SAP TechEd 2011 Impressions: Day One

by Dave Hannon

September 13, 2011

By Dave Hannon


Today's episode: It's a mobile world, so put on your sneakers

As the first official day of SAP TechEd 2011 winds down, it's clear that SAP HANA stole the show again (she's getting to be quite the little attention hound, isn't she?) As my colleague Scott Priest so expertly and expeditiously documented here, the keynote set the stage with Vishal Sikka calling HANA the center of SAP's "intellectual renewal."

But while HANA struts around on the mainstage, trying to steal the show, it's her much more active brother, mobility, that just smacks you in the face with his energy and enthusiasm. He's literally all around you. Mobile devices in every hand, distracting us from the actual sessions (Vishal actually joked that we should be watching, not tweeting, his keynote!). Mobile's what's now, what's real, what's current. In fact, here's a few mobile tidbits I picked up just in the past eight hours here in Vegas.

Real world mobility use case #1 I picked up today: The SAP TechEd app. Yeah, they built an app for this conference and it's practical and useful. I found one session that was not listed in the printed handout through the app. I found out when lunch was. It really is a legitimate mobile use case.

Real world mobility use case #2 I picked up today: I caught an interesting demo of the Fashion Concierge app during the "Mobility in Action" session today. T his app lets roaming salespeople use a mobile device to help shoppers find other items and even let them see how they look together in a "virtual dressing room." (Maybe it's just me, but I vote they change the name of that feature. I wouldn't Google "virtual dressing room" would you?) And when an order is submitted via this app, the data is sent directly to the SAP ERP. The development time for this app was seven weeks on the Sybase Unwired Platform.

Real world mobility use case #2.5 I picked up today: In the same session, Cisco outlined its mobile strategy, dating all the way back to the Palm Treo and pre-Sybase Afaria, fast forwarding all the way to the 59% growth in mobile devices in their enterprise in the past year--all of which came under an employee self-pay program. Cisco has pretty much stopped buying devices for employees and pays for only a select few service plans and the number of devices IT has to service on their network is exploding. You can't stop this guy!

Real world mobility use case #3 I picked up today: In a BOBJ session, Shreeram Venkatdas of the City of Tacoma, Wash. provided practical tips on how to implement and sell an IT project (more on that later, I hope). Sure, it's BusinessObjects right now, but down the road, plans include mobile BI.(And yes, HANA stuck her scene stealing little nose in this session too).

So while HANA squabbles with her speedy brother Mobility to steal center stage, you, the SAP customer, get the benefit of two top performers fighting for your attention. Okay, I've beaten that metaphor to death. Let's move on.

Other random thoughts around SAP TechEd:

My necktie data collection project was a flop. There was one necktie in the joint, and it was horrible. Tomorrow, I'm going neck au natural. What happens in Vegas, right?

The companies SAP chose to highlight in the opening "commercial" before the keynote were great: Tumi, Harley-Davidson, Fender, etc. Don't you wish you could read about those companies? Oh, wait, you can. They're all featured or soon to be featured in insiderPROFILES. (Grab a copy in the bins at TechEd).
I've done it probably a hundred times at this point in my career, but I stil hate walking through a casino with briefcase on my shoulder. I just feel like Ocean's 11.

Yeah, I missed a historical performance by Tom Brady to come to this conference. But I felt better when I caught a guy wearing a Dustin Pedroia shirt in the conference hall. (No, he didn't have a tie on)

Follow my TechEd updates on Twitter at @Daveatwispubs

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