Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Struggling with SAPPHIRE agenda, again

Yes!!! You have nagged and begged, and have found budget to attend SAPPHIRE.

You have registered, booked a plane ticket (or several), and figured out which hotel makes most sense (hopefully it is not going to be undergoing renovations). You have verified it isn't far from the convention center, that it is on the I-Drive route, and that you can get to the outlets. You may even have booked Disneyland tickets for the family (disclosure: I didn't. I try to keep a healthy distance from Mickey).

Now, the last challenge must be confronted: to sort out your agenda.
When it comes to what to choose, Jeremy has said it, better than I possibly could without copying his excellent post... so I will concentrate on sharing the how-to. It is also important, as there will be no printed programs on site.

On the SAPPHIRENOW website home, there is a tab for Agenda Builder, and it takes you here , where you can create your agenda account, or log in directly if that step was already taken.

I like to first review all sessions, according to a few broad subjects (in my case, I choose the Line of Business Human Resources from SAPPHIRE NOW, as well as the Cloud Campus both for Integration and People), and add any session I might be even remotely interested in to my agenda. Many of these sessions are delivered by my recent collegues, and I am most curious to see where we are standing now.

Of course, in this way I end up with an extremely long list of items, most of them marked by the ominous red asterix, indicating that these sessions are overlapping. But that is when it becomes interesting.

I am an old aficionada of Excel, and so I download the agenda. The download includes not only the title and location/time, but also the speaker and some additional information; it makes it easier to sort the sessions and prioritize. I highlight my "must do" items, and then group together the overlaps... often enough, they overlap only for a bit of time, so actually I have a chance to attend both, as long as the location isn't too far.

The only thing left to do is to print the result on a one page. Now I will need powerful glasses to read all this fine print, but I have all my SAPPHIRE/ASUG time on one page, handy to take me through the conference.

If you see me running around with my nose buried in a print-out, wondering out loud "where am I supposed to be, where am I supposed to be", you are welcome to stop me and take me for a drink.