Foreword & Board exchanges with Christian Klein and Juergen Mueller

by Gianmaria Perancin, Chairman SUGEN CLT, Chairman Utilisateurs SAP Francophones (USF)

When we think at this SUGEN F2F that had to be run, once again in virtual mode, due to all the travel restrictions in place because of the pandemic, we cannot feel a certain frustration in missing the quintessence of our network: to meet in person, so to establish relationships and share knowledge and experience.

We could argue that in return, we do not have to make long overseas travels, we can be more efficient in our everyday work as we do not leave our offices for quite a week in average, that we do not have to unstack a lot of messages waiting in our mailbox, that we can also benefit from being more at home with families.

For sure, these are positive points to be taken into account. Yet, if we want SUGEN to be more and more successful, we need to find ourselves, sooner or later, around the same table, and discuss, eyes in the eyes, about SAP topics that make all our everyday professional life.

While waiting for the “new” normality to be found, our activities are in any case progressing, fostering on the value we could deliver as SUGEN to all the User Groups that are members of our network.
This is for example the foundation of the SUGEN – SAP Executive Exchanges we had with Christian Klein on one side, and Juergen Mueller on the other.

Obviously, Christian focused on #RISEwithSAP very good results: the market appreciates this new offer, that clarify and it simplifies customers’ life: there is only one contracting part, SAP, that is also responsible for the SLA.

We know from Christian that SAP will also follow much more the customers by taking deeper into consideration their actual IT landscapes and help the customers in transforming it. This transformation is obviously totally oriented to cloud adoption, in order to be faster in the implementation phase, but cloud means also lower TCO and somehow less maintenance costs at the end.

#RISEwithSAP means also a better thoughtful collaboration between technical IT architects and sales representatives and is presented by SAP as a way to bring customers’ digital transformation to a real success.

Furthermore Christian also focused on the recent new appointments to SAP Managing Board : Scott Russell and Julia White have joined the Board, respectively to stress a lot on Customer Success (and Empathy to Customer), and to complete the marketing approach for products, solutions and roadmaps. For Christian, the picture is now complete and is intended to be stable for a long while.

Finally, Christian expressed SAP strong engagements to fully comply with growing sustainability expectations, not only for SAP itself as a company, but as well in providing its customers the right tools to reduce carbon footprints in all business activities.

This major topic was also raised by Juergen Mueller, who has given much more details about SAP’s commitment fo sustainability: SAP clearly aims at being “carbon-neutral” for all their operations by 2023.

This goal will be driven through Business Transformation Platform, by a specific platform about sustainability, used by SAP and proposed to the customers.

Obviously, BTP is also Data Management, Integration and Low Code – No Code extensions to the Standard brought by S/4HANA. BTP then is clearly a platform that completes the technology offered by SAP to the customers.

BTP means also an important ecosystem made up of all the partners that are developing tools with SAP.

As to stress the importance of BTP, Juergen wishes to intensify dialogue between SAP and the User Groups, in order to improve the BTP program and sustain it.

After these Executive Exchanges, we had also a quick insight about Next Generation Cloud Delivery, with Tom Janoshalmi and Jeiko Mauersberg: they stressed the importance for SAP to intensify on the strategy “4+1” (AWS, Google, Azure, Alibaba + SAP Converged Cloud operated by SAP Data Facilities in Sankt-Leon-Rot).
This “4+1” approach is intended to simplify SAP and customers’ infrastructures in the cloud, by aligning the different current offers around cloud capacity.

For sure, Cloud is no more an option and shipping to the market is underway…

SUGEN Best Practices: April 2021

by Craig Dale, CEO, UK & Ireland user group (UKISUG)

SUGEN Exchange – a great opportunity for User Groups to connect and learn by sharing information and get insights on the SAP strategy.

The SUGEN members were treated with a personalized Teambook, where all user group members were asked to share some personal information about themselves, enriching the feeling of togetherness and giving a new perspective of ‘being together’ but being so far apart.
Best practice sessions were held on Tuesday, 13 April 2021.

