Welcome to the fourth edition of Your SAP Investment Unleashed, a new column from Kristen Scheffler, Vice President of Customer Evolution for North America, SAP, and VerNeil Mesecher, Sr. Director of Customer Engagement Events Liaison for North America, SAP. Together, they’re part of SAP Customer Evolution, an organization focused on supporting, guiding, educating, listening to, and enabling customers to get the most out of their SAP investments.

Leaving no customer behind often means meeting them where they are—literally, in the case of SAP Customer Evolution, which traveled to all 38 regional ASUG Chapters throughout 2023 as part of our on-going efforts to help ASUG Members get the most value out of their SAP investments.

Achieving this lofty goal, and strengthening our collaboration with ASUG in the process, came about because of our shared commitment to building relationships and delivering actionable insights throughout the SAP community. What did these efforts teach us?

  1. Alignment at the beginning of the year, and throughout the year, is important in setting achievable goals and ensuring that those goals remain on track.
  2. Coordination, consistency, and passion are all key.
  3. Thinking outside the box can yield significant value for all involved.

Lead the Charge

At the beginning of 2023, we had a meeting at ASUG headquarters to discuss how to better assist the ASUG community at large. Through our conversations, we realized that ASUG and SAP Customer Evolution share the same core ideals: to help SAP customers and ASUG Members get the most out of their SAP investment. This quickly sparked the idea behind visiting all 38 North American ASUG chapters in 2023.

I am proud to say we achieved our goal.

In connecting with ASUG Members, we also set out to make it easier for ASUG Chapter Volunteers to select content for SAP Customer Evolution to present at their meetings. We created eight abstract options for the Chapters to select from, focusing on content that could be consistently delivered across multiple Chapters. This approach proved to be extremely valuable, and so we applied it to our involvement in larger ASUG events as well.

The top three SAP Customer Evolution sessions selected by ASUG Chapters for 2023 were:

1. “You’ve Paid for It, So Let’s Use It!”

    Upgrade projects. Improving current business processes.Cleaning up data and custom code. Optimizing Security. Migrating to the Cloud. You may be planning or undergoing one or many of these activities today. Did you know that you have access to SAP Support services, education, and tools at no additional cost to help you with these areas? In this session, learn how to leverage the services and tools available through your SAP Support investment to optimize your projects, reduce risk, and get more value out of your SAP portfolio. It’s paid for, so let’s get you using it!

    2. “One Skill, Two Skill, Upskill, New Skill”

      In today’s rapidly changing business environment, training employees on the latest innovations and technology can be a real challenge. Bringing new employees up to speed and supporting the career growth of current employees with upskilling and/or re-skilling requires knowledge of and access to beneficial and relevant training materials and resources. In addition, attracting and retaining talent involves having clear career success maps for the continuous improvement training journey of everyone.

      With SAP Support, customers have access to a large library of SAP instructor-led and self-paced training courses, all of which are already included as part of your SAP Support investment. Learn about all the valuable SAP training materials, courses, resources, and tools available to your employees through SAP Support and let us show you where you can access these resources to help them continuously evolve in their careers. 

      3. “No Customer Left Behind”

        Learn about the Customer Evolution program and how the Customer Evolution Kit (included in your SAP Support investment) is supporting customers on their digital transformation journey. We will explain what “end of mainstream maintenance” for SAP ERP means for you, and the options you have regarding your ERP landscape. No matter the pace you want to take or what level of help you need, we’ll be there, with the full commitment of SAP to serve you and the success of your company.

        The popularity of these sessions has been instructive to all of us at SAP Customer Evolution, and aligning our goals and objectives with each of them will allow us to lead the charge throughout 2024.

        Join Together

        Serving an SAP point of contact (POC) for ASUG is a unique opportunity for SAP employees. It allows us to network locally within regional Chapters, to connect with ASUG Members around their identified topics of interest through Community Alliances, and to continuously improve SAP solutions via Influence Councils. Working alongside ASUG Volunteers, we serve a similar role, joining together to maximize our excitement, passion, commitment, and focus on improving the SAP universe.

        In 2023, we witnessed firsthand the overwhelming energy that can be unlocked at ASUG Chapter meetings. With the education, sharing, and networking these events exist to provide, it’s difficult to overstate the value that these meetings hold for the ASUG community.

