The Conference Month

HR Tech Europe and Web Summit

So we are back to our home bases. Was a hectic month for Team Cabaana.
Here are some pictures from these events.

HR Tech Europe (Paris)

This is the conference where we had a soft launch of Cabaana. Great conference and we got some wonderful feedback. We also got 10 minute stage time at the disruptHR zone.

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Web Summit (Dublin)

We took part in this conference in the Alpha Start-up section. A very different forum for us as this summit included start-ups of all kinds. Again, a great experience with lots of positive and some critical feedback.

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Highlights of HR2014 – Nice, France

By Ganpy

Let’s get the obligatory joke out of the way first. Shall we?

“Was the Nice conference nice?”

“Yes. It was..”

Michael (Ingentis) and Ganpy

Michael (Ingentis) and Ganpy

Exhibition Hall

Thorsten giving a Demo

Now that we have the joke out of the way, I will quickly summarize our experiences from the conference.

The +

  • Venue – Couldn’t have picked a better venue in Europe for that particular week. With so much going around Nice in that week and with all the great weather, it seemed just right to have a conference in Nice.

The  –

  • Venue – Yes, This was in France. But there clearly were no French customers at the conference. Or, if they were there, we didn’t spot them. In the hours of idle time we had at the booth on Day 2 and Day 3, we exchanged notes with our booth neighbors who are a French company and they confirmed the same. And the reason? Apparently, the speculated reason was that the Insider conferences are priced very high for an average French customer.

The +

  • Our Booth Location – Yes, it was perfect on Day 1. We had good traffic on Day 1 and we were placed right on course through the main entrance to the Exhibition hall and a beverage/refreshment table was placed right in front of our booth.

The –

  • Our Booth Location – The exact same location. But on Day 2 and Day 3 that was a bane to us (perhaps because they moved the refreshment table somewhere else). We had a low turnout on Day 2 and a lower turnout on Day 3.

The +

  • 5 conferences at the same time – HR, BI, FI, GRC and HANA – all attendees came together for those 3 days in Nice. This made us meet all kinds of customers and we did learn a thing or two about the daily operations challenges in SAP in areas outside of SAP.

The –

  • 5 conferences at the same time – HR, BI, FI, GRC and HANA – all the attendees came together for those 3 days in Nice. This meant we couldn’t really tell who was HR, as our primary focus was HR customers and hence sometimes, what appeared like a decent conversation at the booth eventually would end in a meaningless conclusion.

The ,

  • The European versions of these conferences are still maturing. May take another 3-4 years before they get into a rhythm, if they do that it.
  • They have to keep changing the venue but perhaps, should settle down to one or two options eventually, as from what we have seen, the venue doesn’t necessarily seem to encourage more local customers to show up for the conference.
  • Our partnership with Ingentis keeps getting stronger at a personal level when we get to spend more time at these conferences, because we get an opportunity to understand each others’ businesses in detail, through personal insights.

The ?

  • Many questions to ponder before we plan our next year’s SAP Insider conferences. Cogent IBS, needs to consolidate a product portfolio, with a clear message for these Insider conferences (especially the European versions), so that our pre-conference and post-conference marketing campaigns could be a little more impactful. Our message for 2014 was “HR Anywhere” and that seemed to resonate well in the US conference, but probably not that much in Europe.
  • More analysis on how to generate a better traction at the booth needs to be done (again for the European version). We did well overall, in terms of quality of leads but we are not yet sure, if we missed any opportunity to meet more customers than we did.

The .

  • In summary, this was really a great conference and we will continue to take part in this, either till we see we are not generating any quality leads or till we see the conferences stop growing at some point. For now, both of the above are not true.
  • Our Thanks to Ingentis for being part of this conference and for sharing the booth space.

 

A Recap of HR 2014

-By Ganpy

As with every year, the first conference in the calendar is always exciting for us. And that too as an exhibitor.  The HR 2014 conference in Orlando held was the first scheduled conference for us. And needless to add, we were planning for this with so much fervor and eagerness, during the past couple of months leading up to the conference. Ingentis GmbH, our partners, were also with us at the conference and we had a great time in Orlando for a week. The below is a quick recap of my experiences from the conference both as an SAP HCM practitioner and as an Exhibitor.

