Fellow SAP mentor, Harald Reiter and I flew into Madrid on Monday morning from Phoenix on the same flight. Uneventful flight, and I managed to read about 400 pages of Steve Jobs biography. It is an impressive book, and I recommend it readily. We were a bit surprised at how long we have to walk from the flight to passport control counter. And we got a cab to go to Hotel Silken Puerta América Madrid
A bit of an unusual hotel, I must say – looks very modern, unlike the regular Hilton and Marriott ones I get to stay during my work weeks in USA. Took me a few minutes to figure out how to make everything work – including curtains, lights and stuff. Like many European hotels – the breakfast spread was awesome. We had a nice time catching up with the ever helpful Stacey Fish and Jon Reed at breakfast.
Another cab ride brought us to the convention center where innojam was in full swing. It was a lot of fun watching people do this, especially since I was spared the stress of another 30 hours of insomnia trying to get new technologies to work myself 🙂
While contestants were busy making final touches, Jon Reed and I got into a good discussion on HANA. I showed him some use cases on HANA that my Advanced Analytics team at IBM did. Harald joined in too – and it was a fun discussion. Before coming to Madrid, I had put up my questions for SAP on HANA. https://andvijaysays.wordpress.com/2011/11/01/sapphirenow-2011-madrid-a-few-hana-questions-if-i-may/ After discussing with folks here at innojam – both SAP and non-SAP folks – my impression is that I am not the only one with these questions.
Rui Nougueira asked if I can stand in for a judge who could not make it to Madrid. It was quite an honor, and I readily agreed. My fellow judges were both senior SAP executives, and I was quite amazed with the content presented to us. It was webcasted live globally, and I believe a replay link will be provided in Teched site soon. First prize went to Carbon TNT – and that team did an amazing job with both technology and presentation.The prizes were given away by my colleague, since IBM loaned the HANA server to SAP for the event.
Post innojam – Harald and I caught up with Juergen Schmerder of SAP who is the man who runs all the systems for innojam. There isn’t a problem this man is not aware of, and he has been in SAP since 1999. Total straight shooter guy – and he gave us a lot of good information on HANA. I also spoke at length to Ruks Omar who is in the HANA marketing team. Without going into all the details – I can just say this – some of the smartest people at SAP are trying to make HANA work perfectly on technical side. Where SAP absolutely needs to shore up is on talent to relate it to business problems, and a consistent methodology for HANA implementations.
Last event of the night was a mentor gathering organized by our chief herder Mark Finnern, and deputy herder Aslann. It was great to catchup with all the mentors from Europe whom I don’t get to see often.
Dennis Howlett gave me a ride back to the hotel and I got a first hand taste of how Madrid traffic. I am glad I did not rent a car here. Tuesday is an action packed day with many nice meetings on the schedule. Looking forward to it