The tenth annual conference of the German-speaking SAP User Group (DSAG) has kicked off with the tagline “Ways to the Future” after being officially opened by DSAG Chairman Prof. Karl Liebstückel. At the tenth anniversary event – held for the third time in the German city of Bremen – DSAG has broken a number of its own records. For example, 121 exhibitors (10 more than 2008) are presenting their products and services on 10,000 m2 at the Bremen Exhibition & Conference Center. Between September 29 and October 1, more than 3,000 participants have the opportunity to attend 155 workshops and 42 partner presentations – some 50% more than last year.
CIOs given more clout
DSAG’s new organizational structure gives CIOs greater powers. A CIO committee comprising seven members of the CIO community will have a direct line to the DSAG Board of Directors.
DSAG’s recipe for success
According to Liebstückel, DSAG’s popularity with SAP users is down to four factors. First of all, there’s the important work that gets done in the special interest groups, which have a definite influence on product development at SAP. Next, DSAG has maximized its presence at SAP thanks to new structures – seven directors for the individual DSAG areas (Technology, Business Suite, Industries, Service & Support, SME, Austria, and Switzerland) – and consistent communication (“one voice”) for key questions and contentious issues such as support or reliable road maps for SAP software.
What’s more, strategic alliances with German industry and international SAP customers in SUGEN (SAP User Group Executive Network) help strengthen the position of German-speaking SAP users.
Achievements and looking ahead to 2010
According to the heads of the special interest groups, there were many reasons to celebrate in 2009. In the area of SAP Enterprise Support services in particular, DSAG represented SAP users effectively. One achievement was the assurance that the costs for SAP Standard Support will increase more slowly than SAP originally planned. Furthermore, SAP promised DSAG that a customer’s SAP Standard Support will never cost more than SAP Enterprise Support.
Next year, too, DSAG will continue to represent SAP customers in all important matters. According to Liebstückel, SAP must become more transparent and must deliver investment protection, for example, through accessible road maps. It’s not acceptable, says Waldemar Metz, director of the Business Suite group, for an update that has been announced to be delayed for months: “Postponing an ERP project for six months really hurts.”
At the end of the day, however, Liebstückel sees SAP as a good dialog partner that is open to constructive debate, despite any differences of opinion. DSAG is looking forward to continuing cooperation in 2010.