As an SAP HCM practitioner

SAP, after the acquisition of SuccessFactors has definitely been very aggressive in pushing cloud HR solutions in the last year or so. But since the penetration of on-premise SAP HCM has been pretty deep already, it has been and will continue to be a challenge for SAP to get every customer onboard with cloud. They have been reasonably successful till now, in getting all their customers’ ears, but what is also true is that many of the customers are probably doing this, merely because they don’t know how else to react.  Having said that, I believe that SAP on-premise solutions will continue to dominate in the near future, while more and more customers, for the fear of being left out and also due to peer pressure in the industry, will simply purchase SuccessFactors Employee Central and start playing around with the landscape it offers. I for one, expect more discussions in the marketplace and perhaps some confusion as to what is the right strategy for every customer. This also means, some consultants will be busier than the rest, while the general overall HCM consulting landscape will continue to dwindle. In this context, for me, as an SAP HCM practitioner, this conference was particularly interesting to see what kind of mindset customers were in and how the conference & the many educational sessions were going to help them answer some of their questions. I did talk to many customers and I also had some knowledge exchange discussions with fellow HCM practitioners in the market. I met with some companies with interesting new solutions to augment HR systems, much like what Cogent IBS and Ingentis are doing.

Here are my takeaways:

  • There is lot of angst amongst customers
  • The options available for a regular SAP HCM customer are too many that it is not very clear what the best option is for someone at a given point of time
SAP HCM Options

SAP HCM Options

  • There is more acceptance of cloud for HR than a couple of years ago
  • Majority of the customers have either already bought SuccessFactors or are going to in the near future. But how far they will use EC and ECP is an unknown
  • From a consulting standpoint, many established consultants are very optimistic with these changes while some are not, but the universal consensus is that SAP HR consulting will never be the same and the net monetary effect on the consulting industry will actually be negative
  • SuccessFactors has come a long way from being a standalone Talent Management solution to being the center of the HR universe
  • In about 24 months, we will know if SAP’s SuccessFactors bet actually worked or not

As an Exhibitor

Alright. Now, to the more interesting aspect for me in this blog post, that is to share our experiences as an Exhibitor. If you were part of the mailing list, you would have received some of our pre-conference campaigns and you would have noticed that our concept for HR 2014 was “HR Anywhere”. Our main objective was to showcase  our mPower HCM suite of apps – mPower mD, mPower mE, mPower mM, DynaMeet and Ingentis org.manager & distribution.list. In addition, we were also trying to highlight our Mobility consulting and HCM consulting services.

Set Up

Booth Set Up – 1

Booth Set up - Done

Booth Set up – Done

On Monday, the Cogent-Ingentis team (Ganpy, Sean, XP and Markos) finished setting up the booth. And on Day 1, Day 2 and Day 3 of the conference (March 11, 12 and 13 2014), we were there bright and early at the venue, to get things started.

At the Booth - Day 1

At the Booth – Day 1

The below are some pictures from our booth.

At the Booth - Day 1

At the Booth – Day 2

Day 3

Day 3

Day 1 was certainly the busiest, as we met several customers and other conference attendees stop by. As the conference continued to gain some momentum, we were able to get the attention we wanted to and bring some traffic to the booth.

Overall, here are some takeaways from the conference as an exhibitor:

  • The general interest for highly easy to use HR Mobile solutions is high
  • In spite of several HR apps being available in the mobile marketplace, there is no single app that gives user experience the importance it deserves
  • Our mE (ESS) and mM (MSS) apps certainly got the most attention
  • There were at least 5 or 6 potential customers who showed particular interest in these mE apps and we hope to follow up with them in the coming weeks
  • There were some interesting leads for Ingentis as well (for org.manager)
  • mPower mD as an augmented solution for Ingentis org.manager probably was not messaged well during this conference but we hope to do a better job of that in the next conference
  • The idea of selling a standalone Mobile Directory was a bit of a challenge in an SAP conference. But interestingly there were customers who wanted to hear a bit more about Employee Engagement, when we brought that up. As our mD solution continues to evolve, I am sure this is something we will keep in mind

After we dismantled our booth and packed our booth materials on Day 3, we couldn’t help but agree that the conference went by too fast. We had ups and downs throughout the conference and the kind of team we had made it all worth. There were probably a few things that the conference organizers could have done differently to accommodate more exhibitor friendly schedules, but there is never a perfect schedule in such conferences.

So, Thanks to the wonderful team from Wispubs/SAP Insider for putting together a great conference.

