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Staying on Top of Technology Trends and Customer Needs

by Dr. Marco Lenck | SAPinsider

July 1, 2011

The technology department within the German-Speaking SAP User Group (DSAG) is working to get customers the information and tools they need to evaluate and succeed with new technologies, such as cloud computing and in-memory analytics. In this Q&A, DSAG's Dr. Marco Lenck answers key questions about the department's activities and goals.

Q: How is DSAG’s technology department organized to meet members’ needs?

A: Our department contains 11 special interest groups (SIGs) covering important SAP technology topics, such as application integration and infrastructure and operation. Within these SIGs are 16 working groups, including the virtualization working group (which falls under the infrastructure and operation SIG). About 1,700 companies and 12,000 people participate in the technology department, which meets regularly. As the board member for this department, I also meet with other SIGs’ representatives to share and discuss our activities and understand users’ needs.

Q: What are some of the department’s proudest accomplishments?

A: Two examples come to mind. First, we’d learned that many German SAP customers were eager to get started with SAP BusinessObjects solutions for business intelligence (BI), but they wanted to start small. So, together with SAP, we created an SAP BusinessObjects starter package that lets companies implement only a few BI solutions through a lower pricing model.

Another example involves the release of SAP NetWeaver 7.3, which incorporates many of the platform enhancements that we’d requested in discussions with SAP. One example is an enhancement to SAP NetWeaver Portal, called enterprise workspaces. These workspaces enable virtual teams to work independently from different global locations. SAP NetWeaver Portal 7.3 is the consolidated go-to release.1

Q: What new technology trends are you seeing today? Any advice here for DSAG members?

A: Prominent topics are mobility, cloud computing, and in-memory analytics. As companies become more mobile, they need to implement supporting technology, but they shouldn’t immediately port every piece of their existing technology to mobile platforms. There needs to be a strategy involved in that process. I would make a similar argument for cloud computing. Companies need to let things evolve a bit before launching everything into the cloud. Companies’ current on-premise solutions are intricate enough without adding more layers of complexity from poorly planned on-demand or on-device implementations.

Q: What future initiatives are you planning?

A: We want to continue working with our members to help SAP improve SAP NetWeaver 7.3. To do so, we need to first determine which areas are working for SAP customers and which are not. Another major goal is to help members as they prepare to work with mobile solutions. I look forward to exploring these and other topics with DSAG’s technology department in the future.

Dr. Marco Lenck
CIO, Rhein Chemie
Rheinau GmbH;
DSAG Board Member
Technology Department

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