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Important (and trivial) trends from our CRM and supply chain shows

by Scott Wallask

March 24, 2011

By Scott Wallask, SAP Experts

Information is flowing at the pace of white-water rapids at our Logistics and Supply Chain Management 2011, Manufacturing 2011, PLM 2011, Procurement 2011, and CRM 2011 events this week in Orlando. Tons of sessions and crowded exhibit booths have led to strong word-of-mouth and a bounty of Twitter posts about the conference.

I’ve also noticed a bunch of new bloggers joining us from the ranks of the conference attendees (check out their posts here).

Here are a few trends and highlights that I caught my eye this week:

CRM

  • SAP CRM enhancement package 1 definitely grabbed the attention of attendees. Many people I talked to made mention of the enhancement package, so kudos to SAP for getting the word out and creating a product that has buzz.
  • This year, we tried new demo sessions at the conferences, during which attendees could take part in live demonstrations of SAP modules in action. Several of these demos were so popular that late-arriving folk s had to be turned away, so repeat sessions were scheduled in response.
  • There is a healthy skepticism about mobility and how it applies to SAP CRM. A dozen sessions at the show discussed mobility’s relationship to SAP CRM, so people are interested, but at the same time not everyone is quite ready to drink the Kool-aid.
  • A shout-out goes to the two conference producers behind the content for these shows, Marcy Rizzo and Amy Thistle, who themselves took customer service to a high level in their dealings with speakers and attendees (the requests these ladies handled were at times non-stop).

SCM

  • Expert speakers pounded away on the notion that if your company has not been impacted yet by shifts in the global economy, it will be. Shifting views of the supply chain and manufacturing, combined with outside forces bringing the world even closer together, have put more power into the hands of consumers everywhere.
  • SAP Advanced Planning and Optimization is a function that all at once attracts users and also stymies them, as I simultaneously heard about its growing appeal and its pitfalls if not implemented well.
  • There was a particularly strong supply of dessert trays here at the Dolphin Hotel’s convention center. And judging by demand patterns for the mini chocolate cake slices, I know which treats are driving the local bakery market.
  • Although this comes from a purely anecdotal observation, I must conclude that service procurement has a healthy following because more than 100 people attended Suzanne Miglucci’s session on the topic. Given service procurement is a large source of unmanaged spend for some companies, there is probably good reason for the interest.

By the way, Miglucci – global procurement marketing executive at SAP – had me rolling with her wisecracks before the session, for which I served as a room monitor. Even better, she also made the unusual speaker effort of helping me greet attendees as they entered the room, and then took questions from her audience for 30 minutes after her presentation ended. That was real-life integration of SCM and CRM.

Follow Scott on Twitter @scmexpert

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