SAP User Group Conference 2015 – The Highlights

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Once again, our annual User Conference has been a huge success. Over three packed days, nearly 1,000 attendees from the User Group, SAP, partners and customers gathered at the ICC in Birmingham to discuss a wide variety of topics. In addition, a number of journalists attended the event and plenty of media coverage followed – with a focus on customer successes and S/4 HANA.

Indeed, S/4 HANA was a hot topic at the conference, with a number of publications covering the need for clarity around the platform and its upgrade path. IT PRO featured comment from User Group vice chairman Paul Cooper on customers’ expectations regarding paying for upgrades. While ComputerWorld UK discussed the uncertainty towards S/4 HANA from some customers and their desire to understand the business case for migration. CBR also wrote about the confusion some customers are currently feeling about a move from the current business suite to S/4 HANA, with comment from User Group chairman, Philip Adams. This subject was also featured in diginomica, exploring why customers are keen to stick to a pace they are comfortable with concerning any move to S/4 HANA.

Communication between vendors and customers was also on the conference agenda. IT Pro reported on comments from SAP’s UK&I MD, Cormac Watters, on how SAP is working to improve communication with customers and build relationships. Additionally, Computing picked up on this theme, reporting on Cormac Watters commitment to, “’listen’ more closely to customers”.

A number of publications covered research conducted by the User Group on digitalisation, which was discussed at the conference. The research found 80% of users were sceptical of terms such as “digitalisation” and “digital transformation”, while 57% also believe that vendors over-hype their terminology. Computer Weekly reported that SAP is seen as a digital transformation leader by around one-fifth of customers, a fact also picked up on by ComputerWorld UK. Analyst Ray Wang also blogged following the event on the fact SAP customers are ready to embrace digital transformation, but ‘remain cautious of vendor claims to assist’.

Finally, the success of some SAP users also made for some interesting headlines. Newcastle University’s migration of enterprise resource planning and data warehouse data to SAP’s HANA was featured in Computer Weekly, where Chris Burns, the business systems technology manager at the university, discussed how the IT team wanted to follow the tripod of SAP Hana, Fiori and cloud”. Newcastle University’s SAP journey was also covered in ComputerWorld UK and diginomica.

As we approach 2016, we are keen to see what the year ahead will bring – and of course, we are already thinking about next year’s conference!

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