User Conference in the news

The annual 2012 SAP User Group conference is done for another year and it was certainly a great success.  I have already talked about my personal recollections from the event, but this year’s conference garnered plenty of media coverage too. Cloud, licensing and BusinessObjects in particular were at the top of the media agenda.

On cloud, Ray Wang from Constellation Research raised the issue of SAP’s cloud investments, highlighting that merely moving processes to the cloud does not count as innovation. He reiterated the importance for SAP of helping customers to understand what these cloud investments actually mean for them on a day-to-day level, particularly as so many find cloud pricing confusing.

Our Q&A with Tim Noble also saw plenty of media interest in light of the results of our recent licensing survey. What was clear is there are still many questions to be answered and more choice and flexibility is needed with regards SAP’s licensing model.

It was not only SAP executives who were generating column inches at the conference.   There were plenty of end user stories too, as a number of organisations talked about their SAP journey.  The BBC and Royal Free NHS Trust both talked about how they have benefited from using BusinessObjects dashboards.  While British American Tobacco (BAT) discussed its use of LiveCompare to extract data for audit and compliance. These and other speakers provided great insight for our delegates into the challenges, opportunities and best practice around their SAP implementations.

I, like many other people, am already looking forward to the 2013 conference in Birmingham.  Hopefully we will see you there!

Photos from 2012 Conference

Find your favourite photos from the 2012 conference

Video Highlights 2012 Conference

You can find a video highlights summary available here : for the 2012 Conference. Over the following weeks we will be loading further videos of the keynotes.

My final conference as Chairman

This last three days is my last as Chairman of the User Group for the Annual Conference – for me personally a sad and also a happy occasion……..which sounds strange. Sad because I will weirdly miss the tension and adrenalin as you get announced on stage, but happy because it marks the beginning of some change at the User Group. I’ve been in this role for nearly 6 years and had the privilege of working with some great people, and now it is time for a change – a new Chairman in Philip Adams who is based in Ireland demonstrating that whilst we are named UK & Ireland that Ireland is not a second fiddle in this organisation. In my time I’ve been lucky enough to have witnessed the User Group growing in size and influence, along with the staff growing and developing. There is one area that I haven’t seen though which I feel bad about – the fact that we haven’t (as yet) got any women as directors on the UG board; IT and it’s associated industries are still too far dominated by men, we need to change that.

So to the conference – we had a great one! The largest number of attendees we have ever had. We introduced more workshops, and SAP also agreed to work with us on their Innovation session which was really well received.

Our team pictured above worked the stand and managed the 60+ sessions incredibly well. Volunteers and employees working together to deliver an event that has become the premier SAP related event in the UK & Ireland today.

As I’ve said the event was well attended and above you can see the crowds as they entered the auditorium for the keynotes, and demo-jams. Positive feedback this year on the messaging we gave of our members concerns on the cloud, licensing and migration issues around BI/BW and business objects.

A great audience for just past 9am on a Monday in Manchester. They were very responsive and got a lot out of both the session from Ray Wang (who was his normal energetic and informed self), and Dr John Knell (who gave everybody everything that they need to know in Business – an MBA in 80 minutes). For me, something that was very close to home was his comment about electronic devices being a godsend because they mean you can do something useful in meetings. Anyone else willing to own up about this?

So to the evening and our well renowned gala dinner – a well attended event with a fleet of luxury coaches carrying the nearly 700 attendees to the Point at Lancashire County Cricket Ground.

A suitably transformed UG Staff and volunteers were part of the attendees and enjoyed entertainment from Jemma Kyrsa, Tenors Incognito, Davis Arman, Fantastic Fireworks and the everloved and everlasting Bogus Brothers.  Formalities of the day turned to informalities as the team deservedly let their hair down.

A great event that appears to have been enjoyed by all – keep watching as we intend to post video and photographs shortly and I will let you know when they are available.

New User Group app now available

So the conference starts tomorrow and to make the experience better still download this app now!

Two new firsts for the conference

With just a few days to go – 2 new firsts for our conference. The first slightly quirky which I like – the first time that we have organisations attending that represent every letter of the alphabet. But the second and most important – more members attending than ever before, and there is still time to get the number higher still…………… now.

All go in the world of SAP

As we fast approach this year’s User Group conference, the IT media has been awash with S A P news (not to mention on the hot topic of licensing).  So what have been the key announcements that may be shaping the agenda?

SAP has announced its intention to build a brand for itself in the enterprise mobility space, in much the same way that Apple  has in the consumer space. SAP has also been active in the areas of cloud and big data. The company has recently announced plans to unveil its HANA Cloud, based on in-memory technology. SAP NetWeaver Cloud Service and SAP HANA One Platform are the first applications to become available on Amazon Web Services, and can be deployed for production use with small data sets in minutes, opening a door to starter projects from customers, ISVs and startups.

New packages that integrate Hadoop software with SAP’s analytics and database technologies have also been recently launched. These will allow users to employ a data warehousing solution for real-time analysis on large data sets from a number of different sources.

At the conference we’ll look to understand more about how SAP’s investments in mobile, cloud and big data will impact on and benefit users in the future.  So make sure to check out the conference programme to ensure you don’t miss the latest updates from SAP and the opportunity to hear from and network with your industry peers.

Breaking News

Only 20 days to go until our conference and one organisation has booked 22 places for its staff – what an outstanding endorsement for value!

Survey reveals SAP users’ licensing concerns

As I mentioned in my previous blog post, here at the User Group we recently surveyed our membership regarding their thoughts on SAP licensing.  I can now reveal some of the top-level findings from the study:

95% of SAP users believe that the company’s software licensing policy is overly complicated

  • 89% of users stated that they would like SAP to reduce complexity by offering software that is only limited by one license or usage metric
  • 67% stated that as SAP’s product catalogue has continued to expand they have found it increasingly difficult to track license usage
  • 97% stated they should have the ability to ‘park’ unused licenses for support periods
  • 97% didn’t believe that SAP has effectively explained the migration path of moving from on-premise to its mobile or cloud offerings and how this impacts on their existing licensing agreements

In many respects the results aren’t a surprise, as in the current business climate many organisations are looking to ensure they are getting maximum value from their software licenses.  At the same time the changing IT landscape is also having an impact on the complexity of software licensing.  This is an issue currently facing a lot of software vendors and their customers, as many license terms were agreed at a time when workforces were larger and the vast majority of deployments were on premise.

SAP users are no different and these findings illustrate that they would like to see license costs and conditions that are transparent and flexible.  Encouragingly SAP has acknowledged these concerns and is starting to work with SUGEN to engage on a topic that is clearly challenging for both parties.

We will be looking to work closely with SAP in the UK, to ensure users are provided with greater clarity when it comes to licensing.  To find out more about the licensing workshop we are running at this year’s User Group Conference click here.


Conference early bird rate rate only 7 days remaining!

We’ve only got 7 days remaining for the early bird rate. Remember additional rate discounts for groups, and if your supplier is exhibiting they may be able to offer discounts.

Check out the Conference Website for details: