With the aim of more effectively surfacing and responding to the challenges, issues, and opportunities SAP customers face amid implementing SAP solutions, ASUG reengineered its community structure over the last year.
The debut of 10 Community Alliances unites customers and SAP technology/industry experts in a volunteer leadership structure, with highly interactive events all supported by the ASUG Community Operations professional staff. Over the last year the Alliance debut list included:
- Business Technology Platform Community Alliance
- S/4HANA (ERP) Community Alliance
- Sustainability Community Alliance
- IT Operations Community Alliance
- Energy & Natural Resources Community Alliance
- Intelligent Spend Management & Business Network Community Alliance
- Consumer Industries and Customer Experience Community Alliance
- Human Experience Management (HXM) Community Alliance
- Public Services Community Alliance
- Small and Medium Enterprises (SME) Community Alliance
A Discrete Industries Community Alliance is planned for 2023, among others. Many communities already have held additional meetings virtually and have ambitious agendas set for the coming year.
Kathy Sinnen, ASUG Community Operations Director and an architect for the new approach, said the new structures grow community involvement while providing opportunities for smaller, more focused conversations within the Taskforces and Alliances themselves, as well as larger connection opportunities, whether with SAP customer peers or SAP subject matter experts.
She said community feedback—solution success stories, pain points, technology updates and more—drives the conversations and alliance agendas, which are determined on a quarterly basis.
Community Member Voice
“The greatest success is the active participation in the Town Halls and giving the community members a voice,” Sinnen said. “We are listening to our community needs and are developing content to support those needs.”
Sinnen, who reported alliance event attendance figures for 2022 at 777 registrants and 573 attendees, emphasized the importance of the alliance volunteer leadership teams. She said the teams are highly active resources driving the new organizations and bridging customer, ASUG, and SAP interests. She said alliances seek additional volunteers for leadership and welcome an ever-growing mix of participants.
Recent Town Halls
The debut of the ASUG Sustainability Community Alliance, Human Experience Alliance and Small and Medium-Sized Business Community Alliance wrapped up the 2022 launch activity calendar. Brief recaps of each Alliance Town Hall can be found below.
The Sustainability Community Alliance event united ASUG peer groups and SAP leaders active in various sustainability-related functionalities and initiatives and included leadership introductions and discussions of SAP and ASUG strategies, collaborations, and focus areas under the massive topic.
The Sustainability Alliance leadership team members Hitesh Patel, Product Manager, SAP, for Climate Action; Alex Karim, Sustainability Principal, SAP, for Circular Economy; Robert Richardson, HXM Strategy Advisor, SAP, for Social Responsibility; John Martin, National Practice Lead, Sustainability at SAP, as SAP Lead; and both John Falk, President at opesus, and Zack Mikan, SAP Solution Support Engineer at 3E, as Community Co-chairs.
Alliance leaders provided an overview of ASUG and SAP Sustainability mapping, also leaving room for open discussion on current event topics of interest. Outlining a shared approach to driving sustainability impact, leaders discussed a strategy of holistic steering and reporting related to the Three Zeroes: Zero Emissions with Climate Action, Zero Waste with Circular Economy, and Zero Inequality with Social Responsibility.
Other potential topics discussed included addressing a lack of knowledge around how to engage and educate one’s entire supply chain; creating diverse, transparent, green supply chains; measuring, reporting, and predicting sustainability outcomes; inclusive upskilling to achieve sustainability goals; building internal business cases to assess sustainability ROI; exploring the impact of sustainable sentiment on health, wellness, productivity, and brand perception; the building strong local communities to combat childhood adversity and poverty; and reducing biased machine-driven outcomes with ethical AI.
Attendees of the Human Experience Management (HXM) Alliance learned of the vast SAP portfolio and service capabilities in SAP SuccessFactors and other solutions. The Alliance focus is squarely on “the people side of technology projects. Change management and people often are left to the very of a project,” said Chris DuBois, SAP Solution Advisor Senior Specialist and an Alliance leadership team member.
In addition to DuBois, the leadership team includes Danielle Larocca, Alliance Community Chair and Senior Vice President, HCM/EIM Technology, EPI-USE; Imran Sajid, Senior Director, Product Marketing, SAP SuccessFactors; Lindsay Westra, SAP Director, SuccessFactors User Engagement; and Mike Timm, Senior Payroll Consultant, Integrated Consulting Group.
Based on feedback the alliance will tackle several topics, to include several of the Success Factors components as well as ECC HCM to SAP S/4HANA migration; and, generally, increasing SuccessFactors efficiencies and sharing best practices.
A two-pronged yet united approach came through in the Small and Medium-Sized Business Alliance launch. In opening the Town Hall, leadership team member Marian Harris, SAP Director, S/4HANA Development, defined midmarket as “roughly” $500M to just under $1B in annual revenue and under 2,000 employees. She said such organizations “often have constrained IT resources” and can benefit from the community’s intentions to “reinvigorate collaboration” and help companies learned how to “do more with less.”
Harris is joined in the midmarket focus alliance leadership by Tim Coyle, Mrs. T’s Pierogies IT Director. Also on the team, with a focus on the SAP Business One user community, are Idit Saguey, SAP Market Unit Lead, United States, and Joe Leimer, Vice President Technology, Design Resources Inc.
The Alliance Town Hall surfaced numerous topics to tackle, including: tactics for 24/7 cybersecurity on a small enterprise budget; business case development; cloud integration challenges; integration and interfaces to third-party systems; and new user onboarding.