Collaborate for success

Would you like to collaborate more with your SAP peers? Would your organisation benefit from more ‘real-life’ expertise? Do you want your voice heard by SAP? If the answer is yes, you should consider joining the SAP UK & Ireland User Group, the independent voice that represents the SAP user community.
    
The SAP UK & Ireland User Group is now in its 21st year and is continuing to grow. The expertise and knowledge that you can gain from membership of the User Group goes beyond the technology and the products, as you can gain insights into the business processes that SAP supports.

Expert insight
Whether it comes from one of the SAP experts who regularly attend our events, from fellow members or through our online forum, the User Group has an unrivalled level of expertise in implementing SAP projects at public and private sector organisations. Membership gives you access to other organisations that have faced similar difficulties providing pragmatic advice and workarounds that come from real-world experience in disciplines such as payroll and HR.
    
In recent research from Vanson Bourne, 82 per cent of UK organisations stated that they would like to collaborate with peers more openly in order to discuss and overcome their IT challenges. “A lot of organisations are facing the same business and IT challenges. Many are now finding value in being able to collaborate with each other in a user group environment,” says Alan Bowling, chairman SAP UK & Ireland User Group.
    
The same research also highlighted that a lack of time and resources for training was a major source of frustration. Against this backdrop over three-quarters of organisations felt that sending staff to user events was a beneficial exercise.
    
“Staff training is an ongoing concern for a lot of organisations. Many don’t have enough internal resources to deliver on-the-job training, whilst enrolling staff on formal training courses can be expensive. Being able to network and collaborate at user group events can be the most cost-effective form of training organisations can get. Through practical training and learning from peers, IT staff can develop new skills and best practice, which can be of great benefit to their employers,” added Alan Bowling.
    
“Join the User Group – it’s the first thing I advise any new users,” says Lynn Farrell from Southwark Borough Council. “Personally, I couldn’t work without the Payroll Special Interest Group, whether communicating in meetings or on the website discussion forum, as it enables me to share help and advice with fellow users.”

Getting your voice heard
The SAP UK & Ireland User Group raise issues directly with SAP senior management in the UK and through its membership of SUGEN (SAP User Group Executive Network) it can raise member concerns at a global level.
    
85 per cent of UK organisations said that they would like greater access to senior management and product development staff in order to influence them or raise concerns. “It is here where strong user groups can play an important role as they can provide organisations with a channel to influence IT vendors at a high level,” said Alan Bowling. “We have been successful working with SAP to extend the life of some of its older products, making the eventual transition to newer products much smoother for users.”

SAP UK & Ireland User Conference 2009
Following the great success of last year’s User Conference, the SAP UK & Ireland User Group will be holding this year’s event at Manchester Central (GMEX/MICC), 23-24 November. The two-day conference and exhibition brings together hundreds of SAP professionals and business users from both the public and private sector and is the event for SAP users in the UK and Ireland.
    
The 2009 user conference will feature the most comprehensive programme of any SAP event this year in the UK, comprising over 70 speakers and workshops aimed at helping users share their experiences and best practice. Keynote speakers for this year’s event include Jose Duarte, SAP’s president and CEO of EMEA, leading industry analyst Ray Wang, and former Olympic and World Championship athlete Kriss Akabusi.
    
SAP will be fully supporting the event and will be involved in the conference’s new Senior Executive Forum, a one-day discussion forum for top executives to discuss the latest business IT issues. In addition, SAP staff will be on hand to provide users with the latest news and product information throughout the event.
    
“The annual User Conference continues to be a great forum for users to learn from each other and work together. In the current economic climate this is more important than ever as users seek to maximise the ROI from their SAP software,” concluded Alan Bowling.

For more information
To find out more information on how to become a member of the SAP UK & Ireland User Group, please visit www.sapusers.org or call 0870 770 6664. For further details on the 2009 Annual Conference, please visit www.sapusers.org/conference2009

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