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November 18, 2010updated 19 Aug 2016 10:05am

UK & Ireland SAP User Group turns up pressure before next week’s Annual Conference

Group says users wants better roadmap visibility

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UK IT directors feel frustrated with the lack of visibility and input into their IT vendors’ product roadmaps according to research released by the UK & Ireland SAP User Group ahead of its annual conference kicking off in Manchester next week.

Three-quarters (82%) of respondents said that they would even consider changing vendors if another provided them with better visibility into their upcoming product roadmaps. Furthermore, 83 per cent of IT directors called for better foresight in order to make more informed decisions about future updates to hardware and software.

The UK & Ireland SAP User Group is holding its annual conference at Manchester Central from 21st to 23rd November. It is expected to bring together hundreds of SAP professionals and business users from across the UK & Ireland to share their experiences and best practice.

The conference is said to have SAP’s full backing, and will this year for the first time feature a keynote from SAP’s co-CEO Jim Hagemann Snabe. SAP staff will be on hand to provide users with the latest news and product information throughout the three days, while TV personality Ruby Wax will be facilitating the conference this year.

But the UK & Ireland User Group implied that SAP needs to work harder communicating its roadmap with users. ""It can be very frustrating for IT departments when they can’t plan ahead effectively," said Craig Dale, chief executive of the UK & Ireland SAP User Group. "At a time when budgets are increasingly tight, IT departments need to be able to make sure they are fully maximising their IT investments. Therefore, it is understandable that organisations can become frustrated when IT vendors aren’t very forthcoming when it comes to sharing product roadmap information."

One of the main obstacles for organisations and vendors to overcome is a lack of communication, according to the group’s research. 82 per cent of IT directors stated that this was having a detrimental effect on their IT planning and strategy. This is of particular concern when two vendors merge or one is acquired, with uncertainty in the time it takes for a new product roadmap to be agreed and then communicated to users, according to the group.

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Echoing this, the research found that 85 per cent of IT directors were frustrated by vendors being slow to communicate their roadmap information to them.

This year’s conference is half a day longer than usual, starting with a networking reception on Sunday, 21st of November, to encourage delegates to meet SAP experts, visit exhibitors and speak with their peers. The conference itself will comprise over 80 speakers and workshops such as Finance, Payroll, HR and Emerging Technologies, all aimed at helping users best utilise their SAP investments.

With the growing interest in cloud computing, the conference will also feature a new Software-as-a-Service stream which will further educate users and highlight how (SaaS) could benefit their business. For the first time, the User Group will also be running a separate one-day conference specifically for BusinessObjects customers for them to find out more about upcoming product roadmaps and how the User Group can help them better engage with SAP.

"We have listened to our members and now given them more time to interact with peers and speak to SAP experts," said Alan Bowling, chairman UK & Ireland SAP User Group. "The event continues to be a great forum for users to learn from each other and work together. We are especially delighted to get Co-CEO support from Jim Hagemann Snabe, demonstrating how closely the User Group is engaging with SAP globally and the desire of SAP to get closer to its customers. This is the first time the company’s CEO has participated at the conference and it really adds to what has always been a great event."

The conference is open to all with discounted rates for member organisations. For more information go to: http://www.sapusers.org/conference2010

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