Community and Collaboration at SAP Inside Track Manchester

27 September 2016

DJ Adams

DJ Adams

Principal Consultant & Mobile, UX and Development Centre of Excellence Lead

Earlier this month, around 40 folks gathered for a two day event in Manchester's Northern Quarter for SAP Inside Track Manchester 2016. Read on to find out more about this event and others like it, and how the days played out.

SAP Inside Tracks are community-organised events for like minded people to come together to share knowledge on SAP related subjects. These subjects are commonly of a technical nature, but the range is far and wide overall. Beyond knowledge sharing, the events are a great opportunity to network and build local communities. Think "unconference" rather than "conference" and you won't go far wrong!

The event

The events have been taking place across the globe for a number of years; take a look at the dedicated SAP Inside Track space on the SAP Community Network for more information. This is the fourth time we've run the event in the north of England ... in 2013 we held it in Manchester, in 2014 and 2015 we were graciously hosted by the folks at Sheffield Hallam University, and this year we returned to our roots, running SAP Inside Track Manchester, or "sitMAN",  in the birthplace of the industrial revolution and the true home of computing! This time around the excellent Manchester Digital Laboratory - "MadLab" to most people - was our host, not only for the two days of sessions but also for the evening event at the end of the first day.

The sessions

In the run up to the event, attendees submit session proposals, which are then organised into one ormore streams shortly before the start. Our event had a good mix of content on Day 1, covering the HANA Cloud Platform (HCP), the Internet of Things (IoT), User Experience, SAP S/4HANA, BI, Security, UI5 and more.

Sourced from the community - the attendees themselves - the session topics are based upon whatever someone wants to talk about. This brings a really interesting dynamic to the event. For example, beyond the technical topics already mentioned, we also discussed ways to tackle the mountain of email under which we all find ourselves.

Day 2 is normally given over to an all day hands-on workshop. This time, we ran it on building custom tiles on the Fiori launchpad. Sounds familiar? Of course - it was related to what we presented in our Bluefin webinar event The SAP Fiori Launchpad as a Human-Centric Dashboard from earlier this year.

The evening event

As has now become tradition at sitMAN, we finished off Day 1 in style, with an organised beer tasting seminar run by The Beermoth, a most excellent purveyor of fine beers just round the corner from MadLab. Thence we naturally furthered our exploration of all things beer in nearby classic pubs, from Port Street Beer House, through the Marble Arch, Smithfield Tavern and beyond. Building and sharing SAP tech knowledge is thirsty work, you know!

The sponsors

Most SAP Inside Track events are free to attend, or there's a nominal fee. Our sitMAN event was free. But the venue hire and beer seminar wasn't, so it's only right to thank the sponsors of the event, without whom it couldn't have happened. Our very own Bluefin Solutions, ITelligence, Resulting IT and Zoedale Ltd - please stand up and be counted, and accept our thanks again for helping make this happen. Of course, the event doesn't just happen of its own accord; there's a core set of folks behind the scenes who do a lot of the organising, so many thanks are due there also!

Wrapping up

SAP Inside Tracks are essentially grass roots events, and this one was no exception. No pomp, circumstance or ceremony, just plain old community spirit and down to earth practicality, and above all, a willingness to participate and share knowledge and stories. So the final thanks should go to the attendees who not only turned up, but took part and made the two days a great success. Until next year, happy hacking! 

 

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About the author

DJ Adams

Principal Consultant & Mobile, UX and Development Centre of Excellence Lead

DJ Adams is a developer, author, speaker & teacher living in Manchester, working as a Principal Consultant here at Bluefin. He also heads up our Mobile, UX and Development Centre of Excellence in the UK.

He has a degree in Latin & Greek (Classics) from the University of London, and despite having been referred to as an alpha geek, can nevertheless tie his own shoelaces and drink beer without spilling it.

He has written two books for O’Reilly (Programming Jabber and Google Pocket Guide), co-written and edited a book on UI5 and is a co-author of the SAP Press book Practical Workflow for SAP (3rd Ed.). His latest book, also for SAP Press, is SAP Fiori and SAPUI5: Debugging the User Interface.

He writes posts on his own weblog, on Language Ramblings, on the SAP Community Network and here on Bluefin's website. He's been hacking on SAP software since 1987.

He is an SAP Mentor, a member of the SAP Mentor Advisory Board, and a member of the SAP Developer Advisory Board. He created one of the first SAP developer communities back in 1995, and co-created the SAP Developer Network (now known as the SAP Community Network) back in 2003.

He's been involved in teaching kids to code, ran a Code Club at his local primary school, ran a centre in Manchester for Young Rewired State, and has been a volunteer at Manchester CoderDojo.

He is married to his theoretical childhood sweetheart Michelle, and has a son, Joseph, of whom he is very proud.

Bluefin and SAP S/4HANA - welcome to the one horse race