Over 20% of Bilot are @SAP TechEd and SAPPHIRE 2012

This year again Bilot is taking part again in the biggest SAP events of the year, TechEd and SAPPHIRE 2012. We flew a record-breaking number of participants, 19 in total. This is significant number and corresponds to well over 20% of our staff. I don’t know of any other SAP partner who would proportionally match this investment. As always, we have high expectations of the freshness, depth and breadth of information. Our experts already master the current solutions and therfore have a huge appetite for a better understanding of the most recent solutions and future roadmaps. It is also an excellent opportunity to meet peer experts as well as our clients.

Looking at Bill McDermott’s and Jim Snabe’s keynote, a couple of messages stuck out. SAP, previously not to have been very prominent in the business-to-consumer marketplace, now puts significant emphasis on improving customer experience. One incarnation is CRM run on HANA through mobile, but comes in other forms like Web Channel Experience Management etc. This is understandable from a commercial expansion perspective and it couples the mobile strategy firmly as one strategic pillar. Of course, The Nexus of Forces (mobile, cloud, social and information) was cited here as well as it is very close to SAP’s strategic pillars.

Jim admitted the times are tough and how we need to “defy gravity”. I think he meant, we should better position those solutions with which we can turn difficulties into opportunities. It is time (again) for disruptive technologies to drive massive change and drive down costs.

Ariba was given some exposure. Tim Minahan, Ariba CMO, attempted to explain the value of the acquisition and what’s in it for SAP customers. Surely it has more than what meets the eye, but it was so vaguely positioned, it sounded like we were hearing an infomercial on SAP PI.

Jim briefly demoed the Microsoft Surface tablet, which was probably the highlight of the two hour keynote. Having seen Jim on stage on multiple occasions, somehow this time he was not quite able to convey his typically sincere excitement.

“Was that cool or what?” asked Jim after a video-clip on SAP Cloud… he didn’t quite get the roar he hoped. On the other hand, if the message is “we can too”, a market leader ought not to get raging applause. Far from it.

Considering this is one of the key moments where a leading software company could ignite and energize an audience of 10K+ not to mention those following online, the audience’s response was somewhat tired, even mildly disappointed. I hate to say this, but the feedback I hear on the show so far are somewhat unexcited, which is a pity. Let’s hope by the time SAPPHIRE and TechEd is over, SAP indeed succeeds in defying the gravity and in improving the mood. I also hope that the most exciting demonstrations of the week are not those in the streets of Madrid.

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Mika Tanner

Bilot Alumni