It’s cold out there

Happy New year everyone!

As I sit here preparing for falling temperatures and the associated winter weather across the UK and Ireland, I’m reflecting on how this weather reflects our current challenges. It is definitely frosty out there – some massive economic challenges that show little sign of thawing at the moment. It’s going to be a year of further value chasing and value creation for everyone, irrespective of the nature of your organisations.

SAP last week have announced that Business Suite is available on HANA opening up some areas that are worthy of chasing. SAP have been offering Databases for some time, but in my view, never before one that has the potential to change the landscape so markedly. It changes the structure of your solution by offering embedded analytics, throwing into question things like how you use BI functionality and the future of batch jobs – now it is feasible to process the full end to end as it happens – repeatedly. Then there is the question of your database – it’s not the one that you have been using for years, but it is so much quicker and also so much smaller. This brings you to the question of your hardware – which will now different and working in a different way. Oh, and you could also do this in the cloud if you wished. So literally SAP solutions are all change with this announcement, and as a consequence your forward landscape could be all change as well. More importantly your business could be all change as well. Doings things you simply couldn’t before. Don’t underestimate the impact that this could have. Investigate it. And understand.

But change like this needs time and effort, which as we all know is focused on the business at hand, so the real question is likely to be who is brave enough and bold enough to see what these winds of change can bring to the party? My answer to that is people who are close to SAP’s vision of the future. Working with the User Group gives you that advantage – don’t waste it.

I also have a message to SAP – life is very frosty at the moment – you only have to read the press at the moment, and businesses need space to reinvent themselves. With the pricing formula that has been suggested for HANA it goes some of the way to helping – so thank you for listening to the combined User Groups of SUGEN, and those involved in the charters. But it doesn’t stop there – we have talked about some other of the licencing challenges – SAP’s estate is so complicated, with the devil in the detail which leads so often to ill-informed commercial decisions standing in the way of value creation. And value creation is what everyone needs at the moment to allow all of us to break the cycle of contraction, and use that value creation to create a growth cycle. So to contraction. Many of our user group member organisations know only too well about this at the moment, and it has a negative impact on their value creation capabilities when the millstone of unused licences and associated maintenance costs hangs heavy around them. This positioning is driving organisations in a direction that will not help to promote growth, other than in areas that will ultimately remove the possibility of growth through taking advantage of things like Business Suite on HANA off the agenda. SAP, think very carefully about this conundrum, just as many of our User Group member organisations are.

2013 is a significant year for everyone – I believe it is a year that will mark a turning point for many of us, if the levers are correctly activated by all the value partners in our delivery chains. It also marks 25 years as an organisation for us – and I don’t believe we have ever been so well positioned to add and champion value for all our members but…….it is down to our membership how well we all exploit this. Taking part in UG events is critical to both the User Groups well-being and also you and your organisations well-being. Make sure you take advantage of the outstanding value that membership brings. What we do and how we represent the membership is driven by you, and with that in mind we will shortly be sending out our annual survey. This makes it possible for us to reflect what you want and want you need, and also allows us to validate what other sources are saying about the SAP ecosphere. Please don’t consign it to the junk bin, and spend a few minutes answering it for the good of all the membership.

A couple of final thoughts – firstly we always welcome volunteers to help your organisation. If you can help run SIGs, if you can add value at SIGs by sharing, if you can offer venues, if you would like to share something by talking at our conference in November then please either contact the User group office or make yourself known at a SIG. I’ve been volunteering for 10 years and it gives me a real buzz to help others – the first time I stuck my head above the parapet was very challenging, but I’ve never looked back since and I never ever thought I would get an opportunity to Chair an organisation like this. Just do it! Philip Adams our new Chair to be in 2013 – has done just the same.

Secondly our conference – in our 25th Anniversary year I want this to be our best ever conference and all the board, employees and current SIG chairs have their hearts set on doing that. It’s at a wonderful new venue for us at the ICC in Birmingham, and it will be great! So think about this as an opportunity to share in that celebration, an opportunity to share something important to you and others, an opportunity to learn from others, and as so many seem to be doing, an opportunity to reward your teams for their efforts across the year, whilst enhancing their value to you. And book it now, whilst it’s a lower price. You can always change the names later if you need to. Grab the opportunity!

So 2013 is all about you and how you can all work together to secure value. Chase the value. Share. Take part.

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