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Bringing the Ecosystem Together at SAP TechEd '07: Join the Best Minds for Hands-On, In-Depth Learning

by Chip Rodgers | SAPinsider

July 1, 2007

Senior Director of SAP Ecosystem Events Chip Rodgers offers a preview of this fall’s SAP TechEd ’07, where the theme is “Enterprise SOA -- Put the Power to Work.” Peer networking opportunities, in-depth learning and training, and glimpses into the future direction of SAP abound at this year’s event.
 

With systems as broad and diversified as those that SAP offers, and with the wealth of available information and educational tools, such as the SAP Developer Network or SAP Service Marketplace, newcomers to SAP often are looking for a place to start.

At the same time, those familiar with SAP, even those with more than a decade of experience, are always looking for those points of contact — with SAP developers, thought leaders, partners, or peers — to help them find answers to the issues they face today or will face going forward.

SAP TechEd '07 is where SAP customers, partners, and other industry professionals can engage with peers and SAP experts, get empowered with knowledge and training in the latest SAP tools and applications, and get energized about the possibilities that SAP and its enterprise service-oriented architecture (enterprise SOA) present for the future, not only of their respective companies, but of their careers.

Chip Rodgers, Senior Director of SAP Ecosystem Events, and his team are the architects of SAP TechEd '07. In this Q&A, Chip looks back on the growth of SAP TechEd and offers a preview of what to expect this fall.

Q. The theme of this year's SAP TechEd is "Enterprise SOA — Put the Power to Work." How do you plan to present enterprise SOA so that attendees will come away with not only an understanding of what it is, but also a clear vision for how they can apply it in their businesses?

A: By giving attendees firsthand experience with enterprise SOA. There has been a lot of buzz in the industry about SOA in general. SAP's approach to SOA — enterprise SOA — is not an abstract concept, but a reality. At SAP TechEd, customers can explore the potential of enterprise SOA and learn how to build their own enterprise SOA roadmap.

Additionally, they will see how other customers and partners have applied enterprise SOA successfully to take advantage of business opportunities. Customer case studies, real-world strategies, practical tips, and in-depth enterprise SOA technology sessions will all be part of this year's robust SAP TechEd curriculum. By the end of the conference, customers will have acquired valuable understanding and will be ready to apply that knowledge when they get back in the office.

SAP's approach to SOA — enterprise SOA — is not an abstract concept, but a reality.

Q. Lately there has been strong emphasis on the idea of an SAP ecosystem — the community of customers, partners, and experts who all work together, share ideas, and innovate using SAP technology. How does SAP TechEd fit into that ecosystem?

A: The SAP ecosystem accelerates co-innovation, delivered largely through SAP's communities of innovation — the SAP Developer Network (SDN), Business Process Expert (BPX) Community, Enterprise Services (ES) Community, and SAP industry value networks (IVNs). SDN (http://sdn.sap.com), for example, has experienced rocket growth over the last three years. Today it has over 800,000 members and gets 600,000 unique visitors every month.

SAP TechEd is the physical manifestation of these communities of innovation. It's all about bringing our SAP ecosystem — our customers, partners, and developers — together with the right experts and product people so they can really get an in-depth understanding of SAP NetWeaver and the Business Process Platform (BPP).

Most people attend SAP TechEd to keep up to date on new solutions and developments and to gain practical experience with SAP technologies. So we are expanding our hands-on offerings. We will bring scores of SAP product experts and truckloads of laptops running SAP NetWeaver to the different SAP TechEd events this year. There is no replacement for SAP TechEd's expert-led, hands-on environment when it comes to understanding how SAP technology works and how best to make it work for you.

SAP TechEd sessions aren't presented by training staff. They're presented by experts from SAP's own development organization — the developers and product managers who know the technology inside and out because they're the ones who created it. SAP TechEd is a prime opportunity for attendees to get that close to the source of the technologies they use.

SAP TechEd sessions are not presented by training staff. They're presented by experts from SAP's own development organization — the developers and product managers who know the technology inside and out because they're the ones who created it.

Q. SAP TechEd '06 was a big success, especially in energizing SAP customers, partners, and other industry professionals. Attendance grew 22% over the previous year to 15,000 attendees worldwide. And 98% of those attendees surveyed said they would recommend the conference to a colleague. One of the most talked-about events last year was the pre-conference Community Day. Are you continuing it in 2007?

