If the SAP NetWeaver BI and Portals 2007 conference proved anything, it is that SAP customers are moving to SAP NetWeaver 2004s and SAP ERP 2005 in droves.
“This year attendees were especially hungry for information related specifically to the new platform, SAP NetWeaver 2004s,” says Bonnie Penzias, editor-in-chief of SAP In
sider magazine. Wellesley Information Services, publisher of SAP Insider, hosts the conference, which is co-sponsored by SAP. “The most popular sessions, by a wide margin, were those dealing with upgrades to SAP ERP 2005 and the specific components of SAP NetWeaver 2004s.”
The conference, held March 25-28 at the Venetian Resort in Las Vegas, attracted more than 2,600 attendees, who had more than 250 sessions to choose from in 11 different tracks.
The most popular sessions with attendees at the SAP NetWeaver BI and Portals 2007 conference primarily focused on upgrading or implementing SAP NetWeaver 2004s. “SAP customers who in the past have been investigating upgrades are now making the move to SAP ERP 2005,” said Amy Thistle, one of the WIS conference producers behind the event. She listed several of the most popular sessions, including “Upgrading from BW to SAP NetWeaver,” “An expert guide for upgrading from SAP BW 3.x to SAP NetWeaver 2004s,” and “Explore the functionality, architecture, and future of SAP NetWeaver Visual Composer.”
This year marked the first time WIS combined SAP NetWeaver BI and Portals 2007 conference with the Administration and Infrastructure 2007 conference, and by all accounts, the mixture was a success.
On the Administration and Infrastructure 2007 side, there was keen interest in the components of SAP NetWeaver 2004s, especially SAP Solution Manager, SAP NetWeaver Master Data Management (SAP NetWeaver MDM), and Unicode, according to WIS Conference Producer Victoria Groves. There was also interest in upgrading and tuning back-end databases, says Carilyn Daniel, another conference producer.
“Last year we identified an opportunity to bundle the two conferences together,” says Benny DiCecca, president of the conference division at WIS. Based on preliminary surveys, the experiment appears to have been a success. “More than 90% of the attendees at both events, SAP NetWeaver and Admin, rated the conference favorably and would recommend it to a colleague,” says DiCecca.
Both conferences kicked off with a single keynote event, with presentations by Elvira Wallis, senior vice president, SAP NetWeaver Product Management, SAP, and Rolf Schumann, CTO, EMEA Central, SAP Deutchland AG & Co. KG. The two spoke on “IT Simplicity: From Impossible Dream to Necessary Reality.”
Wallis spoke of the simplicity, efficiency, and flexibility of the SAP NetWeaver platform, which makes the enterprise service-oriented architecture (SOA) a reality. She defined enterprise SOA as breaking down a business process into individual pieces of applications that can be stored in a repository to be recombined into other business processes. As an example, she demoed a scenario of a manufacturer finding a new supplier that combined different pieces of the applications.
Schumann presented the five pillars every company should use to simplify IT:
- Rediscover your enterprise with SOA
- Consolidate your systems, applications, instances, master data, and hardware
- Innovate by widening your technological horizons and seek different solutions
- Don’t be afraid to outsource
- Strive for co-innovation by turning to your entire ecosystem
While the keynotes were the official beginning of the conference, more than 1,000 attendees signed up for one or two of the 11 Jumpstart sessions held the day before. The Jumpstarts offered introductions to a wide range of topics, including sessions covering SAP NetWeaver MDM, SAP Business Intelligence Accelerator (SAP BIA), SAP NetWeaver, reporting, SAP Solution Manager, and SAP NetWeaver Exchange Infrastructure (SAP NetWeaver XI).
For those looking for answers from consultants and vendors, the Solution Showcase during the event was the biggest to date. Some 60 vendors packed the exhibit hall (see “Exhibitors in the Solution Showcase” below) looking to interact with a wide range of potential customers. In almost every case, vendors say viable leads numbered in the hundreds.
Exhibitors in the Solution Showcase
Compugra Systems, Inc.
Deloitte Consulting LLP
Gamma Enterprise Solutions
HCL Technologies, Ltd.
|Levi, Ray & Shoup, Inc.
Logical Design Solutions
Optimal Solutions, Inc.
OZSoft Consulting Corp.
Sigma Business Solutions
Teradata, a division of NCR
The Principal Consulting
Universal Data Solutions, Inc.
Panorama, a 12-year-old firm that is new to the SAP market, decided to become a Premiere sponsor for the event. “We were expecting a certain number of qualified leads that met our customer criteria,” says Jordon Friedman, senior marketing manager at Panorama, and the event more than exceeded the company’s expectations.
Active participation in the conference also gave Panorama the opportunity to demonstrate to SAP its commitment to the platform and to the market, Friedman says. This will only help to strengthen the relationship between the two companies.
“Personally, having BI and Admin together has been a beneficial marriage of our customers,” says Bob Capuzelo, senior events manager of Wily Technology, one of the exhibitors. He was one of several exhibitors who benefited from the synergy between the attendees of the two events.
The demand for SAP information was at times overwhelming. Attendees purchased more than 650 SAP Press books, the most popular being SAP NetWeaver BI and SAP Solution Manager.