Wednesday, October 31, 2018

SAP TechEd 2018 Las Vegas my experience

Note: The blog is cross posted on my blog at SCN.
Although second TechEd of this season is over now I just want to come back to first one that was in Las Vegas. So here’s my experience…

It was September 17th Monday’s evening when I checked my emails and I saw an email with subject “SAP TechEd Invitation to Register”. I didn’t even care to open the email as I thought that it another marketing email inviting for the TechEd. I continued to read a news feed on my phone for another hour before I wanted to go to bed. After I was done with reading the news hour I checked my emails for last time and the email from Craig Cmehil popped up. This time I opened it and read it. It was really nice surprise to hear that I was selected for the TechEd. As Craig mentioned in the email I should have received an official invitation with details about how to claim my TechEd prize. I realized that he referred to the first email I received on that evening. So it turned out the first email wasn’t marketing one but invitation to the TechEd. I was lucky I opened the 2nd email otherwise I would completely miss my chance to go to the event :-)

So this is how I made it SAP TechEd 2018 in Las Vegas for first time. I was fortunate enough to be selected based on my participation in SAP TechEd 2018 Tutorial Mission contest held back in August. When I participated in the content I had an option to choose TechEd location. I didn’t really expect to be one of lucky winners so I thought to myself it has to be Las Vegas or nothing :-) and it worked out.

As a preparation for conference I read few blogs (e.g. How to Survive SAP Tech-Ed) about it. For someone like me attending for first time the best source of information is Tammy Powlas blog Getting Ready for #SAPTechEd – a @SAPCommunity Call

I arrived to Vegas on October’s 1st Monday evening. Thanks to my friend and SAP mentor Ethan Jewett I attended SAP Mentors Reception. Although a jet lag started to attack me very soon it was it was very pleasant occasion to meet and talk to other SAP mentors. 

On Tuesday I woke up very early and had enough time to register myself for conference. I used some time before registration was opened to familiarize myself with the conference’s venue. Sands Expo Convention Center it large facility and short walk way around it helped me later during the conference to easily navigate between different floor, rooms etc. Just one remark to registration process. Paying attendees were eligible to receive free hoodie. Although I wasn’t one of them as my ticket was provided by SAP to me for free I heard some comments regarding the hoodie. On Tuesday morning only large sizes were available and some people were not happy about that :-) I guess smaller sizes were given away on days before already as registration was opened since Sunday’s evening. 

The TechEd started with key note delivered by Bernd Leukert. Personally I expected some more technical person like Bj√∂rn Goerke to deliver it. Reason is that this is the technical conference thus the technical people like CTO would fit better. However, I understand that delivering 3 key notes by same person can be little too much. As for the key note an announcements were: a part of “Kubernetes as a Service” and “SAP Cloud Platform Functions” for me the biggest was “SAP Cloud Platform ABAP Environment” is now GA. The SAP CP ABAP Environment also known as project steampunk. Other than that emphasis of the key note was “intelligent enterprise”.

For rest of my TechEd stay I following tracks related to mostly Analytics (Next Gen Data Management (DAT),    Applied Intelligence (AIN),  App Landscapes and Cloud Native Architectures (CNA) and Integration Out-of-the-Box (INT) sessions. In total I attended 27 sessions. I did few exercised at google booth – part of App Space. Unfortunately had no time to do more tutorials in other vendor’s booths. Also not really had time to go through all exhibitor’s booths. I visited only few which I had an interests in their products. In next part of the blog I briefly introduce what I learned during sessions I attended.

As my TechEd package didn’t contain hands-ons I was only visiting few of them and I tried just shadow other people who were working on them. It was actually great to meet new people and engage.

AIN100 – Analytics Overview 101 – Dedicated to SAP’s analytics strategy. Got an overview on what’s are current tools within portfolio.  In this session I learned about SAP Analytics Cloud (SAC) tool. 

