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Not Your Typical Summer Camp Experience

by Paul Frankenreiter and Colleen Speer | SAPinsider

October 1, 2012

This past July, SAP Active Global Support held the first ever SAP Innovation Summer Camp – a two-day event that joined customers and partners with SAP experts to help them solve their business issues with a customized approach for efficient, non-disruptive innovation. In this article, you’ll learn about the camp and how it was designed to enlighten both IT and lines of business alike.

For many, the idea of summer camp brings back memories of s’mores by the fire and morale-building team exercises. Camps vary by interest, but they have an important aspect in common — the chance to interact with those who have had different experiences.

SAP Active Global Support has re-imagined this concept with the SAP Innovation Summer Camp, a unique two-day event held this past July for more than 140 customers and partners. To open the camp, Geraldine McBride, President of SAP North America, described how many industries are beginning to understand that the “old way” of doing business will no longer help them grow and move forward. But understanding alone is not enough, and companies are clamoring for guidance from both SAP and other customers. The SAP Innovation Summer Camp met this need; this educational, interactive workshop joined customers and partners with SAP experts to solve current business issues with a customized approach for efficient, non-disruptive innovation.

Designed to enlighten the lines of business, and not just IT organizations, the camp drove awareness around the infrastructure needed to implement and support game-changing technologies such as SAP HANA. The program offered information for key roles in a customer’s center of excellence and to the line-of-business champions, and demonstrated how these roles could drive continuous improvement back to their organizations.

To that end, participants heard from Dr. Uwe Hommel, SAP Corporate Officer, Executive Vice President, and Head of SAP Active Global Support. In his keynote, he discussed how SAP has introduced technological innovations that have fundamentally transformed SAP software. He also addressed how SAP delivers engineering services that orchestrate the different technologies and enable customers to introduce innovations to address pressing needs — without disruption.

Targeted, Interactive Learning

The camp was divided into seven tracks that focused on actual business roles and needs. In each interactive track, customers heard from SAP experts, had the opportunity to talk about current issues they were experiencing, and enjoyed plenty of time to collaborate and brainstorm.

Track #1: Human Capital Management

Attendees of the Human Capital Management (HCM) track had lively discussions around the challenges and pressures they face when trying to reduce costs, contend with increased competition, and manage an aging workforce and the effects of globalization to support management — all in an effort to identify, attract, retain, and develop talent. Key lessons included a shared services framework that covered organizational setup, as well as implemented solutions including employee self-service, manager self-service, and SAP NetWeaver Portal. The group learned about the outlook of trends in HCM and user expectations, coupled with discussions on recent developments with the HR Renewal functionality in SAP ERP HCM, analytics solutions from SAP, and SAP NetWeaver Cloud portal.

Track #2: Infrastructure

Sessions in the Infrastructure track helped customers gain insight into technical architecture options available with SAP HANA, including safe approaches for migration, high availability, disaster recovery, database operations, and virtualization. Attendees were also treated to a candid conversation with SAP America CIO, Michael Golz, to hear how SAP runs SAP solutions. That discussion provided a unique view into some of the day-to-day challenges that SAP faces as an organization.

Track #3: Finance

Customers who face challenges such as ensuring compliance, maintaining financial transparency, and performing accurate forecasting benefited from the Finance track. Attendees shared pain points and discussed their daily business concerns. They learned about the latest innovations around SAP ERP Financials powered by SAP HANA, as well as details about individual components of the solution composition and their relevance to workshop participants. Spirited discussions focused on flexibility, master data harmonization, landscape transformation tools, SAP NetWeaver Business Warehouse powered by SAP HANA, and future solution outlooks.

Track #4: Logistics

The Logistics track was packed with information about ways to practically apply game-changing technology to core logistics scenarios. Participants in this highly interactive group shared specific concerns, while taking in valuable information on SAP HANA and how they can leverage it to solve issues in their logistics department. Other important components like SAP Master Data Governance and Business Rule Framework plus (BRFplus) were discussed to demonstrate ways to simplify the architecture and make IT operations less complicated. The comprehensive presentations, paired with discussions, showed attendees how to leverage new components and new technology to address real business needs.

Track #5: Development

In this track, participants gained knowledge about how a service-decoupled approach allows them to develop user interfaces (UIs) for end users that will deliver role-based working environments, work lists, and guided procedures. These UIs will integrate into their workspace along with all of the analytical functions needed to efficiently perform their jobs, creating the ultimate user experience derived through multi-channel access to applications. This track was tailor-made based on the needs of each participant. In addition to the active discussions during the sessions, speakers held one-on-one meetings with customers to get to the heart of the customers’ specific challenges.

Track #6: PMO

In the PMO track, customers and partners gained insight into how to best achieve results in their projects by using the application lifecycle management (ALM) approach from SAP. They learned how SAP Solution Manager serves as a single source of truth for solution operations, ALM, IT service management, and IT portfolio and project management. Key topics included solution documentation, the Reverse Business Process Documentation tool, and requirements management functionality. There were also discussions around the integration between SAP Solution Manager and SAP Quality Center by HP, and the new capabilities available with the Test Automation Framework. The positive energy in this track was refreshing; different levels of participant experience and the event’s format meant there were customer-to-customer and customer-to-expert learning and sharing opportunities everywhere.

Track #7: Operations

The Operations track provided guidance on how to establish an operations control center using SAP Solution Manager to efficiently monitor and manage every exception in business process operations, and accelerate business accomplishments using the “Run SAP Like a Factory” methodology. During the camp, customers worked through their own use cases in a fun, collaborative way to plan a mock implementation of Run SAP Like a Factory. These experiences gave attendees the opportunity to accommodate and assimilate the delivery steps necessary for implementation, and demonstrated how they can achieve tangible results in their own environments.

Learn More

The SAP Innovation Summer Camp not only helped customers find resolutions to some of their most pressing issues by allowing them to talk directly to SAP expert topic owners, but also enabled them to network with other customers about their experiences. For more details, visit

If you are interested in the camp experience, join SAP in Costa Mesa, California on November 7-8, 2012 for the next workshop. Visit for more details.


Paul Frankenreiter is Senior Vice President and Head of SAP Active Global Support Americas, and has been responsible for SAP’s support business in both North America and Latin America since 2010.

Colleen Speer

Colleen Speer is a Vice President with SAP Active Global Support Americas, responsible for the leadership of SAP Active Global Support North America since 2010.

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