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Early Impressions from a TechEd Newbie

by Dave Hannon

October 20, 2010

By Dave Hannon

"Enough of this stuff, get to the tech."

That was what the TechEd attendee seated behind me grumbled under his breath, as the presenter on stage provided some user-based demos. Now, in the presenters' defense, the session was a rare one aimed at users more than developers, but my co-attendee's grumbling summed up my early impressions of this conference and it's attendees. These folks want "the tech."

It's lived up to its reputation as "DisneyWorld for SAP Geeks." For example, without fail, every session I've attended now mid-way through day 2 hasn't "ended" really, but rather the Q&A had to be brought out to the hall so the next session could be set up in the room. These folks are here to get their questions answered. And they are. The sessions are filled with live demos, screen shots, and questions that start with "We tried something at our company that didn't work...." In fact, presenters here aren't shy about pointing out what can't be done in SAP and how to work around it. It's not so much a "Rah Rah SAP" show as it is a "how to do what you need in SAP" show.

Sessions today, for example, started at 8 a.m. sharp and won't wrap up until 7 p.m. That's 11 solid hours.

Some highlights of my first TechEd so far have been:

  • Vishal Sikka's keynote. You've already read here about the content of his keynote but even beyond that I continue to be impressed by Vishal. He really comes across as a guy that loves this stuff and not someone just trying to sell some software. (I got the same impression about him at the Boston press event for the Sybase deal. The kind of guy you could talk ABAP with over a couple beers.).
  • I was impressed with the practical application of Sybase mobile workflow and the Sysbase mobile Sales for CRM. During the demos, I felt like anyone--even a tech-challenged editor like me--could get the hang of these applications. (By the way, the next version of Sybase Mobile Sales for iPhone will have that "create" functionality users wanted to add sales orders, etc.)
  • The in-memory computing demo I saw really put that technology in perspective. It's insanely fast and might like up to that "game changing" hype it's getting. Seriously. I watched them search 10 million lines of ABAP code in about 2.5 seconds.
  • The demo I saw of SAP NetWeaver Visual Composer was eye-opening. So that's how they do that.
  • No one here wears ties. Not attendees, not presenters. I like that.

Overall, I like the concept of bringing all the "tech" to one conference instead of trying to mix it with more  business and user-focused info, as many software companies do at their user conferences.

I'll be trying to provide more updates on Twitter @Daveatwispubs for those of you interested in the impressions of a TechEd Newbie. You can find more updates by using #ILN4SAP as well.

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