SAPPHIRE NOW 2018 Recap

Sydney Holmquist

34,000 steps taken, 22,000 attendees and 1 million square feet of show room floor. Speakers like Barack Obama, Lindsey Vonn, Hasso Plattner, Jon Bon Jovi and Bill McDermott. Dozens of influencers, media and analysts and hundreds of pieces of media coverage. In a snapshot, that is SAPPHIRE NOW 2018.

SAP Orlando Conference

There’s nothing quite like walking onto the showroom floor of a leading industry event – SAPPHIRE NOW takes that feeling and magnifies it even more. Erin Nordloh, Kyle Tilsdey, Ashley Wallace Jones and I attended this year’s event on behalf of PAN to represent various lines of SAP business. From interacting with top executives, live tweeting, hosting and managing onsite meetings with press, influencers and analysts and sharing live updates for all team members back in the office, it was a whirlwind of a week with a lot of great experiences and lessons learned.

Day One

This was perhaps the busiest day and the energy was almost tangible from the moment you entered the convention center. Bright lights, sales teams huddled with their executives, demos and a buzz of what’s to come was hitting from every direction.

The keynote went great as Bill McDermott was quite compelling on stage and did an amazing job exciting the crowd while delivering a strong message around SAP and its future as an industry leader. As soon as the keynote ended, hordes of people flooded to the showroom floor and made their way to various sessions and roundtables. In the M&A center, meetings were held at every table and reporters worked to file stories in between conversations with top executives. All in all – day one was a tremendous success.

SAP Conference Day Two

The enthusiasm came through just as strong as day one. Coverage for new product offerings continued to roll in and everyone seemed eager to continue soaking in everything they could.

On the PR side, while things were still busy, the second day afforded the opportunity to interact more with the onsite reporters and join a few more sessions for learning and training. There is no better way to get a deep dive and build a relationship than to be there learning from the very people that you reach out to and reference every day. Day two was a PR dream and an enjoyable time for all.

Day Three

The last day of the conference was a bit slower paced. Everyone filed in – coffee in hand – and watched the final keynote presentation. Customers like Costco and Adidas spoke and the final portion featured Jon Bon Jovi (say what?!). As the keynote came to a close, attendees made their way to final sessions and product demos before grabbing some lunch and noting where they wanted to spend the rest of the afternoon. This day was the perfect setting to take a final showroom lap and check out anything that you hadn’t yet seen… and to get ready to watch Justin Timberlake perform that evening!

Overall here are a few quick takeaways I had from SAPPHIRE NOW, which has become one of my favorite events to ever attend:

  • Pack band aids and a jacket – your feet WILL get blisters, no matter how comfortable your shoes are and there is no telling how cold the venue will be.
  • Charge your laptop whenever you get the chance – you never know how long you might end up away from an outlet and a dead computer is NO FUN!
  • Take the time to chat with as many team leads, executives and reporters as you can – face time is INVALUABLE. Really use this time to get to know people, listen to them, and ask questions to help foster that relationship. SAPPHIRE NOW allowed me to interact with some wonderful individuals and was an awesome networking opportunity with people I emailed frequently and may not have met otherwise.
  • Rely on your team both onsite and offsite – our crew onsite at SAPPHIRE NOW had such a good groove throughout the show. Don’t be afraid to ask for help with tasks onsite and offer a hand to help everything run smoothly. Plus make sure you are always communicating with your team that’s in the office. Relay feedback from the client, real-time requests and consistent support and encouragement because that hard work in the office is showcased in full display at events.
  • HAVE FUN – Take it all in, work hard and ensure you are supporting your client to the best of your ability. Be sure to also take time to explore the showroom, attend interesting sessions, and experience the event that you’ve worked so hard for

Until next year SAPPHIRE NOW!

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