2011: A year in review

2011 seemed to be a year where there were a number of significant global news events. While things weren’t quite so hectic in the world of SAP, there was still a fair amount to look back on:

In January, SAP posted its Q4 2010 results, and what results they were – a staggering €1.5 billion in software revenues, up 34% year-on-year. This was encouraging news for us as well as for SAP as a whole: after all, as we’ve always said, a strong SAP is best for SAP users.

In February, Gartner Highlighted five long-term trends that would affect the global enterprise software industry.  From our point of view, Business Intelligence and Supply Chain Management were the ones most likely to impact SAP users, particularly as Big Data and in-memory technologies such as HANA become more commonplace. Of course, these are both long-term trends so expect more from them in 2012!

March saw SAP announce a new road map of in-memory applications. As data gets bigger, we will inevitably need faster tools to use it properly: in-memory looks set to be vital for this.

In April, as well as royal wedding bells we heard SAP’s co-CEOs come out fighting in an FT interview. From a user’s perspective it was refreshing to see them confirm their commitment to keeping SAP an independent company, meaning less uncertainty on the fate on upcoming products and development.

In May, Forrester released figures showing that the ERP market was set to steadily grow. In particular, increasing numbers of organisations were looking to the cloud for their ERP access. However, whether this approach is right for everyone remains to be seen.

June revealed SAP’s revamped Customer Connection project for Continuous Improvement. The UK & Ireland User Group is one of four global user groups taking part in the project which should see users having much more of a voice in product development.

In July, research of User Group members showed that more than two-thirds were now using ERP 6.0. Doubtless this will grow as more users see the enhanced levels of functionality and support it can bring.

In August, some people were casting critical eyes over Business Intelligence in the cloud. While adoption may well increase, our view has always been that users should always use what’s right for them: whether that’s flying in the clouds or taking a more mixed approach.

SAP TechEd kicked off its world tour in September, beginning with Las Vegas. There was a particular focus on gamification this year, and it will be interesting to see how and if this develops as a way to encourage adoption of technology.

In October, the UK & Ireland SAP User Group announced its merger with the Business Objects User Group UK. It was a pleasure to welcome on board our BOUG colleagues and we’re looking forward to providing the best to all our members in 2012.

November brought about the 2011 UK & Ireland SAP User Group Conference. Taking place in Birmingham, the conference was a rousing success: thanks again to all those who helped make it so, from volunteers to exhibitors to attendees, and we hope to see you all this year.

And so to December, when we saw SAP’s proposed acquisition of SuccessFactors. By acquiring SuccessFactors, SAP will make a strong statement of its intentions for the cloud in 2012 and beyond: it looks like we’ll be watching the skies a fair amount this year.

So, that was 2011: here’s hoping 2012 has more than its fair share of success for all of us.


Conference synopsis

The 2011 conference is now complete and it looks to have been successful. Given the economic surroundings it was encouraging to see high levels of interest recorded by many exhibitors and good attendance overall. Indeed, over 20% of the stands for 2012 in Manchester have already been sold which has never been seen before.

I hope everyone got out of it what they intended, if you attended, look out for an email over the next couple of days that will have a link to an online survey for the conference. This is important for two reason as it allows us to do things better next year, and also you get entered into a draw to win an iPad2 – so just in case keep an eye on the Spam folder as well, and if you haven’t already mark up an email from the user group in your email application as not spam to make sure.

For some overview video footage of the conference go to: http://www.youtube.com/user/UKISUG and over the coming weeks we will be putting more footage of the keynotes onto the UG youtube channel.

For photos from the conference go to: http://www.flickr.com/photos/56630402@N06/

Below follows links to press articles relating to the conference

Computer Weekly – http://www.computerweekly.com/news/2240111446/CIOs-must-be-in-driving-seat-or-get-bypasses-says-SAP-CIO

Computer Weekly  http://www.computerweekly.com/news/2240111440/SAP-can-help-business-harness-disruptive-tech-says-MD-for-UK

Computer Weekly http://www.computerweekly.com/news/2240111439/SAP-needs-clear-easy-comms-with-no-red-tape-says-UKI-SAP-User-Group

Computer Weekly – http://www.computerweekly.com/blogs/read-all-about-it/2011/11/sap-acknowledges-need-to-work.html

Computer Weekly – http://www.computerweekly.com/news/2240111391/SAP-user-group-calls-for-better-engagement-from-SAP

Computer Weekly – http://www.computerweekly.com/blogs/read-all-about-it/2011/11/sap-uses-sybase-afaria-to-mana.html

