|With SAP's acquisition of Business Objects earlier this year, SAP customers, partners, and prospects are brimming with questions: Which reporting tools should we standardize on? What existing
queries and reports should we preserve? How do we prepare users for new or updated SAP and Business Objects functionality? What is the roadmap going forward? These will be among the
important new topics covered at SAP TechEd 2008. In this Q&A, Chip Rodgers, Vice President and COO of the SAP Community Network, previews this year's event and its offerings for the SAP ecosystem.
Q: Can you offer a snapshot of the SAP TechEd 2008 event?
A: SAP TechEd is now in its 12th year, so the event is SAP's longest-running technical and business process conference. SAP TechEd is all about education, innovation, and networking: People come to the event seeking the juicy, technical information that helps them enhance their skills, get their jobs done with efficiency and quality, and provide added benefit to their company.
All four conference locations — Las Vegas, Berlin, Shanghai, and Bangalore — feature technical experts leading classes on a range of subjects, from beginner sessions to deeply technical, hands-on workshops. Local product managers and developers are on hand at each location, too.
Our core content will focus on SAP NetWeaver,
service-oriented architecture (SOA), Java, ABAP, and more. But we've also added new sessions on Business Objects topics, technical sessions around the SAP Business Suite, a preconference program for some deep-dive sessions before SAP TechEd begins, and of course, some surprises in the Community Clubhouse and Demo Jam.
Q: You mentioned the Business Objects
acquisition; how will this year's event showcase Business Objects content?
A: We are looking forward to demonstrating the
powerful combination of SAP and Business Objects. There'll be new sessions devoted exclusively to Business Objects technology, including Crystal Reports, Web Intelligence, Polestar, and others. Attendees will see real-world examples of how Business Objects solutions can enhance access to information for actionable results. We'll also have sessions on product roadmaps for business intelligence (BI) and enterprise performance management (EPM). Attendees will walk away with a concrete understanding of where SAP and Business Objects solutions are heading.
Additionally, we'll be highlighting the practical value of SAP NetWeaver with the SAP NetWeaver Master Data Management and SAP NetWeaver Business Process Management components, as well as the
SAP NetWeaver Composition Environment offering.
Through sessions on the SAP Business Suite, we'll showcase practical applications of SAP technology for use in various business environments. The sessions will still be highly technical and appropriate for the SAP TechEd audience, but attendees can learn how the SAP NetWeaver technology platform supports and integrates SAP Business Suite applications, as well.
|SAP TechEd 2008 is a premium opportunity for open dialog, education, and networking among SAP ecosystem members.
Q: How do you ensure that the event's content will meet the SAP ecosystem's needs?
A: We start with extensive input and participation from SAP product managers and experts; they help design an agenda that reflects attendee preferences and that features the latest developments and roadmaps for SAP technology. In fact, many of the
sessions and programs evolve directly from the ideas and feedback of SAP ecosystem members, including those in the SAP Developer Network (SDN), the Business Process Expert (BPX) Community, the Enterprise
Services Community, Industry Value Networks, and Americas' SAP Users' Group (ASUG). This ensures that we always have an incredible lineup of sessions and speakers for attendees, regardless of their interest or specialty.
Q: What metrics do you use to measure the conference's success?
A: We consistently achieve record-breaking attendance — last year we had over 22% growth in attendance, with over 16,000 attendees in the four locations.
In addition, we rolled out the SAP Technology Tour (www.sap.com/techtour), which offers highlights from SAP TechEd, to another 50+ locations around the world. The tour reached over 13,000 additional attendees that couldn't make it to an SAP TechEd location.
We're also fanatical about measuring the quality of the content we bring to attendees. We survey many dimensions to make sure we're offering the content, programs, and special activities that attendees will find most valuable. We also track interest in topics, how our speakers are delivering sessions, and how attendees are using the Community Clubhouse, SAP solution pods, partner exhibition space, evening events, and more. SAP TechEd consistently receives high marks from attendees — last year, over 95% of attendees surveyed said they would recommend the conference to their colleagues.
The energy of SAP TechEd extends well beyond the actual events: The line between our online communities and our physical events has become blurred. SAP TechEd is the place for our SDN and BPX community members to get re-energized by engaging directly with peers and experts. And members can then continue this dialog online through blogs, wikis, and forums; our SDN and BPX communities average over 5,500 forum posts per day! Reading these posts, you get a sense of the energy and excitement at the heart of the SAP ecosystem.
Q: Why should our readers consider attending this year's event?
A: SAP TechEd 2008 is a premium opportunity for open dialog, education, and networking among
SAP ecosystem members. Its content and activities are designed to answer SAP customers' and
followers' most pressing questions — and to provide them with the knowledge, tools, and best practices they'll need to implement what they have learned. Visit www.sapteched.com for more details.
Vice President and COO
SAP Community Network