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SAPInsideTrack is a great way of meeting and discussing with like-minded SAP enthusiasts apart from traditional SAP run events like TechEd, Community Day. Its run in "unconference style" and organised by the Community users like you and me - that's what makes it great. If you have been to one of these events then you know what its like, if you have not then I feel sorry.

Well after being to Community Day in Bangalore (and also TechEd) in 2007 and 2008 I was charged up and made sure I attend SAPInsideTrack London (where I happened to be now-a-days) this Saturday. Nigel James and Darren Hague ran this SAP Inside Track London 2009 last year and were determined to make it happen this year too.

So I arrived at IBM Southbank offices on 4/4 little after 9 in the morning. Some folks were already there but most of the crowd turned up by 10 when we started. Here is a run-down of the day's proceedings. After a quick welcome speech by Nigel and Darren who also introduced Zoe Slattey of IBM who was our host (IBM connection) the floor was opened for self-introduction. Here are the winners (all who turned up) of the day:

Martin Gillet  @MGILLET   from Belgium

Somnath Manna @som_nath  


Andre Brito                       from Portugal

Cathy Thomas   @welscathy

Gregor Wolf   @Wolf_gregor   from Bavaria

Kashif Aziz  @kashy

Michael Koch  @pixelbase

Robin Fernandes  @rewbs 

Robert Briese  @rbriese      from Portugal

Jason Moors

Jay Halai

Oliver Kohl  @oliver   from Germany 

Anne Petteroe  @yojibee    from Norway

Owen Pettiford

Harald Reiter  @hreiter     from US

Dennis Howlett  @dahowlett    from Spain

Anthoy Phillips 

Prakash Pithani

Niloo Madani

Mike Pokraka   @pokrakam

Darren Hague   @dhague

Nigel James    @njames

Zoe Slattery    @Zoe_slattery

The first session of the day was on Certification where Michael Koch presented his survey results. For the survey results and presentation visit pixelbase. There was bit of debate around the whole certification with Dennis putting in this comments to close the session. One interesting info provided by Martin was that you can get certification expenses from Belgian government. Any takers! Dennis caught Michael on Inside Track London: Certification survey results.

After a bio-break / getting refreshing with Red Bull and Tortilla chips it was time for a demo of sMash. The ProjectZero website defined in geeky terms "Delivering the best of agile Web 2.0 with PHP scripting, REST and Dojo in an integrated runtime and tooling package: IBM WebSphere sMash" while Ant (Anthony Phillips) / Robin had a different way of putting it together. sMash is to create and run "Situational  Applications" based on three principals - Simplicity, Agility and Speed. Dennis got Robin on camera explaining this in his InsideTrack London: IBM presents sMash.

Next was Harald Reiter's turn who explained (using his ASUG/TechED deck) how Adobe Interactive Forms were custom developed using ISR Framework at his previous client. It also included Blackberry integration for the approval of HR related forms. There was some discussion about SmartForms vs Adobe Interactive Forms when to use what and why. Harald pointed out that his estimate for an average end-to-end Adobe Form takes 400 hours of effort from development, testing to deployment.

It was time for lunch. Thankfully the sun was out and we all enjoyed lunch with chatting on the terrace facing Southbank walkway and Thames. It was simply too good an atmosphere to miss.

Post lunch there were two parallel tracks. The ones I chose to sit in were: ESME - Scala & Lift by Darren Hague, Typical Customer Adopting Composite Applications by Owen Pettiford, Learn from Each Other by Martin Gillet. The sessions in the other track were Freelancing Ins and Outs by Mike Pokraka, OpenID: Federated SSO by Darren Hague, Metadata based access control to NW Portal content by Harald Reiter.

Owen's session gave an interesting and practical example of how his customer (big UK defence organisation) having included SAP NW in their Roadmap some time back started reaping benefits from using Composite Applications replacing a mix-and-match of SAP and non-SAP applications. He also highlighted the BPM tool which was new to most of the audience.

Darren's session on ESME highlighted the current state of the project which kicked off as a Community Project. To me its no longer an experiment (Enterprise Social Messaging Experiment) but getting into reality being entered in Apache Incubator program. The takeaway was by signing up as an Open Source developer for ESME means getting you hands on Scala which is supposedly the next Java. Darren's mentioning ESME made it to DemoJam at all three TechEd's in 2008 but did not win in any is an understatement.

Martin's session was attended by only 4 of us - shows how many Functional people turned up (only two myself and Martin) but was interesting. He even prepared a nice handout of his presentation that is really helpful. Yes the first thing I did at work today is try out couple of tricks he mentioned before blogging this.

The final session in true unconference style (it was not listed by someone proposed and it happened) was by Oliver Kohl. He unveiled a Wordpress Plugin for SAPAffinity Group in Twitter that he manages. As usual Dennis caught it on InsideTrack - Oliver Kohl's WordPress plug-in so that you will not loose out on the great idea.

It was 6:15 when Darren ushered us out as we were well past our room booking time. Most headed for a couple of drinks at a nearby pub. I walked back to Waterloo to catch the tube - contemplating what I got out of the day. It was summed up in this Why go to Inside Track?. I am the third person in the clip.