SAP® recently held their annual Americas’ SAP Users’ Group (ASUG) Sapphire Now celebration in Orlando, which attracted more than 35,000 executives, subject matter experts, sales and public relations personnel, as well as a whole bunch of SAP customers. They all converged on the Orlando Convention Center for four days to celebrate, collaborate, network, and innovate. Yours truly was a speaker for the “Using the Right SAP Support Services and Tools at the Right Time” session.

 

The Monday afternoon event, “A Call to Lead,” kicked off the conference with special guests former First Lady Michelle Obama and former President George W. Bush leading a discussion about diversity and equality in the workplace. (George Bush is hilarious, and, like the former first lady, a wonderful and charismatic speaker.) Tuesday morning’s keynote was delivered by SAP CEO Bill McDermott, who was joined on stage by Dell® Technologies founder and CEO Michael Dell. Bert and John Jacobs, brothers and co-founders of the Life is Good® clothing line, spoke in the afternoon, ending their presentation by throwing frisbees into the crowd. Wednesday morning, Hasso Plattner co-founder and chair of SAP’s supervisory committee presented, followed by appearances by Derek Jeter and Kobe Bryant on Thursday morning. That night, the British band Muse wrapped up the conference with a special performance.

 

When Hasso spoke, nearly everyone in the vast conference center stopped to listen. Hasso shared his thoughts on the future of IT, technology, and business, where it is all going, and how the driving forces behind these progressions are being shaped. While SAP ERP software runs on well-recognized technology, the conference did not focus solely on technology. SAPPHIRE targeted opportunities provided by the latest technological trends that drive businesses forward. SAP, vendors, and customers heard from people in human resources, finance, operations, supply chain, IT, and more. The vendor space was immense, and crackling with energy. A wide range of vendors, representing SAP HANA, cloud, integration services, managed, pretty much what you are pitched at every conference and many that you THWACKsters recognize: Microsoft®, VMware®, Dell, Cisco®, AWS®, Google® Cloud, and many more.

 

So why am I blogging about this? Like most THWACK® followers and contributors, I work in IT. I care about bits and bytes and blinking lights. Apparently, there are 22-25
fellow THWACKsters who have SAP running in their environment. And while the technology is critical to the IT professional, the experienced pros have learned that it is equally important to understand the company’s goals and how their work is aligned with them. Oddly enough, I sat in on several customer presentations, and SolarWinds® was featured on more than one slide deck (spelled incorrectly – Solarwinds --  every time! Grr!). SAP and SolarWinds share a common trait. They thrive on inspiring their customers to innovate and lead. SAP’s user group, ASUG, like THWACK, is a force to be reckoned with.

 

So will we see SolarWinds at Sapphire next year? Or maybe SAP’s more tech-y conference, TechEd? Here’s hoping!