SAPinsider Conference—What Might Have Been
A Field Report from the Intelligent Customer Experience-Driven Supply Chain Conference
By Clay Thomas, Principal SCMO2
I wouldn’t blame you if you didn’t realize SAPinsider just wrapped up its annual supply chain conference—the number of attendees was nowhere near the halcyon days when SCMO2 was presenting customer stories and best practices for SAP APO to more than 1000 attendees in the US, Europe and Asia market events.
Certainly, the disappointing numbers were not due to the content being presented, which is always high quality. Nor was it due to lack of SAP representatives in attendance. In fact, the number of product and solution owners for SAP IBP, EWM, S/4 Logistics and others was impressive—both at their booth and in providing updates on tool direction and strategic approaches. And customer engagement, at least in the four sessions that were led by SCMO2, was very good.
I sat in on a particularly well done Ariba session delivered by David Vallego which focused on why the Ariba Network was leveraged instead of choosing to try and recreate SAP SNC as a cloud tool. Besides our Ariba SCC customer success story with Textron Specialized Vehicles, David’s was the only other customer-centric Ariba session of the week.
I enjoyed the opportunity to dine with Hans Thalbour and a few other SAP leaders the night before his morning keynote address. After observing how accessible the SAP team was throughout the event, I couldn’t help but agree that SAP is practicing what they preach on customer attention. An SAP ad I saw at O’Hare on my way back home emphasized their key message of listening to customers and engaging to understand their needs. They got it right this week, and perhaps even more so than just a couple of years ago.
The supply chain community, especially those people who use SAP tools, needs a singular conference such as this one to come together and get customers talking, listening, engaging with SAP and its service partners, and each other. And it needs to be as grand and aspirational as it once was. For nearly 20 years now, SCMO2 has thrived on working across industries to develop better processes and solutions with our customers—an approach much aligned with the core concept of this conference.
Should SAPInsider strengthen its communications around this event? Change the venue? Find better dates to reach a larger audience? What do you think? I wonder what would drive your engagement, pique your interest and get you to once again attend this event. Your contribution, and those of so many others that we missed this week, would get that melting pot of diverse ideas, approaches and stories brewing once more.
Share your thoughts. I’ll pass the good word along!