SAP TechEd Las Vegas 2016 – Up close and personal

22 September 2016

Elliott Bajema

Elliott Bajema

Senior HANA Consultant

You know the score: SAP TechEd is a conference which showcases SAP’s new innovations from a technical perspective, whilst providing thousands of hours of content.  Wish you were here?  For those of us not lucky enough to be in Las Vegas right now here is Bluefin’s Elliott Bajema, Senior HANA Consultant, sharing his thoughts and experiences from the city that never sleeps…

Barely a moment has passed since stepping off the plane and we’re already hit with the slot machines and neon lights. This place certainly makes a statement. The famous home of gambling is perhaps an appropriate location for SAP TechEd – after all, people come here to find out how SAP will be playing their cards for the year to come.  Although on reflection I think a little more thought has gone into how the deck is stacked than simply shuffling it!

The whole event is taking place in the Venetian/Palazzo – an enormous complex which engulfs restaurants, bars, a casino, two hotels and a Disney-sized replica of Venice…. just because.

We make our way past the gaming floor and turn down an expansive hall, flanked by larger-than-life pictures of this year’s Developer Heroes. We spot Bluefin’s own Sean Campbell amongst them, so we definitely know we’re on the right path.

We register at the event desk and get our conference passes: not to be lost on pain of death. 

Next stop is the wall of swag – ribbons to stick to your pass with phrases ranging from the simply cheesy to the downright fondue. It’s all part of the fun. 

However fun is not the name of the game, well not entirely.  We are on a mission.  First we need to prepare for Tuesday’s Customer Keynote. I head into the Ballroom. It’s about the size of an aircraft hanger; suitable to comfortably accommodate the thousands of delegates. Right now though, its size is only emphasised by the absence of any people save for the three customers with stories to tell.

Irfan Khan, CTO of SAP Global Customer Operations, along with one of our clients get up on stage and run through their dialogue for the first time in person.  Everyone is feeling comfortable and ready for tomorrow. So far so good.

Next stop is the main area, where SAP and partners will be setting up displays.  The showroom floor is vast. We make our way in, dodging a fleet of forklifts scuttling noisily about. Hardhats are hustling to put together the various stalls, booths and kiosks.  There’s clearly a lot for them to get through, turning this bomb site into a razzle-dazzle showcase, and we genuinely wonder whether they’re going to be ready in time to open tomorrow.

Reaching the Lenovo booth and meeting our partners there, we set up our Internet of Things (IoT) demo. It’s pretty neat: we have modified Raspberry Pis playing the role of pump sensors streaming data into HANA with an XS Web App and a nifty Fiori screen on top for visuals. The system is processing the data in realtime and highlighting which of our ‘pumps’ are at risk of failure and should be scheduled for preventive maintenance. Simple but effective.

Now we’re ready to join the pilgrimage to the main hall and get settled in for the opening Keynote.  The SAP TechEd keynote is always an ambitious undertaking: trying to illustrate the future direction of SAP’s full stack. It was certainly comprehensive.

Björn Goerke, Executive VP & Corporate Officer, known to many of us as the ultimate developer hero and all round good guy, certainly knows how to make an entrance! A cloud of smoke and lasers blast onto the stage. When it clears away, a DeLorean sits gleaming in front of us. Bjorn emerges decked out in goggles, playing the role of Doc Brown, and starts by pitying us for all still being stuck in 2016 (who can blame him?).

The ‘Back to the Future’ theme is instantly understandable – we all know where this is going. He has seen the future and will spend the next two hours telling us how to get there.  We go from old Z tables, through an S/4 migration, CDS views, Metadata extensions, OData, HCP, Cloud Connector, the Web IDE (now Pluggable), and build out a Fiori App. We approach all of the Solar Panels in Las Vegas from an IoT angle. The talk culminates in some audience participation – attendees who downloaded the Accelerometer app wave them around and eventually we reach the 1.21 Jiggawatts required to send Doc back whence he came.

We leave, strategising for the forthcoming sessions with a heightened anticipation of what’s to come.  That’s a wrap on the first day at SAP TechEd Las Vegas 2016, and whilst this may be the city that never sleeps, I certainly need some.

 

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About the author

Elliott Bajema

Senior HANA Consultant

Problems, and solving them, are a passion for Elliott, especially complicated data problems.

Elliott focuses on collaborating with clients to help them get the most out of their data, within their SAP landscape. Broadly speaking, this can involve making project management easier, facilitating financial planning, improving ease of access to existing information, and performing on-demand analysis and visualisations.

Elliott has undertaken a wide range of roles from demos and pre-sales work, front-line project build, dataflow design and modelling, through to training users and support teams for handover.  Having started out specialising in SAP BW, before  working with SAP BPC in the Oil and Gas industry his primary focus is now SAP HANA.  Producing cutting-edge results for clients on next-generation platforms.