Volcano trouble………….

Well, it had to happen. Our unfriendly Icelandic Volcano has prevented me reaching Sapphire – my plane that was scheduled to depart from Manchester tomorrow is cancelled. Tonight I have been talking with people who have got to Frankfurt to make sure all goes well with the Quality award judging tomorrow. It is a great shame as I wanted to meet with the people who have worked so hard to deliver such excellent projects fully worthy of the awards.

I do hope that those that got there don’t struggle to return at the end of Wednesday……and for me there’s always next time (assuming I get invited).

Post Script:

This afternoon I watched the keynote speeched by Sir Richard Branson and Al Gore on the free interactive service. I thought it was very good and perhaps might become the way of working for conferences for the future – it was a necessity for me!  By now the results of the Quality Awards should be public knowledge, but just in case I’m keeping quiet.

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Difficult Work and Tough Decisions

Previously I mentioned that I was on the way to Sapphire at Frankfurt as one of the judges of the SAP EMEA quality awards.  As a group of judges we’ve now agreed our decisions.  It’s actually a really hard job and full of challenges. The main reason for this is that there is some great work going on out there! All the contenders represented great examples of project delivery. When you review the candidates you really get a shiver down your spine through the memories and experiences that you have encountered with your own activities in this area.

The comprehensive schedule of factors to consider all add together to give you a complex set of information to consider. Reviewing all this takes a great deal of time and in my case, also meant taking part in phone calls between the judges on a Public holiday to fit in with the other judges. But from all this work and analysis,  a surprising level of agreement came from the judges.

Now – at this point if you were perhaps expecting an announcement of the winners sadly you are going to be disappointed because you need to wait until Monday afternoon when it will be announced at Sapphire in Frankfurt.

2010 User Group Conference Update: SAP Co-CEO confirmed as keynote speaker

I am very pleased to announce that we have secured SAP’s recently appointed Co-CEO, Jim Hagemann Snabe as a keynote speaker at this year’s Annual User Group Conference.  This is a great coup for the User Group and is the first time that we have had the company’s CEO participating at the conference. 

Jim was appointed Co-CEO, alongside Bill McDermott, in February 2010.  He has been with SAP for the last 20 years holding a variety of consulting, sales and product development roles.  He continues to lead the Business Solutions & Technology organisation and for the last two years he has also been an Executive Board member.  More on Jim’s career history can be found here http://www.sap.com/about/company/executives/snabe/index.epx

As you know, the User Group Conference has always been a great event so having SAP’s joint chief in attendance will only add to it even more. At a User Group level, it is also further demonstrates the strides we are making engaging with SAP globally, building on our already strong involvement with SUGEN.

 On SAP’s part I believe this is further evidence of the company’s promise to get closer to its customers.  Indeed, in a recent open letter to customers Jim and Bill stated that “Customers are at the very centre of our strategy” – so here is hoping that both continue to stay true to their word. 

The 2010 Annual User Group Conference will be a unique opportunity for UK & Ireland User Group members to hear from the highest level of SAP management. Don’t miss out and sign up for what will be a great 2 ½ days in Manchester.

To sign up for this year’s User Group Conference and find out more about the event in general, go to www.sapusers.org/conference2010 – early bird rates still apply until 30th June 2010

Sapphire in Frankfurt and Orlando.

I’m off to Frankfurt in a couple of weeks time to take part in the EMEA Sapphire. Interestingly this is at the invitation of SAP to take part as a judge in the annual quality awards, specifically for the Large Enterprise section of the awards, which is a great sign of their renewed customer focus. This is how the awards work. Each SAP region within EMEA area have had their own internal deliberations to present the top organisations from their area and then whittle the number down to 6 finalists. The six finalists then provide written input and then follow that up with a presentation to the panel of judges – from this the judges assess the organisation based on some quality principles to select a gold, silver and bronze award winner. Last night I spent a lot of time reviewing the written input and there is some impressive examples of how to be successful with SAP.  I’m not allowed to share who the finalists are so you’ll have to wait until Sapphire to find that out when the winners will be revealed.

At the same time as Sapphire in Frankfurt there is an equivalent session across the pond in Orlando. At this session there is also a hectic session for SUGEN with several days of work planned – along with the other User Group members our User Group will be represented, continuing to collaborate to deliver more for our members, such as the work on SAP roadmaps.

………………Of course, all this is subject to the vagaries of Icelandic volcanoes!

News about our annual conference……….

Very shortly we should be able to give you some exciting news about this years annual conference……..keep visiting to find out more.