It’s almost that time of year again as we gear up to attend the UK & Ireland SAP User Group Conference in just over a month. This year’s focus – Collaboration.
Held at the ICC Conference centre, in Birmingham, from the 26th-28th November, the event has some exciting things on the agenda. With some new tricks up their sleeve SAP User Group brings the key point to changing customer’s focus to a new topic of collaboration rather than digitisation, looking to home in on key ways to join together customers, SAP and SAP partners.
Last year the focus for the conference was all around being connected, bringing SAP and customers together as well as partners and others in the ecosystem.
CBR spoke to Craig Dale, CEO UK & Ireland, SAP User Group ahead of this year’s conference, to see what’s on the itinerary this year.
The Power of Collaboration is based around the idea of customers increasing their power, by collaborating with others. Whether its customers, SAP, partners or the user group themselves, the User Group looks to bring it all together in the three day programme
based around what its members are looking for.
Dale said: “When we were looking at how we were going to put the event together, we felt now more than any other time is the time for people to work together. To help each other, support each other and really leverage relationships.
“The power of collaboration theme for the UKISUG Connectwas built around that to make sure the event and the program was showing how customers can collaborate with other customers, partners and SAP.”
Over the three days, the conference will run as it has in past years with numerous keynotes from Hala Zeine, Paul Cooper, Mike Slater and Ray Wang. Dale explained there will be 10 workshops in total, and 14 breakout streams, with more of a business approach this year to give customers a real life example of how their business could flourish by taking on the journey themselves.
In previous years, hot topics have varied from S4 HANA to integration. This year, Dale outlines that one of the key points being discussed will focus on emerging technologies and the future.
“There’s still a lot of education required around all new emerging technologies and new elements such as IoT and machine learning and how it’s manifesting itself around our members and customers.
“During the keynotes around emerging technologies, it aims to help customers to understand what it means to them and how to leverage these technologies going forward,” said Dale.
Customers at the event will find out effective ways to embrace these emerging technologies to help their businesses in the future using the newest and best technology.
Dale outlined that this year, the conference wants to move away from the ‘hype’ of digital transformation and focus more around business transformation. “Ray will be looking at things from a business, customer and analyst perspective and Hala will demonstrate what SAP will be doing to help customers in their journey.”
Streams & Workshops
Dale explained that the UKI SAP User Group has mixed things up a bit this year, introducing a few new streams to the agenda. These workshops are based around the idea of how business outcomes can be delivered effectively by leveraging technology, but rather than focusing on the technology looking at the business perspective and what can be used to deliver the outcomes the business wants to achieve.
As well as new topics, among the 14 physical streams the conference will also feature a virtual stream running throughout the event based around GDPR. Dale discussed how the stream will reinforce theme of the conference, collaboration, he said: “GDPR is on the horizon in the not so distance future. Everybody has to get ready, now more than ever and to do that we must work together.”
SAP takes on IoT challenges
Other changes to this year’s conference include some hands-on workshops for delegates. There will be usability testing on offer, with five solutions at the events delegates can ‘get their hands on’ to test the solutions before they reach customers.
As well as practical workshops, Dale explained other changes to the workshops to give a better insight for businesses, he said: “In previous years we’ve had more SAP talks about capabilities and what customers need to look at, for the likes of S/4 HANA, but this year we’ve got customers coming along and talking about their actual experience.
“This gives a more in depth, valuable event to the customers so they can understand the future of the solutions and give real customer experience rather than just a marketed message.”
Hosted by Craig Dale, the key notes will be delivered by Chairman Paul Cooper on the Monday morning followed by Mike Slater, MD of SAP UKI and then familiar face Hala Zeine, SVP and Chief Business Development Officer at SAP, in a joint keynote with Ray Wang, looking at what the latest Business Management and Technology trends mean for everyone.
Ray Wang, Principal Analyst, Founder, and Chairman at Constellation Research will also be making a speech on the Tuesday of the event titled “What happens when the machines takeover.”
Responding to Ray’s topic, Dale said: “This is quite an interesting subject, looking from a human perspective asking what does it mean to humans and understanding what technologies mean for individuals, organisations and the future.”
Across the three days, there will be a total of 14 streams plus a virtual one, over 100 sessions, 100 hours of education, more than 70 exhibitors and delegates to chat to and learn from as well as over 500 customers.
Hopes & Outcomes
As mentioned, the event entails a vast amount of events and attendees over the three days, Dale hopes that the event will bring together those attending and ensure they learn from what is said and take away some key points.
Dale said: “At the end of the event I hope delegates go away with engagement and interaction with us as a User Group and collaborate more with other customers, partners and SAP. Even if attendees just take away one snippet of information, or make one connection at the event, it would really help them in their organisation.”
UKISUG Connect hopes to really put customers, delegates and businesses at the forefront of the event focus and ensure they take away positive business outcomes, future technologies and the power of collaboration.