I wrapped-up my presence here in Orlando today, and drove down the coast to visit my daughter.

One of my initial impressions of this conference was a reflection on the overall attendance. I must admit that I was at first skeptical about the estimated 10,000 attendee number, since my walks through the show exhibit halls and attendance at the various keynote theatre events did not convince me that there were that many attending. How can SAP attract this amount of people to a software conference when we are still in the midst of severe recession throughout the global economy? With so many other vendor and industry conferences experiencing lower attendance, what motivated IT and business professionals to come to this conference?

Then came last night’s Don Henley concert, and my skepticism was neutered. There they were, all 10K plus, partying and enjoying a great concert. They were indeed here.

So the question for me shifts to what were the real motivations to cause this many people to justify to their senior management groups that attendance at this combined event was absolutely essential for the business. As luck would have it, while attending a pre-concert event, I ran into the Global Head of Media Relations / Television for SAP, who called my attention to an SAP TV video shot on-site. As a blogger, I do not normally reference any marketing-focused video, but in this case I am taking license. This video is well done and if you screen out the occasional praises for SAP, and rather focus on what the attendee’s state as their motivators for attending, you will find some interesting insights.

Here is the SAP Video link. It runs just over four minutes.

Technology and product marketing managers should pay close attention to these nuggets. I noted the following:

  • Cutbacks have forced our business to get more efficient
  • SAP is a large investment, and we need to protect our investment with well educated decisions
  • Growth plans have been scaled-back, but strategic roadmaps remain.
  • Nice to have projects are out, but must-have projects are in.
  • Support is very important, even in tough times
  • It’s all about cost of the IT investment

So now I believe I have an answer to my skepticism- this year’s conference attendees were actually attending education and consultation meetings. What a refreshing difference.

Share your own observations in the Comments section related to this post.

Bob Ferrari