This year’s SAP Sapphire conference started somberly with SAP CEO Bill McDermott attempting to paint a rosy picture of the world of SAP. The conference concluded with the high energy and excitement of a fabulous Lady Gaga concert where she confessed that after much research she didn’t have a clue what SAP does!
Despite hundreds of sessions and solutions to see, there was something missing. Attending the event, I witnessed no shortage of spectacular displays and celebrity keynote speakers (Sandra Bullock, Bear Grylls, Karlie Kloss – founder of Kode with Klossy). There were thousands of attendees (30,000 according to Mr. McDermott), but the excitement and energy level was mediocre at best.
At the conference, I bumped into an old BusinessObjects partner and colleague. We started talking and it all became clear. The BusinessObjects conferences prior to the SAP acquisition were high energy because people wanted to be there. People were excited to learn about BI and BO. At SAP Sapphire, it appeared as though most people were attending because they had to, rather than they wanted to.
However, this colleague also shared some very sad news. With my deepest condolences I share, Mahesh Desai, the Founder and President of Consultancy by Kingfisher recently passed away. Kingfisher successfully delivered Crystal and BusinessObjects solutions for more than 25 years. Mahesh was passionate about those solutions, the products and his customers. He believed and committed himself to the Crystal and BusinessObjects community supporting and serving on both national and regional user group organizations. More recently, Mahesh was instrumental in helping to resurrect and support the Global BusinessObjects Network (GBN). He organized a very successful training webinar series on Universe Design, part of the Mastering BusinessObjects mini-series of training webinars.
With a heavy heart I also share, earlier last year, Kevin McManus, the CEO and Founder of Launchworks sadly passed away. Kevin was well known in the BusinessObjects community when he ran McManus Consulting Inc and then Launchworks providing services and software for BusinessObjects customers. Again, Kevin actively participated in and supported the BusinessObjects community serving on committees and influence councils in the National User Groups.
In the past, I would meet with both Mahesh and Kevin at the BusinessObjects conferences. The three of us shared a common goal and vision to serve and grow the BusinessObjects community and to find new and improved ways to leverage and enhance BusinessObjects. We loved collaborating with each other and the customers and I feel this was a big part of what generated that excitement and energy at the BusinessObjects conferences.
I remember meeting them both at the first SAP Sapphire conference after the acquisition of BusinessObjects by SAP over 10 years ago. At that time, SAP promised to let BusinessObjects continue to run as an autonomous entity and maintain its own annual conference. We all were very happy with this decision. Unfortunately, that did not happen but the BusinessObjects partners, Mahesh and Kevin among them, did keep their promise. They continued to serve and grow the BusinessObjects community over the years. Thanks to these heroes it has thrived over the last 10 years and BusinessObjects remains the most widely used Business Intelligence suite in the world today. This is their legacy and we are grateful.
I will miss Mahesh and Kevin, but I will always remember them every time I attend a BusinessObjects event with happy, energized, and smiling people. While I did not see that at Sapphire itself, I did at the Lady Gaga concert and I think Mahesh and Kevin would have approved.