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SAPPHIRE NOW Brings the Star Power

by Dave Hannon

May 14, 2012

By Dave Hannon

Well if you were looking for star power at this year's SAPPHIRENOW and ASUG conference, you got it.

The morning ASUG keynote had a "super hero" theme and highlighted the benefits of ASUG (including a nice shout out to ASUG News and its blogging!) from outgoing chairman Anthony Bosco, incoming chair Mike Stuko of DuPont and CEO Bridgette Chambers.

But as much "star power" as that lineup brought, I'm sure they'd all admit they were upstaged by the featured speaker, Lance Armstrong. "I've never thought I'd be opening up for Van Halen" Armstrong joked as he took the stage. After presenting his own "case study" about successful cancer treatment in great detail (I'll never carve a pumpkin again), Armstrong left us all with a great message of human service, which was refreshing in this environment.

"Service to others is the rent you pay for your room here on earth," he said. That one's going to stick with me a while.

From there, it was a whirlwind of sessions and meetings for most of the late morning and early afternoon. Customer case study sessions, some SAP demos, conversations with a couple SAP partner firms.

One of SAP's latest "stars" Lars Dalgaard, former CEO of SuccessFactors, packed a last-minute Q&A and impressed with his confident attitude about his group's ability to bring SAP's cloud vision to reality. (More on that later)

The afternoon keynote brought its own star power. Mika Brzezinski of MSNBC's Morning Joe sat down to interview another big star, Bill McDermott, co-CEO of SAP. McDermott didn't take long to drop in the SuccessFactors acquisition, SAP HANA and seemed to emphasize some less-than-t raditional examples of how SAP can help the "world run better" such as medical treatments and public transportation.

The keynote then opened up the format to let CEOs of several SAP customers take the stage for a roundtable-style chat, which is wrapping up now as I type.

In short, my first day of SAPPHIRENOW brought the excitement and energy I was expecting. Of course, if you're here or watching online, I'm happy to hear your impressions.

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