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#SAPPHIRENOW 2012: Day 1 Observations

by Lucy Swedberg

May 14, 2012

by Lucy Swedberg, Sr. Director, SAPinsider and insiderPROFILES

Describing the SAPPHIRE experience to someone who'd never attended the event before, a colleague of mine used the image of a kayaker just about to plunge into the raging rapids. You're not quite sure where the river will take you or what adventures you'll have along the way, but you know the ride will be exhilirating.

I couldn't have come up with a better analogy for my Day 1 experience at SAPPHIRE NOW here in Orlando. The best I can do is share a few observations:

1. The layout of the SAPPHIRE show floor cleanly matches the strategic vision SAP's touting here at the show: The campus markers of Mobile, Cloud, HANA, Analytics, and Run Better are impossible to miss.

2. Today's keynotes weren't packed with product announcements or technical roadmap information; rather, Day 1's messages were all about business transformation, the speed of change, social/mobile/collaboration, and changing customer expectations -- all setting the stage for what I suspect will be an announcement-filled Tuesday.

3. In this morning's ASUG presentation, we learned that 57% of all communication happens online. That statistic makes me value my time at SAPPHIRE even more -- boy, does a handshake go a long way these days. I was particularly struck by the unique value of in-person communication during a post-presentation discussion in the Run Better campus: SAP customer Hershey's discussed its manufacturing operations transformation, and peers from McCormick, Boeing, and Abbott Laboratories listened attentively and asked great questions of the Hershey's speaker -- a living, breathing example of the value of in-person networking.

4. SAP's going "all in" on HANA. You can tel l that the company wholeheartedly believes in HANA and the value it will bring its customers. It's hard not to catch HANA fever walking around this year's show floor.

5. Lance Armstrong's cancer survival story is pure inspiration. His keynote presentation this morning added an unexpected (yet incredibly welcome) bit of perspective on what's really important. Amidst all the SAPPHIRE madness, Armstrong's talk was a refreshing twist.

And so, Day 1 draws to a close. More to come as the week continues. What have been your SAPPHIRE highlights so far?

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