Most technology companies’ annual customer conferences are conglomerations (this is a longer word for assemblies) of partners, employees and most importantly customers, and broadcasters and technological evangelists and marketeers and the new breed that is hovering the internets of late calling themselves “industry experts”, and the nagging feelings & the inevitable optimism the customers pushed down their systems the day they became customers of that company’s product(s).
If you can feign even a slight nod to the above thought, then you would not be mightily surprised to know that SAPPHIRE NOW is very much all of that and more, because SAP is the largest Enterprise software in the market right now and SAPPHIRE is that conglomeration organized by SAP in Orlando, Florida.
Cogent is not going to be at SAPPHIRE this year. And the reasons are many. As much as I hate to admit that there is a bit of a withdrawal syndrome that creeps into me when I think of not being there amidst the buzzing human energy that flows through such large conferences (all the more so, at an SAP event such as SAPPHIRE, where the fragrances emanating from the crowd are familiar ones), I don’t regret the decision we have made this year not to participate.
That doesn’t mean we are going to stay away from the event all together. This is the biggest event SAP hosts every year and with so much happening in the tech world (yes. one that revolves around SAP), with so many acquisitions of third party products and so many unanswered questions that customers have, how could we not follow the event?
But, is this event the most anticipated event in SAP’s calendar, especially for those of us who follow SAP’s trends closely?
The answer is NO, as I have to come to learn during the past few SAPPHIRE NOW conferences. This conference has really turned into more about SAP trying to reassure its customers that they are still the biggest enterprise software out there and hence they are too big to fail now. Yes, a couple of small & surprising announcements could come out of the conference every year, but largely, it is going to be exactly along the lines of what you would expect. SAP will talk about how hard they are working to ensure that their customers continue to get the best, how much value the last big buzz word/concept/solution they introduced during the past year has added to its some “BIG-NAME-CUSTOMERS”, etc. etc. You get the picture…
During the past few years, I actually have been more excited about going to SAPPHIRE to listen to the keynote sessions (those generic ones and not the SAP keynote sessions). Needless to add, SAPPHIRE is probably the best place to network with your past/current (and very rarely those one-off future) customers across industries and business partners whom you have done business with. So, to be there in person at SAPPHIRE is very unique and the experience of walking around the expo hall meeting people and sharing the common SAP bond is truly amazing. Nothing can come close to that.
As I get ready to follow SAPPHIRE online, what am I looking forward to this year?
Here they are, in no particular order:
1) The S/4 HANA Story – Adoption rate, Roadmap, etc.
2) HCP – HANA Cloud Platform – What is going to happen? What’s SAP’s commitment?
3) Hybris / Cloud Foundry – How confused is the marketplace?
4) Fiori – What is the future?
5) Apple/SAP Partnership – Is it just a headline grabbing announcement or is there more than what meets the eye?
6) SAP Technology – In general (what’s new, any innovative ideas, etc.)
If you are attending SAPPHIRE NOW this year in Orlando, I hope you get to enjoy the show.
PS: I hear that this little unknown band called “Coldplay” is playing on Thursday, May 19. Totally not envious of you, if are going to be there. Just sayin’.