While ASUG members and the organization itself weathered changes and challenges over the last three years, Board Chair Mark LeClair and CEO Geoff Scott assert that the ASUG foundation and its forward focus are solid, as well as filled with positive trends, opportunities, and optimism.
The leaders reflected on the issues and accomplishments from 2018 to 2022 in a recent interview during SAP Sapphire & ASUG Accelerate Orlando. The interview coincided with the end of LeClair’s four years as chair.
During the May ASUG Board meeting, Vice Chair James Johnson succeeded LeClair, who concluded two successive two-year terms. Simultaneously, Kris Cowles, SVP of IT for TopCon Positioning Systems, and Diane Arnold, SVP of Enterprise Technology Core Systems and Platforms for the Walt Disney Company, joined the board for their first meeting.
“Stronger Than Ever”
“ASUG is advancing on its mission, and we are set up for success with our member value, our products and our services,” LeClair said. “ASUG is stronger now, especially given what we’ve gone through. We have the depth and breadth of services. We have influence with SAP. The voice of ASUG is the strongest it’s ever been.”
Both LeClair and Scott acknowledged that the board and staff have faced difficult discussions and decisions. Some were prompted by pandemic-related changes in the business and by how heavily ASUG relies on in-person event programming.
“Mark’s legacy is that he navigated the organization through tumultuous times. He led the board to realize that we needed to pivot. We needed jarring change,” Scott said.
Lean in to Learn, Connect, and Grow
ASUG embraced technologies and collaborative program development to deliver virtual events, extending programming experiences beyond a “point in time.” It tapped into SAP, customer, and partner expertise more broadly, leaning into strategic ASUG pillars—Learn, Connect, and Grow—more effectively, with new communities and offerings.
Scott also highlighted new program formats, such as ASUG Accelerate Power Peer Group sessions. These delivered conversations through a “customer-peer lens.” Scott predicted that the forthcoming ASUG Member Pathfinder product will become “historic” in delivering member value.
Trusted SAP Relationship
LeClair and Scott said that they and other board leaders have invested time and attention to improve relationships with SAP leaders across the board. They’ve also worked to improve the overall partnership that ASUG has with SAP.
“Our relationship with SAP needed better alignment,” LeClair said. “We needed a relationship with openness, transparency, and trust. We believe we have that now.”
“We’re collaborating,” Scott added, “focused on the voice of the customer. We have the customers and continue to work on the trusted relationship with SAP.”
Scott emphasized the importance of resuming the in-person ASUG Board–SAP Executive Board member multi-day meetings last year. Several such meetings occurred in Orlando.
Out Front and in Front
LeClair said that his successor, ASUG, board directors, professional staff, and the SAP ecosystem have several positive opportunities to leverage.
“The product portfolio can be challenging, yet there is so much to build out and on,” LeClair said. “We need to look at how to get the member value message out further and more effectively.”
“And what would be my advice to James? Be in front of them—the member—and be out front for them. He’s out front for all of us members now,” he added.