Rene Pajta is a Custom Solutions Consultant at Datavard and this year for the first time he went to SAP TechEd in Las Vegas. Now he shares what it was like to host a product demo, run through a shopping mall, and how not to get broke in casinos.
How did you get to know that you are going to Las Vegas to support Datavard team on SAP TechEd?
That’s a good question. I was supposed to go there already last year, but my colleague went there instead. And this year simply my boss came over and told me that we were going to SAP TechEd and I was like, ok. I didn’t put much thought to it, I was more focused on preparing the product demo that we were to present there and making sure everything works fine. Even when I was already in the US (I landed in Philadelphia first) I told my boss that it didn’t seem to me like we were going to Vegas.
And your first impression of Vegas?
Casinos. Slot machines. Airport. Hotel. And I kept thinking of that demo we were supposed to present on Wednesday! So until Wednesday, my head was buzzing with things I still had to prepare and I didn’t quite acknowledge the stuff that was going on around me.
So tell me about that game-changing Wednesday.
We woke up really early because we were participating in the 5K Fun Run – and I must admit, this was first time I was running through a shopping mall. But what really cracked me up was when we got to the escalator to cross the street and had to wait in a line! Overall, it was a good run just the morning hours were kind of tricky. Then we grabbed some breakfast and the demo time came. We got there a bit early to set everything up – we wanted to avoid what is typical for IT events, that all hardware just refuses to cooperate. I double checked the projector, the laptop and the back-up laptop, we did a dry-run… And in the end everything went smoothly! We got excellent feedback on it.
And what solution did you demonstrate?
Datavard Glue. It’s a middleware for integrating SAP with Hadoop. It enables moving data from SAP to Hadoop and enriching it in Hadoop, as well as the other way round. The thing is that SAP is famous for using cryptic German abbreviations in naming of their fields or tables, so a regular data scientist without SAP background would have troubles with making sense out of it. Datavard Glue translates those structures into understandable data sets that are clear for everyone. It comes with a business process library which adds a semantic layer to it and groups data under specific categories, such us “vendor” or “customer”. So you no longer have to play a detective and investigate which table includes what – selecting and moving the right data from SAP to Hadoop is much easier this way. During the demo we showed how this “translation” process looks like and what is the end result. Then we showed how Datavard Glue can be a part of the bigger picture by, for example, engaging behavioral analysis. We used Datavard Glue to replicate data from SAP to Hadoop, where we then built a simple application to look for data anomalies or suspicious activities. The last thing that we presented was combining SAP data with other data, such us traffic or weather conditions that can be later used for comprehensive reporting.
And overall, what are your impressions from the SAP TechEd show floor?
I attended a lot of interesting sessions, trying to get the most out of them also for our business. It was also super interesting to be at our booth and talk to customers, learning about their needs and how our portfolio can help them. This made me realize that I still have an area for improvement here, that I need to study our products and solutions a bit more to know how to best assist our customers, know our strengths and our limits. We also had this jump and run game there, the Vardi World – we had an internal competition going on and I scored the highest 😊 It was a cool thing to have at the booth, but maybe next time I’d promote it more. But overall, it was a great experience.
Was there anything that surprised you?
The keynote – Bjorn Goerke SAP CTO and President of SAP Cloud Platform, first came in the car from Back to the Future scene, and later the whole keynote started in the Star Trek theme, with demos presented by members of the Star Trek crew. The demos themselves were surprising, but let’s stay down to earth and do some more research on them on our own. Other than that, I was amazed how the hotel was designed – that you didn’t have the need to go outside. We were indoors for 14 hours and it all looked a bit like Venice. There was a canal with gondolas, artificial sky, and I had the feeling that I was actually outside while in fact there was no natural daylight at all.
How much did you lose in casinos?
How much did you win then?
Nothing, I don’t try my luck.
Would you go to SAP TechEd again next year?