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TechEd Insights from SAP Mentor Simon Kemp

Terri Reeves Wednesday, September 7, 2016 Blog

By Simon Kemp

TechEd 2016 in Las Vegas is less than a month away now. It’s always an exciting experience going to SAP’s largest Technical Education conference, it’s a full on 5 days of information overload, early mornings, late nights and opportunities to meet new people and forge lasting friendships. It’s great to be in the same place as like-minded people, sharing ideas and having thought provoking conversations. Plus you get to try out lots of shiny new technology toys and meet the experts and product owners and get all the really important questions answered.

This will be my 4th ever TechEd, my 3rd as an SAP Mentor in Las Vegas. In this post I’d like to share with you some of my experiences, tips and tricks in case it’s your first time I hope these will help you get the most out of the week, if you’ve never been I hope this will peak your interest and entice you to make the trip.

For me the whole experience usually starts 4-6 months beforehand. I like to think of interesting topics to present on. Taking a leaf out of my design thinking guidebook this year I put myself into my audiences shoes and just imagined what session I as a participant would like to go and listen to. I decided that a session on Guerrilla User Experience Design would be really interesting to attend so I set about putting one together and submitting it for consideration. Luckily for me the great people at ASUG thought the same way and my session was accepted, so at 5.30pm on Tuesday (and 10.30am on Wednesday) you can come to my session “UX108: Guerrilla UX Design: How to engage with real users in the face of adversity” and learn how you can incorporate some Guerrilla UX into your work.

In 2013 I was extremely honored to be selected to join the SAP Mentor program. Through this program I am afforded some great opportunities, one of which is the chance to book two 30 minute sessions at the Mentor Expert Networking Pod on the show floor. Not to miss out on this I have arranged two (hopefully) interesting sessions based on the SAP Screen Personas product, with a lot of UX design techniques sprinkled in for good measure. Also via the Mentor Program I was able to volunteer my time to help out in one of the 2-hour hands on workshops, so I will be helping out with “UX260: Experience SAP Fiori in the Cloud” which should be really fun. I really enjoy the hands-on sessions and working with the delegates, answering questions and seeing them learning all about the new technology.

So now I know at least where I am going to be for 7 hours of TechEd!

If you haven’t been before you should know that each day is a marathon starting at 8am and going until after 6pm, it’s a 10 hour information smorgasbord. One of the most challenging things you will face is working out your schedule!

Personally I like to start each day at TechEd with an early 5 km run up and down Las Vegas strip, I find it clears the cobwebs from the night before and gives me a chance to wave to some of the other delegates making their way back from the bar ? But in all seriousness you will be amazed how nice it is to get out and run on a quiet Las Vegas Boulevard and it sets you up nicely to be stuck inside for the next 10 hours! If you think this sounds good (but are maybe a bit worried about venturing out on your own) and would like to join me let me know.

One other thing I can recommend is that you book a room in a hotel that’s not directly connected to the conference centre, apart from being a bit more affordable it will also guarantee that you see the sky twice a day.

There is so much to do I’m not sure where to start. If you are super keen then sign up for the Pre-Conference events like the InnoJam, this will give you the chance to actually appear on the main TechEdstage during the Demo Jam on Wednesday night. Also on the Monday there are some great ASUG pre-conference seminars to attend. The main show starts on Monday evening with a keynote by Bjorn Goerke. Bjorn set himself a very high bar last year with his “The Martian” themed demo, so no pressure this year Bjorn! I’m not sure how you are going to top that.

The main education sessions kick off on Tuesday morning starting at 8am and going right through to 6.15pm and there is always lunch served everyday for attendees which if nothing else is a fascinating lesson in logistics and planning, feeding that many people is not easy task. Apart from being fascinating it’s usually pretty tasty too!

On Wednesday morning at 6am you can join in the 5 km fun run/walk – which of course I highly recommend, it’s a great way to start Wednesday (see you there). In the evening there is the networking reception on the show floor, make sure you visit all the booths and stock up on fun toys for your kids! Right afterwards there is the DemoJam where you can see who will innovate their way to victory using some of the shiny new tools from SAP (it could be you if you were part of the InnoJam).

More sessions on Thursday, topped off with the SAP TechEd 20th Anniversary Bash across the road at Gilleys (BTW.. the ribs are awesome).

If you can still stand up and your brain isn’t overloaded there is a 1/2 day of sessions on Friday for you to soak up any remaining SAP TechEd goodness, before you fly back to reality.

I hope this has been a good intro to SAP TechEd for you and that I’ve managed to provide you some hints and tips for how to make the most of it. One last thing before I go… remember beer, water, beer, water, beer, water… you’ll thank me in the morning! See you in the bar, that’s where all the best conversations happen ?

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