SAP end-user community converge at Melbourne for Mastering SAP Collaborate

Published: 23/May/2024

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Key Takeaways

⇨ SAP end-users, partners and other community members came together at 2024 Mastering SAP Collaborate in Melbourne

⇨ Some standout customer sessions included ones from Microsoft, New Zealand Rugby and Foodstuffs South Island

⇨ SAP executives and non-tech speakers started and ended each day with keynote speeches aimed at fostering collaboration

The Mastering SAP community came together this week in Melbourne for the 2024 Mastering SAP Collaborate conference. 

Mastering SAP brought together its Tech & Cloud, Financials, Data & Analytics, HR & Payroll, Security & Risk and Public Sector communities for two days of thought leadership, customer success stories, hands-on tech sessions, networking opportunities and more. 

Day one was jam-packed with sessions across the Crown Promenade Conference Centre, with nine concurrent sessions in 40-minute blocks throughout the day. 

Some standout sessions from day one included Microsoft’s journey to implement its SAP-based HCM systems; how beverage giant Frucor Suntory grew its business with SAP BTP; an inside look into Foodstuffs South Island’s SAP data and analytics journey; how global film studio Lionsgate handled integrating mergers and acquisitions into its SAP environment; and more. 

Microsoft Director of HR Digital Strategy & Innovation Divya Sharma shared the company’s experience implementing its new HR solution across its global business – whose operations span the whole world. He shared how staggered the implementation was given the company’s size, first testing it out in smaller locations with varying requirements before moving on to larger locations like India, and then gradually rolling out globally over a period of several years. 

Foodstuffs South Island Head of Data & Analytics Peter George meanwhile detailed the company’s experience with the relatively new SAP Datasphere and SAP Analytics Cloud offerings, giving an honest assessment of how the solutions have met Foodstuffs South Island’s data computing needs. 

Day two had more sessions on offer, including some 90-minute-long deep dives on topics like cybersecurity, AI, SAP S/4HANA, data and more. 

Some standout sessions during the day included a panel discussion on SAP RISE’s role in redefining Finance, and two end-user sessions that showcased how SAP SuccessFactors changed their overall business. 

The panel featured Dominic Vigar from TOLL Government, Indry Lestari from Indonesian coffee chain Kopi Kenangan, Keith Moore from IBM’s TruQua and Amit Verma from SAP. 

Matthew Minski of Australian energy company AusNet Services discussed how SAP SuccessFactors helped strengthen the company’s regulatory compliance while also enhancing the user experience. 

Kirsty Donbavand of New Zealand Rugby shared the organisation’s journey to become more inclusive for historically underrepresented groups like the Maori, Pasifika and LGBTQIA+ communities, and how SAP SuccessFactors played a role in increasing its workplace belonging ratings.


Putting the spotlight on the women in SAP community

Day two of the conference started out with the Women in SAP “Hidden Strengths” Breakfast, an early morning session featuring an all-woman panel. 

Standard Chartered Bank Global Head of HR Strategy and Digital Transformation Melinda McKinley, SAP Head of Artificial Intelligence Dr Kim Oosthuizen and EY Director of Consulting and Global SAP Centre of Excellence Leader Faye Van Wyk were all joined by Mastering SAP CEO Annette Slunjski to discuss the hidden strengths within organisational structures, tech stacks and staff.  

Faye van Wyk (EY), Melinda McKinley (Standard Chartered), Dr Kim Oosthuizen (SAP) and Annette Slunjski (Mastering SAP)

Also featured in the breakfast were the Mastering SAP Women in SAP scholarship recipients – ten early career women in the SAP space who were given the opportunity to attend the conference free of charge (plus accommodation) plus a 12-month Mastering SAP premium membership. 

Thought leadership on technology and collaboration 

Mastering SAP Collaborate also featured a mix of keynote speakers from both technology and non-tech backgrounds, focusing on the theme of collaboration. 

Day one was kicked off with keynote speeches from SAP Australia and New Zealand President and Managing Director Angela Colantuono, SAP tech evangelist Timo Elliott, Tricentis APAC vice president Damien Wong and Mastering SAP CEO Annette Slunjski. 

Colantuono provided a snapshot of the SAP business across the ANZ region, highlighting some recent SAP customer wins including Foodstuffs South Island, Coles, AusNet and many more. 

Elliott meanwhile detailed SAP’s ambitions with artificial intelligence, as well as how innovation doesn’t have to just come from the IT department but also from business professionals via new low-code and no-code platforms. 

SAP VP Marketing Timo Elliott

The day wrapped up with a closing keynote from Kirk Docker, the producer of the popular ABC Australia programme “You Can’t Ask That”, discussing how to foster authentic communication – essential for effective collaboration. 

Day two continued with the non-tech track with adventurer and inspirational speaker James Castrission, who shared his experiences kayaking from Australia to New Zealand and travelling unsupported in Antarctica to reach the South Pole. He discussed his learnings from those experiences and how it could translate into the business world, drawing on his business background as a management consultant.

Prakash Palani, Founder and Chief Technical Officer at BCS, also took the stage to discuss cloud orchestration in the AI era, showing how the company’s Symphony platform has helped customers with their SAP system refreshes and migrations.   

Wrapping up the entire conference was a panel discussion on collaboration powering people-centric innovation and transformation, which featured speakers from various parts of the world. 

Kirk Docker, Producer of ABC’s “You Can’t Ask That”

Timo Elliott led the panel as a moderator along with Melinda McKinley from Standard Chartered Bank, Barbara Ciancio from Frucor Suntory and independent digital transformation and business coach Frank Florian. 

The two days also included over seven hours to connect and network with like-minds over a meal or drink – building a supportive network to lean on as part of being part of the Mastering SAP community.

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