The SUGEN virtual meeting was a SUGEN internal line-up of interesting topics discussing User Group experiences regarding Hybrid Events, Monetizing Online Events, and Education/Training Offerings for Members.


Hybrid Events

Ken Osaka, from Japan SAP User Group (JSUG), presented the JSUG Hybrid event hosted in Japan from the 4th of December to 29 January 2021. The JSGU conference is the biggest annual event hosted in Japan with 1700 participants. They adopted new virtual technology to accommodate the Covid-19 situation. Their session was kicked off with live-streaming of keynotes – featuring customers and theme: “Yes we can! Bottom up and Cross Functional Leadership” broadcasted via the digital platform. The virtual platform provided a variety of session and exhibition booths showcasing advanced digital technologies and best practices including digital transformation cloud migration and resource deficiency.

The event was successfully concluded after being open for a two-month period with a total of 1178 participants attending and 6000 views of the 51 sessions provided.

After the showcase, the user groups discussed the event outcomes and the technical set-up, with JSUG sharing their experience of the virtual event and format. During the question session, a challenge around sharing business cards at virtual events was raised. A business card mobile app idea will be shared by Tracey from – once they have final clarity on the offering.

Monetizing Online Events

Eva-Maria Fahrer from SBN Norge showcased the SBN2020 SAP User Conference, hosted as a Virtual Event from the 20-22nd and 27-29th of October 2020. At the start of 2020, upon planning the event, many discussions were held with core leadership teams, Special Interest Groups, and Sponsorship Partners. It was clear that budgets were re-allocated during this time as companies moved to host virtual events and budgets were shrinking fast. The fact that people were not allowed to travel and attend face-to-face events confirmed that virtual events are a necessity. The SBN 2020 SAP User Group Conference was arranged with options of an online agenda, customer cases, expert sessions with keynotes, which were available on the platform at a monetized value with sponsors confirming their participation. Delegates and sponsors were charged a fee for participating, with a credit card registration or a code received for registration, making it an easy process to pay for registration. The positive attitude towards business support during the pandemic assisted in the registration for this conference. The outcome for the event was that delegates were learning more than networking.

Education/Training Offerings for Members

SAP Technical Academy was presented by Asa Jonsson from SAPSA and Eva-Maria from SBN Norge. The SAP Technical Academy is set up internally to SAP and run internally and with Partners. The SAP Technical Academy is being attended more by partners than customers, as they have technical staff. This is an example of two different user Groups using the education and training offerings for members, which should be possible for all user groups. The value perceived by members is that User Groups offer valuable education and training benefits.

UKISUG Business One Academy was presented by Craig Dale. Craig shared the vision to develop a skills academy on SAP Business One for the UKI SAP User Group to enable SAP and partners to develop the next generation of talents.

The UKISUG Business One Academy aims to deliver skills and capabilities for the UKI SAP Business One members, customers, and partners as a service in collaboration with SAP education and academic partners.

Craig shared the challenges and demands that businesses might experience, as there is a shortage of talent with skill sets to deliver projects in SAP Business One. Yet, due to the current global situation Business One Academy has been placed on hold, however, Craig and his team are now exploring this as an online opportunity.


The best practice discussions were focused on the experience shared by JSUG, SBN, SAPSA, and UKISUG. The day was ended with a networking slot on user group member retention, attracting net new members, sustainability, and Green IT with a Free discussion slot hosted by various user group representatives.

Providing a great way to share ideas and experiences with like-minded experts and User Groups.

Executive Exchanges Day 1, April 14

by Aleksi Rustholkarhu, Executive Director, SAP Finnish User Group (FINUG)

The SUGEN meeting day on Wednesday April 14th started with a warm welcome by Yasmin Awad (Head of the SAP Global User Groups Organization) and Gianmaria Perancin (SUGEN Chairman).
The agenda topics of the day covered Business Process Intelligence (BPI), SAP Enterprise Adoption and SAP Globalization Services. Not to forget SUGEN networking of course.

