NetWeaver integration, best practices for SAP upgrades, and supply chain management could be hot topics at next month's combined Americas' SAP Users' Group (ASUG) and Sapphire user conferences, according to ASUG executive vice president Rod Masney.
"Everyone is always looking at how to measure and gain [return on investment], and we'll see a lot of sessions that discuss how SAP customers have moved along with their SAP investments," Masney said in a recent interview with SearchSAP.com.
He said that interest is also being focused on building and deploying composite applications in SAP environments and on SAP's entry into the hosted CRM market. SAP's Enterprise Services Architecture strategy is also weighing on people's minds.
"ESA is the strategic direction of the SAP product and it is a great example of why it's important to understand the upgrade path in the future," Masney said.
The ASUG annual conference and SAP's annual Sapphire '06 user conference will be held next month in the same location in Orlando, Fla. The ASUG conference will run May 14-18 and Sapphire '06 will run May 16-18 at the Orange County Convention Center.
"Having both events during the same week and in the same location gives our members and others an opportunity to experience both events," Masney said. "We're leveraging SAP and helping build a network around their technologies."
ASUG was created in 1991 and ranks itself as the world's largest independent, not-for-profit organization of SAP users and partner vendors. Each year, the organization has held its user conference about two weeks before Sapphire. The user group has worked to partner with SAP in recent years in order to increase the visibility of its programs and services.
"SAP is looking for perspective from customers, and as it looks more at the midmarket, the engagement model is a little different and they're trying to address the needs of the market segments that they support," Masney said. "That's the type of discussions we have."
ASUG said its membership is about 35,000, including some 2,000 SAP employees who are counted as members. The group has 37 chapters in the U.S. and Canada.
The groups hold quarterly meetings with ASUG board members and other SAP executives. ASUG also runs influence sessions and forums with SAP executives to help sway future research and development activities at SAP.