With one month to go, you may think it seems like a long way away, but as it is with most things in life, getting the most out of SAPPHIRE is all about good preparation and having a plan. I'll actually go out on a limb here and say that arriving at SAPPHIRE without preparation is somewhat like jumping out of an airplane, and trying to knit your parachute on the way down! So - to help you get the most out of your upcoming SAPPHIRE experience, I've exhaustively interviewed thousands of seasoned veterans (ok, maybe just a handful) to give you the benefit of how they maximize the value of their annual trek to the event.
1. If you haven't already done so - register now!! Not only will you gain access to some of the tools I mention later, getting your name on the registration list puts you on the radar of your SAP account team, which will also help in later steps. Make sure you keep your registration and login information handy.
2. Create a list... of the things you want to learn or accomplish at the event. Take twenty minutes and list out the "Top 10" list of things you need to learn more about while at the event. Be specific too... don't just write down "S/4 HANA" if you really want to learn about moving from ECC 6 to S/4 1511, or specific roadmap items slated for the 1610 release.
3. Prioritize the list... There are so many choices, and only 3 days, so make sure you plan around the most important things on your list first. Save the last 4 or 5 items on the list for after you set your agenda for your most important priorities.
4. Use the online Agenda Builder... on the event website. Using your prioritized list, leverage the search utilities to find the presentations and microforums related to your priority items, and add them to your agenda. Another great tool to help you discover things is the A&D Sample Agenda (attached below) which lists all of the A&D specific sessions.
5. Engage with your SAP Account team... and share your prioritized list. Ask them to set up meetings with people from the A&D IBU, Industry Value Engineering, SAP Consulting, Product and Solution Owners, SAP executives and other customers that can help you accomplish your goals. One of the great things about SAPPHIRE is that most of the "movers and shakers" who know the most about what you want to learn, are onsite and want to talk with you! Additionally, your account teams may be able to get you included in some special "invite only" events and "invite-only" round tables with customers diving deep on topics you may care about.
6. Hit the show floor - virtually... Once your top priorities are covered with sessions and meetings, now take a look at who will be on the show floor. Identify the partners and solution providers that are related to your priority areas. Put a placeholder on your agenda builder to go make a visit to their booth. It also helps to reach out prior to the event and let them know you intend to stop by at a certain time. You will have a better chance of talking with the right person from that organization if you give them a heads up when you intend to stop by. Also - ask them about any networking opportunities that they may be hosting in the evenings. Don't forget to include a stop or two at the Aerospace & Defense expert table in the Industry Campus.
7. Lather, Rinse, Repeat... Congratulations! You should now have about 50 to 70% of your time accounted for at SAPPHIRE! Don't stop now... Go back to your list, and hit steps 4 through 6 for your lower priority items. Fill in any gaps you have in the schedule with sessions, meetings, and show floor visits that can fit in.
8. Download the mobile app... Go to to your mobile app store, and search on "SAPPHIRE NOW". The mobile app update hasn't yet been posted when I wrote this, but shortly before you head to the event, download the app, sign-in using your registration information, and confirm that your agenda is accessible from your mobile phone or tablet.
9. Establish a "Home Base"... with your coworkers where you can go when you don't have a specific activity scheduled. My suggestion for you would be the Aerospace & Defense expert table in the Industry Campus. If everyone uses the A&D table as a "home base" - this will provide opportunities to casually network and meet others from the industry, both from SAP and other customers.
So - what are you waiting for?? Go build that value packed agenda for yourself like a pro!