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Author's profile photo Arnaud SERGENT

Impressions on the first ever virtual SAP TechEd

So today is the day after TechEd, and like every year since too many years I’d like to admit (well since Vienna 2009), I’m suffering from TechED Withdrawal Syndrome (TWS ?). I will be honest; I was not initially looking forward to the perspective of my first virtual TechEd. Too many amazing memories of interacting live with the SAP Community. A special atmosphere that I have never experienced at any other tech industry conference.

And yet, the great news is that TechEd 2020 has been a real TechEd! It actually *really* felt like TechEd. Of course, live interaction and discussions and entertainment were missing, but some new awesome features largely compensated for it. So, let me give you some of my impressions of experiencing SAP TechEd 2020.

First of all, I loved Channel1. The non-stop show was an anchor to the event. The place to go and discover, to be swayed in into what’s going on. And this is good there was this beacon, because there was so much content! Between meetings or between sessions, this was the place to go to, and at night the place to catch up on everything that you missed during the day. The virtual setting was awesome, but all the technology in the world cannot do anything without the people. And what amazing people! I have to give it to my colleagues here: Craig Cmehil, Cecilia Huergo, Beth Shores, Thomas Grassl, Maximilian Streifeneder, Mynyna Chau, etc.  They were so professional and natural and compelling. I was truly impressed.

Then the sessions: running sessions non-stop was the opportunity to catch more sessions (and less sleep) than at a “normal” TechEd. But the most interesting innovation here was being able to ask live questions. This worked remarkably well. And voting on the other attendees’ questions was a good idea too, as often we had the same questions as the other folks in the audience. The only downside is that not every question could always be answered, and some sessions had no one to answer them. But in general, it worked well.

The keynotes were awesome: the 3 keynotes with the 3 keynotes with Jürgen Müller and the Developer Keynote with DJ Adams, Rich Heilman and Kevin Müssig. Great way to convey the message of “All Developers welcome!”. But my favorite innovation here was the ability to ask questions live, that were answered after the keynote. That’s a great way to interact with Sap’s best and brightest!

The one downside for me is that I couldn’t attend the hands-on session as I registered too late and they were already full. I’ve heard great things about them from friends who got the chance to experience them. It’s logical to have had to cap the number of attendees of course. Maybe I suggest that people on waiting list could attend in watch-only next time.

Finally, the virtual and free format meant that more people than ever before were able to attend the event, and that made the interaction even richer as I got to interact with a larger share of the SAP Community than ever before.

So despite this year’s challenges, this TechEd was clearly a real success. It was an opportunity to experiment and innovate with new formats, while keeping the unique flavor that makes TechEd a TechEd.  I still hope to be able to meet in person next year, but I’m convinced that a hybrid format on site/virtual would make it ideal.

Congratulations and kudos to all the organizing Team! Yet another TechEd to remember!

See you next year!


Cross posted on LinkedIn:

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