SAPinsider Wrap-up: Give the Humans (Users) What They Want

by Dave Hannon

March 22, 2013


As I wrap up the last day of the SAPinsider Financials, GRC, BI and Admin conferences, I'm reflecting on an interesting point. While most of my notes from the sessions are dominated by phrases like "planning to move to BI 4.0" or "needed solution to gain deeper visibility into invoices" every once in a while I come across a note referring to the "human factors" of an IT project in one way or another. And it reminds me (and hopefully you) that in the middle of all the IT we've heard about this week--and there were plenty of screen shots, demos, roadmaps--at the end of it all, the goal of all this IT is to help a human being in front of a screen (end user) perform a function.

For example, during the Financials 2013 keynote, just after the solution map, but before the demos got rolling, speaker Joel Bernstein reminded attendees about the intersection of IT and human beings when he said, "I cannot underestimate the importance of change management." A very human concern for IT organizations.

During her Financials 2013 session on implementing SAP Business Planning and Consolidation, Kathy Calvert of PepsiCo took time to emphasize the importance of identifying a BPC owner in the organization who is equally comfortable talking with IT and finance. Our ability to communicate is, of course, one of the things that makes humans human, isn't it?

In a GRC 2013 session this morning, PwC's Jonathan Levitt discussed best practices for using Emergency Access Management (or Firefighter as you might call it) and you know what--it's all about humans. Which human (user) should have access to what func tionality and for which scenario. In fact, Levitt used a decidedly human metaphor to get his point across. "An effective Firefighter strategy is like making a stew--you need all the right ingredients or it won't taste right," he said.

I just got out of a BI 2013 session on 3M's move to BI 4.0 and sure enough, that move was heavily driven by two user requests: "Users were demanding more analytics and mobile access," said speaker Jeffrey Robinson. And 3M might know more about humans than most companies. Robinson said every person on the planet touches a 3M product every day. (And their IT organization, by the way, plans to have 60,000 humans/users up and running on BI 4.0 before it's all done).

And speaking of humans, thanks to all the humans (presenters and experts) that stopped by the SAPinsider booth to sit for interviews on camera. We'll be posting those interviews in coming weeks across our various web sites (SAPexperts, SAPinisder, insiderPROFILES and here on the Insider Learning Network) so check back.

And a big congrats to all of the humans (my colleagues) on the SAPinsider staff for producing such a great event(s) here at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas. It's not always easy to focus on business in Las Vegas for a number of very human reasons. In fact, as I write this blog at 11 a.m., there's house music thumping and a crowd of humans (partyers) dancing and drinking at the pool below. But our conference team is like a keenly-focused, well-oiled machine from top to bottom. 

Lastly, I hope all of you humans (attendees) have gotten what you came for here at Finacials, GRC, BI and Admin. From the many discussions I've had with attendees and presenters, it seems you have.

Now if you'll excuse me, after a week straight here in the conference center (conferece decathalon personal best achieved, for  those keeping track), it's time to go do what humans do here in Las Vegas--wander t he strip for a few hours aimlessly.



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