SAP TechEd &&d-code 2014 Highlights and Obsevations

making-it-real

I have recently returned from attending SAP D-code in Las Vegas. This 5 day event is the annual gathering of SAP technologists where they can update their skills through hands on workshops, Q&A sessions and presentations from SAP Mentors, Product managers and subject matter experts.

The conference was kicked off with a Keynote from Steve Lucas titled “Making it real”.  Rather than the usual sober keynote from SAP Steve Lucas delivered a fast paced presentation packed with live demonstrations. Dennis Howlett from Diginomica gives a great summary of the keynote here.

Observations

There was a change of direction in the style of the event this year to focus on the developer community rather than application user, hence the rebrand from TechEd to d-code. While the hands on workshops covered all technologies they felt mainly focussed on developers writing code or users getting exposed to new tools. To me things like tips & tricks and best practice were sadly missing. However, there was an area on the show floor devoted to technology road maps which enable attendees to dig deeper into the future of their technical discipline.

There wasn’t a whole lot of new news in the Business Intelligence arena that I focus on. The key announcements came a month or so earlier when Jayne Landry delivered the convergence roadmap and it’s too early for SAP to have delivered on phase one of this roadmap just yet. Things of note for the BusinessObjects community were the release of SAP Lumira 1.20 during the conference and what we can expect to see included in Design Studio 1.4.

Highlights

For me the highlight was the opportunity to network with others with similar interests to me. I was fortunate enough to finally meet a number of SAP Mentors based in the US who I engage with over social media. Catching up with SAP Mentors Eric Vallo and Grey Myers led to me joining them along with Derek Loranca in the ASUG media hub for a 30 mins free format live chat that was streamed on the conference TV channel, ASUG.tv. You can watch a Replay of the video here

My tips for surviving SAP TechEd d-code

In the video mentioned above there is a segment where we discuss how to get the best out of attending the event, here are a just a few things to bear in mind if you are planning to attend SAP TechEd for the first time:

  • Don’t peak too early. It’s a 5 day conference and with due respect most of us are no longer teenagers
  • Wear comfortable footwear. It may sound silly but according to my Fitbit I was walking between 15-20km per day. The dress code in the US was casual but even though it was 30+ degrees outside you still need a jumper as the session rooms can be cold with the air con cranked up
  • Reach out and meet people. As I mentioned above I was fortunate enough to spend time with the SAP mentors in my subject area. But an observation is that these guys were not alone, If you see someone who has authored a document you liked or you have heard them on a webinar stop them and say Hi. The SAP Mentors and SAP show floor staff were excellent and always smiling
  • Stay as close to the venue as you can. From personal experience getting into the time zone takes a while, so if you are staying close dropping out for a short power nap when your body needs it pays dividends.
  • Don’t be a packhorse. Walking 20k with a backpack stuffed with kit will wear you down. The most important thing is external batteries to charge up mobile devices as plug sockets are scarce on the show floor. All the session presentations are given to you on a memory stick when you check in to the conference, so if you want to make notes most people use tablet
  • Eat well. Take time to eat well, this again will help with the jet lag, and no calories from beer don’t count as food.

In closing

If I was asked to describe SAP Teched && d-code to someone who has not attended the event before I’d most probably say “it’s just like going to University ..  Lectures, Learning, Networking, Making new friends and of course a few parties along the way”.

 

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