ISUG-TECH Q&A with Mike Harrold, Executive Director

With the 2014 Independent SAP Technical Users Group (ISUG-TECH) conference fast-approaching (April 14-17), Mike Harrold, executive director of the users group, talked about SAP’s planned launch of ASE (Adaptive Server Enterprise) 16 at the conference and the best ways for SAP users to get the product information they need. It has been 9 years since the last major release of the RDBMS, said Harrold, and the conference will provide the first opportunity for users to hear directly from SAP about the functionality in the new version. 

What are the biggest challenges now for ISUG-TECH members, and where will they find answers to these issues at the conference?

Harrold: The biggest challenge facing members is finding high quality education and training. In particular, technical material that helps our members avoid the pitfalls and mistakes that others have already made. We have some of the biggest names in the SAP/Sybase world at the conference, both from SAP and from the community.  Many of our speakers have years of experience with the products they are presenting sessions on, and there will be plenty of opportunities in the breakout sessions to get answers to their most pressing questions.   In addition, ISUG-TECH and SAP will be providing multiple 'meet the expert' informal sessions in the exhibit and networking area for attendees to spend some time with our speakers. 

What will ISUG-TECH deliver uniquely to SAP users that no other conference can provide?

Harrold: Since SAP's purchase of Sybase, the conference offerings have been different from those from the Sybase TechWave conferences. Generally, people have found an insufficient amount of content to justify attendance at the SAP events, and given the increase in price between SAP TechEd and Sybase TechWave, it's extremely difficult for DBAs and Developers in particular to get approval to attend the SAP events.  Our conference goes back to the deep-dive technical sessions that people want, and does so at a price that is lower than both Sybase TechWave and the SAP conferences.

Who are the keynote speakers and what will they be addressing?

Harrold: We're very happy to have Irfan Khan, Richard Pledereder and Peter Thawley joining ISUG-TECH on stage for the keynote.  Both the ISUG-TECH and SAP speakers will be focusing on the importance of the technical community as the engine that keeps all of these technologies running in enterprises, both big and small, around the world. 

What is being done at the conference to provide information about the upcoming ASE 16 release?

Harrold: Obviously, we're very happy to have SAP launching SAP ASE 16 at our conference, and I believe it shows great understanding by SAP of the role ISUG-TECH plays in the SAP Sybase community.  It's amazing to think that it has been 9 years since the last major release, and we've seen so many new features and pieces of new functionality added to the product in this time frame, especially in 15.5 and 15.7. We will, of course, have several sessions at the conference covering those.  This is the first dot-zero release in a very long time, and the beginning of another chapter in SAP ASE's long history – and attendees at our event will be first to see this up close and in person. 

To register for the 2014 ISUG-TECH conference, in Atlanta, April 14-17, go here.