The Clock is Ticking…

As I sit here on the 28th of January we are 126 days away from #itelli2020, the itelligence conference, and as you would no doubt expect, planning is well underway.

We are returning to the prestigious QEII Conference centre in the heart of Westminster, a venue which has worked exceptionally well for the previous 2 years.

If you have read any of my previous conference blogs you will know that we are constantly trying to learn and improve. We are continually challenging ourselves to find creative new ways to add to the value that the conference delivers. As the conference grows each year we recognise more and more the trust that attendees place in us and are truly humbled.

Right now, with only the date and location announced, we have nearly 900 registrations! This is a significant increase year on year and shows that delivering business value with SAP technology has never been of more interest to itelligence customers and the wider SAP User community.

Incredibly this will be the 10th itelligence conference, and the 7th since 2014 when we made the decision to move the conference to London.

Year Theme
2014 it.(R)evolution
2015 Making it simple
2016 Making Digital Real
2017 transition
2018 The New Reality
2019 Community

The theme of the conference is something we always think carefully about, something that has been reflected over the years in my pre conference blogs. This year is no different.

When deciding on this year’s theme we began thinking about the conversations we are having with people inside organisations running SAP. Organisations of all shapes and sizes, large or small, public or private, local or global. What is on your minds, what are the issues and concerns that you have?

As well as our conversations we also look wider. Last December itelligence was once again a Gold Sponsor at the UKISUG Connect Conference in Birmingham. In his keynote speech, UKISUG chairman Paul Cooper shared some very interesting results from their annual survey.

  • 10% of those surveyed are using S/4HANA
  • 70% are planning to use S/4HANA
  • Only 6% of members saw SAP’s $8bn acquisition of Qualtrics as having potential business benefit
  • Qualtrics acquisition was unknown to 43% of SAP customers

With SAP betting big on a future driven by a combination of operational and experience data these were concerning numbers but not altogether surprising based on our experiences.

The vast majority of you who are running existing SAP ERP based solutions are aware of S/4HANA. It is now 5 years since S/4HANA debuted and although SAP recently revised their plans around mainstream maintenance support, it is still incredibly important that you understand the options in front of you. Yes, many of you are moving along a path to S/4HANA adoption but many of you are stuck in the early stages, many hampered by business case issues.

Your S/4HANA planning cannot, and should not be isolated from the broader conversation of how and where you want to run your SAP solution in the future. For many customers the infrastructure implications of a move to S/4HANA prompt a conversation on “non-premise” operating models. Often this is focused on replacing your own data centres with specialist hosting providers (such as itelligence), or offerings from the Hyperscale Cloud Providers; Microsoft Azure, Amazon Web Services and Google Cloud Platform. This topic should not be ignored or underestimated, the devil as always is in the detail.

Many of you say that you are under more and more pressure to deliver increasing value to your organisations. Yet you struggle with understanding the benefits, costs and associated impact of adopting the next generation solutions from SAP, be that S/4HANA, SuccessFactors, C/4HANA or the wider SAP portfolio. This challenge is compounded further by the addition of newer SAP product acquisitions such as Qualtrics and its place in the X&O strategy.

The changes are understandably introducing complexity into your decision making and planning. That is no surprise, we find this stuff difficult to keep on top of and it is our day job!

What you are looking for more than ever is a route forward, a clearer way of understanding your options, the choices, benefit, and their implications. From the feedback we have collected over the years, we know that you enjoy the frank and honest conversations you get from an itelligence conference. The opportunity to back us into a corner and get straight forward advice on innovation topics such as the benefits of introducing Robotic Process Automation (RPA) to your Finance function or the service level improvements you can expect if you roll out a chatbot for your internal HR team.

It is often said that “trust is earnt in drops but lost in buckets”. We are proud of our hard earned reputation as a trusted advisor. A reputation that now more than ever has our ability to deliver understanding at its very foundation.

You rely on us to answer difficult questions in an honest and frank way, informed by the goals, objectives, and constraints of your organisation. We can only do this when there is mutual trust based on a deep understanding of your priorities. Only through this can we be clear in what we do.

With this in mind, the theme for #itelli2020 is CLARITY.

“the quality of being clear and easy to understand, see, or hear”

Our goal is to provide clarity, not just in conversation, but also in thought and purpose.

With the theme in place we then use it as a filter over the itelligence and SAP strategies and direction for the coming years in order to ensure we develop an agenda that meets the broad requirements of you, the attendee.

Over the coming weeks the team behind #itelli2020 will be sharing a steady stream of information including but not limited to;

  • The core topics on the agenda
  • Guest speakers
  • Customer sessions

In addition we are also excited to be launching a number of new initiatives. For example a crowd sourced SAP Developer focused “unconference” within the main conference, but I have probably already said too much on that!

I hope that you will join us in London on the 2nd of June as we endeavour to bring clarity to your thoughts and a focus to your plans for organisational improvement in 2020 and beyond.

Register for #itelli2020 here

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