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What conferences are worth attending? The results are in and it looks bad for ASUG

kevin_wilson2
Contributor
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In order to further your career in SAP it is important to attend and take part in relevant conferences. In May 2014 I started a poll to see which conferences were the best to attend... (See full poll results here)

Here is the order rated from most popular to least popular (at the time of posting 69 votes were received):

  • 33% SAP d-code
  • 16% SAP Insider Conference
  • 13% SAP Forum Event Series
  • 10% SAP CodeJam
  • 10% SAPPHIRE Now
  • 9% Mastering SAP
  • 4% SAP Inside Track
  • 3% SAP InnoJam
  • 1% DSUG - German User Group
  • 0% ASUG

Please don't use this as your only source of decision around which to attend - Read other people's comments as well...

It's a good indication of what the feeling is out there though.


0 votes for ASUG... In my opinion, ASUG has completely missed the mark and is now irrelevant, as I described in this blog.

SAP technical conferences like d-code and CodeJam seem to dominate the technical space and seem to deliver value.

From a functional side it looks like the SAP Insider conferences is your best option there.

If folks disagree please leave a comment as to why you feel differently.

PS: These are strictly my views and opinions. No animals were hurt during the writing of this message...

1 ACCEPTED SOLUTION

stephenjohannes
Active Contributor
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I think anyone who took a statistics course would see that your poll suffers from sample size, question bias and survey design.  Given that some of the choices are only valid in certain regions, I would expect see geographical bias against certain choices.  I'm sure if I sent a poll out to participants based only in particular geography I could definitely change/influence the results to completely contradict your results.

I'm not sure I personally would want to tell everyone that my opinion is right, based on survey results that could be mathematically shown to be not-accurate against a general population.

Take care,

Stephen

13 REPLIES 13

Former Member
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Thanks Kevin...

The poll would have voted by many guys who were out of America that's what the poll shows 0%ASUG.  SAP D-code is conducted all over the world, so it shows the rating high.  SAP D-code event has all information on all SAP products if we attend every time and also get certification included (e-g in India) on some cost.

Nice to see this poll.

Regards

GGOPII

Colleen
Advisor
Advisor
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Hi Kevin

69 votes probably does not make this statistically valid/relevant to make such a judgement call. GGOPII mentioned one factor - of those 69 people how many are in the Americas?

Within the breakdown, I think you need to take into consideration what is being offered at the events and what your background is. Larger events will have more variety and offering so that would make sense that they have greater interest.

Your blog about ASUG is a different matter and seems to have some good feedback

Regards

Colleen

Former Member
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Kevin Wilson wrote:

Please don't use this as your only source of decision around which to attend - Read other people's comments as well...

It's a good indication of what the feeling is out there though.


0 votes for ASUG... In my opinion, ASUG has completely missed the mark and is now irrelevant, as I described in this blog.

Kevin,

I'm sorry to say that in my estimation, your poll is not a "good indication" of the feeling "out there." It seems to support your feelings about ASUG, which apparently are that ASUG should retool its events to meet the needs of consultants instead of  focusing on the installation members, otherwise known as SAP users. Users, being the U in ASUG, are what ASUG and other users groups are about.  Affiliate members of ASUG provide valuable expertise, and their presentations and webcasts to SAP users are much appreciated, but ASUG is not aiming to provide that same kind of educational experience as some of the other events you listed. You might as well ask which is "better", asparagus, artichokes, or apples, and claim that apples "miss the mark" because they do not taste like a vegetable.

Gretchen

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Gretchen,

You misunderstand me if you think I said that ASUG needs to retool itself to cater for the consultant. In no way did I imply or say that. What I feel is that consultants could be leveraged more to impart their knowledge to users at the user group. Consultants have more interaction with a variety of users which could be of great value to the user. It would be up to ASUG and it's committee to judge and gauge which consultants can impart good value and which ones are out to sell....

Having done a few of these myself, it was my personal experience that ASUG did not give adequate attention to the content being delivered. I have no idea as to the reason but that was my experience on several (actually all) occasions.

I guess the main point is this "Would you gain more from listening to a user who uses SAP Event Management to track their shipments out of their warehouse in Plano, Texas or the architect of that solution, together with 15 other similar scenarios implemented globally?" Not all companies are the same and in order to be able to get value out of if for your company you need to hear from folks that have differing perspectives.

Thank you for your comments - Greatly appreciated by the community

Kevin

stephenjohannes
Active Contributor
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I think anyone who took a statistics course would see that your poll suffers from sample size, question bias and survey design.  Given that some of the choices are only valid in certain regions, I would expect see geographical bias against certain choices.  I'm sure if I sent a poll out to participants based only in particular geography I could definitely change/influence the results to completely contradict your results.

I'm not sure I personally would want to tell everyone that my opinion is right, based on survey results that could be mathematically shown to be not-accurate against a general population.

Take care,

Stephen

Jelena
Active Contributor
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The poll was titled specifically "...worth attending for consultants", which seems like a rather important omission here. As others have already correctly pointed out, ASUG meetings are not really meant for the consultants, they are for the SAP customers to share their experiences. So I don't see how they are missing the mark there. That actually sounds exactly right to me actually.

Not sure it's fair to be upset at ASUG for rejecting your abstracts, no matter how great they were. ASUG meetings should always give preference to the customer stories and also to the subjects that are relevant to the specific chapter. For example, our area has many manufacturing companies, so anything related to that would be of interest to most ASUG members. You might want to check for the state wth most SCM implementations and ask to present at that chapter's meeting.

