Here is the wrap up report from USA SAP TechEd conference in Las Vegas last week, where attendee numbers of 5,500 were on par with their record year in 2008!
Microsoft was clearly a relevant story at the SAP conference this year with large amount of interest in our joint product Duet Enterprise for SharePoint and SAP. Not only did we have our usual presence in the Exhibit Hall, but we also had a key location in the community clubhouse area with Intel, standing/sitting room only in all of our speaking sessions but we also had numerous highlights and mentions by Vishal Sikka (SAP CTO and Executive Board Member) during his keynote to kick off the week. The interest in our “Microsoft and SAP: Better Together” story is very strong not only with our customer and partners, but also with nearly every SAP employee who I had the opportunity talk with this week. It is exciting to see the partnership with SAP continue to gain momentum.
Microsoft can never have a strong presence at any show without great resources, so I want to thank all of our staff from MSIT, DPE, MCS, the Duet and SQL Server teams and the Microsoft-SAP Technology Center staff for the long hours they put in making this conference a success for the SAP Alliance and Sales teams.
A packed keynote session delivered by SAP CTO Vishal Sikka, where all the chairs were taken and many attendees were standing against the walls or sitting on the floor. During his 90 minute session Duet Enterprise was highlighted across multiple slides and a video of Microsoft IT’s latest Duet Enterprise pilot was shown and a demo on end-to-end support and monitoring between SharePoint and SAP was showcased. Vishal also thanked Microsoft for all the work we have done together in bringing our solutions to market, and specifically highlighted that partnerships can work and result in successful joint efforts. Vishal called out a few items every organization should be pursuing this year, and Duet Enterprise is called out specifically. For those interested, the full keynote can be seen here.
Exhibit Hall/Community Clubhouse
Microsoft’s exhibit hall presence this year focused on Duet Enterprise and our Windows/SQL Server platform story for SAP. We had a staff of over 10 people who were constantly busy during show hours. 3 of our 4 pod locations were tasked with Duet Enterprise with SQL Server on the 4th. All pods were extremely busy all week and I did notice on several occasions that our people pulled out their own laptops and moved away from the booth to have more in depth discussions with customers due to the high volume of people at our booth.
In addition to the Microsoft booth, our friends at Intel invited us to be part of their booth also. At the Intel booth we showcased the Mission Critical capabilities of SAP on Windows Server 2008 R2 in a virtualized (Hyper-V) environment on the Intel Platform. We had a great demonstration showing Live Migrations of an active (transactions were being processed) SAP system from one virtual system to another on another. Customers immediately recognized the benefits of this capability (no SAP downtime required for system maintenance). Intel commented that the Microsoft pod was consistently the busiest area of their booth all week, with people standing 6-8 deep watching the Live demo and listening to our story.
Microsoft also had several “meet the expert” sessions. These were scheduled times in a casual lounge setting where customers could stop by, relax and discuss in more detail our Duet Enterprise story, both of our MSIT Duet Pilots and SQL Server on SAP. Howard Beader, Peter Loop, Kristen Chester and Juergen Thomas facilitated these discussions.
And finally, the reason most people attend SAP TechEd conferences… the sessions! SAP TechEd is a unique opportunity for customers to not only hear detailed presentations on topics but also sign up for hands-on sessions on a variety of areas. Microsoft had several speaking sessions on Duet Enterprise and general SharePoint-SAP Interoperability as well as a hands-on session where customers were able to roll up their sleeves and get a peek at Duet Enterprise months before it releases this quarter. All sessions were offered at least twice and each time they were full, with standing room only and SAP having to close the doors due to room capacity 5-10 minutes before each session began. One of our sessions had so many attendees registered that SAP asked us to repeat it later that afternoon to accommodate the demand.
Here is a video montage: