New Research from the User Group

New research released today by the UK & Ireland SAP User Group has revealed that 2 in 5 SAP BusinessObjects users believe that the technical support provided to them by SAP is not as good as that offered by other software vendors. 57% of SAP BusinessObjects users noted they had difficulties using SAP’s Service Market Place support portal, while 63% said it was difficult for them to search and find relevant support information. These findings demonstrate there still needs to be more engagement and collaboration between SAP and those customers using BusinessObjects. Indeed, the majority (87%) of SAP BusinessObjects users felt that being able to influence the future direction of the product would add value to their organisation.

The research did reveal that there has been a significant increase in existing SAP customers using BusinessObjects. 21% of users were now using SAP BusinessObjects, compared to only 7% last year. Furthermore, just over three quarters (76%) of users said they were now using the latest version of SAP’s core ERP business suite, ERP6.0, an increase from 69% the previous year, demonstrating that more members are realising the functionality and support benefits of upgrading to the latest release.

“These figures show that there is still work to do more when it comes to supporting and communicating with BusinessObjects users,” said Alan Bowling, chairman of the UK & Ireland SAP User Group. “Now that UK SAP BusinessObjects users are part of our User Group we recognise that we have an important role in ensuring that they are able to effectively interact and influence SAP. As such we have been working closely with SAP’s customer experience team to make sure this happens. What is encouraging is that more existing SAP users are now starting to see the combined value of using BusinessObjects, which wasn’t necessarily the case last year.”

When it came to customers creating their own Customer Centres of Expertise (Customer CoE), just under a third (31%) of respondents said they had received certification recognising their commitment to the continuous improvement of their SAP operations. While this is more than double the number of CoE’ s compared to last year, it is clear that more education and clearer financial incentives are still needed to encourage users to create them.

The survey revealed that the ability to network with other SAP users, access customer experience and insight, and being able to advance their understanding of current SAP products and services continue to be biggest drivers for people to join the User Group. 80% of respondents also believed that the User Group had the right levels of influence over SAP when it came to getting users’ voices heard.

“Certainly over the last 12 months there have been a number of significant developments at SAP, with the release of HANA and the company’s expanded on demand and mobile offerings. While such developments are wholly positive, it is vital that users are educated about how exactly they will benefit, and how adopting such technologies will impact on their existing licensing agreements. It is here where the User Group can play a important role in working with SAP to ensure that our members are provided with all the necessary information to make an informed decision about their future requirements,” added Alan Bowling.

The user group surveyed 312 SAP user organisations and 96 BusinessObjects user organisations in the UK and Ireland. The UK & Ireland SAP User Group Conference is taking place in Manchester 18-20 November 2012. For more information, please go to www.sapusers.org/conference2012

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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.

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:

www.sapusers.org/conference2011

 

 

SaaS To The Future

This week, research by the UK & Ireland SAP User Group has shown that, overall, SAP Users are still positive about using cloud computing and SaaS. While the majority think that there is still too much hype around the cloud, 80% are planning a mix of on-demand, on-premise and on-device services in the future.

Of course, the key word here is “mix”: given the importance of a lot of the tasks we use SAP for, entrusting that data to the cloud will still be a step too far for some. All organisations will need to pay attention to exactly what applications they are using and what they are using them for, then balance the utility of the cloud with the reassurance of having full control over that particular service. At the same time, by moving 100% to a cloud-based model an organisation could leave itself wide open to the risk of a network failure rendering the whole business inoperable so mixed environments will, I suspect, be the norm for some time.

The growing popularity of the cloud doesn’t mean that the journey there will be plain sailing. For example, 58% of users said they lacked clarity over SAP’s cloud road map while 59% didn’t understand how to integrate SAP On-Demand modules with their existing implementations. It is issues like this where membership of the User Group can really come into its own. By sharing expertise and knowledge on how best to use modules such as On-Demand and taking advantage of the extra insight members can get into SAP’s product road maps, users can make better informed decisions and move more confidently towards a mixed SAP environment.

For more information on SaaS and the cloud, next month’s UK & Ireland SAP User Group conference will provide an excellent opportunity to share experiences and find out the latest product information. For further details, please visit http://www.sapusers.org/conference2011/

 

Final Chance for early bird rates for Conference

There are only two weeks left for early bird rates for the User Group Annual Conference so you need to act quickly – also if your suppliers are exhibiting there may be discounts that you can get through exhibitor codes that they can supply you.

The line up is nearly complete and we have large numbers of speakers, exhibitors and delegates ready to go, so get your places booked now.

www.sapusers.org/conference2011

 

Solution Manager 7.1: Can it be a solution to all life’s ills?

TechEd Las Vegas has seen the launch of SAP Solution Manager 7.1. SAP intends this to be a major step forward for Solution Manager, intending to give us users an improved user experience, optimised performance and documentation of events and, most importantly, failures. Organisations within the User Group that have taken up Solution Manager have seen some great value: 7.1 should do nothing to change this.

