I went to a Tech Ed (note the space, we’ll get back to that) conference once in my past life as a Microsoft beat reporter. It was a HUGE confab for the Microsoft faithful – Visual Studio banners adorned the walls – held in the gargantuan cement box known as the Los Angeles Convention Center.
My feet felt sore for three straight days. I can’t even imagine what torture it was for the high-heeled women – and there were some there, surprisingly – in attendance.
With Microsoft Tech Ed feeling like a New Year’s Eve in Times Square, I was initially hoping that next week’s SAP TechEd in the Venetian Hotel in Las Vegas would feel like a smallish dinner party by comparison. I’m not optimistic.
(Side note: How did my parent company and Redmond to erect a truce over the nearly-identical names of their technical conferences (Microsoft, as noted above, puts a space between the two abbreviated words, while SAP does not)? Especially since the firms compete in enterprise software and for the hearts and minds of tens of thousands of the same developers? Especially since the conferences were reportedly started only TWO YEARS APART from each other (1993 for Microsoft’s Technical Education conference, 1995 for SAP’s). Can a nearly-imperceptible difference really be enough to prevent the lawyers from being unleashed? Am I kicking a hornet’s nest/picking a scab by mentioning this? Should I stop with the rhetorical questions already????)
SAP TechEd is expected to draw 16,000 attendees this year. Granted, that’s spread across four events: after Vegas, TechEd will hit Bangalore, Madrid and then Beijing. But Vegas remains the big draw.
Moreover, TechEd 2011 will, for the first time, include Sybase’s user and developer conference, TechWave. This will only boost the overall attendance. If you’re coming, expect to learn about everything from scalability improvements in the ASE database to the latest boosts to the pattern-recognition features of analytics server Sybase IQ, to the latest mobile commerce offerings from Sybase 365.
The theme of this year’s TechEd is gamification, or what I call “developers putting explosion sounds into spreadsheets apropos of nothing”. TOTALLY KIDDING. As someone who is both easily bored and instinctively competitive, I’m totally in favor of techniques that make work more interesting and fun.
Anyway, there is plenty to see surrounding enterprise mobility. Here’s a preview.
(Side note 2: If you’re not coming to Vegas, there are many ways to keep up to date:
- Twitter: @SAPTECHED, the hashtag #sapteched and @SyTechWave
- Press Releases: Sybase.com and SAP Newsroom
- Session Videos: Virtual SAP TechEd
If you’re an analyst or SAP Mentor or journalist, chances are that you’re invited to Tuesday afternoon’s mobility panel. I’ll be moderating a group of experts including Nick Brown, senior vice-president for strategy in SAP’s Mobile Applications Unit, Himagiri Mukkamala, senior director of engineering for Sybase on its Sybase Unwired Platform and Girish Ogirala, director of the mobility practice for Cognizant, the $5-billion-a-year IT services provider. Expect an interesting debate around apps, platforms and more.
2) SUP 2.1 news. It’s no surprise that Sybase will be unveiling improvements to the Sybase Unwired Platform (SUP) at TechEd, in particular with the SDK. The SDK is significant, as important as SUP 2.0′s debut of hybrid Web containers for easy cross-platform development at SAPPHIRE just 4 months earlier.
SUP, if you hadn’t heard, is being embraced by customers – nearly half a billion dollars worth of business in a year, as ZDNet’s Dennis Howlett revealed this week. it’s fast becoming the middleware of choice for enterprise app development.