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: 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 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!

COLLABORATE 16 – It’s all about Oracle Cloud

Last week, I attended COLLABORATE 16 in Las Vegas, Nevada. COLLABORATE 16 is Oracle’s annual technology conference that pulls together users, SMEs, and decision makers of Oracle technology and business applications, including EBS, PeopleSoft, JD Edwards, Hyperion, and more. People come from all over the world to share their experiences, solutions, and strategies with the rest of the Oracle community.

This year’s theme and discussion was all about the cloud. Everywhere you turned throughout the event, from classroom sessions and keynote speakers, to vendor booths and marketing materials, the message was consistent: Oracle Cloud, Oracle Cloud, and more Oracle Cloud.

Oracle Cloud was the unofficial theme at COLLABORATE 16
There was no doubt about it–Oracle Cloud was the hot topic at COLLABORATE 16.

What is cloud computing? By definition, cloud computing is using a network of remote servers hosted on the Web to store, manage, and process data, rather than a local server or a personal computer. Yet, if you ask 10 people the question, “What is cloud computing?” you will likely get 10 different answers. That is because the meaning of cloud computing varies by individual depending on their current use and interaction with Oracle.

What does this mean to Vortex’s customers and users of Oracle ERP systems? Oracle wants you to migrate from on-premise ERP systems to the cloud–or at least start thinking about it and discussing it at your next IT strategy meeting. This is an interesting twist of fate, because it was only 5 years ago that Oracle senior executives questioned the viability and long-term business model of cloud computing and services. Now Oracle has fully embraced the cloud and wants to be recognized as your go-to vendor for everything cloud-related. Oracle offers a full suite of cloud services, including Oracle Cloud Infrastructure as a Service, Oracle Platform as a Service, and Oracle Software as a Service, which includes Oracle ERP Cloud.

Oracle Cloud stand at COLLABORATE 16
The view on the floor at COLLABORATE 16.

At COLLABORATE 16, I had the opportunity to meet members of the Oracle ERP Cloud Team and see a demo of Oracle’s Procurement Cloud application. The product has a modern design, with a dashboard that feels similar to many of today’s Business Intelligence tools. Oracle Procurement Cloud has all the features and functionality of its existing on-premise procurement applications: requisitioning, punchouts, simplified shopping, auto-create, supplier management, purchasing agreements/contracts, and receiving, among others, plus some new features that I saw on the product’s dashboard that provide the ability to collaborate with your suppliers in real time.

Oracle is definitely generating a lot of excitement with its ERP Cloud Applications and is putting forth a large effort to increase product awareness. For customers who are new to Oracle Applications and want to minimize infrastructure costs or resource costs, Oracle ERP Cloud may be the right solution. For existing Oracle ERP customers who are considering Cloud Applications, there are many questions that come to mind: How does an organization migrate from its on-premise ERP system to Cloud ERP? How is data migrated to the cloud? What tools and connectors are available? Can it be done securely and cost effectively? How does Cloud ERP handle existing customizations? These are some initial questions, and certainly there are more to come.

Are you interested in learning more about what Oracle Cloud Applications can do for your organization? If your IT team is positioned to start talking about what a transition to the Oracle Cloud platform will look like, be sure to contact us at Vortex Consulting. We’re ready to help you make the move to a cloud-based future.