CNA222 - A Developer’s View of SAP Cloud Platform, ABAP Environment – one of sessions related to SAP CP ABAP Environment. Overview of use cases for ABAP in CP was provided. Along the others I think possibility to leverage ABAP skills in CP by SAP customers is the biggest benefit of ABAP Environment in the CP that I see. Learned things like: $TMP as development package is not present anymore in the CP; ABAP key words related to web/dynpro, OS, SAP GUI (basically everything which have no sense in cloud environment, see what is whitelisted in blog) are not supported; RESTful ABAP Programming (RAP) intro. Seen demos on: console app; abapGit usage, CDS view creation + ODATA service generation + FIORI Elements preview.

AIN200 – SAP Analytics Cloud and SAP BW/4HANA: Complementing SAP S/4HANA – Got an overview of SAP S/4HANA embedded analytics, apps (Content) available in this area; how it is integrated with SAP BW/4HANA and SAP Analytics Cloud (SAC). Speakers were nicely answering to pretty tricky questions like “do we still need BW if we have embedded analytics?”  J

DAT110 – Project Blueberry – A Sneak Peek – intro to new product Packaged DWH as a Service (DWaaS). It shares same code line as SAP BW/4HANA; to be a first app to run on the SAP CP ABAP Environment; components of SAP “DWaaS”; integration with integration to SAP Data Hub and SAC were discussed.

AIN105 – Overview of SAP Cloud Analytics (SAC), All Analytics on One Platform – Dedicated to analytics as BI/Planning/Predictive/App Design on one platform; Live connections that is used to access data in SAC tool. Very basic feature of the SAC that I learned is that it doesn’t move/store/replicate any data before it is displayed to user.

DAT367 – End-to-End Modeling and Operations with SAP BW/4HANA – hands-on session. In this one we did a creation a new data flow; creation of a Process Chain in the SAP BW/4HANA Administration Cockpit and finally we tried data tiering optimization in BW/4HANA system.

DAT100 – Analytics Clients for SAP BW/4HANA – learned about analytics strategy as big picture, front end tools like SAC, SAP Lumira (mostly about designer edition as for discovery edition won’t get new major feature updates starting in 2019) and SAP Analysis for Microsoft Office were discussed. Great demos were provided. For support of BEx tools in SAP BW/4HANA see SAP Note 2496706.

AIN864 – SAP Analysis for Microsoft Office: Road Map – Learned about upcoming new features of 2.7 version introduced for the tool like: EPM and Analytics plug-ins in MS Excel are now merged into one products; left outer join feature; comments feature; history panel; integration with SAC; etc.

CNA120 – ABAP Strategy – current innovation in ABAP were discussed, in particular:
1. On premise: SAP S/4HANA On Premise
2. Cloud:
2.1 SAP S/4HANA Cloud
2.2 SAP CP ABAP Environment
Other topics: implication on modifications/custom code (move to cloud extensions); must learn topics for ABAP developers like in area of UI: SAP Fiori / SAPUI5, RESTful ABAP Programming model (RAP); area of code pushdown: ABAP SQL, Core Data Services and code pushdown in SAP HANA; area of code securing/managing: ABAP Tools, Development-methodology; area of cloud: In-App extensibility, SAP Cloud Platform. There are many new things going on in ABAP. Really exciting times to be an ABAP developer!

DAT202 – Conversion Paths to SAP BW/4HANA – different possibilities on how to convert BW system to BW/4HANA based system. Few interesting facts about the BW/4HANA that caught my attention: 3k tables were removed, 5 mil of ABAP code lines removed in BW/4HANA in comparison to NetWeaver based BW system.

DAT204 – SAP BW/4HANA: An Agile Architecture for the Intelligent Data Warehouse – different architecture approaches discussed within BW/4HANA like: simplified EDW, flexible EDW, agile DWH and relational Data Lake architecture.

DAT366 – SAP BW/4HANA and SAP SQL Data Warehousing – hands-on session. Example of an integration of SAP and non-SAP data combined in SAP BW/4HANA and SAP SQL Data Warehousing solution. We created Flowgraph in Web IDE tool (DWH) and data flow in BW/4HANA. Data from both sources were accessible in SAP BW/4HANA.

