ASUG 101: How to Get the Most Out of the Next ASUG Meeting You Attend

As mentioned in my last blog post, I’ve had the opportunity to experience the ASUG connection at chapter and national events many times. And after attending these incredible events with so many friends–old and new–I wanted to take this opportunity to share it with others who may be joining our community. That’s why today’s ASUG 101 blog post is all about how to sign up for and get the most out of the next ASUG meeting hosted by your local chapter.

Tips for your next ASUG meeting NY - logo

Finding the Next ASUG Meeting Near You

First things first: finding an event. Log in to ASUG online for a full listing of all national and regional events: https://www.asug.com/events. In some instances, depending on the chapter, you may have the opportunity to select your breakout sessions during the registration process. Review the options and hone in on what most interests you–this is the key for really getting the most out of the sessions. From the viewpoint of the event organizers, it lets them know how many people are interested in each track so they can accommodate the crowds with the appropriate room sizes and ensure speakers are set up for success.

After selecting and registering for the event, you will receive a confirmation email that will include a link to the agenda. Personally, I like to print out the agenda and bring it to the event. (Not to worry if you forget to bring a hard copy–there are always copies available at the registration table.)

Making the Most of the Day

Now, here’s an especially important tip for your next ASUG meeting: Get there early! When you arrive, sign in and pick up your name tag. Wear that name tag–it helps everyone! Maps of the venue are generally provided. (If you did not register in advance, you will still be able to attend.) This time period before the meeting officially starts provides a great opportunity to network with CIOs, SAP managers, SAP users, and SAP partners in the industry, all while enjoying a cup of coffee and maybe a light breakfast, too.

The meeting begins with a local board member sharing general logistics for the day. They’ll talk more about the keynote and breakout session topics, plus announce the date of the next meeting. Sometimes the board member will take this opportunity to talk at a high level about a national topic of interest that affects our industry. Following the opening comments, the keynote speaker is introduced. The keynote always covers an overarching topic that’s of interest to the entire SAP community.

Following the keynote, a mid-morning break once again provides the opportunity to network. Remember to bring your business cards!

After the break, the education tracks begin. A mix of speakers bring their own experiences and areas of expertise to the table during the 1-hour breakout sessions. SAP customers share their stories, while SAP partners may present on an industry hot topic, client success story, product feature, or other relevant area.

At lunch time, I suggest you try to sit next to a new face. It is a great opportunity to learn about different SAP customers’ challenges and successes. These events really do offer a learning opportunity for everyone.

Sponsors of the events are your ASUG partners. Partners/sponsors have the opportunity to present their offerings during the track sessions, or they can choose to exhibit only at the meeting. Business cards are collected during the day in fish bowls at the sponsorship tables for a chance to win prizes that are drawn at the close of the day network session. (If you’re at a chapter event that we are also attending, you’re likely to find us and Simply ILM, a Vortex affiliate company, set up with a stand alongside other event sponsors!)

I suggest everyone take advantage of the end-of-the-day networking session. This is a great time to wrap up and share once again your SAP challenges and successes with your community users.

In closing, I highly recommend you attend the next ASUG meeting hosted by your local chapter! ASUG’s mission is to facilitate education and connections in the SAP ecosystem and to continually expand and provide support to those in its network. The ASUG community is bound together by shared experienced, challenges, and successes. You have so much to gain by joining in on the conversations and presentations that take place at local chapter meetings across the country. Be sure to follow us on LinkedIn for news on upcoming events that we’ll be attending–I hope to see you at an upcoming ASUG event soon!

ASUG 101: What is ASUG?

Over the past 15 years, I have been fortunate to be a part of the growing ASUG community. The many great experiences I’ve had led me to write this ASUG 101 blog series (today’s is the first post from the collection). The ASUG community has provided me with support, guidance, and motivation throughout my career, just as it has for its thousands of members. If you’re thinking about getting involved, I invite you to keep on reading to learn more.

ASUG 101: Background

First, a little info on what ASUG is all about. ASUG stands for “American SAP User Group.” ASUG is a far-reaching organization with more than 100,000 members who represent thousands of companies of all sizes. ASUG has been around for over 25 years and continues to evolve its offering of resources to serve its members. Visit the website and you’ll find all sorts of valuable links and information. The SAP Education section on the website connects members to specialized learning areas, including those that focus on Fiori, SAP Cloud, BusinessObjects, and much more. Visual learners will love keeping up on the YouTube channel and watching a steady flow of webinars that are posted to the site.

ASUG 101 Picture - The online Education Portal offers endless learning
ASUG 101: The SAP Education Portal offers a huge variety of training opportunities to members.

