The beginning of any new year brings opportunities to hit reset and reflect. As ASUG moves into 2024, committed to ensuring the success of our member community, I’m excited to contemplate the year ahead.

At last fall’s inaugural ASUG Tech Connect, a conference dedicated to showcasing the power of technology and community, I spoke about the importance of collaboration and knowledge-sharing as a continuous, year-round activity. That’s because, outside of our in-person industry conferences, your ASUG engagement can take many forms, just as your involvement in the ASUG community will open many doors.

In considering what thoughts to share with our membership this week, the words of American professor and researcher Brené Brown came to mind; she defines connection as “the energy that exists between people when they feel seen, heard, and valued; when they can give and receive without judgment; and when they derive sustenance and strength from the relationship.”

At the heart of ASUG—and key to my understanding of our purpose and impact—is creating connection through community. As leaders, as professionals, and as humans, we crave connection constantly. Every day, it drives us forward in our careers and strengthens our commitment to our organizations’ missions. Ultimately, connection unlocks positive change.

Whenever we survey our members, you tell us connecting with your peers is critical to your success. You tell us you want to hear each other’s stories—to hear how your peers overcame challenges and achieved success, professionally and personally. We know there’s no substitute for cultivating spaces where you can have these constructive conversations.

That’s why 38 regional Chapters, industry- and topic-specific community alliances, virtual town halls, webcasts, and editorial offerings—included within your ASUG membership—currently exist: to help you connect, and to help you get the most value out of your investment in SAP technology.

In 2023, our Chapters convened 140 times across North America. In 2024, you can further engage with ASUG Chapters and local in-person experiences, join our valued ASUG Volunteers, and make your voice heard—to your peers, to ASUG, and to SAP—through our Community Alliances. I hope you’ll take advantage of every opportunity to do so.

Last year was a strong one for our conferences—for industries such as utilities and oil, gas, and energy—and saw the launch of ASUG Tech Connect, designed for practitioners to participate in deep-dive learning labs, 1:1 expert sessions, and peer-to-peer conversations about what is working with their SAP technology projects—and what pitfalls to avoid. In 2024, consider attending our four major conferences, redesigned to align, educate, and empower our membership.

What else? This past year, we launched Campus Connect, a reimagined collaboration between SAP University Alliances and ASUG member companies. Campus Connect provides an important pathway for SAP professionals to inspire a new generation of talent, addressing the skills gap and enabling real-world applications of SAP technology outside the classroom. I had a chance to see Campus Connect in action at recent ASUG Michigan, Carolinas, and Dallas-Fort Worth & Oklahoma Chapter meetings, and I couldn’t be more excited about the future of this expanding opportunity to foster the next generation of SAP talent.

In 2023, we also relaunched ASUG’s weekly First Five newsletter, distributed to our entire membership. We want to keep you company over your first cup of coffee on Monday mornings. This year, we will continue to deliver analysis of the latest SAP news, customer case studies that explore how SAP users are transforming their technology landscapes, exclusive ASUG research, community dispatches, and interviews with key individuals advancing the objectives of the SAP ecosystem.

I’m looking forward to the third season of ASUG Talks, premiering this spring in a roundtable format designed to connect our members with SAP experts in conversations about the topics you’ve identified as critical to your success, from cloud migration to integration and automation. Gain insights on the go and hear directly from your peers about practical strategies that enhanced their SAP knowledge. Throughout the year, we’ll expand the impact of conversations conducted at our events through special editions of the podcast, such as our episode recorded live at ASUG Tech Connect.

This year, we’ll deliver research reports and provide you with the data you need to make informed decisions about SAP technology projects, illuminating how your fellow SAP users maximize the value of SAP implementations. We will unveil our annual Pulse of the SAP Customer research in the first quarter of 2024, with additional research forthcoming on topics like sustainability, SAP S/4HANA, SAP Signavio, and SAP Business Technology Platform. Thank you for your participation in these projects, which identify trends and emerging issues for our members.

Considering all that ASUG has in the works for 2024, I keep returning to the importance of engaging with empathy in your communities, of taking the time to forge the individual relationships that power our professional network and ensure brighter, better futures for our organizations. It all comes down, as always, to you, and to your connection with others.

Carolyn Dolezal is ASUG’s Chief Operating Officer.

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