CNA302 – Custom Code Adaptation for SAP S/4HANA – Options of checking custom code when converting to SAP S/4HANA were discussed. Different tools for that were presented like Custom Code Lifecycle Management (CCLM), ABAP Test Cockpit (ATC) etc.

CNA202 – How to Get to SAP S/4HANA Embedded Analytics – capabilities of S/4HANA’s embedded analytics were discussed. Many demos presented.

DAT370 – Experience with Using SAP Analytics Cloud for SAP BW/4HANA – hands-on session. We could practice working with SAC tool in scenarios leveraging local data and live data. It was great session as Ingo Hilgefort went beyond expectation and he provided very deep insight on topics like storytelling in analytics, gave a tips on books for BI people etc.

DAT101– What’s New in Native Development for SAP HANA – delta information between HANA 2 SPS02 and SPS03 were discussed from Client Interfaces, SQL, SQLScript, CDS, Development Tools and XSA perspectives.

INT303 – Using Hana Express with No SAP Experience – Example on how HANA Express edition can be installed and used even in productive manner.

DAT839 – SAP Data Hub: Road Map – SAP Data Hub 2.3 solution was discussed.

CNA210 – Entering the World of Git with ABAP – Great session showcasing power of ABAPGit in conjunction with Continuous Integration (CI) tool Jenkins. In spirit of “CTS goes Git” demo was presented where and ABAP change was done in development system in Eclipse. The change was pushed (exported) to git repository. CI part (pipeline): CI server observed the change in the repository. It created a new build and deployed it into test system. Afterwards the CI server tests the change in test system. In case the test is successful the change is promoted to production system.

CNA216 – A Technical Deep Dive into the ABAP RESTful Programming Model –Technical things about the RESTful ABAP Programming (RAP) model. Stared with business object (BO) and business service details. Demo on how the BO is modeled/implemented via business definition/implementation language. Followed by service definition and binding. Finally, the BO was exposed in SAP Fiori UI service with SAP Fiori Elements Preview called from Eclipse.

CNA415 – Test Driven Development with ABAP – better say it was about how to write testable ABAP code. Great session by Graham Robinson. I had a lot of fun while attending it. Graham showcased in his demo how he can rely on a fact that ABAP code was refactored correctly by leveraging ABAP Unit classes.

DAT203 – Best Practices for Modeling Mixed Scenarios – very helpful session providing an examples of possible mixed scenarios while combining modeling capabilities of BW/4HANA and HANA.

DAT108 – An Outlook on Data Integration Tools from SAP: When to Use What – different use cases of products like SAP Data Services, SAP Cloud Platform Integration for data services, SAP HANA smart data integration / SAP Cloud Platform Smart Data Integration, SAP Landscape Transformation Replication Server and SAP Data Hub were discussed.

DAT876 – SAP BW/4HANA: Road Map – features were discussed from Recent innovations -> Planned innovations (2019) -> Product direction (2020) -> Product vision (2021) point of view. See also here.

DAT815 – Machine Learning in SAP HANA – machine learning capabilities of HANA were discussed.

AIN102 – Application Design with SAP Analytics Cloud – probably best session in analytics area I had a chance to attend. David Stocker discussed a lot of detail on how SAC was designed. Also many background information on how SAP tried to integrate many of their BI front end tools. Can’t wait to try this tool out. Hope there will be trail version available soon!
In closing I’d to say that it was a great experience for me being at the TechEd. A part of gaining knowledge, opportunity to talk to SAP people like product managers, trying out new solutions, and so on the biggest asset of the TechEd is that you meet a lot of new people. It doesn’t matter either you stay few minutes longer after some session finished and discuss the topic further, or you join a bunch of strangers talking about topic you are interested in while waiting in hallway to enter room where another session gonna start soon, or you join people during lunch… basically wherever you go during the TechEd there you will find some new people who share with you a common interest in SAP solutions.

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