ASUG is more than an organization and collection of invaluable learning resources–it’s a connection between professionals seeking the best ideas, answers, and advice on how to stay ahead of an ever-evolving technology landscape. Whether you travel to industry events held locally or across the country, take advantage of the online learning resources, or tap into the network to make valuable connections with fellow SAP professionals, you’ll find a whole community of people ready to help answer your questions, prepare you to take the next step in your career, and enable you to provide even greater expertise and value in your day-to-day work.

ASUG 101: Becoming a Member

So, you might be asking, how does membership work? Most ASUG memberships are corporation-based. In other words, when an organization signs up, its employees gain access to the benefits. There are  four categories of corporation membership: Installation, SAP BusinessObjects, Associate Affiliate, and Channel Partner. Universities are also eligible to join and extend ASUG benefits to students in affiliated programs. Individuals who wish to join ASUG may do so through the Independent Consultant program.

ASUG 101: Attending Events

Being an ASUG member opens the door to meet technology professionals from across North America. I’ve connected with fellow chapter members at local events in Wisconsin, Chicago, Dallas/Forth Worth, and in other locations. And I’ve watched industry leaders present big ideas and innovative solutions at SAPPHIRE NOW + ASUG Annual Conference on multiple occasions. Attending an ASUG meeting is an opportunity to join a professional network and at the same time learn about the ever-changing SAP world…including both successes and challenges faced by our peers.

ASUG chapter meetings events calendar
A glimpse at the September 2016 ASUG calendar shows the huge variety of events happenings.

From my perspective, being invited to attend ASUG events is one of the greatest benefits to membership. I walk away from these meetings and workshops feeling energized, inspired, and connected to the ASUG community. Make sure to check back soon for my next ASUG 101 blog post, in which I’ll walk you through the steps of registering, attending, and getting the most out of your next (or first!) ASUG event. And to keep up with the latest news on our attendance and participation in ASUG events, be sure to follow us on LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/company/vortex-consulting.

ASUG Dallas/Fort Worth Chapter Meeting: A Great Day in Dallas! 

On April 15, we were fortunate enough to attend the most recent ASUG Dallas/Fort Worth chapter meeting. With more than 340 guests in attendance, we were surrounded by an impressive crowd of experts and specialists from across the SAP community. And perhaps the best piece of news from the event was that it aided the sponsorship of deserving adult students in the SAP Veterans to Work Program.

There were seven tracks of content at the event, covering key areas including BI Reporting, BI Strategy, Data Management, Finance, Hybris, HANA Migration, HANA Security and Cloud, Internet of Things (IoT), and Supply Chain Management. The SAP community requested a facilitated networking session in advance of the meeting–and they got it! This provided an excellent opportunity to network and connect about these and other hot topics in our industry.

Keynote Presentation on SAP S/4HANA 1511 Announcement

The keynote at the ASUG Dallas/Fort Worth Chapter meeting was given by Kevin Reilly, a community advocate with ASUG. He presented a session titled, “SAP S/4HANA: What You Need to Know About the 1511 Announcement and Why Should You Care.” Hearing about his insight on the current state of S/4HANA was enlightening as he shared the latest updates and took questions from several organizations as they are considering their roadmap and taking a closer look at HANA for their organizations.

As mentioned earlier, it was especially heartwarming to see the ASUG Dallas/Fort Worth Chapter sponsor 15+ veterans for participation in the SAP Veterans to Work Program. The program provides training and certification to veterans of the U.S. Armed Forces, helping them find challenging and rewarding career paths after serving our country. Students receive training in desirable areas in the IT industry, including SAP HANA, business analytics, enterprise mobile apps, and more.

ASUG Dallas Fort Worth Meeting on SAP S/4HANA 1511 Announcement

As sponsors of the event, Vortex Consulting and Simply ILM, a Vortex affiliate company, set up a stand to chat with and introduce our services to attendees. We had the opportunity to visit with several organizations following Deanna’s presentation. We addressed some specific questions regarding where to begin and how to solve issues in complex document flows. We shared tips on continuous improvement on data quality. We also held a raffle, with an oversized basket full of Texas BBQ goodies going to veteran Andrew Brija.

Our next scheduled event will take place in less than a week. We’ll be attending and participating in SAPPHIRE NOW, the ASUG Annual Conference, from May 17-19, in Orlando, Florida. On Tuesday, Deanna will host a session titled, “Preparing for HANA: Avoid Transferring the Junk Drawer to Your New Investment.” If you haven’t already, be sure to sign up. We look forward to seeing you at SAPPHIRE NOW or another SAP industry event soon!