Also please keep in mind that ASUG meetings usually don't have the same scale as TechEd where multiple sessions are running concurrently. Most of our local meetings are actually "single track" and can accomodate 6 or so sessions. If 2 or more of them are not appealing to the broad member base then people just won't attend and it's bad for everyone.

We are constantly giving feedback to our chapter's leaders and the customer stories are the most requested items. There were many concerns about the vendor sales pitches that the attendees could not relate to in the past meetings. I've noticed that at the last meeting the vendors started engaging the customers, so that it's the customer who does most of the presentation, and it worked better IMHO. Maybe it's something worth trying too.

Also I'm sure that the SAP Mentors who work with SCM (= not me ) might be able to provide some feedback on your material to make it more effective and relevant to the user groups if that's something you'd like.

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Jelena,

Thank you for your comments - Greatly appreciated. Your points and Gretchen's were taken in to consideration and have changed the title of the poll to be clearer (Hopefully).

Regarding my own submissions that were rejected, I am not phased by that but I was certainly surprised. 100% of my job revolves around working with users to get them what they need out of the SAP system. I typically work with at least 3 clients concurrently and focus on certain areas of SAP so I like to think that I know the area better than most, and that includes mentors (which is a topic for another day!) I reached out to my fellow peers (some mentors and some SAP employees and some users...) and they had the same experience as me...

From a user perspective the feedback I got was that SAPPhire was a good place to go where in 1 room they could see all SAP's new toys... With regard to ASUG, it was only attended because it was co-hosted with SAPHire and in general the folks chosen to go were done so as a "thank you" for their efforts - i.e. The perception, rightly or wrongly, is that the annual ASUG event is a party but not much more... From a consultant and the SAP folks that I reached out to (in the SCM space) we were greatly disappointed because there was a lost opportunity to further transfer knowledge to the user community. Myself and a few of my peers (mentors and SAP employees alike) actually like to share our experience with users. We are happy to give back to the community and if someone learns something that they didn't know before then great, all the power to them.

Obviously I have struck a nerve here with several Emerald level folks chiming in and as long as there is mutual respect for each others opinions and feelings then I will keep the debate going.

All the best

Kevin

Jelena
Active Contributor
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In this case I'm guessing the survey should've been more clear that it meant only the annual ASUG conference that is co-located with SAPPHIRE. Otherwise 'ASUG missed the mark' sounds like it applies to the whole organization and it doesn't seem fair (or accurate, for that matter).

Would have to agree with Stephen - it's just "different strokes for different folks".

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Agreed and I have changed the option to ASUG Annual conference in the poll - Maybe at a later date we can do a more comprehensive Survey Monkey effort - Just didn't know SCN allowed that - They wouldn't let me load a word document in the past (only available to SAP employees) so a survey I thought was out of the question.

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Researchers have posted links to survey's in the past on the SCN forums after asking permission from the "global moderators".   If you really want to conduct the survey, you probably can write up a blog about it and place the link to the survey.  If you ask really nicely and put in the right space, I bet even a space editor might feature the content.  The key is you just need to ask, and since you have the "M" on your profile, it should be even easier.

I can see how the word document part would turn you away.  There are way too many "vogon-style" rules that even though you might have had a great contribution, they couldn't take it because a lawyer determined they could get sued if they ever took a word document from a 3rd party.

kevin_wilson2
Contributor
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It looks like I stirred things up a little here... Enough to respond I guess, although I clearly stated in my original posting that these were my opinions based on what I saw and I would hope that everyone is open to allow people to share opinions much like I appreciate all of your opinions.

I do want to just clear up a few things because they do portray a bias that was not intentional.

1) The poll functionality, as provided by SAP SCN, only allows for 1 answer. Believe me I tried to find out how to have multiple answers but it simply is not available, or at least I couldn't find out how to do it with what was available to me.

2) I knew there were more conferences out there but I couldn't list them all as most are location based. As ASUG and SAPPHIRE are part of the largest pool of SAP users / consultants, I felt it relevant to call those out. For the others, I gave the last option of "Other" and asked to specify in comments what it was that you wanted to vote for. As and example DSUG (German User Group) got a vote that way. This opened it up for people to vote for Australia UG or South African UG but none did

3) The poll sizing of 69 is small, and today it stands at 80 (and ASUG has 1 vote now btw), but you are still able to draw some conclusions from this sampling and if you feel differently then please feel free to disagree, I'm OK with that...

Another note that was commented on was that it was slanted towards consultants which was why ASUG didn't get any votes. I would reshape the observation to "Why aren't SAP users using SCN as a valuable resource? Why are only consultants reading SCN? Surely there are more users than consultants... Where are they getting their info from?"

Anyway - I do appreciate the comments and opinions

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There are other tools such as survey monkey which could have been used, along with true sample sizing for you to conduct a more conclusive survey if your goal was to help provide some research for the community on this topic.  SCN has allowed researchers to post links to their surveys, so in general there would be no issue in using a third party research tool beyond SCN to do so.

I will pass on debating the merits of attending a particular conference.  I have generally found all conferences have benefits and drawbacks for attendees.  The best conference to attend is one that matches your professional and personal benefits and works within your budget and schedule.

Take care,

Stephen

kevin_wilson2
Contributor
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