New SAP Users’ Group in Argentina

Alejandro Gozzo Bisso, ASUG Argentina (photo: Silvio Serber, Buenos Aires, Argentinia)

Mr. Gozzo Bisso, ASUG Argentina is a relatively new community – what were the reasons for its foundation?

The idea to found the group came up six or seven years ago, but was not pursued at the time. We – a group of SAP users – finally decided to found ASUG Argentina last year. At SAPPHIRE and user group events over the past years, I realized how important such a community could be for SAP users. We have approximately 80 members actively sharing information in different commissions. And at this moment we are building a legal association, which will help us establish the funds we need to become financially independent.

What would you say is ASUG’s main mission in Argentina?

We have many missions, but probably the main one is supporting our members in dealing with all the legal requirements. Of course the standard SAP features are not sufficient in order to satisfy all the specific legal requests and tax regulations we have in Argentina. We are therefore trying to have different commissions – a human resources commission and a tax commission, for example – to communicate to SAP the different legal requirements and the challenges we are facing. The various commissions discuss all the different perspectives our members have in order to give SAP an idea what our needs are.

You mentioned the commissions you set up. Can you give further examples of how you support members? For example, do you have specialist interest groups or special workshops? Are there educational events?

We do not provide formal education or training. We do not want to compete with SAP or its partners. What we do is provide an opportunity for information exchange in workshops. We focus on success stories – for example an SAP customer, who just successfully upgraded to SAP ERP 6.0 – and sometimes we complement that with expertise from SAP or an SAP partner. The rest of the community can then talk with the person who was in charge of that success story, to help other companies to also successfully implement such a solution.

What are the main topics in terms of SAP solutions or upgrades that customers are dealing with at the moment?

One of the most important topics is the upgrade to SAP ERP 6.0. SAP has a small group of clients for SAP ERP 6.0 in Argentina; most of the others are trying to move to the next stage. We have many success stories: At Telecom Argentina, we move to SAP ERP 6.0 last month, and we are trying to share all this knowledge with the other companies that are not yet in a position to switch to SAP ERP 6.0, but want to know a good ‘recipe’ for doing so later.

What are the challenges the companies in your users’ group are facing?

In Argentina we still use paper invoices. This year we are moving to electronic invoicing, which is a big challenge for the community and for SAP. We are working intensively with SAP to ensure that we have very good functionality – the entire community is looking for a good result and a big change.

How would you describe your relationship with SAP Argentina?

The relation with SAP Argentina is very good. SAP Argentina is greatly assisting us to create new communities and to organize events, and they are helping us out financially.

What are your goals for the future of ASUG Argentina?

Within ASUG Argentina, we will try to work more closely with SAP partners, trying to improve and standardize the quality of the service. We have plans to create new commissions, for example dealing with new SAP technology. Take the SAP NetWeaver technology platform, for example. Here, we sometimes lack expertise because the product is so new. It’s not very easy to get a good consultant to help us with this, and we are trying to establish a new SAP NetWeaver commission or study group, to share our collective knowledge of SAP NetWeaver among our members.

Do you work with other users’ groups in South America? How are your contacts to them?

We have contacts to users’ groups in Brazil, and Mexico. That interaction is of course very interesting because so many of us speak the same language. I also have an idea for the future: establish a Spanish-language community, maybe even including Spain. But we may need SAP’s help to get that off the ground.

So something similar to the German-speaking SAP user group, which includes Germany, Austria, and Switzerland?

Yes, exactly. That would make life easier for the many smaller firms in South America, which are not able to work in English so well. If you have a global network that only uses English, the many smaller companies have to overcome some big barriers.