Top Tips for Conference Preparation

This article was written by Jim Davis, the North American Lead for SAP Automotive Industry Business Unit.


With still a few weeks to go, you may think the Best Practices for Automotive conference seems like a long way away. But, as most things go in life, getting the most out of an upcoming event is all about good preparation and having a plan. I’ll actually go out on a limb here and say that arriving at the event without a little preparation is somewhat like jumping out of an airplane and trying to knit your parachute on the way down!


So, to help you get the most out of your upcoming #BP4Auto experience, I’ve exhaustively interviewed thousands of seasoned veterans (okay, maybe just a handful) to give you the benefit of how they maximize the value of their annual trek to the event.


1.  If you haven’t already done so, REGISTER NOW! Not only will you gain access to some of the tools I mention later on in this article, but getting your name on the registration list puts you on the radar of your SAP account team (which will also help in later steps). Make sure you keep your registration and login information handy.


2.  Create a list… of the things you want to learn or accomplish at the event. Take twenty minutes to write out the top things you need to learn more about while at the event. Be specific too! Don’t just write down “S/4 HANA” if your objective is really to learn about moving from ECC 6 to S/4 1709, or specific roadmap items slated for the 2018 release.


3.  Prioritize that list. There are so many choices over only 2 ½  days, so be certain you focus on the most important items on your list first.  Save the last 4 or 5 items on the list for after you set your agenda according to your most important priorities.


4.  Leverage the online agenda. You can do this through the event website.  Using your prioritized list, find the presentations related to your priority items, and add them to your agenda.


5.  Engage with your SAP account team… and share your prioritized list.  Ask them to set up meetings with people from the Industry Business Unit, Industry Value Advisors, Development, and most importantly, other customers that can help you accomplish your goals. One of the great things about #BP4Auto is that the “movers and shakers” who have the most knowledge regarding your learning needs will be onsite and want to talk with you!


6.  Hit the partner exhibits – virtually. Once your top priorities are covered with sessions and meetings, take a look at the partners who will be in attendance.  Identify those partners and solution providers that relate to your priority areas. If you don’t know, work with your AE and they can leverage their SAP network to find out who you need to talk to. Put a placeholder on your calendar to go make a visit to their booth.  It also helps to reach out prior to the event and let them know you intend to stop by at a certain time.  You will have a better chance of talking with the right person from that organization if you give them a heads up.


7.  Lather, Rinse, Repeat. Congratulations! You should now have about 50% to 70% of your time accounted for at the event! Don’t stop now. Go back to your list, and hit steps 4 through 6 for your lower priority items. Fill in any gaps you have in the schedule with sessions, meetings, and show floor visits that can fit in.


8.  Download the mobile app.  Go to your mobile app store, and search for “Best Practices”. The mobile app update hasn’t yet been posted as I’m writing this, but 2 weeks before you head to the event, download the app and sign-in using your registration information. You can then finalize your agenda right in the mobile app so you can have it handy while on-site! You can also use the networking feature to make contacts with other attendees.


So, what are you waiting for?  Go build that value-packed agenda for yourself like a true pro!

See you at Best Practices for Automotive!

Jim Davis
North American Lead
SAP Automotive Industry Business Unit
SAP America
M: +1 (740) 586-3216


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Phone: +1-313-568-8000


Detroit Marriott at the Renaissance Center
Renaissance Center, 400 Renaissance Drive Detroit, MI 48243
Phone: +1-313-568-8000