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The last week of January was a doozy for the SAP S/4HANA Cloud Customer Empowerment team – with not one, but two Customer Empowerment events taking place within days of each other; Barcelona, Spain on January 29th and Heidelberg, Germany on January 31st. Part 1 of this blog summarizes the highlights from the Barcelona event and what customers can expect by attending future events. Part 2 will focus on the Heidelberg event and the results from the customer feedback survey.

So, what are SAP Customer Empowerment Days? Well, they're not sales or marketing events. They are complimentary days for existing S/4HANA Cloud customers and any company interested in learning about S/4HANA Cloud. They are networking opportunities where you get to talk face to face with existing S/4HANA Cloud customers and hear them tell their story in their own words. No marketing buzzword bingo here. Customer Empowerment Days are all about candid feedback where no topic of conversation is off the table. It's about sharing experiences, building trust, hearing from live customers, and SAP subject matter experts.

Jan. 29th, Barcelona, Spain

With the scenic Barcelona harbor behind them, the SAP team was eager to run their first Customer Empowerment Day of 2019 from start to finish in Spanish – something we had never attempted before. Unsure of how many customers would attend an event with a 9AM start time, initial optimism turned to nerves as the SAP team glanced anxiously at the clock as the minute hand grew dangerously close to the top of the hour. But then, right as the event was about to begin, customers started pouring into the room with big smiles, firm handshakes, and an air of curiosity.

An hour later, more customers trickled in, bringing us up to a very satisfying 33 attendees! Customers were excited about having an event in their local language. They engaged in back and forth conversations with the presenters and asked a plethora of questions – particularly around integration and localization.

Since we had a variety of live customers – those amid implementing, some in the planning phase, and prospects – it was exciting to see customers asking other customers questions! They were heavily leveraging their expertise, asking them if they had to do the process all over again, what would they do differently? To which they replied, use SAP Activate methodology, put a bigger emphasis on training/change management earlier in the process, and get more user acceptance across lines-of-business in the planning phase.

Customers said SAP S/4HANA Cloud still has some kinks to iron out, but they're excited to be on this journey with us. They know that SAP is here to support them, and they trust us to ride this out with them. Is integration where we want it to be? No. But day by day, it is getting better, and we are committed to making this a priority for 2019.

Customers also learned about the SAP S/4HANA Cloud Community, Value Maps, SAP Trust Center, SAP Co-Pilot, the Cloud Implementation Portal, the Best Practices Explorer and the Influencer Portal where the ideas and suggestions captured during the event will be added for community users to vote on. The level of enthusiasm in the room was contagious. The entire room was cheering as one CIO announced that his company had successfully gone live at 4PM that day! The takeaway from this event is that customer-to-customer conversations are irreplaceable. Digital events, as valuable as they are, cannot inspire the same degree of confidence and trust as looking another customer in the eye and listening to what they have to say.

So, won’t you join us? Here’s a list of our upcoming Customer Empowerment Days: