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ASUG Member Spotlight — Founding ASUG Member Reflects on the Group’s Roots, Relationships, and Lessons Learned

by Greg Horne | SAPinsider

October 1, 2008

Greg Horne, one of ASUG’s founding members, looks back on the group’s inception, comments on its success today, and offers advice for SAP customers.

Greg Horne
Assistant Controller
Chemicals and Fibers Division
Eastman Chemical Company

As the Assistant Controller of the Chemicals and Fibers Division of Eastman Chemical Company and a long-time SAP customer, Greg Horne is well aware of SAP's power to help companies streamline their financial operations. But when Eastman signed on with SAP back in 1990 as SAP was expanding its North American customer base, Horne and a number of other early SAP customers became aware of something else: With the growth SAP was experiencing, there would be tremendous value in connecting the customer base at a grassroots level.

In this interview, former ASUG Board Member Horne shares how he came to be one of the group's founding members, his most rewarding experiences with the organization, and his thoughts on the strength of the SAP and ASUG partnership.

Q: How did you first get involved with ASUG?

A: It was early in 1990. At Eastman, we were looking to replace a custom, in-house system with an integrated solution, and we came across SAP. Before we signed on, we met with another early SAP customer, a Midwest-based, billion-dollar chemicals company, willing to share its experience with us. This led to a number of similar conversations with other customers, and ultimately to the selection of SAP for our company's system architecture. These companies all had two things in common: a passion for SAP and a willingness to share their stories with others to enable the most educated decisions possible. It's that spirit of sharing and community that led a few of us to create the Americas' SAP Users' Group in 1991.

Q: How does it feel to look at ASUG now with its 50,000 members?

A: When I look at the user group today, it's not so much the number of members that's noteworthy, but the relationships we've forged and the lessons we've learned from one another. When you have an organization like ASUG that is squarely focused on customer needs, paired with a customer-focused software vendor like SAP, the combination in terms of value back to the community is pretty powerful.

ASUG membership provides a great return on your investment — and the only requirement is your willingness to be a part of it.

Q: What has been your most rewarding experience with ASUG?

A: There are two: The first revolves around the people that I've come to know during my time on the Board of Directors and through the other roles I've held. The opportunity to network and share experiences has been invaluable to me, professionally and personally.

The second has to do with our partnership with SAP. As SAP was experiencing rapid growth in North America, ASUG was able to fill a key role in providing learning and influence opportunities to the growing customer base. Because the leaders of both organizations are truly committed to that learning and influence, the partnership has continued to evolve.

Q: What do you tell those SAP customers not yet taking advantage of what ASUG offers?

A: It's simple: Get involved. Compared with the value you get out of it, membership is probably one of the best investments an SAP customer could make.

"ASUG has created tremendous value for SAP customers over the years, and Greg has been a big part of that. His willingness to step up 17 years ago and his continuing service to ASUG are commendable, and I am personally grateful to him for his dedication to both of our organizations."

— Stefan Kneis
Global Head, SAP Global Customer Community Program
ASUG Executive Liaison


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