SAP UK and Ireland User Group kick off their annual conference on Sunday, with Jim Hagemann-Snabe, Co-CEO SAP slated to deliver the keynote on Monday. What should delegates look forward to and what questions should they be asking?
Earlier in the year, the user group published the results of its annual survey. On this outing, they found increased interest in business intelligence topics. That’s not surprising given that media and analysts are enamored of ‘big data’ albeit most have no idea what they mean and even less idea what problem they’re trying to solve. Snark aside, businesses I meet are much more concerned about business outcomes to problems they see both now an in the immediate future. So for example the notion of the rolling forecast comes back into view after years of being considered a Cinderella project.
SAP will likely argue that BW on HANA solves many of the time to decision problems experienced by users. There’s no doubt that speed matters and of course HANA figures heavily in that solution. This is something the user group tacitly acknowledges with talk of user success stories rather than proofs of concept. There will be plenty of solution architects on hand to get into the detail.
However, my suggestion is that attendees might wish to ask about where Lumira fits into the equation. Having seen some fine examples including an elegant custom solution for eBay, users should be asking how that data visualization tool stacks up against alternatives like Tidemark, Tableau and QlikView.
Looking through the speaker list, it is clear that there will be a heavy emphasis on HR topics. Again, that doesn’t surprise given that SuccessFactors has done well under SAP’s ownership with a current push into learning management which I am told isi its fastest growing cloud segment.
On HANA, attendees should be looking for how SAP is progressing in building out the technology as a platform for the future. This is probably the most important discussion area for landscape architects thinking about how they will make best use of SAP data and processes going forward. That will serve as a good counterpoint to the expected ‘you’re safe with us’ theme SAP executives are expected to deliver.
But in addition to that, attendees should press SAP on its cloud strategy. I have already expressed concerns and observations based upon what we know to date and I doubt that SAP will add much more. Even so, these kinds of event are an opportunity to note take on topics that might not be in the immediate future but form part of the long term architectural roadmap. That will be especially so for those that have mixed landscapes that include Salesforce, which is just coming off its mega-conference in San Francisco.
We will be at the event as media sponsors and look forward to hearing your questions.
Disclosure: SAP and Salesforce are premier partners.