What You Really Need to Know Before You Go

SAPPHIRE NOW and ASUG Annual Conference finally kicks off on June 4 in Orlando. The conference tends to be overwhelming, even for veteran attendees who have learned to expect the cacophony of the exhibit hall, the seemingly endless selection of sessions, and the parade of product announcements.

This year will be no different: SAP has several points it wants to hammer home. Expect a few major themes to pop up in keynotes and throughout the show.

SAP Theme: Customer Experience. After its recent acquisition of Callidus Software, SAP is making no secret of its desire to take on Salesforce and Oracle in the customer relationship management (CRM) market. SAP tends to purchase companies to add to its portfolio (Concur, Hybris, etc.). Its Callidus purchase is another way to strengthen its own offerings while grabbing a foothold in what Gartner is referring to as the largest software market in 2018.

SAP Theme: The Intelligent Enterprise. Last year’s SAP Leonardo announcement was met with a healthy dose of skepticism by attendees and analysts, although that didn’t stop them from lining up for the SAP Leonardo Experience kiosk. This year, SAP plans to expand on analytics and innovation, as well as its suite of cloud products and cloud platforms. This focus may or may not bring clarity to the SAP Leonardo offering, but it does seem like a less-ambiguous way of helping customers with their digital transformations. So far, SAP has hinted at solutions for intelligent ERP, including a Rinspeed concept car and demonstrations of machine learning for Procure to Pay and Order to Cash.

SAP Theme: Indirect Access and SAP Licensing. Since last year’s conference, indirect access and potentially noncompliant use of SAP systems have been raising plenty of customer eyebrows–and anxieties. In the wake of the April introduction of its new documents-based licensing model, SAP may offer more clarification on this murky topic. Expect to hear better definitions of indirect and direct use, and to learn about SAP’s solution to indirect use in the form of its new licensing model. If this is an issue keeping you and your team up at night, head to the ASUG Education Zone on the second floor for an ASUG Licensing Update with SAP (ASUG12174) on Wednesday, June 6 from 2:30 p.m. to 3:30 p.m., followed by an executive roundtable for those who are attending ASUG’s Executive Exchange.

How to Get the Most from Your Time

To avoid getting distracted by products and sessions that hold little value for you back at work, you’ll be best off to start planning your time now. Don’t wait until you arrive in Orlando.

Tip 1: Download the Mobile App Today. Once you download the mobile app, you can search for sessions you want to attend and create your own custom schedule using the search and filter functions. All ASUG Annual Conference sessions include ASUG in the title. This year, the app will also recommend sessions based on your interests. Keep in mind that rooms sometimes change at the last minute, but the app will always have the latest, most up-to-date information.

Tip 2: Know What You Want Before You Land. Spend some time identifying your objectives for the show. For example, if you’re planning a migration to SAP S/4HANA, look for sessions that can help you learn how to do this as painlessly as possible, as well as exhibitors you might want to engage for your project. Add these to your schedule in the app and familiarize yourself with the floor plan. Then you’ll be more likely to get the knowledge you need to take back home with you.

Tip 3: Head Off the Main Floor to the ASUG Education Zone. ASUG’s Education Zone is on the second and third floors of the Orange County Convention Center. We have 25 tracks and over 500 sessions, from migrating to SAP S/4 HANA to mastering metadata. These sessions are curated and selected by the ASUG community, pared down from 1,200 to the most-demanded 500. If you want to head home with a better understanding of your existing systems or practical tips for new systems you may be considering, leave the chaos of the show floor to catch some ASUG tracks, where everything is a how-to, not a buy-me. And while you’re on the show floor, stop by the ASUG Hub to grab a coffee and network with peers. There will be plenty of presentations and meetups going on throughout the day there, too.

For First-Timers: SAPPHIRE NOW and ASUG Annual Conference Survival

Is this your first time heading to SAPPHIRE NOW? To avoid collapsing in exhaustion well before the Justin Timberlake concert, keep these tips in mind.

Tip 4: Wear Comfortable Shoes. The Orange County Convention Center is huge (and we mean huge: it's 7 million square feet). You will be walking a lot to get where you need to go: the keynote stage, ASUG sessions on the second and third floors, the exhibitor areas, and of course, places to grab food. Dressy-looking comfortable shoes (ladies, think flats) are more than acceptable and just might save you some time as you’re trucking from one place to the next.

Tip 5: Bring Layers. The temperature outside the Orange County Convention Center will be hot enough to fry an egg on the sidewalk. But inside, the air conditioning is set to the temperature of a meat locker. This is one of those times when business professional dress comes in handy. Bring the suit jacket with you to wear when you’re in a particularly chilly room.

Tip 6: Expect Food, Lots of Food. One thing SAP does really well is food: There will be snacks throughout the show floor, including ice cream in the afternoon. The lunch area will include almost every type of cuisine imaginable: Indian, Italian, and basic American, with vegetarian, gluten-free, and dairy-free options. You will not have to worry about going hungry. It’s a good idea to bring a refillable water bottle with you so you can stay hydrated as you make your way around the convention center.

We’ll See You There

In short, expect some major themes to emerge from SAPPHIRE NOW and ASUG Annual Conference to give you an idea of what’s next on SAP’s road map. Don’t forget to join us for ASUG’s many educational sessions off the main floor. We look forward to seeing you and hope that you'll return home recharged with new ideas and ready to tackle your next few projects.

If you haven't signed up yet for ASUG Annual Conference, we still have a place for you. Register today.