A: That event, an "SDN Community Day," was something new last year. We had 300 people in Las Vegas, 200 in Amsterdam, and 100 in Bangalore — all of whom showed up a day early to meet, greet, and learn before the conference officially began. It was a collaborative environment — there was some structure, but it was flexible. Participants built the agenda on the fly. The SDN team proudly referred to the event as the "un-conference."

One activity that got great response from attendees was the "speed networking" event, where attendees sat at small tables with their peers. They'd talk about what they did and what they wanted to learn from the conference and, after 15 minutes, we blew a whistle and they would shift tables. Each table was like a mini- conference, and attendees were able to network with their peers and build relationships that grew throughout the event. We're expanding that activity this year to include both our SDN members and members of the new BPX Community.

SAP TechEd '07 at a Glance

Locations and Dates

Las Vegas, October 2-5

Shanghai, November 6-7

 

Munich, October 17-19

Bangalore, November 28-30

 

Registration

Registration is now open. Visit www.sapteched.com, your portal to all the SAP TechEd conference sites.

At SAP TechEd '07

  • Discover how to put the power of enterprise SOA to work in your organization
  • Experience firsthand the newest and hottest SAP NetWeaver technologies (including SAP NetWeaver Visual Composer, Duet, SAP NetWeaver MDM, SAP Analytics, and SAP xApps) in demo-rich lectures and hands-on workshops
  • Meet and network with SAP product experts, partners, and peers
  • Learn how to easily upgrade from SAP R/3 to SAP ERP and SAP NetWeaver

Expert-Led, Hands-On Workshops and Lecture Sessions

Choose from hundreds of hours of technical and business process-focused educational sessions led by SAP development gurus, SAP partners, and other experts. SAP TechEd offers one-hour and two-hour lecture sessions and two-hour and four-hour hands-on workshops.

Who Should Attend

• Software developers

• System administrators

• IT managers

• Enterprise architects

• Business process experts

• SAP partners and consultants

Whether you are a seasoned veteran or are new to SAP technologies, SAP TechEd offers an incredible amount of practical and technical content.

Attendee Satisfaction

98% of the 2006 conference attendees surveyed said they would recommend SAP TechEd to a colleague.

Q. Another big hit last year was the Enterprise Architect Council. What have you done to build on that success?

A: The idea behind the council was to bring attendees together to create a community around a very specific discipline. The content was laser focused, consisting of the hot topics enterprise architects face and presented as a two-way conversation; attendees heard from us and also provided feedback to SAP.

We got great response from that council, so this year we're working with the Americas' SAP Users' Group (ASUG) to identify other communities that will benefit from similar programs.

Business process experts — those folks who walk the fine line between business and IT — are a great example. We will have a focused BPX Council at this year's SAP TechEd. SAP has been actively pursuing the BPX community to identify their needs and offer them tools that can help them increase efficiency. It's an amazing story — we created an online home for them (http://bpx.sap.com) and it has exploded. We came up with the concept at the beginning of 2006, announced it at SAPPHIRE last year, and by SAP TechEd '06 we had 50,000 members. By the end of the year the number climbed to 80,000, and today we've topped 150,000 members! We'll have a lot of content for our BPX audience, and we're expecting a great turnout of BPX attendees at SAP TechEd events.

Q. What other kinds of activities or sessions can attendees expect at this year's SAP TechEd? For example, we're finding that SAP customers have now come to realize that SAP ERP and SAP NetWeaver are legitimate and stable successors to SAP R/3. The upgrade path has become of paramount importance. Will sessions reflect that?

A: As you can imagine, we have a considerable amount of content at SAP TechEd about how to upgrade, along with success stories and best practices — and much of it is designed to demonstrate that upgrading is a lot easier than customers might think.

And don't forget about the partners. Beyond our partner solution exhibit area and the Powered by SAP NetWeaver village, some of our partners will also have a presence in the classroom. Attendees can hear how SAP and our partners are working together to help customers co-innovate.

Another highlight of SAP TechEd is the Demo Jam competition, where a handful of customers, partners, and SAP employees get six minutes each to demo their latest SAP-related technology handiwork. Attendees love it, especially since "canned demo" safety nets are not allowed and the audience chooses the winner.

When I think about SAP TechEd, it's where new customers and industry professionals can immerse themselves in the SAP ecosystem, and where current customers and partners can come together with their peers to meet and learn from the people who are designing SAP solutions. There is no substitute for this kind of face-to-face interaction to get you energized about your career and its future.

I encourage readers to experience SAP TechEd '07 as thousands of the best technology minds converge this fall in Las Vegas, Munich, Shanghai, and Bangalore.

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