Business Process Intelligence (Rouven Morato & Gero Decker)

Kicking-off the sessions, Rouven Morato (General Manager, SAP Business Process Intelligence) and Gero Decker (CEO of Signavio) provided insights into SAP’s BPI strategy and roadmap. They highlighted how SAP is planning to assist customers make sense out of their process data to continuously and real-time monitor existing processes, benchmark these data against industry standards and provide improvement recommendations for process orchestration. With newly-acquired Signavio, SAP says they stand ready to deliver an end-to-end BPI suite including Signavio’s strong modelling, simulation, collaboration and process mining capabilities.
They made clear that although Signavio also has a strong non-SAP footprint with process mining beyond the SAP landscape, Signavio is already used in a vast number of SAP products. An integration between solution manager and Signavio is available. Rouven and Gero presented a customer case and alluded to the fact that new announcements around the BPI/Signavio suite will come around SAPPHIRE.

SAP Enterprise Adoption (Eva Zauke)

During the second slot of the day, Eva Zauke (SVP and Head of SAP Enteprise Adoption) exchanged with the SUGEN members on how to make digital transformation a success. Adoption is key to realizing business value and underpins the success of any SAP investment. Eva highlighted how for her adoption is about enabling people to make a company´s digital transformation to the intelligent enterprise successful in terms of business values: resiliency, profitability and sustainability.
She gave an overview of SAP’s Enterprise Adoption strategy, also touching on topics such as quality and security and people skills. In terms of quality and security, Eva illustrated how security is the #1 concern with Cloud and how when evaluating enterprise application vendors, quality is highly important. She outlined SAP’s 2021 quality and security priorities which amongst others included a consistent UX across products, complete and correct functionality, seamless integration across LoBs, built-in security, and system performance and availability.
In terms of people skills, Eva closed her slot mentioning that only skilled people can make a company’s digital transformation a success. The user groups have also identified that companies experienced a lack of skilled staff during SAP S/4HANA implementations. Eva emphasized how SAP is committed to enabling people skills. She shared the following skill gap studies:

SAP Globalization Services (Elvira Wallis)

During the last slot of the day, Elvira Wallis (SVP and Head of SAP Globalization Services) took the virtual stage to discuss SAP’s localization and globalization strategy with the SUGEN community. Key pillars of the strategy include enabling adherence to legal mandates, building resilience, and automating.
Elvira highlighted that SAP is the #1 localized software provider, delivering a vast number of local versions in different SAP products. During the last 15 months (COVID-19), 1714 legal changes (EMEA 1061, Asia Pacific 339, Americas 314) were delivered and 4527 legal changes online announced. Despite these impressive numbers, the user groups made clear that many customers struggle with regional software localizations. The SUGEN members agreed that an international focus group on globalization/localization topics might make sense to help push urgent topics.


After the Q&A with Elvira on the topic of SAP Globalization everybody agreed on ending the SUGEN April 14th meeting without networking session as we had fallen well behind schedule due to plentiful and interesting questions.

Executive Exchanges Day 2, April 15

by Amanda Gibbs, General Manager, African SAP user group (AFSUG)

The SUGEN Virtual meeting held on the 15th of April was focused on the SAP Executive Exchanges covering SAP S/4 HANA, RISE with SAP and Integration.

Session 1

Jan Gilg, President SAP S/4 HANA, shared the S/4 HANA Strategy update, the core of the intelligent enterprise with the user groups. He shared that SAP is making key functional investments into market differentiators and shared the next steps of the SAP industry cloud and what SAP is delivering through their ecosystem. State of the art UI and AI technologies will provide an intuitive product experience to users and release work from anywhere with efficiency. Jan ended off the session explaining that RISE with SAP is a business transformation as a service offering and means “on-your terms and on-your timeline” transformation to an intelligent enterprise while everyone has a unique starting point.

Gilg shared the SAP release of October 2020, SAP S/4HANA 2020, Any Premise. The 6th release of SAP S/4HANA and last February marked the release of SAP S/4HANA Cloud 2102, the 1st quarter release for the year 2021.

