CWG relevancy? What the heck was that all about?

If you remember, I posted my "top 10" questions from the Marco conference here;

This is question number 2 of the series and based on a presentation given at the end of Day 1, titled;

"CWG Strategy Commitee Report"

(As I found out (by watching poor Markus constantly updating the Metadata on the new website) posting links to documents may not be such a good idea..Anytime the portal architecture changes, those links get all out of whack. So, go surf around and see if you can find the presentation!!)

At any rate, my understanding of the the premise of this talk was "should the CWG Board spend so much time on conferences?" And there was no answer reached..

Now, before I go any farther, I want you to understand;

I think the Board does a great job with what they have to work with. I very much appreciate everything those folks do for us, the average CWG member! Thanks for your hard work!!


What else should they spend their time on you ask? A good, burning question..Lets see..The mission of the CWG (as outlined in the presentation) is;

  • To advance the effective utilization of product configuration software developed and marketed by SAP by promoting the interchange and dissemination of information of mutual interest and value.
  • To provide a forum for mutual education and exchange of ideas and information among members and promote sound and professional SAP product configuration systems usages and best practices
  • To influence the direction of development activities, products, policies, and services of SAP and related vendors in the interest of all members to meet user requirements

OK, lets take these one at a time and see what relevance conferences are to them..

  • How should we "promote the interchange and dissemination of information"?

 Well, the conference does a pretty good job of that. Of course, there are the forums, the used to be written in CWG Review. So, I would say the CWG Board is doing a good job of maintaining relevancy on this one.

  • Next comes "promote sound and professional SAP product configuration systems usages and best practices"

Not to sure about this one. I only know of 1 actual presentation that has been in front of both the European and US audiences and received voted approval as a best practice. Maybe there are more, but I sure don't know where they are...So, on this one, I'd say that the CWG isn't providing much relevancy. Is the conference the correct place to do so? In my opinion, YES. So, maybe the Board should spend a tad more time here..

  • Last, but certainly not least, comes "influence the direction of development activities, products, policies, and services of SAP"

Let's see...During this conference alone I heard from SAP that we should;

  1. Form Focus groups (whoo hoooo!!, been there done that)
  2. Work through Custom Development and then maybe have the work added to part of the "standard offering" (Like the OEW wasn't?)
  3. Join ASUG and utilize "the power of the IBU"

So, not a real good message about how to do this little task..I agree, conferences are not the "only" place that activity can take place on this one. Customers need to "band together" outside of the conferences and get agreed upon requirements in a prioritized manner..Of course, the conferences are where they need to be formalized and "officially given" to SAP. And where SAP should be responding to them..

So in the end, we are back to the question of "does the Board spend too much time on conferences"...One last thing to factor in before you answer..

Yes Virginia, all the folks on the Board are VOLUNTEERS!!!

Not only do they actually have lives outside of the CWG, but they have "real jobs" too...So, to ask them to spend a whole "bunch" of time may not be real. I'm in favor of rasising the conference fee, or maybe even charging a membership fee and paying someone else to do it. I know, they already started doing this (with Berlin in May)..I think they should turn over more responsibility...

 As it relates to Conferences, the Board should set the cost target, theme, and attendance targets, then let the delegated conference organizers go. Maybe the Board should approve the presentation list, or maybe we should have volunteers that are NOT Board members doing this (or other) types of activities. Why is the Board the only set of volunteers that can work on things??

I would really like to see the Board spend a little more time on things like;

  • Defining how best practices should be approached, presented, approved, and stored
  • Figuring out what methods of education would work best
  • Expanding the membership base
  • Forming regional chapters
  • Determining the best method of influence

But to answer the basic question posed by the presentation, "Is the CWG Relevant??"......

My personal answer is, more so than ever before!!

Certainly a heck of a lot more relevant now than when we were back in 2003, when Andreas so eloquently called us "an advanced mode discussion club"....I can tell you, I certainly don't want to go back to THOSE days...(Hint, more to come on this subject) 

Your thoughts??