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Discovering How to Transform Government for the Digital Era at SAP Federal Forum

Were you able to join us at the SAP Federal Forum this year in Washington, D.C.? Over 450 members of the public sector, from organizations including USDA, Army, Navy, Defense Logistics Agency, Amtrak, Department of Justice, Department of Interior, and many more came to share advice and listen to thought leaders in the industry. Having experienced compelling speaker presentations, digital business and government success stories, and interactive solution demos, the attendees left the conference with a clear vision of how their government organizations can embrace the possibilities of digital transformation to ensure future success.

I’d like to share a little bit of the experience with you, including links to videos of the presentations. This year’s SAP Federal Forum broke records for attendance on the first day of keynote speeches and breakout sessions. The SAP SuccessFactors government user group meeting slated for the second day looked to be in peril when the D.C. Metro system was closed down, but a large group braved the transit nightmare and joined us to learn more about the SAP SuccessFactors HCM Suite.

Conversations on transforming for the digital era

Brian Roach, managing director for regulated industries at SAP, welcomed attendees to the Forum and set the stage for the day, introducing Deepak Krishnamurthy, SAP’s head of corporate strategy. Deepak kicked off the presentations, detailing SAP’s strategy to support nimble organizations with a digital core. That led to a series of conversations on how to prepare for the digital era. First, Brian Roach interviewed Hardik Bhatt, CIO for the State of Illinois, on how government is innovating with the Internet of Things. Then Dr. David Delaney, SAP’s Chief Medical Officer, interviewed Dr. Cliff Hudis from the American Society of Clinical Oncology and discussed personalized medicine for all. To wrap up the morning, Alec Ross, former senior advisor for innovation to former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, spoke about innovation and technology at the intersection of government, business, and education. 

Learning lunch

During lunch we had a special guest speaker, Michael Thomas McCaul, Sr., the U.S. representative for Texas's 10th congressional district and chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee. McCaul shared thoughts regarding his committee's oversight and leadership efforts in the areas of cyber security, the ongoing encryption debate, counter-terrorism, and initiatives such as the recently announced McCaul–Warner Commission on Digital Security. Alec Ross was also on hand during lunch for a book signing of his New York Times bestseller, Industries of the Future.

A standing ovation for afternoon keynotes

Following lunch, Denise Tuner Roth, administrator for the U.S. General Services Administration (GSA), shared her perspectives on the future of innovation in government. Finally, Jennifer Morgan, president of SAP North America, interviewed General (Ret.) Stanley McChrystal, former commander of US and International Security Assistance Forces Afghanistan, about the transformation of leadership from a defense perspective. Hearing McChrystal talk about leadership is like hearing Steve Jobs talk about innovation or Henry Ford talk about productivity. The retired general is a warrior and visionary who turned a bulky bureaucracy into a fast-moving force. The inspired audience gave General McChrystal a standing ovation at the end of the discussion.

IoT live scenarios for government

The SAP Federal Forum was uniquely interactive; in between keynote presentations, videos and live scenarios were presented on the main stage, highlighting SAP’s vision of what is possible for government with the IoT. These scenarios covered:

  • Connected buildings, where the building sensor network monitors energy consumption and the physical state of the building in real-time, alerting managers to changing conditions warranting action
  • Connected healthcare, in which physiotherapy treatment and wellness of employees with physically-challenging jobs is monitored using physiological sensors
  • Connected soldiers or assets, showing how a qualified maintenance technician  can perform predictive maintenance on a helicopter after a flight with the help of hands-free technologies

Big Data, finance, and HR breakout sessions

Three information-packed afternoon breakout tracks covered topics that are currently top of mind for the public sector: breaking up and breaking down Big Data, making data and financial transparency add up, and engaging your workforce and citizens in the 21st century. We saw record-breaking participation from customers and partners sharing their stories this year, including the United Nations, the Department of State, Amtrak, CSRA, Office of Management and Budget, NASA, DLA, Montefiore Health Systems, and more. 

Day two

On the second day we hosted the government user group to share information about the SAP SuccessFactors HCM Suite. Despite the Metro shutdown across all of D.C., and the federal government giving workers the option for unscheduled leave or telecommuting that day, 60 attendees from across government participated. The meeting covered topics around the implementation of the SAP SuccessFactors HCM Suite for new and existing clients. Topics included the Safe Passage program from SAP, the SAP National Security Services company (SAP NS2), a FedRAMP update, AWS partnership, and the cloud migration strategy. 

Without a doubt, this year’s SAP Federal Forum was a huge success for everyone involved. Even if you were unable to join us, you can still access all of the presentations and resources from the event. I hope you will join us at next year’s SAP Federal Forum, and I look forward to seeing you at SAPPHIRE NOW in Orlando.