An interview with ASUG CEO Bridgette Chambers
Many people know America’s SAP Users’ Group (ASUG) as the largest SAP user group in the world. However, ASUG is much more than a users’ group, and under the leadership of CEO Bridgette Chambers, ASUG continues to provide insight and innovation that enables a stronger, more informed SAP community. SpinifexIT is a proud supporter of ASUG as both sponsor and chapter volunteer and I was thrilled to have the chance to get an update from Bridgette on the latest happenings at ASUG. — AJ Whalen
In your 3 ½ years at the helm of ASUG, the organization has seen tremendous growth and change. Which innovations or changes are you most proud of?
Just last year, the Americas’ SAP Users’ Group (ASUG) celebrated 20 years of providing excellence to SAP customers in North America. It was an especially meaningful milestone for me, as I have been privileged to lead ASUG through tremendous change. When I joined as CEO in 2009, ASUG needed revitalization. By the time of the 20th anniversary in 2011, it was clear that the turnaround had been completed and ASUG had entered a new phase of growth and momentum. That’s an achievement I’m very proud of, made all the more gratifying when this year the American Business Awards (ABA) recognized our progress by giving ASUG a Silver Stevie® Award as Company of the Year.
If you had to choose just one of the many ASUG-sponsored programs or sites that should be regular viewing for the SAP customer and partner communities, which would you recommend?
I love this community for the same reasons our members do. ASUG is a place where great minds come together to resolve challenges and move business technology forward. Over the past two years, we have introduced more than 75 new or enhanced initiatives to better serve our members with education and networking opportunities, and to elevate their voices – the voices of ASUG’s 130,000-plus members at 3,500 companies across 17 industries.
I love this community for the same reasons our members do. ASUG is a place where great minds come together to resolve challenges and move business technology forward.All our initiatives offer valuable resources, but if I had to focus on just one, I would urge every SAP customer and partner to regularly visit www.ASUGNews.com. Shortly after we launched it as our members’ go-to resource for online news, I heard from people who were impressed with our choice of veteran technology journalists Tom Wailgum and Courtney Bjorlin as its co-editors. Tom and Courtney have great credentials, and they have industry respect as objective, independent voices in the SAP ecosystem. We made ASUG News available outside the ASUG.com firewall and integrated it with outside forums like the BusinessObjects Board (BOB) so that it reaches members and non-members alike. In its first year, ASUG News attracted 60,000 readers, and the audience continues to grow with nearly 100,000 readers today.
Career development is certainly an important topic for many in the SAP community. How does ASUG’s Leadership 2.0 initiative promote the principles and practices of leadership?
We’ve recently introduced two important leadership initiatives. When we kicked off ASUG Leadership 2.0 at the 2011 ASUG Annual Conference, I heard from members at all professional levels who said they were thrilled to have new resources to foster leadership and career development skills. The initiative launched with four-time Olympic gold medalist and WNBA champion Lisa Leslie as its team captain, using the synergies of her experience to help our members cultivate high-performance teams. Leadership 2.0 continues to thrive offering valuable insight in its blogs, face-to-face panel sessions, webcasts, and its online resource page. If you haven’t already, check it out at www.ASUGLeadership2-0.com, and let us know how we are doing.
We also enhanced our Executive Exchange community for ASUG’s senior executive members. This select group represents a range of industries, revenue brackets, customer viewpoints, and strategic perspectives related to SAP solutions, but shares the common goal of creating greater alignment between business strategy and information technology. Working together to achieve this goal enables member companies to adopt innovative business practices that improve their market value proposition, optimize their supply chain, and create continuous improvements in productivity and efficiency.
Looking forward, what can we expect from ASUG in 2013?
As SAP continues toward its goal of one billion users by 2015, ASUG has a strategy to stay ahead of the technology curve and relevant to a growing diversity of users. We offer programs including the Strategy Builder Series of webinars to help organizations of all sizes and types increase their returns by mastering the latest advancements in business technology software. The series is an enhancement to ASUG’s Integrated Enterprise and Infinite ROI initiatives, launched in 2011. The first set of webcasts was introduced in spring of 2011 and focused on the topic of Cloud Services, providing SAP professionals a roadmap to explore cloud deployment based on user insights and customer success stories. A Strategy Builder Series on the SAP HANA® platform is being planned for November and December which will cover the HANA Academy and SAP’s Distinguished Engineers program.
These are just some of the programs that make ASUG stronger and more vital than ever. And through the active participation of our members, ASUG will continue as THE essential community for SAP professionals.
Bridgette Chambers has been Chief Executive Officer of ASUG (Americas’ SAP Users’ Group) since June 2009. Under her leadership, ASUG has undergone a transformation from a volunteer-run organization into a professionally managed technology association that has become the largest independent SAP users’ group in the world.
In addition to overseeing all of ASUG’s daily operations, Ms. Chambers has responsibility for creating value-added initiatives and services to help drive ROI for ASUG’s 85,000 individual members in 2,500 companies and 17 industry verticals.
You may follow Bridgette on Twitter at @BChambersASUG.