Together with five colleagues I had the opportunity to attend the SAP InnoJam in Madrid as a Microsoft technical expert for developing Windows Store applications. You might ask yourself: What is the SAP InnoJam and where is the connection to Windows store apps? Let me quickly introduce the InnoJam concept and then let's discover the connection to Windows 8 apps.

The #InnoJam (more background here) is a prequel session to SAP's TechEd and provides the possibility for attendees to work in teams (~8 members each) on innovative ideas around various scenarios. Here are two examples of the five challenges that were tackled at the InnoJam in Madrid:

  • Better my journey. Teams that took this challenge thought about redesigning the service experience for commuters and city inhabitants in the context of getting around in the city. Especially the personalization aspect of this challenge was interesting.
  • Ad-hoc parking lots. Teams that took this challenge thought about redesigning the service experience for visitors of the city or big events in the context of finding free parking lots.

The whole event spanned over two days (and the night in between :-)) and started with a design session where each team worked on fine tuning their ideas around their chosen scenario. During this phase innovation trainers helped the teams in the design thinking process and in developing a great story and business case around their scenario. In the late afternoon of the first day all teams had a short presentation of their project and from there they went straight into the implementation phase. A picture is worth more than 1k words (look out for the number of post-its and brown paper drawings at the wall - that's only 1/3 of the impressive output, more pictures here):

 

The implementation challenge encompassed the whole spectrum from backend to (mobile) front-ends. And this is were Windows 8 came into play. We brought a big bag of new and shiny Windows 8 devices with us and helped those teams that wanted to work on Windows 8 to develop apps for their scenarios. Especially our strengths in providing a modern UI and in connecting to SOAP web services, OData and REST services were a great fit to reach out to SAP solutions. Another cool thing that helped us a lot is our TFS in the cloud. You can spin up a source control in seconds - really important to parallelize the development efforts. We also received a lot of praise for the great integration of TFS in Visual Studio. Even devs that were new to our platform picked it up easily and enjoyed it a lot.

One of the teams that we supported throughout the event was team #parkit. They were working on a solution for finding ad-hoc parking lots. Together with team #parkit we built an app in roughly 18h that utilized Bing maps to route app users to a free parking lot by connecting to their SAP ByDesign web service that was build up in parallel and provided information about parking slot positions and their availability. The app featured additional customizations for the user such as setting weights for preferring parking slots with less costs or at a closer distance. To give you an impression this screenshot shows the hub screen of the app:



A big kudos to the #parkit team - they rocked and became one of the two winner teams at the InnoJam. And to top all this, they placed 3rd in the overall DemoJam of the TechEd. Great job guys! You can watch a recording here: http://www.sapvirtualevents.com/teched/sessiondetails.aspx?sId=3842.

From what I learned and saw at the InnoJam I can only recommend everybody who is working on SAP solutions to visit one if you have the opportunity to do so. You will find a diverse crowd of cool people with a lot of drive and different backgrounds. Project managers, technical experts, devs and even sales people - all locked up in a room with lots of caffeine, good food and (late at night) beer :-) What could you wish more?