Here we are; it’s the end of 2023. The end of the year can mean many things, depending on your perspective. I hope you are looking forward to the holiday season and a chance to spend time with family and friends. You may be wrapping up the budget year and finalizing your plans for 2024. You may be taking advantage of some business downtime to take care of planned IT upgrades or maintenance. Or if you are an industry analyst or pundit, you are working on your annual “year in review, year ahead” article to publish this month.
I don’t consider myself an industry analyst or pundit, but I do get to talk to many of you throughout the year and hear about the challenges ASUG Executive Exchange members are facing. With this in mind, here are a few of my “highlights” from conversations with our community.
AI (generative or not). The potential impact of Generative AI (GenAI) and tools like ChatGPT tried very hard to dominate conversations throughout the year. The conversations I heard from the ASUG Executive Exchange community focused on two areas:
- How and where can I use GenAI to solve business challenges?
- How can I address the technical challenges of implementing and using GenAI?
The general approach that our members are taking is (rightfully) a cautious one. Testing solutions with limited pilots, creating internal LLM systems, and locking out open AI models like ChatGPT at the firewall while companies figure out their GenAI strategy are all common.
Adopter’s Remorse. Another repetitive theme in the ASUG Executive Exchange community this year is the challenges our members face around the changing SAP technology portfolio and how those changes impact a customer’s existing landscape. I get it; technology changes and new solutions become available all the time. It is possible, or even likely, that the cutting-edge solution you implemented last year got sunsetted by a new cutting-edge solution. One of the core challenges technology leaders contend with is figuring out how long to extend existing tech investments and when to upgrade. As Kenny Rogers said in his song The Gambler, “You’ve got to know when to hold ’em and know when to fold ’em.”
The challenge is in the transition. The general story I hear from members is that they have adopted generation N of a particular solution, and now that generation N+1 is out, there is no simple or inexpensive way to move to the new “right way” to solve the business need.
RISE or Else? This last “highlight” is more of a cautionary tale and maybe an opportunity. I have talked to a couple of members this year who have found themselves needing to secure additional licenses to run their existing SAP software portfolio. To get the near-term licenses necessary to run the business, they had to sign RISE with SAP contracts at the same time.
Rather than getting into a debate about it, I will look at this last scenario with a glass-half-full approach. If you find yourself in a similar situation, take the opportunity to get the most from your RISE with SAP contract. Unless you know that your plans do not include the components in RISE with SAP, this can be a perfect opportunity to negotiate a favorable contract for what you’ll need in the future.
As the year winds down, I’d like to share what’s in store for the ASUG Executive Exchange community in 2024. We are already hard at work building out a year-round program to support the executive community within our member companies, so here are some highlights of what you can expect in 2024.
Bigger and Better Digest. In 2024, we will expand our monthly executive digest to provide even more valuable content for our executive members, including articles from customers, SAP experts, and partner thought leaders. This new content will give readers a broader, more strategic view of the SAP ecosystem and how your peers navigate their business and technology challenges.
On-Demand Content. In 2023, we introduced the Executive Briefing. Based on your feedback, the content in these online sessions was great, but it wasn’t always something you could build into your schedule. In 2024, we will continue these Executive Briefings but will intentionally build them for on-demand consumption. We plan to record shorter sessions on specific topics and make them available to members on-demand through the ASUG website. We’ll promote new sessions as they become available in our monthly digest, so you’ll see the library of content available as we build it out. We will still schedule virtual meetings, but they will be designed more around hearing your thoughts on topics and helping us identify your challenges.
In-Person Meetings! We will be holding two in-person ASUG Executive Exchange Summits in 2024. First, we will have an executive-only half-day “pre-conference” session during the week of SAP Sapphire & ASUG Annual Conference. This will be an afternoon of great content and case studies, followed by an evening social activity to provide opportunities to network and build relationships in a more fun environment.
We will also be holding our annual ASUG Executive Exchange Summit in late summer. We are finalizing the date and location now and will communicate the details to the community early in 2024. We set a high bar in Nashville this year and are working hard to deliver an even better in-person experience in 2024.
Call to Action
I’m going to wrap up this year’s digest with two requests. First, please take the time to enjoy the holiday season. Celebrate in your favorite way and start 2024 refreshed and energized—it promises to be an exciting year.
Second, let us hear from you. Our community is about helping you succeed; to do that, I need to know how we can help. What challenges are you facing? What problems have you solved that you’d like to share with others? Not sure if you have a powerful story or an innovative solution? I’d love to jump on a call and talk through the details. You will probably be surprised—a lot of the “normal” things you are doing now may be things that your peers have never considered, but can surely benefit from.
Make 2024 the year you become an active contributor to the ASUG Executive Exchange community!