Katherine Kenneally (SAP Community Advocate) interviews Cecilia Huergo (Content lead for SAP Business Technology Platform) to give you an idea about some things that happen behind-the-scenes for such a huge annual event.
Katherine Kenneally (KK): Could you give us a brief description of what TechEd is all about? Cecilia Huergo (CH): SAP TechEd is all about our community and ecosystem. We want to share updates and our latest innovations to enable all the practitioners that are using SAP technology in their day-to-day. Having a global, virtual SAP TechEd also makes it much more accessible and expands our reach. I can’t say I don’t miss the “pre-pandemic” SAP TechEd’s, but virtual also has its charm 😊 And the on-demand availability of the content is great. You don’t have to miss out on any topics, because you can always go back and watch the video of any session you missed.
(KK): How much planning goes into a virtual event of this magnitude? When does the planning start? (CH): A lot… like loads and loads of planning. We like to say “After TechEd is before TechEd”. I don’t think we ever really stop planning. Sure, there is break here and there. But after the event we always focus on the lessons learned perform a type of retrospective meeting. Then the numbers start coming in, you analyze them, see it matches to what you expected. With all the information and insights for various stakeholders you are ready to start sketching out the next SAP TechEd. I would really say it’s a year-long process.
(KK): How are the various tracks chosen? Are they the same every year? (CH): The content tracks are based on our portfolio, our priorities and what we feel the community would want to hear about, benefit more from. There are not exactly the same every year, but there is a clear common thread. SAP BTP is big part of the puzzle and therefore we always have tracks on the different BTP capabilities. The journey to SAP S/4HANA is top of mind for our customers and for us, therefore it clearly gets its own track. Then of course we can’t forget that our solutions span across multiple LOBs and industries, so those need a place as well. The names might change a little from year to year, but the content track always are pieces of the intelligent, sustainable enterprise puzzle.
(KK): What is it like organizing a live virtual session? What would the initial planning look like? (CH): A live virtual session is terms of content is very much like a live in-person session. The difference is really the setup. You have to make sure the streaming, access for all speakers and all the technical details are squared away so the session can run smoothly. The most important part is the speakers are comfortable and able to share what they want with the audience. This year, we have live virtual workshops. The speakers need to be able to share their screen and guide attendees through the exercises. They should not have to worry about anything else. And luckily we have great event team that makes that possible
(KK): How can you gauge what the number of online participants will be, and will there be a maximum number that can register overall? (CH): No maximum registration number, the sky is the limit. Getting a feel for how many online attendees we have is pretty tough. But we try to focus on making sure that no matter how many attendees we have, their experience is great. They come to TechEd expecting to learn something, from SAP experts but also from SAP customers and partners. And hopefully after attending our sessions, they can walk away with something that they can take back to their projects, to their teams and helps them move forward.
(KK): This year, there is a separate SAP TechEd Hands-On Lab. Can you tell us a little about the planning for the workshops and other in-person elements? (CH): Yes, we are super excited to be back in Vegas with a clear focus on our hands-on workshops. We feel that aside from the networking aspect, really getting to experience SAP technology first hand in-person with SAP experts are your disposal is what our community has missed the most over these past couple of years. So I am so happy that we can offer that experience this year. And of course, workshops are the not only element to SAP TechEd Hands-On Lab. As I mentioned face to face networking is also high up on the list of “things I miss”. The Developer Hub is a space dedicated to networking opportunities. Expert booths, a lounge area, a theatre to attend live sessions. And coffee, snacks… all the good things 😊
(KK): What are you personally looking forward to most during this year’s event? (CH): Hard to pinpoint just one thing. But I am looking forward to seeing all the pics from SAP TechEd Hands-On Lab. And I’m looking forward to see how our community had grown from last year, hopefully we’ll have several newcomers attending SAP TechEd sessions and we’ll see an increase in our SAP TechEd Group 😊
(KK): What happens after TechEd, will everything end on 16th November, or will discussions continue after the event? (CH): Discussions continue year-round. For those of you who haven’t join this group. Start a discussion or ask a question. Write a blog post about how you experienced TechEd this year. And look out for our other offerings, like SAP Community Calls, Code Jams – TechEd is once a year, but that does not mean that the engagement opportunities stop there!