who were allowed to go!!!!

No limits.  It was free.  It was on-line.  Some people might have only been able to catch a few sessions in between meetings.  But that was better than before.  You know when you have a 20 people team and only 1 or 2 could go.

By the way, my dogs who normally only get to listen to me practice actually got to see Teched this year.   They were not impressed.  Sometimes taking a snooze, sometimes leaving the room.  But that’s what they did when I practiced my speeches.

Missing!!!!

Interaction with other people.  Although there were some great discussions on Discord.   I have to say that was my biggest issue.

Some questions didn’t seem to get answered.

Limited hands-on.  Although I’m not sure how it could be better.

And I must say, I told my husband today that I was missing cookies, snacks, great lunches, and dinners.   I suggested he create them for me.  He just laughed.

**** Update: 

Questions are answered and saved if they are not.  The plan is to answer them, but if your question doesn’t get answered ask here.   Hands-on or workshops will be offered here in the SAP Community.   Sign up is again limited and don’t ask me where.  I just heard it at Teched!

Overall

  • Content: A+
  • Questions: A+ = Changed 12/10 they listened they suggest asking here if  they don’t get answered
  • Hands-on : A+ =  More hands-on offered HERE – no idea where but how cool is that!
  • Availability: A+
  • Cost: A++
  • Value to myself: A+ (I’m going to try to use what I learned shortly.  It’s a little older technology Personas, but I haven’t done one yet.)
  • Sleep: D-  There are just too many good sessions in different time zones.
  • Free deal:  Limited Learning Hub  A+
  • Entertainment: B+

So overall it’s been amazing.  It’s an A in my book.  It’s a success, and it’s not finished yet.

BTW – you really want to sign up.  At the very least you’ll get the limited learning hub.

My blogs are usually missing pictures.  So here one is courtesy of Jerry Janda .  It’s on Tammy Powlas session on Free tools to support move to SAP S/4 HANA.  If you are getting ready to make the move – I really recommend the session.

So – how about you?

How are you finding Teched?   Are you enjoying it?  Hating it?  Is it a flop or a success for you?

 

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      Author's profile photo Peter Spielvogel
      Peter Spielvogel

      Hi Michelle,

      I agree with your assessment. I would bump up the grade on questions to a B, as we had people asking about many different topics related to the product presentation. Similar to a live event.

      For me, the big surprise was Channel 1. What I expected would be "filler" content was interesting, thought provoking, and on a wide variety of topics, including non-technical ones. I liked the mix of live studio interviews, video interviews, and some of the virtual reality sets. Maybe there was a schedule, but I tuned in between sessions and was often pleasantly surprised by what was on.

      On the other side of the hands-on (as a presenter/facilitator), I was a bit disappointed. We had full registration and a waiting list, but the room was not full. Part of this could have been scheduling, as we were too late for East coast U.S. and too early for Europe. But, the people who attended seemed to enjoy the session and learn what they came to learn. So, I might lower the hands-on grade to B+.

      Overall, an excellent TechEd. But, I really missed the networking, random hallway encounters, and festive atmosphere.

      I hope the next one is in-person. And we can grab a coffee together.

      Regards.
      Peter

       

      Author's profile photo Michelle Crapo
      Michelle Crapo
      Blog Post Author

      It was so hard to get those hands-on that even with the time difference, I would think they would have been full.  The one I went to was 5:10 AM EST.  (My time)  You just get up to enjoy what you would like.  Or stay late and get up early.  Something like that.

      I'd like that - to go grab a coffee. That assumes a lot.  Like I get to go.  And we can finally have in-person events.

      Stay healthy,

      Michelle

       

      Author's profile photo Jelena Perfiljeva
      Jelena Perfiljeva

      Hi Peter! I see Michelle Crapo bumped up the rate for the questions to A but I feel your B assessment is more adequate. It was not clear to the attendees how Q&A was going to work. My expectation was that at least the top voted questions would be answered (or, at minimum, acknowledged) but that didn't happen consistently. I suspect the presenters also might not have been clear on this (in 2 sessions not a single question was answered, for example).

      As Michelle posted, it looks like questions were saved and they might get answered on SCN. This is great and it'd make sense for some rather philosophical or provocative questions. But again, how many people actually know that (I've just read about it here) and how would they find those answers on SCN? This doesn't seem to be convenient at all to the attendees.

      Best and simpler solution would've been to make the procedure clear and then follow it. E.g. say questions are accepted till 10-15 min before the session ends (or leave them open for 10 extra minutes) and if there are too many to answer then you can do X.

      Now I honestly do not remember all the questions I had that remained unanswered. Some of them were related to specific session's content.

