In my previous My View, My Voice commentary, I shared with you, ASUG members, insights into what seems a little-known membership benefit. I offered stories about how the ASUG-SAP partnership brings value to ASUG members. I wrote about the 2021 trip to SAP headquarters in Walldorf, Germany—an annual excursion suspended due to the pandemic. Last year we resumed this important connection with several ASUG Board directors and ASUG CEO Geoff Scott. We talked directly with SAP leaders about our work together to ensure SAP users in North America get maximum value from SAP investments.

This year's trip to the geographical center of the SAP universe was somewhat different than in 2021. SAP offices were much busier. When we last visited the hallowed HQ halls, COVID-19’s presence and protocols meant many still worked from home. This year, with mask mandates lifted, the office was lively. There was a welcome feeling, meeting many team members just walking the halls or chatting in the coffee bar.

Yet, this trip was no different regarding the importance and sincerity of ASUG-SAP meetings. As you might expect, I cannot share conversation specifics. To ensure meeting participants can speak freely and openly, we agree that non-disclosure agreements cover business discussions.

SAP Leader Access

Still, I can and want to share some details with you, given the stature and scope of SAP leaders involved. Our first connection was Sebastian Steinhaeuser, Chief of Staff to CEO Christian Klein, and Head of SAP Strategy. We met with Thomas Saueressig, Product Engineering and Member of the SAP Executive Board; Juergen Mueller, SAP Chief Technology Officer and Member of the SAP Executive Board; Peter Maier, SAP President Industries and Customer Advisory; and Karl Fahrbach, SAP Chief Partner Officer. These are some SAP heavy hitters! Visitors don't get an audience with one, much less several SAP Executive Leaders—unless they see you as a true strategic partner. This is what ASUG has become and will continue to be.

Forgive me for some "name-dropping." Let’s move on to some general topics. We spoke about the SAP Cloud strategy and journey. We came to better understand SAP Business Technology Platform (BTP) and how it can be a game changer. We discussed the ever-changing and challenging SAP partner ecosystem. And we talked about SAP sustainability strategies and efforts.

Our meetings were only complete with a visit from Christian Klein. Christian is so personable. He is genuine, approachable, and carries himself with an ease that makes you forget he leads one of the world’s biggest software companies.

Directly From the SAP CEO

Christian spoke about a recent visit to Washington, D.C., where he met with several U.S. government leaders. I had to laugh when he said he went to dinner with Democrats and Republicans together—and that they were all nice to each other. (We don’t often see that on television.) During our meeting, Christian reaffirmed the importance of the ASUG-SAP relationship and committed to a continued strong partnership. (He recently followed that up with LinkedIn postings about the importance of SAP user groups.)

Like last year, I came away from these meetings more confident than ever that a strong partnership with SAP is in the best interest of ASUG and its members. These annual meetings allow for very candid and all-around open discussions. The conversations let us better understand and deliver to the needs of both organizations. They positively affect ASUG members.

One final note: This marks my last full year on the ASUG Board. My six-year term ends in 2023. I will miss being on the Board, serving you, ASUG members. In particular, I will miss the Walldorf excursion next year and the opportunity to share new tales. Yet, I look forward to supporting the community in other ways after my Director service ends.

Tony Caesar is Vice Chair of the ASUG Board of Directors and Head of IT Ericsson North America.

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