I posted recently on my Facebook page that I was actually looking forward to attending SAPPHIRE this year. One of my Council members questioned the wisdom of that desire. SAPPHIRE is SAP’s annual bash where SAP customers come out in droves to hear what the enterprise software company is planning for the next 12 months. As a member of the highly influential Enterprise blogger troupe, the Enterprise Irregulars, I get the privilege of attending the conference as a blogger/industry influencer and receive great access to SAP execs to question them directly about SAP’s short and long-term plans.
Of course, SAPPHIRE is a world-class vendor event, filling up restaurants, taxi cabs, and hotels all around Orlando’s massive convention center (as well as much of the convention center’s real estate). Anyone with a vested interest in SAP makes the pilgrimage every year.
For me, SAPPHIRE presents a unique opportunity to re-calibrate and diffuse the hype chamber that self-perpetuates around the 2.0 phenomenon. SAPPHIRE is the 2.0 Rehab that I voluntarily commit myself to every year for one week. Only at SAPPHIRE do I get an opportunity to see the world the way my Council members do– that the 2.0/social business hoopla is enjoyed and shared by a small minority of corporate professionals. Through the eyes of SAP customers and the SAP eco-system, I gain unique insight into the tremendous task ahead which involves a host of issues, not the least of which is tying 2.0 transformation to the enterprise business processes that run the world’s most successful businesses. Every year, I see small improvements, but this rational level-setting is essential to keep perspective about where Enterprise 2.0 fits in the broader Enterprise landscape.
The good news is there are SAP executives that welcome this crusade and are making strides to bring the benefits of social collaboration to business decision-making and business process. I expect to hear a lot more “transparency” and “collaboration” themes in executive keynotes this year.
This year’s SAPPHIRE is particularly crucial for SAP, as outlined by my friend and EI compadre, Josh Greenbaum. But for me, I will quietly go about my business, taking inventory of the progress year-over-year in embracing 2.0. And even though I may leave Orlando, defeated and despondent (once again), I will be looking forward to next month’s Enterprise 2.0 conference which will re-energize my passion and commitment to this growing industry sector. Until then, I’m here to take my medicine and attend group therapy. I hope to emerge smarter, more sober, and more determined than ever.