We should also acknowledge and thank our partners from Ingentis, especially Markos, for all the help & support they provided for the conference.

Now that we are back at our home bases, we hope to carry forward the momentum we gathered at HR 2014, Orlando.

The next stop will be Nice, France. See you soon! Oui. Oui.

HR 2013 – Our experience

HR 2013 – Our exprience

(By Ganpy)

The set-up…

When Sean and I arrived in Vegas on the 24th, we were a bit apprehensive. Wouldn’t we be? We had this humongous pressure of making sure our booth set up went well the next day. This was our first time setting up a booth with a sort of magnetic display and there were several unknowns around what parts we could be missing, etc. So as much we would have liked to have a quiet and a relaxed Sunday evening, it turned out to be just quiet.

The next day, when we arrived at the venue (Hotel Bellagio), our partners and our neighbors for 3 days, Michael and Markos from Ingentis were already there. In fact, they were already done with most of their booth set up. In hindsight, that turned out to be good. Thanks to them, we were able to speed up our process of setting up our booth. With a couple of pauses, we were done with our booth set up by around 2 PM and the only thing that was left at that time was the monitor which hadn’t arrived yet.

It took us another 3-4 hours before we mounted the monitor, et al. Phew.

Our Booth - After the monitor is mounted

Our Booth – After the monitor is mounted

So thus it all began. We were officially ready for HR2013.

The fun..

Both Sean and I needed just 10-15 minutes to get into the groove of things on Day 1. This is normally the case in any exhibition environment. You need some time to get used to your surroundings, your booth neighbors, the general atmosphere, the logistics of things in and around, etc. But this time it was a bit different because we were offering pictures at the booth along with a raffle draw. This surely was an entertaining way to get people to interact with us. We met some potential customers, who were genuinely interested in knowing what “mHR” was all about and those who showed keen interest in our mobility offerings.

Needless to say, Day 1 was the busiest day, with Day 2 and Day 3 were progressively less active in terms of the number of people who stopped by our booth to enquire about our Mobility offerings. Overall, we met some really good customers, who we think will benefit from our mobility offerings specially our “mPower HCM App suite”.

For more information on our mPower App Suite and to learn more about our current Mobility offerings, you may refer to our Mobility page.

The take aways…

HR 2013 was all about two things:

1) SuccessFactors

2) Mobility

  • We were glad and excited to showcase one of the above 2 much talked about topics at the conference.
  • The excitement for Enterprise Mobility is real, while it is true that most customers still do not know how to go about implementing their enterprise wide mobility strategy.
  • The scope for our Corporate Directory app is enormous. We just need to find the right message to get across so that more customers can get a feel for some of the unique features we bring along with our product and how working with Cogent to get a mobile solution like this to their enterprise will actually prove beneficial compared to a few other options they may have. I am sure this will happen in due course of time.
  • We need to continue to focus on the most commonly felt pain areas within HR functions, where mobilizing those would improve the overall efficiency of the processes.
  • Customers still need a lot of guidance and help right from choosing the right architecture for mobilizing their HR functions to deciding what functions they should mobilize to achieve the maximum ROI.
To conclude, we learned a lot by being an exhibitor because this gave us an opportunity to interact with customers across many industries face to face and to understand their day to day challenges, in a more hands-on environment.
It would be an understatement to say that Cogent IBS is in for a successful and an energizing ride in the Enterprise Mobility space.
Here are a few more pictures:
Our Neighbors from Ingentis - Markos and Michael

Our Neighbors from Ingentis –
Markos and Michael

Sean, Ganpy, Michael and Markos

Sean, Ganpy, Michael and Markos

Summer Outing 2012

It was blast to say the least. We had a small group gather at Maybury State Park on Aug 19, 2012 for our annual summer outing.
The menu was exquisite and unique. The fun was unadulterated. The weather was perfect. And the time we spent together with our respective families was simple put, “P-R-I-C-E-L-E-S-S”.

Thank you all for making it a special day in our Cogent calendar!

While you are here, do check out the pictures (Link available on the sidebar).

Ganpy.

 

Holiday Party – 2011

On Dec 11, 2011, We had our 2011 Holiday dinner to thank all our Michigan based Cogenters, their families and business partners.

The venue was “Petruzzello’s Banquet & Conference Center”.

You may find some pictures from the event on the right hand side.

Happy New Year again!