An interesting fact is that approximately 900 customers signed up to SAP S/4HANA in Q4/2020, taking total adoption in 2020 to approximately 16,000 customers, up 16% year over year, of which more than 8,700 are live.

Gilg closed off the session with sharing in Q4 approx. 40% of the additional SAP S/4 HANA customers were net new and shared some world-class organisations included with the user groups.

Session 2

Brian Duffy shared his insights about RISE with SAP. Today’s environment is forcing us to change and adapt, and customers need to work more agile, more intelligently and more efficiently than ever before. This is why SAP introduced RISE with SAP, a clear and flexible pathway to move towards becoming an intelligent enterprise.

According to Duffy, customers will benefit from the simplicity of a business redesign, technical migration service, an intelligent enterprise build including SAP Business Technology Platform and hyperscale capacity. This is all bundled together in one SAP contract, reducing vendor engagement relative to SLA, operation and issue handling. World class services such as business advisory, implementation services and applications manage services will be offered separately by partners.

Duffy shared that with SAP as a trusted partner of business across industries, worldwide and enterprise software leader, working alongside customers and partners, they lead every evolutionary state of business, helping business to accelerate.

Session 3

Dr. Michael Ameling, Head of Intelligent Enterprise Program and Cross Architecture, Technology & Innovation shared information with the User Groups on the SAP Integration Strategy together with Sameer Patel, Head of Marketing, SAP Product Engineering showcasing the integration plan in the cloud and process transformations.

Three Key Messages were shared as part of SAP’s Integration Strategy:
1. Intelligent Enterprises are integrated enterprises
2. Technology integration is the foundation for end-to-end business processes.
3. End-to-end business processes deliver unmatched business value.

They shared the SAP Sales Cloud to CPQ Demo with the user groups and shared valuable information about:
1. Explore SAP’s Integration Strategy
2. Discover SAP Integration Suite
3. Learn more and enroll in the openSAP Courses about SAP’s Intelligent Suite and the SAP Integration Solution Advisory Methodology

The information sharing and questions and answers were well received by all user groups with further sessions lined up for discussions in the near future.

SAP Global User Groups Organization update

by Yasmin Awad, SVP, SAP Global User Groups Organization

Yasmin Awad gave an update on the SAP Global User Groups Organization (SAP GUGO) and her strategic priorities for the months and years to come.

She kicked-off her session highlighting how COVID-19 has accelerated change across all businesses and that the user groups are also experiencing an amplified pressure to reinvent themselves. She used the conversation to illustrate her view of the “community of the future” and how different areas might have an impact on such a future community business model. These included:

  • Events: How will events look like in the future? Will they go back to on-site, stay virtual or maybe even be hybrid? How can user groups and SAP jointly prepare for such a future?
  • Networking: As a crucial part of every user community, how can we deliver good networking opportunities even virtually?
  • Content: How to ensure your content remains relevant? How, when, and where can members access it in the future?
  • Monetization: What will be the key revenue channels for user groups in the future (partners, members, sponsoring, events, something completely different)?
  • Next-generation Membership: Who will be the next generation of your members, both from a diversity (age, gender, etc.) but also background perspective (LoBs, IT, etc.)? How can we together attract such an audience?
  • Communications / Emotions: Closely connected to networking and membership, Yasmin emphasized that she believes an emotional connection to a user group is incredibly important for retaining members. ‘Glueing’ them to you even when they change companies or struggle to pay membership. How can we achieve this?

Following a short deep-dive into her perspective on these topics, Yasmin invited for an open discussion. The SUGEN members clearly indicated that networking, events and monetization are at the core of their current priority considerations. The discussion showed the creativity with which the SUGEN members are planning to tackle future challenges.
Yasmin finished her session drawing attention to how she and her team can support the user groups to drive their strategic priorities in the upcoming months and years. She offered to follow up with workshops on the community of the future that could be conducted both individually or within the wider SUGEN community.