I don’t necessarily need a Sapphire Now conference in Orlando. What I do need, however, is more information on AnyDB in relation to SAP’s extended maintenance deadline 2027/2030.
I don’t necessarily need to see the colorful booths at the Sapphire, the annual DSAG conference, or SAP TechEd. I’d rather have access to keynotes, information and content of all of these conferences.
By now, I think it’s obvious where I’m going with this. Business class flights and five-star hotels don’t make for a good, informative article, and conferences with expensive evening events do not contribute to the education of the community.
These days, we’re more and more recognizing that nice, pleasant things not always count as necessities. While traveling can be fun and rewarding, it is not a bare necessity – and I think the aquatic life in Venedig, Italy would agree, seeing as the water in its canals has cleared up for the first time in many decades.
However, traveling for leisure is not the only thing becoming obsolete. Business trips are expensive and often a nuisance – not to mention that there are now a lot of other ways to effectively communicate important information without having to be there in person.
The lessons SAP should learn
Lockdowns, shelter-in-place orders, closing borders – while all of these measures are necessary, we still don’t really know how our world might look after all of this is over. Businesses and countries have survived the 2008 financial crisis, but we haven’t really acted on any of the knowledge gleaned from it. This time, we should do more to permanently implement the new lessons we’re learning every day.
I strongly believe that one of those lessons for SAP should be that the community needs more information and education instead of event marketing. SAP customers don’t need marketing gags and colorful booths, but they need reliable information if S/4 Hana is ever supposed to find its footing. The current challenges are a unique opportunity to distinguish what the SAP community really needs.
SAP customers are dealing with a lot of uncertainties at the moment. Questions about indirect access, consolidation and harmonization of SAP’s cloud acquisitions, SuccessFactors’ availability, Hana 3 or the right implementation approach (brownfield, greenfield or bluefield) are dominating discussions in the community. The only one remaining silent is SAP itself, and that’s just not a good communication strategy.