On Tuesday in Las Vegas, the curtain will once again go up on the annual SAP TechEd conference, the first of the global gatherings aimed at gearheads of the SAP community -- developers, programmers and others deep in the weeds of the technical side of the SAP ecosystem, and hoping to hear more about newer products, including SAP HANA and SAP Fiori.
The five-day conference includes more than 1,000 hours of instruction and information across a range of areas, including in-memory, mobile and cloud technologies, according to SAP.
Mark Musser, a business systems analyst with the county of Sacramento, Calif., said he and a small group of colleagues would be heading to Las Vegas to learn more about SAP's mobile applications.
"Our CIO's really hot on mobile right now," Musser said.
With more than 10,000 employees, the county wants to find ways for them to manage timesheets and approvals outside of the desktop-only versions of SAP Employee Self-Service and Manager Self-Service the vendor currently offers, Musser said.
As a part of that effort, the county is looking at SAP Fiori, a collection of 25 apps designed to be used across a range of devices, from desktops to mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets, and addressing a variety of business functions, such as workflow approvals and self-service tasks. The apps were designed to be simple and straightforward, according to SAP.
Musser said he'll be looking to learn more about the current Fiori batch of applications, as well as any new apps SAP might announce.
"We're interested to see what they're releasing," he said.
Searching for answers about SAP Lumira
Others, like Jamie Oswald, expect to hear a lot more about SAP HANA, including the recently announced HANA Enterprise Cloud.
"It's going to be HANA, HANA, HANA," said Oswald, a business intelligence and SAP BusinessObjects expert for Mercy, a national healthcare network of 32 hospitals and 300 outpatient facilities, based in Chesterfield, Mo.
Oswald said his primary reason for attending is to hear more about SAP's analytics portfolio, including SAP Lumira. Formerly called SAP Visual Intelligence, Lumira is SAP's self-service, data visualization application for business users.
Oswald said his employer is in the process of deploying Lumira and he has questions about how to share the visualizations without jeopardizing the quality of the data.
"How will I be able to leverage what people are making? If I'm supposed to have a network of truth, and Lumira lets me do that, how do I easily share that information within my enterprise and reuse it and not let people get wrong answers?" Oswald asked.
Oracle vs. SAP
"I think SAP will feel the need to have a fairly aggressive response to Oracle's sort of 'flip-the-switch, in-memory thing,' which felt a little bit like upping the ante in the in-memory database wars," said Jon Reed, an independent analyst and head of JonERP.com.
SAP will use the stage in Vegas to further articulate what it has in mind for the current and future state of the HANA platform.
"They may not mention Oracle by name a whole lot. But they'll make it clear they think they've gone well beyond what Oracle has to offer," Reed said.