Unfortunately, what needs to change is the slow uptake of the product to date. If it remains like this then neither SAP nor we, the users, will ever see Solution Manager’s full potential. If SAP can educate users on the potential that Solution Manager brings, and find ways to dispel the belief that implementation is difficult, then we could see users taking it up en masse. Then, analyst claims that this is a “semi-mature product” would soon be a thing of the past.

I would like to take this opportunity to remind you that the next Application Life-cycle Management Special Interest Group Meeting is only 3 weeks away! This SIG is taking place on Thursday 13th October 2011 at SAP Clockhouse Place, nr Heathrow. This event is focused around the latest version of Solution Manager (7.1) which will shortly be available on general release.

To book your place at this event please follow this link.

The Agenda has been designed to give you a flavour of the new functionality that will soon be available, how to upgrade and the afternoon will focus on one specific area – ‘Technical Operations and System Monitoring with Solution Manager 7.1’. In addition we will be joined by at least one customer who have taken the opportunity to be involved with the Ramp-up of Sol Man 7.1. The content of the day has been built around the feedback we received from the recent webinar, this will be followed up with Solution Manager speakers at the forthcoming conference and the ALM & ALM-Testing SIGS next year.

Clair Walton from SAP will present an Introduction to SAP Solution Manager 7.1. With SAP Solution Manager 7.1 now in unrestricted shipment Clair Walton from SAP UKI will present the highlights and new features of this release.This will include a Q&A session and a guide to where more detailed information on Solution Manager 7.1 will be given at forthcoming user group events.

Andy Lawrence from SAP will deliver Upgrading to SAP Solution Manager 7.1. Customer’s usage of Solution Manager is varied and ranges from the minimum needs right up to full end-to-end application management and monitoring. With this spectrum of use, it can be difficult to assess what the optimum upgrade approach to Solution Manager 7.1. Andy Lawrence from SAP UKI will provide an overview of the functions affected by this release change and also the methods that need to be used to ensure the new Solution Manager functionality can be adopted smoothly and effectively.

Andy Lawrence will also deliver the presentaion Technical Operations and System Monitoring with Solution Manager 7.1. Solution Manager 7.1 has delivered an entirely new engine to monitor and manage an SAP Landscape. The engine to process alert data and the user interfaces to visualise this data have been built from scratch to deliver an intuitive and responsive monitoring environment that allows a customer to understand at a glance the health of their SAP environments. Andy Lawrence will provide insight into this technology, how it can be deployed easily and then used to streamline operations. He will also demonstrate some of its key capabilities. The session will conclude with an open Q&A.

Paul Williams from Kingfisher Plc will share his experience of SAP Ramp-Up Program. What it is like to participate in an SAP Ramp-Up program? What motivates a customer to do so and what benefits can they expect to realise from this? These are questions many customers can ask themselves when considering this. Paul Williams from Kingfisher plc will provide an overview as to what motivated their participation in the Solution Manager 7.1 Ramp-Up program.They will outline their experience of the program from the support they had from SAP to what they have gained from their participation.

Paul Williams will then speak about Real World Use of SAP Solution Manager Technical Operations. As part of Kingfisher’s participation in Solution Manager 7.1, they deployed the new Technical Monitoring Solution to support the rollout their new Forecast & Replenishment functionality. As this functionality was new to Kingfisher and critical to their business, there was a focus to ensure that technical operations were in place on the right platform from the initial go-live. Paul Williams will share what motivated Kingfisher to use Solution Manager 7.1 for this purpose and the experience they have had in deploying this into their business so far.


SAP Enterprise Support Open Day 2011

SAP Enterprise Support Open Day 2011

Your UK & Ireland SAP User Group is delighted to support the forthcoming SAP Enterprise Support Open Day on Thursday 8th September 2011 at SAP Clockhouse Place, nr Heathrow.

Book a priority place now and have your say on what you would like to take away from the day.

You will have the chance to meet the SAP Enterprise Support team and gain insights into the value our proactive Support model can add to each stage of your IT solution lifecycle.

Following the success of last year’s open day, SAP are bringing short sessions on a number of support services and their benefits, as well as the latest initiatives in SAP Enterprise Support.

This is a great opportunity to meet other SAP customers, some of who will share their experiences on key business improvements achieved with SAP Enterprise Support.

A team of Support Advisors will be on hand to discuss and answer your questions on a wide range of topics such as SAP Enterprise Support Services, Technical Health Checks, innovation with Enhancement Packages, integration with Business Objects products, Application Lifecycle Management with SAP Solution Manager.

SAP are currently in the process of compiling the Agenda to ensure that the event drives maximum value for you. If you would like to know more about a particular area within SAP Enterprise Support, please let SAP know when you register and they can incorporate your input towards building the agenda for the day.

For further information or to book your place now please follow this link.