ComputerworldUK http://www.computerworlduk.com/news/cloud-computing/3320021/cloud-increases-licensing-complexity-warns-sap-user-group/

ComputerworldUK http://www.computerworlduk.com/news/it-business/3319829/update-sap-could-benefit-from-social-networking-company-acquisition/

Techworld – http://news.techworld.com/applications/3320389/sap-hana-makes-big-data-analytics-more-accessible/

Computing – http://www.computing.co.uk/ctg/news/2126648/sap-improve-communications-licensing-flexible-user

Computing – http://www.computing.co.uk/ctg/news/2126927/sap-cio-predicts-memory-hana-replace-relational-databases

V3.co.uk – http://www.v3.co.uk/v3-uk/news/2126647/sap-user-urges-firm-reform-software-licensing-model

BusinessCloud9 – http://www.businesscloud9.com/content/sap-needs-tell-its-cloud-story-better-argues-user-group/6978

PublicTechnology.net – http://www.publictechnology.net/sector/central-gov/more-flexibility-horizon-sap-customers-cost-wise

Information Age – http://www.information-age.com/channels/business-applications/company-analysis/1674958/licence-complexity-a-blemish-on-saps-reinvention.thtml

eWeek Europe – http://www.eweekeurope.co.uk/news/sap-licensing-still-too-rigid-say-users-46882

We hope to see you on 18th,19th and 20th November 2012 at Manchester Central for our next UG conference.


Day 1 – Sunday afternoon and evening

A good attendance today – with most people seemingly enjoying the evening networking session. Before that we had several general sessions around what’s new in SAP areas and also some focused sessions on some SAP initiatives such as Customer Connection.

The highlight for me however was the Demojam session where some interesting sessions included a pantomime, a police officer, boxes of apples and augmented reality.  The winner of this was Intellicorp who, and I still don’t really know how, turned transport management and change control, coupled with test management into a fairy tale…….perhaps it was, all I know is that the audience were transfixed by Intellicorp staff taking this to a new level. A fun event before the more serious activities that start tomorrow.

The evening  was well attended and people were spending serious time with the 85 exhibitors – minus the SAP mentors who were suffering the age-old challenge of being a volunteer, personal and business commitments ( in UG world we all know about this!).


Just 2 days to go

This Sunday sees the start of our 2011 conference and everything seems to be going to plan…….lets hope that I havent spoilt things by saying that! Personally I’m really excited about meeting some of our keynote speakers, especially Steve Cram as I vividly remember sitting around the TV watching the epic battles between the three British 1500m runners of the time. I’m equally excited about meeting Oliver Bussman who as a fellow senior IT leader has been confronted with all the same challenges that we all have in the ERP world. Meeting Timo Elliot will also be something to look forward to, after folowing Timo’s personal website and blog for a few months I can’t wait to hear first hand his views around business analytics. Ray Wang who also speaks is a firm favourite of the User Group and personally from my view is an all round great guy, if there is a piano in the bar area of the metropole ask him to play as he is a first class pianist.

So I’m looking forward to meeting these guys, but most of all meeting our members – feel free to stop me and have a chat at the conference, I’m always open to how we can strive for more for our members.

PS If you have a last minute urge to attend – try the booking site or contact the user group direct, there may be an opportunity to still arrive.

Mobile App for Conference available now

This year we have a new mobile app available for most platforms …… and it’s free. Check out who is speaking, the exhibitors, maps and layouts for the conference, create your own agenda and get instant access to the UG official news, twitter, flickr and youtube feeds.  If you are attending you will be able to link up and message attendees and exhibitors as well as benefit from broadcasts during the event.

So if you are going – get the app now and prepare. If you are not get it now and see what you are missing!

Click here to get it – FREE



Only 18 days until the conference

It is only 18 days to go until our annual conference – so you don’t have much time to book a place. Don’t delay – with hundreds of organisations present and with some organisations registering more than 20 attendees you can see it is popular.

With Steve Cram, Ray Wang, Oliver Bussman, Timo Elliot, and Steve Winter as Keynote speakers plus 8o exhibitors, multiple streams, many networking opportunities, including the welcome reception on Sunday and the Gala Dinner on Monday it really is a value for money event.

The good news is that there are still some spaces left so go to the conference website to register:




Annual Conference

Tweet today – make sure you have secured your room!

Still lots of delegates booking for hotels for the SAP User Group Conference #ukisug11 http://t.co/FRl9SX4c don’t leave it too late.