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Annual Report 2015

Paul Fipps, Chairman of the ASUG Board of Directors, and CIO and EVP of Global Operations at Under Armour

Message from ASUG Board Chair

I’m always amazed at where my ASUG travels take me. On one early morning in 2015, for instance, I found myself in a Heidelberg, Germany restaurant with fellow ASUG Board members, ASUG’s senior management team, and SAP delegates. The topic: Digital Transformation.

It was one of the most fascinating conversations that I’ve had since joining the ASUG Board. It was not an idle conversation, however; it was imperative. You could feel the tension and excitement.

All ASUG member businesses are changing—or being changed by outside forces. There is simply no time to stand on the sidelines and watch the action on the field. From my perspective, there is no better place to be than in technology. The pressure is certainly on us: No other functional area is expected to know as much about everyone else inside the organization. And, of course, while we need to focus our passion on transformative innovations, none of our businesses’ transaction engines can ever stop running.

That’s a hard place to be sometimes, but it also offers an amazing opportunity: ASUG members should be leading conversations and asking provocative questions to spur LoB peers to think about Digital Transformation and how technology can support solutions to big problems. That was one big takeaway for me from that conversation in Heidelberg.

Questions like: What would completely change our business? What if we just made incremental improvements? What if we totally blew up our current business model? What then?

For sure, the consumer of 2015 has radically changed from even just a couple of years ago. Whatever your value chain model is, I guarantee you that the way in which your customers consume your goods and services is vastly different now than two or three years ago. Therefore, it’s not just about being reactive to customer needs, but positioning your company to serve them infinitely better today—not tomorrow, not next year. Today.

That’s the sense of urgency that our businesses have to embrace. The pace of change ramped-up in 2015, and I see no reason to believe it’ll slow any time soon.

As I step down from the ASUG Chair in May 2016, I will point out that ASUG is changing, as well. In this report on ASUG’s 2015 activities, you will see how ASUG has expanded existing programs and forged new ones, all in an effort to serve the community and help you and your company on your next transformation.

Paul Fipps

Chairman of the ASUG Board of Directors
CIO and EVP of Global Operations at Under Armour

The ASUG Value

When a company joins ASUG, they become part of something more than just a user group. They become part of a community of fellow SAP professionals who have always had a front-row seat for the future. They are the innovators, builders, and managers of some of the most powerful systems and platforms in use today. ASUG’s Membership and Sales teams help companies through the process of becoming a member and making the most of the many benefits awaiting companies.

Communities is a member’s network, one that never goes down. ASUG offers a comprehensive array of Special Interest Groups (SIGs) to keep members connected and informed. With 38 chapters in North America, we also provide local face-to-face education and networking. The Communities team is committed to expanding Community-driven programming year-after-year to ensure year-round value for our members.

ASUG Education leads the educational program planning at our major conferences. Content is selected by volunteers from appropriate Special Interest Groups (SIGs), who serve as the content experts for our program. Many of these sessions are also filtered through to the membership via webcasts and presentations at local Chapter meetings.

ASUG Volunteers represent the core of ASUG's commitment to delivering content 365 days a year. In 2015, ASUG had approximately 350 Volunteers, and their contributions included over 500 webcast presentations and over 150 complimentary face-to-face events.

ASUG Volunteers are the idea people, the engagers, the influencers, and the leaders. Without them, we couldn't deliver the insight, information, and educational opportunities that make ASUG such a vibrant and valuable community.

We are proud of all the Volunteers who work tirelessly through the year to produce such valuable experiences for our broader membership.

Influence helps users channel feedback to SAP for product enhancement. Users participate by joining an Influence Council, a forum focused on similar SAP products, where members can discuss and prioritize improvement requests, then send the requests directly to SAP developers. ASUG also helps to coordinate council involvement in SAP's various Influence programs.

The ASUG Executive Exchange addresses the unique challenges C-level executives face. The program helps companies maximize their SAP investments, and helps companies embrace Digital Transformation to drive new business value. This exclusive forum of senior-level SAP customers engage with the Executive Exchange because of the ecosystem and power of the network. ASUG brings together thought leaders, key SAP executives, and of course fellow executive practitioners for open and honest communications. Insight, ideas, inspiration are shared along with real-world lessons learned. Executive Exchange members have special access to key SAP executives, strategy, and road maps, and the Executive Exchange provides critical feedback to influence SAP products and services. Members, with guidance from the Executive Exchange Steering Committee, set the agenda to deliver unprecedented value.

The ASUGNews team produces and shares insightful, member-centric coverage of critical SAP topics via a wide range of mediums: articles, case studies, and briefings on ASUGNews.com, and video packages of member stories on ASUGtv’s YouTube page.

ASUG Research is a lens into our members’ top SAP-related challenges and opportunities (HANA, anyone?). It’s a means by which ASUG provides influence on those topics back to SAP and helps drive product strategy and road maps. And most important, the results are a source of unique educational content for ASUG members that’s in direct response to their needs. Members can download any of our research reports via the website.

2015 Highlights

Volunteer Spotlight

ASUG Media

Once again, ASUGNews’s end-to-end video coverage of SAPPHIRE NOW and ASUG Annual Conference delivered 50 important interviews with ASUG members and SAP newsmakers. Our revamped video story packages at the fall events (ASUG’s Analytics and BI event, our SAP Business One Summit, as well as SAP TechEd) focused solely on valuable member stories covering IT transformations, BI and SAP HANA rollouts, User Experience, mobility, SAP HANA Cloud Platform, and much more.

Take a moment to look at a word cloud of 2015's most popular ASUGNews topics:

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In the fall, the team also debuted the ASUG First Five newsletter—a Monday morning briefing unlike any other that highlights the five things that all ASUG members need to know to start their week. It’s fun, smart and informative—and it continues to be ASUG’s most popular newsletter.

Top content for 2015 included SAP customer stories and product explainers on: SAP HANA and SAP S/4HANA migration stories and licensing FAQs; ASUG Briefings on SAP One Service, Activate and SAP S/4HANA 1511 launches; our in-depth SAP BI and analytics articles, as well as HR and SAP SuccessFactors coverage; and our unique takes on all things SAP. In addition, our annual “ASUG in Review 2015” series—a mix of technology round-ups, predictions pieces, and entertaining articles—drew lots of views.

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ASUG Research conducted four major surveys in 2015, the results and analysis of which delivered helpful insight to ASUG members and leadership and to SAP on members’ finance application requirements (published in March), their User Experiences strategies (published in April), their HR technology plans (published in August), and their thoughts on SAP HANA adoption (published in December). ASUG members can download them via ASUG.com.

ASUG Research hit on a winning formula in ramping-up considerably the number of survey responses with our second SAP HANA adoption survey, a mix of increased outreach to members and the ability for members to take the survey on-site at a high-profile ASUG or SAP conference (in this case, SAP TechEd). For our inaugural SAP HANA adoption survey in 2014, we received 517 responses whereas for the follow-up survey in 2015, we boosted response numbers significantly to an impressive 1,253 responses.

Of our four reports, our second SAP HANA adoption survey generated a lot of interest and was cited by a variety of media outlets and both SAP and Oracle, suggesting that we indeed did take a very even-handed approach to the topic. The HR, UX and SAP HANA surveys also helped highlight the new Community Advocate roles, particularly their written commentary within the survey reports and their involvement in promotion of the results.

We will continue to refine our survey process heading into 2016 and look to increase the analysis and to eventually add in some prescriptive advice. We will engage more with the ASUG community, CAs, and SIGs and lessen our engagement with SAP, while still keeping the vendor in the loop about our research plans and the progress of individual surveys and reports.

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