As we get closer to the SAP ALM Summit APJ 2020 to happen, thought it would be good to share some behind the scene candid details.

We began this year with usual internal Kick Off meetings to plan the year, at the same time we started planning for our Face-to-Face ALM Summit APJ 2020. We chose the venues and events partner, till like all of us, we were hit by Covid-19. Initially, the event was planned in the first week of July, we had no other option but to cancel the event and think for alternatives. However, as anybody else, these unprecedented times brought unimaginable challenges, we shifted to 100% work from home, started doing multitasking on its peak – household chores, business meetings and to the level were I was assisting my son for home school activities (like how to introduce in circle time 😊). The context switch was phenomenal, personally for me, however, we quickly settled in routine. As they say, routine is a big healer.

Very soon we realized that we need to think about the Summit and possible next steps. Lot of things were going in our minds; shall we really do the event this year? After few discussions with our leaders – Rajeev Gollapudi and Marc Thier, the outcome was simple however quite daunting – “Let’s do it”, we decided to do this event virtually – Online and Live. The guidance also came that we should not charge fee for the event due to current economic situation around us, it further upped the challenge. This needed us to go back to drawing board to rethink about the event. We did two sessions of design thinking workshop, discovered the unknowns and made high level plan to move forward.

Simple things which we took for granted e.g. events portal, registration, etc. suddenly became our tasks, additionally we had to choose an effective platform for Online and Live sessions. We planned to go live as quickly as possible with our event for registration. To do this, we needed the following things:

  1. Format of our event, how many days, how many hours per day, etc.
  2. A smart looking site for event promotion
  3. Online delivery platform, eventually we chose Zoom Webinar
  4. High level proposal of the agenda with topic themes

Let’s quickly look into the above items:

  1. Event format: Especially in such times where everybody is working from home with quite possible very high workload, we decide the event to spread over 5 days, with 4 hours each day, so that attendees can manage their workload and attend the event. We also gave different theme for different days, so that it’s possible to choose easily amongst the different sessions which we offer:
  • Keynote for 4 hours on day 1
  • On-premise centric day 2 & day 3
  •  Cloud- centric day 4 & day 5
  1. Event website: Thankfully, SAP already had a virtual events website template, which we quickly found out. With help of event management colleagues, we got the site URL and gradually built the same. In almost 10 days, our site was ready and up for registration.
  2. Online delivery platform: This is quite a crucial factor as it also decides on the scale of the event. Last year, when it was Face to Face event, it was attended by 275 participants, so, we thought this year it may be 400. Little did we know at that time that we will cross 700 registrations in just few days.
  3. High level agenda proposal: It was important that SAP’s Application Lifecycle Management (ALM) portfolio is introduced, and the value is well explained. The ALM portfolio has SAP Solution Manager, Focused Run and SAP Cloud ALM. The keynote day has Welcome Address, SAP Strategy Keynote, The Future of ALM, Tools and Methodology for S/4HANA Journey and Integration Monitoring for SAP Solutions. Keynote day also has sessions & panel discussions with customers & partnerson the above-mentioned topic. We also planned a short plenary on Day 2 and Day 4, more importantly, we also planned for parallel breakout sessions.
  4. Day 2 & Day 3: 4 breakout tracks running in parallel
  • Breakout track 1: Accelerating move to SAP S/4HANA
  • Breakout track 2: Efficient Hybrid Operations
  •  Breakout track 3: Continuous Improvement
  •  Breakout track 4: Scaled Operations (Service Providers)
  1. Day 3 & Day 5: 4 breakout tracks in parallel
  • Breakout track 1: Accelerating Cloud Implementation
  • Breakout track 2: Automating Cloud Operations
  • Breakout track 3: ALM for Cloud Service Providers
  • Breakout track 4: Cloud Technology for ALM

After doing above mentioned things, one important point remained how do we continuously engage with registered participants, till the event day and beyond. The solution came from Rajeev, “let’s use SAP Jam site“, were we invite the participants, and this would be a central place to access the agenda, Zoom URL, access questions, etc.We did the same.

If you wish to register for the event, please follow the link. We still have seats.

Overwhelming participation from customers, partners and SAP colleagues for attending the event is heartwarming. We are today humbled by the high number of 711 registrations. Now, the pressure builds to deliver the sessions with perfection. I am sure, under the guidance of Rajeev and immense support from my colleagues – Sharath, Umesh & Suhaib. We will do well.


Disclaimer: The views in this article are mine, it does not represent opinion of my employer or of my colleagues.