By Khalif Woodard

As I boarded the plane from Philadelphia, PA to Orlando, FL I pondered what my experience would be like at SAPPHIRE Now. I envisioned an exciting time with very knowledgeable people, and that is the exact experience that I had. This was my first time attending SAPPHIRE Now and most certainly will not be my last. Rows and rows of exhibitors occupied the 1,000,000 square feet of Orlando’s North and South convention center halls. Each booth possessed its own unique appearance, as well as its own unique brand of people. There were so many companies at this event and their focus was learning more about SAP and connecting with the community at large.

Although SAP was the primary focus, I was able to meet a variety of industry experts who were knowledgeable about other facets of corporate technology. I networked with people from all around the world, thus giving me the opportunity to see how other companies utilize SAP. Each booth had its own unique gift for the attendees, which made it a lot easier to spark a random conversation. This distinctive blend of people and technology was heaven for someone in my profession.

The overall level of service at the event was amazing. Everywhere I went, I was greeted with a smile and a friendly hello. The entire event was catered, which is only a good thing when the food is good, and it was good. All day long we were provided with refreshments, and when lunch time came I was not disappointed. This is very important when you have to stand on your feet and exert limitless amounts of energy all day.

I could tell that SAP, as well as their sponsors, put a lot into this event. Although we were there for working purposes, we had a lot of fun during this 5 day event. From a thrilling night at “Howl at the Moon” to hearing Kobe Bryant talk about his toughest competition, this was truly an exceptional experience. Before I got to Orlando, I figured that my time would be consumed by long days and endless conversations. I was pleasantly surprised when I realized how lucky I was to be attending this event. The conversations that I had were very beneficial and it got to a point where I didn’t want the day to end.

SAP picked the perfect location for such an event. The weather itself was a good enough reason to choose this location, but local attractions and amenities made it perfect for a “work hard, play hard” type of person, such as myself. I stood on my feet for most of the day, but when I got a chance to relax it was like being on a vacation. Overall, I had the time of my life and I made some very valuable connections. I can’t wait until next year’s event. Hopefully I see you there!