Well it’s (almost) showtime! The largest gathering of SAP nerds in North America descends on Orlando in a few weeks, and if you include the nearby Star Wars weekends in Disney World, it might be the highest concentration of nerds in the world. So what is this bunch going to do during the annual migration to avoid getting overwhelmed by the sheer masses and actually make it worth the trip? Your friends at SCM Connections have a few simple tips that can help you have a great time and get a ton of value for you and your organization.
Get a Game Plan
Here’s how not to attend the conference: Stand around in between sessions staring at your phone, trying to figure out what to do next. There are sessions on the floor, and in the breakout rooms, (some of which are almost hidden). There are system demos, client meetings and keynotes. If you don’t have a plan, you very well might end up leaving with only a few items checked off your to-do list. Time will go quickly – you won’t have as much free time as you think to plot out your next sessions. Plan ahead to maximize your time.
There are a few tools at your disposal that can make for a successful 3 days in Orlando. The first is the handy mobile app. Use this as the agenda can change as sessions come and go. It’s also easy to search for sessions. Download it here at Google Play or here in the Apple itunes store. Which brings me to the next tip: Use the ASUG Agenda Builder. This online tool will help you build you agenda ahead of time. You can search for interesting topics, find events and schedule the best mix of sessions to meet your needs.
SHAMELESS PLUG: If you are interested in the new IBP software platform, feel free to stop by the SCM Connections booth or schedule a private demo with us Tuesday: 11:00, 12:00, 1:00, 2:00 & 3:00, Wednesday: 12:00, 2:00 & 4:00 or Thursday: 12:00. Or you can sign up for a one-one-one with your company at this link.
Talk to People
Maybe it goes without saying, but bring your best extroverted self. Everyone is there for the same reason: to learn more and make new connections. Maybe the motivations are different: some want new business, others want to learn about best practices, expand their personal networks, etc. and still others want to find out about the latest technology. Whatever your driver is, go talk to people. Talk to vendors, talk to presenters, talk to strangers. If it doesn’t work then you are just another anonymous convention goer, but if you happen to find a connection that works, you’ve just expanded your network and your knowledge base. There’s nothing really at risk, everything to gain. So go introduce yourself.
Specifically go out of your way to compare notes. During the rest of the year, everyone tends to work with their heads down in their little SAP implementation bubble. Events like ASUG/Sapphire Now are a great way to cross pollinate ideas and discover a new perspective. Some of the most valuable takeaways I’ve gotten from these large conferences were the personal connections and 1:1 conversations after the sessions. Specifically, the ASUG customer presenters are more than happy to share their stories, so stay after, linger, bring business cards and ask the questions you want to ask.
Bring Your Nerd Gadgets
Stay connected. The entire conference is WIFI enabled so take advantage of it. Stay small, stay nimble. Bring a tablet instead of a laptop, bring extra batteries, or at least chargers with you. Everything from taking notes during presentations to following the Twitterverse (for live commentary, follow us on Twitter here) is easier when you’re walking around the conference if you keep it simple. Last year, I navigated the entire conference with an iPad mini and I did just fine. No backpack, no laptop, and I didn’t miss either one. Load the mobile apps as well: this will keep you connected, and when sessions change, or a new topic peaks your interest, you can instantly search for more information. This allows you to dive deeper into any subject at any time. Yes it’s a small tip, but your back will thank you for keeping it light.
OK fine, I’m a sucker for the giveaways. But some are pretty cool, (and it’s never too early to finish your Christmas shopping, right?) If you don’t come home with about 10 new writing utensils and 5 things to keep a toddler occupied, then you’re doing it wrong. Plus, those of us hosting don’t want to carry it back with us. So step right up and fill your totebag.
Hopefully these tips end up giving you a better overall conference experience. It can be overwhelming as the entire SAP universe is represented. However, you can make it relevant by making it seem small. Focus on events that you want to see, target booths and demos relevant to your industry, and most importantly, seek out those personal connections. Don’t let it be SAP’s conference; make it your own conference.
And lastly, here’s where you can find your favorite SCM Connections team members both in our sessions and at our booth, 286B.
– 5 Tips for Optimizing Forecast Consumption in SAP APO, with Sean Mawhorter (Wednesday at 2:30, S330H)
– SNP Optimizer: How to Approach, Manage and Maximize the Benefits, with Claudio Gonzales and Sanjay Jelaji (Thursday at 8:00, Room S330C)
– Virtual Resources to Model External Constraints and Seasonality in SNP and PPDS, with Mike Raftery (Thursday at 2:00, Room S330H)
– PepsiCo’s Manufacturing Planning Migration to SAP APO PPDS, with Pat Green (Thursday at 2:00, Room S330C)
We’re excited to bring some exciting live S&OP demos on IBP planning platform for anyone that is curious to learn how it ‘really’ works. Play with it, ask questions, stop by, meet with us one-on-one for an interactive IBP demo and your company, and enjoy a coffee. We’ll see you there!!