On my way out of town, I blogged a short story on what I was expecting in this "ASUG Education Summit" when we'd be working on the year ahead. It promised to be as much, or more than a challenge in years past, as we'd convinced a great Special Interest Group Chair, Kristen Dennis, to take on the difficult task of coordinating content for 9 SIGs into a workable, dynamic schedule for conference attendees to experience the maximum in education and influence in a short time.
New wrinkles this year included the inclusion of more "non-SAP Business Objects" material (make that 10 SIGs), a lack of clarity into the schedule timing and logistics, and the continuing uncertainties of which volunteers would be able to get away from their personal and professional lives for most of a weekend and a business day. Out of the 20 volunteers on our team, we only missed 3 for different reasons, so you can see from the photos below (and a video) what a packed day it was.
Kick off was an informal chat at breakfast with the ASUG CEO Bridgette Chambers, members of her team, the ASUG Board of Directors and my team ("BITI"). We've somehow acquired a reputation as change agents, continuously looking for improvements in how we provide avenues for SAP customers to solve problems and minimize their pain dealing with SAP. I won't go into details, but briefly, we talked about organizational change processes to adopt to the shifting businesses and directions of SAP, stability and growth of our membership portal, and statistics required for us to measure our progress.
After breakfast, we heard from ASUG Board member Anthony Bosco and CEO Bridgette Chambers on ASUG's top level plans. During that short overview, I captured this goal and tweeted it:
#ASUG CEO Bridgette Chambers defining the path ahead: rebuild organization, revitalize base, refine brand. A breath of fresh air. [24-Jan-2010]
Following that (with mercifully few slides), we rolled out to our respective breakout rooms to begin the conference scheduling task. We spent a while getting specifics on how many rooms we have, the session duration (a mixture of 45 and 60 minutes this year - so watch out for that as you review pre-conference materials when they are available) and during breaks, get everyone on board with our year round planning tools and processes for webcasts, wikis, blogs, surveys and community events.
While we had mapped out our objectives, including a skeletal template for planning both the conference and other activities, plans sometimes go astray and we improvised. One of our Gregs brought colored note paper, we borrowed sheets from the PLM team, and I contributed a purple sharpie so we could lay our our first grid. The objectives included keeping similar content in the same room as much as possible, sharing the burden of early or graveyard shift times, and comprising where needed to get a workable schedule. Sharp eyed observers will note an increase from 9 rows in 2009 to 14 rows in 2010. We'll share more details on these logisitics after we commit these plans and have approval to publicize.
As mentioned, we're including "non-SAP" Business Objects in our team charters. Since the acquisition by SAP, our users have struggled not just with what this will mean to the SAP Business Warehouse implementations many of us operate, but to those BusinessObjects applications that either don't touch SAP ERP systems, or intersect them only peripherally. We're also meeting our counterparts who have little or no knowledge of SAP ("ABAP, what's that?") and have no experience with the dynamics of our user community. I'll list several of the folks I met Sunday (the ones whose Twitter handles I learned). Greg and Sarang are BITI members now, so expect to see their contributions very soon.
L-R back: Bridgette Chambers, Greg Myers, Tammy Powlas, Kristen Dennis (standing)
L-R front: Gretchen Lindquist, Greg Capps, Chris Crone, Karin Tillotson (standing)
Bob Berntsen about to enter the Matrix.
L-R Greg Capps, Srini Tanikella, Kristen Denns, Steve Jones, Rob Jackson, Sue Keohan, Tammy Powlas, Bob Berntsen
@Jspath55 lost his shirt again.
Volunteer meeting kick off (the funs starts after this).
Flashback to 2009:
40 seconds of fame:
Left to right (on the YouTube screen freeze):
Margaret Anderson, SAP RIG
Scott Shafer, Development Technologies (background)
Sarang Deshpande, Business Objects Security and Administration
Greg Myers, Business Objects Security and Administration (head cut off)
Greg Capps, Security