This year’s SAP Sapphire & ASUG Annual Conference was an awesome blend of networking, learning, and reconnecting with customers and colleagues. There were informative demonstrations, focused discussions, and plenty of opportunities to collaborate and get questions answered.

To truly assess the event’s impact on others, I became a roving reporter for a couple of days.

In each interaction, it was important to capture the moment’s emotion and fully understand how a session or presentation might actually move that person to take intentional action after the event.

My first interview was with a customer who had never attended SAP Sapphire & ASUG Annual Conference before. Harry (to protect his true identity) was totally overwhelmed by all of the people, sessions, and many pathways to learn new things. He sat down for coffee with me and said, “This is the biggest networking event that I have ever attended.” “This really gives me connections to resources that would be helpful for my company’s ERP transformation.” “I feel reassured that we are not alone in our journey.” This aspect of the event was the greatest value for him.

My next interview was with a coworker. It was also his first time attending SAP Sapphire & ASUG Annual Conference. He commented about how exciting it was to learn that Microsoft Copilot and Sap Joule will be integrated to enable amazing productivity acceleration in ways that will allow quick customer adoption.

For another customer, during a dinner conversation, I asked about the emphasis on AI at the conference and what that might mean for their company. The feedback was swift, “We have a lot of work to do.”

There was a lot of focus on AI this year; however, it was an opportunity to get directional clarity on AI and to understand why the foundational steps matter for enterprise platform decisions.

The attention and spotlight on AI innovations built on SAP S/4HANA, RISE with SAP, and GROW with SAP frameworks to accelerate the journey and time to value stood out in each conversation.

With all of the technical information shared and time to meet face-to-face over breakfast, lunch, and dinner, one other important thing I saw at SAP Sapphire & ASUG Annual Conference was the value of in-person interactions.

Shaking hands and discussing things in a meeting room without needing a Zoom or Microsoft Teams call was refreshing.

The magic of connecting in person to observe the subtle nonverbal cues and other indicators of full engagement and interest during a discussion was essential to advancing our customer relationships. There is so much that you can only assess from in-person interactions. This feedback was invaluable for our team.

SAP Sapphire & ASUG Annual Conference offered many benefits to our team this year and helped us to establish new levels of trust with our customers and colleagues. As you define the next steps on your transformation road map, I hope you can build on the new connections and information sources to gain momentum that takes you one step closer to your end goals.

Kimberley Reid is VP of Digital Enterprise, SAP Solutions for Hitachi Vantara. She continues her people focused commentaries for ASUG Executive Exchange. Reid draws on everyday technology, project, people, and leadership experiences of her career. She plans a forthcoming book based on these experiences and reflections.

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