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November 2, 2018

SAP User Group Turns 30: What to Expect from this Year’s Connect Conference

500 customers, 100 sessions, 15 topic streams, 3 days

By CBR Staff Writer

The UK and Ireland SAP User Group (UKISUG) has, since its founding in 1988, grown to become one of the most influential user groups around the world.

The not-for-profit organisation aims to be an independent voice representing the SAP user community in the UK and Ireland and over the years has delivered some impressive wins for its members through negotiations with the European enterprise software giant, including on pricing and user experience.

Now the group, led on behalf of its members by CEO Craig Dale, is gearing up for a special annual conference in Birmingham’s ICC from November 11 -13, with the theme “Influence is Key,” as it celebrates its thirtieth anniversary.

Craig Dale told Computer Business Review: “This year’s event theme recognises influence as a pillar of the User Group, alongside learn, network, and collaborate. We’re expecting over 500 SAP customers and 150 SAP experts in attendance and have built out a really powerful and hopefully very useful programme for our members.”

He added: “We’re offering 100 sessions across 15 topic streams over the three days; things start on the Sunday afternoon with deep-dive workshops, including on How to Influence SAP Development, plus hands-on sessions on predictive modelling with SAP Cloud Analytics and creating SAP Fiori launchpad content.”

Delegates in the market for a new CRM solution will have the opportunity to look inside SAP C/4HANA and evaluate its potential for their organisation.”

(SAP C/4HANA is an integrated offering designed to modernise the sales-only focus of legacy CRM solutions. Launched in June 2018 following SAP’s acquisitions of Hybris, Gigya and CallidusCloud, it ties together solutions to support all front-office functions, such as consumer data protection, marketing, commerce, sales and customer service.)

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An image from last year's SAP User Group Conference

An image from last year’s SAP User Group Conference

Breakout Sessions

Breakout sessions meanwhile start on Monday with topic streams ranging from Financial Excellence and SAP SuccessFactors, to SAP Business One and Creating Disruptive Advantage. This will include a number of sessions by SAP customers who will discuss their recent SAP projects, and share tips and lessons learned.

A dedicated stream has been included this year for SAP S/4HANA with sessions about product roadmaps, best practices for implementation, and recommended approaches to migrating data, ahead of a 2025 deadline after which SAP will stop offering support for those using its ERP software but not running off its database.

(Those businesses that want support from SAP after this deadline must migrate to SAP’s flagship ERP software, S/4HANA. This new ERP suite will run exclusively on SAP’s own database, HANA. Previously, SAP’s software worked with a number of databases, including Oracle.)

See also: Is SAP’s 2025 Deadline Real?

New to UKISUG Connect meanwhle, the topic stream Optimising Your SAP introduces customers to tools – such as SAP Transformation Navigator, SAP Pathfinder, and SAP Improvement Finder – available to help them get the most value from their current SAP landscape, as well as manage new implementations to become intelligent enterprises.

Also new this year, the Platform & Database stream provides valuable sessions, such as How to Extend SAP S/4HANA with SAP Cloud Platform and ABAP and Delivering Business Value through Innovation on SAP Cloud Platform.

“We’re moving rapidly toward 2025, and although that’s still seven years away, there are lots of changes going on that customers need to be aware of,” says Dale, referencing the SAP Support Strategy. “If a delegate can walk away with one tip or piece of knowledge that helps make their job easier and helps them understand where their organisation will be going with SAP in the future, that will be a big area of value.”

As a motivational speech for delegates before their departure on Tuesday afternoon, guest speaker Ant Middleton will present the closing keynote about the importance of leadership, teamwork, and strategic thinking.

The ex-special forces soldier and Chief Instructor of television’s popular “SAS: Who Dares Wins,” Middleton will share his personal story and talk about what his experiences have taught him about resilience, mental strength, and survival.

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