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Former Member
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It was the week after SAPPHIRE NOW & ASUG Annual Conference 2013 and it felt like the calm after the months-long storm. And, for me, after my very first SAPPHIRE NOW attendance.

I was pretty excited when I learned that I could fly to Orlando to help with our SAP Custom Development presence, because a) I think every marketer in our company should see this HUGE event that’s so important for SAP and takes over many lives for a few months, and b) because I’m project managing the SAP Custom Development presence and it’s actually great to have experienced what I’m planning 🙂

I knew to expect “big”, and of course I knew the sessions and activities we had lined-up for SAP Custom Development, but other than that I was just curious. When I walked on the show floor on Monday (the day before the show started), I was, to put it mildly, surprised. I felt like I stepped onto a construction site minus the hard hats, and it looked like a scene that needed another week to finalize. It was amazing how they made the transformation over night and on Tuesday morning, the effect was quite impressive! But enough about my feeling like being a kid on a playground, as many of you will know and agree that SAPPHIRE NOW is, simply, BIG.

For SAP Custom Development, it was a successful event. We were able to create awareness within the SAP community, strengthen our credibility and relationships with our existing customers, accelerate sales cycles, and identify leads. I personally got the chance to meet colleagues I only knew from the phone, and to interact with some of our customers who were not only hosting sessions, but also recording video testimonials of their work with us. The customer representatives from Colorado Department of Transportation and British American Tobacco were extremely willing to speak on our behalf as absolute experts on their projects around SAP Public Budget Formulation and a custom application on SAP Recipe Development respectively.

SAP Custom Development was integrated in many presentations and demos throughout the event and often mentioned on social media, but there were a few highlights:

  • Bill McDermott's Keynote featuring CEO of Under Armour, who discussed our sales order allocation and rescheduling solution – I think my colleague Francesco Mari summarized this piece really well, we were all proud to see one of our solutions featured in the kick-off keynote and by a well-known customer! Go to time stamp 45:52 to check it out.

Staying with Francesco, in a short video interview he also provided his thoughts on the mission of custom application development on the HANA platform – speed, relevance and flexibility.

  • Two other videos feature our Head of SAP Custom Development, Klaus Weber, speaking about the importance of cloud, HANA and mobility, and Oliver Betz, Program Lead for Mobility within SAP Custom Development, who shares his thoughts about mobile app design strategies.

  • The Theater Presentations delivered by our customers: Kiewit talking about design thinking and partnering with SAP to develop a custom mobile app, Colorado Department of Transportation discussing a project around SAP Public Budget Formulation, and Premier Foods presenting on their experience with SAP Trade Promotion Management and SAP Trade Promotion Optimization.

  • The success of SAP Screen Personas was immense. Aside from hundreds of demos provided, which caused our customers to make statements like “This is a dream come true!" and “This is as easy as using PowerPoint”, we had two of our customers, IGT and Goldcorp, presenting their projects, and the Goldcorp journey was also featured in an Article in IT World Canada.

Aside from the excitement of our customers, I also noted and appreciated the support, team spirit and smiles that all SAP Custom Development colleagues, and the ones who touch it from other groups within SAP, brought to Orlando. It was an amazing experience overall (and did someone think Country Music was only for Americans? Howdy!).

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