By Ken Murphy
Back in the office and back into the swing of things after attending my first SAPinsider events, CRM 2013 and Logistics & SCM, PLM, Manufacturing, and Procurement 2013.
Having barely stepped outside the Mirage in Las Vegas the entire week, I’m glad that the session rooms were all named after Caribbean destinations: Jamaica, Antigua, Montego, St. Thomas. This allowed for some mental escapism as I island-hopped from conference room to conference room for a string of informative, well-attended sessions that regardless of the line of business all shared a common language, if you will: In their list of session takeaways, nearly every presenter advised attendees that the most important step of any implementation project was communication.
Whether with key stakeholders, consultants, or other businesses, everyone stressed the importance of a well-thought out design process. “Get it right the first time,” said Brian Zeigler of Leprino Foods, who shared Leprino’s story of improving forecast accuracy with SAP’s Demand Planning. “Involve your employees and key stakeholders,” said Ahmed Hezzah, a global CRM implementation strategist with Accenture. “Talk to your people,” said Natacha Gutermuth of Institut Straumann, which implemented mobile CRM for its 800 employees.
(Speaking of “takeaways”, the trade show swag has improved significantly since my last show about 10 years ago for a previous employer, when an array of free pens was considered a good haul. From toys to chargers to amplifiers – not to mention a Harley-Davidson – it was clear the exhibitors were playing for keeps.)
It struck me that this simple advice – communication – was what made this and SAPinsider events like it so successful. That, of course, is what attendees were after, and those knowledge gaps are what the breakout sessions, SAPexperts Live sessions, and panel sessions were designed to fill. I had the pleasure of meeting many people in the extended SAP ecosystem who shared their stories, advice, and experiences with me at our SAPinsider booth, where we recorded some videos that we’ll post next month on the Insider Learning Network. Here’s a brief recap of some of what I learned:
- Bernard Greene of Day & Zimmerman, a professional services company, discussed how his company beefed up sales by keying in on sales force functionality in SAP CRM 7.0. (I also learned Greene is a big Redskins fan. After comparing notes, safe to say he was more crushed by the ‘Skins loss in the playoffs than I was by the Pats’ early exit).
- Anyone who has any questions about SAP Customer OnDemand should seek out SAP’s Terence Cheshire post haste. Chesire gave us the breakdown of this relatively new product, which enables all customer processes in the cloud. Social OnDemand is a big part of the solution, and Cheshire talked about how this functionality can analyze millions of social interactions in seconds to let a business know how to respond to every crises or opportunity.
- Toby Brzoznowski, the Executive Vice President and co-founder of Llamasoft, gave us the inside skinny on the importance of leveraging mobility in the supply chain.
Other News & Notes from the Mirage:
- Hate to say it, but i
t seems Ryan Seacrest’s appearance at the Mirage for a live “American Idol” Top 10 unveiling may have caused a tad more buzz than SAP Executive VP Steve Lucas’ keynote earlier in the day.
- Wellesley Information Services EVP Riz Ahmed dipped his toe in both waters; he was on stage to introduce Lucas before his keynote address, and he also sat at a gaming table next to Seacrest’s “stylist”.
- Memo to the Mirage: enough with The Beatles. Devoting key space to a Kardashians retail outlet while paying excessive homage to a band that broke up 43 years ago – a bit of a mixed message, no?
- Great food at the event, however. I was expecting a lot of turkey sandwiches, but ended up with more “surf and turf” options than I could count.
- Red eyes are never fun, but being met at home by an over-excited 2-year-old makes catching up on sleep a little tough. Payback for spending his college tuition on blackjack, perhaps?