What to expect from SAP TechEd 2011 + Sybase TechWave

The age of consolidation in information technology has led us to a time when big brand “acquisitions” mean that, increasingly, post-buyout vendors still exist under their former names under their new parent brands.

Sun sits under Oracle, Cognos sits under IBM and Sybase sits under SAP as Sybase, an SAP company.

As such, reporting from SAP TechEd 2011 is tough. This is because Sybase TechWave is going on in the same building (the Venetian Hotel & Casino Las Vegas) at the same time.

So in an impassioned attempt to be even handed, allow me to ask the question at both levels — what can we expect from SAP TechEd 2011 and Sybase TechWave 2011?

I like to call these events conventions or symposia; SAP likes to call this annual experience its “premium technical education conference” series. Now in its 15th year, SAP TechEd is held in Las Vegas, Bangalore, Madrid and Beijing between now and the end of November.

Star of the boardroom this year will be SAP’s CTO Vishal Sikka who heads the company’s technology and innovation practice. Sikka is rumoured to be talking about “advances in mobile technology and in-memory computing” — so think Sybase for the former product group and SAP HANA for the latter.

SAP’s TechEd workshops and lectures will focus on the SAP NetWeaver, Sybase Unwired Platform and SAP BusinessObjects solutions. Hitting a total of what is claimed to be 19,000 attendees across the four world conferences, SAP insists that it is bringing a new focus to SME this year and says that it will also focus on on-premise, on-demand and on-device applications as a whole.

Attempting to build a little tangential topicality this week is a conference theme driven by an initial keynote presented by game research and development guru Dr. Jane McGonigal. Discussing the power and future of gaming and how its “collaborative and motivational aspects are being used to solve some of the most difficult challenges facing humanity”, Dr Jane will draw on her famous TED talk which you can watch below. The connection? Attendees will be able to experience gamification in action with Knowledge Quest, a game layer added to the event this year that will combine SAP TechEd content with points and challenges.

… and as for general look at feel?

Well, Sybase TechWave was run on a comparitively small scale in 2009 and 2010. So if Sybase has been whipped up a notch into an SAP world of (and I’m going to list here) experts, partners, employees, customers, community members, mentors, peers and event speakers… then we have to expect big things. Let the week commence.