SAP User Group to focus on GDPR and collaboration at Connect 2017

GDPR and collaboration are set to be key themes for SAP customers attending the UK and Ireland SAP User Group's Connect 2017 conference in Birmingham next week.

With more than 500 customers attending, and 200 experts on SAP software, the conference will tackle these topics, among others, with high-profile speakers and 100 breakout sessions.

"GDPR is high on members' agenda," user group chief executive Craig Dale told IT Pro. "We have virtual streaming [of] various GDPR sessions and tracks. Hopefully we can help our delegates understand the requirement and be prepared for next year."

The EU data protection law comes into force on 25 May 2018 and organisations are currently trying to ensure they will comply with the law by that date.

SMBs which form the majority of SAP's customer base face particular challenges around GDPR and the UK's data protection regulator has set up a dedicated helpline to answer their queries.

SAP's chief business development officer, Hala Zeine, is returning for a second year as a speaker at the event, following her work on drafting new licensing methods after customers raised this issue with the user group.

Dale added that collaboration will be a "key part of our members' future", saying he wants to make the user group a "real enabler" of external collaboration too, to help members share knowledge around new technology like machine learning and IoT.

"Customers need education [around these trends] but they are never going to be able to drive this in isolation," Dale said. "They can use the user group to get into contact with other members who have developed and implemented solutions they're looking at."

Paul Cooper, the new chairman of the user group,took over as UK & Ireland SAP User Group chairman in July, with a focus on helping members get to grips with GDPR and navigate Brexit, among other priorities.

Philip Adams, the user group's former chairman, has now been elected to the core leadership team of SUGEN (the SAP User Group Executive Network), of which the UK and Ireland user group is a founding member.

"SUGEN represents the goals and objectives of many users globally. It is an important platform to facilitate networking and collaboration globally, so that we can educate our members and influence SAP," Adams said.

"I'm passionate about the voluntary nature of user groups, and I've seen many good initiatives driven by the selfless time and energy of volunteers. My desire is to foster this culture in SUGEN and to help it thrive, so we can deliver more back to our members."

Connect 2017 will run at the ICC in Birmingham between 26 and 28 November.

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