      Author's profile photo Peter Spielvogel
      Peter Spielvogel

      Hi Jelena,

      Regarding some sessions having no questions getting answered, I know that some of the presenters were not able to enter the Q&A panel to start the process. This was frustrating for them too.

      As far as answering later on SCN, this is only possible if the presenter captured the questions. The platform did not save them and auto-forward to the session owner, which I would have expected.

      I agree that setting the right expectations up front generally makes for a better experience for everyone.

      Regards,
      Peter

      Author's profile photo Gregory Misiorek
      Gregory Misiorek

      FWIW, and for the sessions i was able to attend, ie not being prevented by ghost overbooking and stuck waitlists, i think almost all my questions were answered.

      cheers and i will look for everyone on discord,

      gm

      Author's profile photo Pierre COL
      Pierre COL

      I was surprised that Hands-On Workshops having 40 seats, only 40 attendees were be able to register prior the event, without a waiting list. Because, as is is the case in any free event,  you might have 40-60% no-show and end up with 15-25 people in the room.

      It would have maybe been better to have a waiting list, or to accept 100 registrants upfront, in order to really fill the 40 seats. An idea for next year?

      Author's profile photo Michelle Crapo
      Michelle Crapo
      Blog Post Author

      Maybe?  But just think if everyone showed up.   That would be a bit of a mess.  They were keeping track of questions via the chat.   They had an extra room to help with anyone who was really having issues.

      I saw a comment / read something that someone had out there.   Why not allow people to audit the class?  I think it had something to do with all the possible questions - I'm not sure about that.  I wasn't one of the people who set it up.

      It's a great question. Craig Cmehil - Not sure you could help answer this one.  But just in case you knew the real answer.

      Author's profile photo Craig Cmehil
      Craig Cmehil

      I think Thomas Grassl said it best - it's a learning experience all around for us especially in the hands on area. It's a tough one to figure out in the online world on multiple levels, we spent time speaking to others at different tech companies that have been trying this as well and so far it does not seem like anyone has found the magic formula. We will keep trying though, the waitlist process that was in place has a list of things to do differently next time already as well as the day of, communications beforehand, the list goes on and on.

      Author's profile photo Jelena Perfiljeva
      Jelena Perfiljeva

      Hi Pierre! I agree with you. Even for in-person events (e.g. local ASUG meeting) no-show rate can be quite high. I find this is the case with most events that are free. Perhaps it would make sense to have some kind of confirmation process for the coveted hands-on seats. E.g. send an email a couple of days in advance to confirm the seat and if no confirmation, that person goes to waitlist. Also the waitlist size could've been increased.

      This definitely should go on the "lessons learned" list for future events.

      Thank you!

      Author's profile photo Jelena Perfiljeva
      Jelena Perfiljeva

      Hi Michelle! Thanks for sharing your experience.

      I’d say overall it was a successful event, although I always make fun that SAP customers have such low expectations, we are easy to please. ? Anything would be an improvement compared to the disastrous SAPPHIRE.

      To me, having a virtual event was both positive and negative. As you mentioned, it’s free and there is no travel. Definitely a bonus. But at the same time, being physically away from work allowed me to kind of immerse myself in learning and absorbing new information. I would just tell everyone in advance I’d be out for a week and they had to deal with it. ? And usually no one bothered me during the day because company was paying big bucks for me to be there.

      But at home, I needed to juggle sessions between the client meetings. And it was too easy to get distracted by the pets, kids, package deliveries, etc. Also funny you should mention snacks. ? If you go to TechEd in Las Vegas, the whole time (except for 1-2 evenings when you have to find dinner) you are taken care of. Food is brought to you, the room is nice and clean when you come back in the evening. That’s not happening at home, especially for women (cough).

      The sessions being all over the place time-wise was also challenging. I’ve heard some people getting only a few hours of sleep. And I found myself staying online from 8 am till 1 am, with a short break for dinner.

      So, again, overall great event but if we do this again (and I hope so), there should be some changes.

      Thank you!

      Edit: forgot to mention you brought up excellent point that everyone could attend. In my past experience, the TechEd trips were sometimes used by the management as a reward and sort of entertainment trip. Which lead to the wrong people being sent and then not sharing anything with others.

      Author's profile photo Michelle Crapo
      Michelle Crapo
      Blog Post Author

      Totally agree.  Some people didn't have the luxury of taking those three days off and away from work I did.  The lack of sleep made for interesting days/nights.

      I did miss the connection with other people.   But I think it's a trade off.  For me - I loved being home.  I work from home.  When my door is closed no one bugs me.  My son is in his 20s and saving for a house so he actually does still live with me.   My furry companions - it was nice to have the available to pet.