DSAG: A strong Network

Feature Article | August 25, 2008 by admin

Focus on Interests! Foto: DSAG

DSAG was founded as an association on June 25, 1997, with the goal of combining users’ interests and representing them in dialog with SAP. Members include independent companies, institutions, and government entities that run SAP software.

DSAG’s roots go back to 1994, when the user group was less formal. Since its launch, DSAG has developed into a strong user group. It is a key arena for communication within the SAP community and enjoys a reputation as trusted adviser for SAP.

The group’s partnership with SAP AG was sealed in 2000, when an official agreement of cooperation was signed.

Together with SAP, DSAG analyzes how numerous customer requests can be integrated into new and improved products. Despite its close cooperation with the software company, DSAG is independent from SAP organizationally, financially, and in its internal governance.

Three pillars

Mario Günter, general manager of DSAG, explains the group’s goals: “We aim to provide members with direct, rapid, and comprehensive information, thereby helping them to improve their business processes. In addition to supporting exchange of experience among members, our goal is to influence SAP’s strategies and portfolio to bring about solutions that meet customers’ needs.”

As a result, DSAG is built on three pillars — networking, exchanging experience, and exercising influence. For its members, the group aims to be a continuous source of information about all aspects of SAP.

DSAG’s goals at a glance

  • Influence strategy and the software development process, and create solutions and services that meet market demands.
  • Provide a communication platform to exchange information and experience both among users and with SAP.
  • Support users with an exclusive knowledge advantage to make better-grounded decisions related to SAP.
  • Improve the efficiency of the SAP implementations in member companies.
  • Facilitate training and continuing education.
  • Network with other users and SAP.
  • Offer exclusive product information via information exchange with SAP.

Then and now

Since its inception, DSAG has grown an average of 20 percent annually. In 1997, the organization had 180 member companies. Today it has more than 2,000 member companies, including most DAX-listed firms, making it the largest user group in the world measured in terms of company memberships. Individual members currently number 25,000.

In 2004, DSAG extended its reach to include SAP users from other German-speaking countries. At present, Austrian members amount to more than 110 companies and over 1,000 individuals; in Switzerland, over 1,100 members from 100 companies are involved.

Organization

Case study

Special Interest Group Business Intelligence & Corporate Performance Management

DSAG’s second-largest special interest group has over 2,000 registered members. According to spokesperson Hariolf Knecht, it works as follows: “We organize meetings three or four times annually, which 140 to 180 people attend. The agenda at these meetings includes discussion of solution-specific experience, as well as SAP presentations on new Business Intelligence (BI) technologies and functionalities. At present one of the focal points is the integration of Business Objects in the SAP product portfolio. Our work in each case is supported by an SAP counterpart from either BI product management or development. The results are tested by other special interest group members in roll-in and usability workshops.”

Members are organized into 32 special interest groups, which are further divided into individual work groups. The cornerstone of DSAG’s approach, these groups enable exchange both among members and with SAP. Continuous communication takes place in protected members-only online forums in DSAG’s website. DSAG Net functions as a knowledge market with multiple discussion areas, as well as a download center where current information, results, and studies from the various work groups are exchanged.

A global direct line to SAP that drives international networking was established in May 2007 when the SAP User Group Executive Network (SUGEN) was formed. The DSAG was one of the original members of this Network.

Strategy for the future

Since 2007, Karl Liebstückel has been chairman of DSAG’s board. Despite all the group’s achievements the DSAG still has many important topics on its agenda. “Enterprise Support, Enterprise SOA, SAP Business ByDesign and globalization all pose continuous challenges for us,” he adds. He plans to meet these challenges with greater orientation toward practice in enterprise SOA qualification, as well as more influence on SAP product development. This includes expanding the group’s strategic dialogue with SAP.

He aims to have all SAP customers in the German-speaking countries as DSAG members within 10 years. This is one of the goals of the reorganization within the next year.

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