        In these spaces, members engage in active, productive discussions about the challenges, opportunities, and successes they face day-in and day-out at their businesses. It’s at ASUG Chapter meetings that these stories can be not only shared but iterated upon, given that members can share feedback and suggestions with one another, as well as with SAP individuals and partners in attendance.

        At these meetings, we’ve also experienced the value of roundtable discussions that serve to close out the day, giving members the opportunity to ask their questions to a larger group that can then offer crowdsourced answers and suggestions. These larger discussions can serve as effective networking tools and lead to even more productive follow-up conversations. It may seem simple, but these opportunities for group discussion can be a goldmine for SAP users seeking connection and community.

        News travels quickly in the ASUG community, and word-of-mouth can be an important way for ASUG Members to enhance their Chapter meetings. The ASUG Chapter Volunteer leadership teams do a great job of sharing the impact of sessions and topics among their members, to determine the best possible programming for their next events.

        Late last year, for example, the Kentucky, Ohio, and Indiana ASUG Chapters co-sponsored ASUG Developer Tools Day. The day featured two tracks: one focused on data and analytics, and the other on application development and automation. A resounding success, ASUG Developer Tools Day stands out as one example of the unique learning opportunities that the ASUG community—with its focus on networking, collaboration, learning, and joining together—can facilitate.

        Maximize Your Investment

        As 2023 progressed, all of us on the SAP Customer Evolution team began receiving feedback, based on presentations that we had previously delivered at Chapter meetings. As ASUG Members responded positively to our presentations around how they could make the most of existing SAP investments and access support tools already available to them, ASUG Chapter coordinators continued to connect with our team about expanding our presence at Chapters.

        On a personal note, it was a phenomenal feeling to see that our passion for helping SAP users get the most out of their technology investments was resonating with this audience. That response was felt first, and most strongly, in the room; at virtually every Chapter meeting we attended, multiple audience members approached us to reflect that they’d learned they had access to more resources than they’d previously been aware of. Our session, “You’ve Paid for It, Let’s Use It,” proved popular throughout 2023 in part because of ASUG members’ commitments to closing these knowledge gaps.

        Throughout 2023, usage noticeably increased for the SAP Support tools discussed in SAP Customer Evolution sessions at ASUG Chapter meetings. More SAP users are leveraging SAP Enterprise Support Academy (included in your maintenance and cloud subscriptions), and there has been an increase in requests from ASUG Members for the SAP S/4HANA Readiness Check. One statistic we’re especially proud of: a 25% increase in SAP Pathfinder reports. (This year, SAP Signavio Process Insights, discovery edition, will replace SAP Pathfinder and Process Discovery, simplifying the customer experience.)

        Work Fearlessly

        You don’t always need to have a PowerPoint presentation for a session to be impactful and effective, and there are many ways to engage your audience.

        The SAP Customer Evolution has been focused on thinking outside the box since last year’s ASUG Tech Connect conference, where we moderated three separate Power Peer Group sessions with ASUG member companies Navajo Tribal Utility Authority (NTUA), Rich Products, Steelcase, BioMerieux, PBF Energy, Texas Instruments, and Border States. In addition to topic-driven conversations among panelists, our focus was also on encouraging audience participation. Once the interactive nature of this format became clear to those in attendance, the sessions virtually led themselves.

        Consequently, peer discussions will be available in our menu of programming options for the ASUG Chapters in 2024. It all goes to show another core value of the ASUG community. When you bring people together, they will work fearlessly to find the best possible outcome. We look forward to continuing to collaborate with this community to do so in 2024—and beyond!

        Do you know about your local ASUG Chapters? How about how to sign up for notifications when upcoming Chapter meetings and events of interest are happening in your area? Join an ASUG 101 webcast, and follow Chapters or topics of interest to you through your ASUG Member profile. When you register for your next ASUG Chapter meeting, for that matter, why not bring a friend with you or share this resource with others at your company; perhaps even consider becoming an ASUG Champion. If your company maintains ASUG membership, anyone within your company can register and set up a profile at ASUG.com.

        Your SAP Investment Unleashed is intended to answer your burning questions and address hot topics for the SAP community. Please contact the authors with your questions, and future editions of this column will address them. Kristen Scheffler can be reached at kristen.scheffler@sap.com, and VerNeil Mesecher, Jr. can be reached at verneil.mesecher@sap.com.

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