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This week, I received a question from one of my friends on LinkedIn and thought I'd answer it here.

Hey Dallas! Happy New Year to you. Same old same old here. Working on standing up Lumira, Design Studio and looking forward to the successor to BI 4.1. So here is my question: I have been to ASUG SAP Analytics and BusinessObjects User Conference (SABOUC) a bunch (obviously that's where I keep seeing you), but I have never been to the WIS Pubs BI conference (like BI2015 happening in March). My employer is letting me attend one conference this year. I am curious what your thoughts are on the BI2015 conference, vs. Sapphire or ASUG annual. I do need to start looking into the BW side too. Forgetting the fact that the BI2015 conference is in Vegas (nice plus), but I want your thoughts on the BI2015 vs the other conferences.

This is a great question. I started attending BusinessObjects events in 2005. My first was Insight 2005, which was sponsored by then-independent software vendor Business Objects. After SAP's acquisition, Insight became GBN in 2007 and 2008 which lead to ASUG's SAP BusinessObjects events (SABOUC). Over the years, I've also attended SAP SAPPHIRE/ASUG Annual Meeting and the SAP Insider BI conferences.The only event that I've missed is SAP TechEd. All of these events are worth attending, but there are nuances.

I attended BI2012 a few years ago and am speaking at BI2015 this year, along with several of my co-workers (my employer, EV Technologies, is sponsoring). My former manager Alan Mayer will also be at BI2015 and is known for leading really deep technical sessions. The conference is very similar in format to the ASUG BusinessObjects event that occurs later in the year. The SAP Insider sessions are 75 minutes instead of ASUG's 50 minutes, so there's an opportunity for more depth. It's rare, but either event has the occasional clunker breakout session. Also, BI2015 is co-located with a HANA event (as well as SAP Administration and HR), which would address your BW needs. SAP Insider seems to attract a completely different crowd of users than ASUG, so you'll end up with more diversity in your networking contacts.

SAP SAPPHIRE + ASUG Annual Conference is the DisneyWorld of SAP events. Like DisneyWorld, I tell people that they should at least go once in their lifetime. It's targeted to business people, not technical people, although both attend. There is smaller amount of BI content here than at a pure analytics event.  I enjoy every opportunity I get to go SAPPHIRE, but mostly for meeting customers rather than learning new things. You're a customer, not a consultant like me, so SAPPHIRE is a great event to expect your SAP account exec to wine you and dine you in high style.

The wild card is SAP TechEd/dCode, which is also in Vegas later in the year. My manager (and SAP Mentor) Greg Myers says its his favorite conference, but the BI content tends to be lighter, again compared to a pure analytics conference. I've never been, so I can't give you a first-hand account (see related article, Always a SAP TechEd Bridesmaid...).

If you can only go to one event this year, I would suggest either BI2015 or TechEd, simply because you already know what to expect from the ASUG SABOUC event. However, a point in ASUG's favor is that SAP will be talking about BI 4.2 later in the year, but you can generally get a lot of that content via ASUG webcasts.

In any case, these are all great events and you're going to have a great experience whichever one you choose.

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