In a speech at Harvard on 4th December 2007, Mikhail Gorbachev, the man who led the Soviet Union from 1985 until its dissolution in 1991, urged the world leaders of the day to place nuclear disarmament at the top of their agendas. When Gorbachev came to power, he recalled, “People at the time were saying one thing… ‘Do whatever you can to prevent nuclear war.’ ” Nowadays, he said, those concerns are not the foremost worry on people’s minds. Gorbachev called for making them a top priority once again: “If you don’t move forward, sooner or later you begin to move backward.”
What does this little story have to do with the itelligence conference? Although it can often seem like the most important thing in my world, it is certainly not as important as avoiding nuclear proliferation!
Here is the context. Way back in 2011, when we first thought of running an event for our customers we sat down internally and thought about what type of event it should be. I had just joined the world of itelligence following the acquisition of CONTEMPORARY so we were keen to present our new joined up SAP Applications and Analytics business to our collective customer base. The objective was reasonably simple, bring together a disparate group of IT and Business representatives and facilitate conversations about how itelligence and the correct application of SAP technology could help them solve the challenges they face.
It’s fun to look back on that first agenda and see the core principles being established:
- itelligence Consultants providing updates on what’s new with SAP Strategy and Technology
- Customers sharing their experiences
- An engaging and thought-provoking keynote
This approach has remained relatively unchanged and has served us well through a number of years and locations, including our first London venue in 2014, right up to last year’s record-breaking attendance for our second year at 155 Bishopsgate.
The venue is not the only thing to have changed though; yes of course the registration numbers have grown!
There is a more subtle yet pronounced change, a shift in expectation. In conversations, I detect a sharper focus in what people expect the itelligence conference to be, or in some case to not be! I appreciate all the honest comments we get in the lead up to, during, and of course after the event. Your feedback is immensely important to us as we shape the future of the itelligence conference.
With that in mind, I want to talk about a number of changes we are making for #itelli2017 to deliver MORE…
More Customer Presentations
As much as you love hearing from us, and you want our point of view, you clearly get huge value from sharing the experience of your peers. In my personal opinion, we can never have enough customer speakers and I am proud of the number of you who have presented over the last 5 years. Not everyone feels comfortable standing up and talking about their projects, it takes courage and confidence.
I am pleased to announce that #itelli2017 will have more customer representation than ever before with a third of all sessions being customer project related.
Large audience presentations will always have their place within an event like #itelli2017, but we must remember that our role is to listen to your needs and help you understand how we can help. Best will in the world, this can be quite hard to do with a PowerPoint slide deck in a large room.
This year, alongside the principal sessions we are launching itellihubs. If you have ever attended SAP TechEd or similar then the concept will be familiar. A smaller, less formal, more interactive area where an audience can engage more deeply with a presenter on a narrower topic. We will have 18 of these sessions running throughout the day covering a wide range of topics from HANA Migration Preparation Tips to the minefield that is SAP licensing! Why not stop by and ask the difficult questions you need answered.
More Hands On
One of the more popular recent additions to the conference has been our ‘hands on area’ where you can touch and feel the latest SAP solutions. The good news for 2017 is that we are expanding the hands on area by not only adding more laptops but also more software.
Drop in at any point during the day, meet our product specialists and take part in scenarios with S/4HANA, BusinessObjects Cloud, SAP Digital Boardroom and more.
The itelligence eco-system continues to grow and we are pleased to welcome an increased number of our Partners to #itelli2017. Rest assured that we have applied the necessary due-diligence to ensure that each partners offerings are relevant, credible and affordable so that you do not waste your time talking to them!
Several of the sponsors are also delivering itellihub sessions throughout the day, many of them in conjunction with customers. I encourage you to stop by and understand how they can help you.
More itelligence IP
It is also clear that you expect us to be doing more to package and share the innovations we are delivering across our customer base. This will become even more important as we move towards a future dominated by Cloud solutions that are extended rather than customised in the traditional manner. Once again we will have a specialist area set aside to showcase our Global Suite of itelligence products and add-ons.
From reviewing the registration forms for #itelli2017 it is obvious to me that we have reached a tipping point. The strapline for #itelli2016 was ‘making digital real’, this reflected our goal of helping you understand what Digital Transformation really meant in the context of your organisation.
The feedback we received indicated that we did a pretty good job of this, but there was room for improvement. We have helped you to understand but now we need to help you execute. You asked for more guidance on practical actions that you could take to develop and progress along your journey to a digital future. With that in mind, the core focus of #itelli2017 is transition.
Our objective is to provide you with simple, clear steps that you can immediately take back to your organisations in order to define, accelerate and de-risk your transition to a digital future.
The itelligence conference is an iterative, agile, living product that strives for improvement through the application of customer feedback. In other words, we are moving forward.
If you like the sound of the transition that we are making in how we run our conference then why not register and experience first-hand the value that a forward-looking SAP Partner can add.
Register using the link below today.
Author: Andy Steer, CTO