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I Can't Wait for HR 2013

by David Wisor

February 18, 2013

I generally only get one chance a year to get out and “sharpen my saw”, learning a few new skills, and finding out more about what others are doing with SAP. Since 2004, WISPUB’s “SAP HR 20##” has been my conference of choice to do just that. It’s that time of the year again, and because HR has its own conference in 2013, we get our chance even earlier. Next week, starting with Pre-Conference Workshops on February 25th, and extending through breakout sessions on March 1st,  we’ll be descending on the Bellagio for HR 2013. Still not registered? It’s not too late; you can still register today through the last day of the conference. Be sure to visit the conference website by clicking here. Over the next few days, I’d like to tell you what I’ll be looking forward to about this year’s conference, and then next week, during the conference, I’ll be tweeting throughout the day (@SAP_HR_Guy), and blogging at night, talking about what I liked, and maybe even some suggestions for HR 2014.

I think I’ll start with the location. If you’ve never been to Las Vegas, I can honestly say I’ve never seen anything like it. They’ve often called New York City the city that never sleeps, but anyone who says that must have never been to Las Vegas. A walk through the hotel lobby, any hour of the day, means the opportunity to see a vast array of people, from the glamorous, to the professional, to the average tourist. This year WISPUB’s has decided to switch things up and move the con ference to the Bellagio. I’ve always loved previous conferences at MGM Grand and the Venetian, but I’m really looking forward to seeing another hotel, in the middle of the strip and in the middle of the action. In particular, I’m going to find some time to walk through the “Warhol Out West” exhibit in the Bellagio Gallery of Fine Art. Although I don’t plan on doing any sightseeing or tours on this trip, I’ve been to the Hoover Dam on several of my trips. I just love contemplating the tremendous effort of building a huge wall to hold back all of that water.

Although it’s easy to get distracted in such a glitzy environment, I always try to stay focused on education and networking because HR 2013 is full of those opportunities. A quick review of the schedule tells me that the conference has never been packed with more information. Today, I’m going to focus on what I consider the “extras” that make the conference worthwhile. I’ll spend the rest of the week talking about the tracks and breakout sessions where I’ll be spending my time.

It can be easy to forget about Monday, which is my first day of the conference, and the Pre-Conference Workshops. These workshops, three hours long, as opposed to the 75 minute breakout sessions Tuesday through Friday, are an excellent opportunity to get into more detail about a specific topic. I have also found these workshops to be a little less crowded than some of the sessions later in the week, which means a greater opportunity to ask questions. Last, but certainly not least, it’s an excellent chance to fine tune a schedule for the week. Who knows, maybe a pre-conference workshop will give so much detail I can skip a breakout later on in the week, or it might whet my appetite for more information in another breakout on the same subj ect.

My schedule is certainly subject to change, but I’m fairly certain of my schedule for the Pre-Conference Workshops. For the morning, I’ll be attending “Communicate with confidence: How to build a communication strategy to spotlight and support your HR project” by Doug Whittle. In the past I have found Doug’s sessions to be unique compared to some of the others in the conference. It’s been my experience that we can sometimes tend to focus on the technical side of things, and forget about the people. Doug’s focus in his sessions is always about the people, and I’m looking forward to his take on communicating an HR project. I don’t have a project currently, but like most of you, my next HR project is never farther away than just around the corner.

In the afternoon, I’ll be sitting in on “The 2013 complete guide to the functionality, updates and future roadmap for SAP ERP HCM solutions” by Jean-Bernard Rolland of SAP. Several things about this session are of especially keen interest to me. In this era of doing more with less, I’m really looking forward to hearing about how SAP HCM can increase efficiency. Since every employee in my company is a customer of our SAP HCM system, I’m always looking for a way to increase employee satisfaction. Finally, I’m intrigued by the mention of social concepts for HR. It’s a clichéd term, but the “younger generation” looks for social interaction with every technology, and we as HR professionals need to find a way to participate in that interaction.

The first time I ever went to a conference, not a WISPUB conference, in case you are wondering,  I skipped the keynote address. A couple of hours later I was sitting having lunch when a nice gentleman came and sat next to me and asked me how I liked the keynote. I actually told him the truth-what I believed at the time: I did not believe that as someone who worked in the trenches there would be anything of value in a speech by an executive. As luck would have it, I had just had a conversation with that mornings keynote speaker. The embarrassment of that one event drove me to the next keynote I had an opportunity to attend, and to my surprise, it was of great value to me. I don’t skip the keynote speaker anymore, and I am looking forward to the opportunity to listen to David Ludlow to speak about the product that I’ve built my career upon. Mr. Ludlow, I swear I will be in attendance, no need to interrogate me at lunch on February 26th.

After a long day, filling your brain with interesting and informative topics, you might be tempted to head back to your room, catch up on some email, or maybe gamble-you are in Vegas after all. As best I can, I’ll be saving work for when I get back to the office, and I’ll hold my gambling for Thursday night, because Tuesday and Wednesday night provide great chances to network, and learn even more about SAP HR. I look forward to taking advantage of the networking opportunities at the Tuesday night opening reception and the Wednesday night cocktail reception. As a multi-tasker, these receptions give me the chance to meet and greet, as well as spend some time reviewing the products and services that the exhibitors can provide. I’m probably not in the market for anything this year, but even if that’s true, I don’t let that stop me, because I always need to be prepared for the off the wall request from my CEO or VP of HR. Last of all, I will be headed to the ask the experts session-we email our pay statements as an html attachment and I will be seeking the help of a payroll expert to give me guidance on how to email as a pdf attachment.

Check back tomorrow as I start to talk about the breakout sessions, and don’t forget to follow me on my new twitter account: @SAP_HR_Guy.

To register or find out more information about SAP HR 2013 click here.

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