Blog: Notes from Orlando at Sapphire NOW - Darlene Crossley

Blog: Notes from Orlando at Sapphire NOW - Darlene Crossley

Tuesday 19th May 2015
Earlier this month I had the opportunity to attend Sapphire NOW, SAP’s annual global conference in Orlando, Florida with Ian Simpson, Head of Cambridge Assessment’s SAP Centre of Excellence.

Although Cambridge Assessment has been working for some time now to replace its current back office and exam processing systems with SAP technology, this was our first conference. I can’t deny that part of the motivation to attend came from the fact that we’d been nominated for a SAP Innovation Award! This was in recognition of our creative use of the new technology, HANA, for calculating results. But the conference also felt like a timely opportunity to investigate SAP’s new technologies and understand how they could help us as we continue to move forward with our use of SAP across Cambridge Assessment.

Having attended the Higher Education and Research User Group (HERUG) in Cambridge only two weeks earlier, I was keen to understand how SAP has been advancing with its focus on HANA and how this could help us. From the moment we arrived at the conference, it was clear that SAP HANA will transform businesses by transforming the way they process data. It was quickly apparent how HANA could open many opportunities in Cambridge Assessment’s IT landscape.

Full of enthusiasm after our first day at the conference, we headed to the SAP Innovation Awards Reception where we were among many large global organisations doing unique and wonderful things with HANA, including healthcare and cancer research where large volumes of data can be analysed and assessed at a speed that was simply not possible before. The demonstrations were very interesting and really did open the mind to the art of the possible in technology. A member of the SAP panel judging the awards spoke about each finalist’s organisation and it was a proud moment to hear them talk about Cambridge Assessment and how we have developed a solution to support the super-fast calculation of results. be singled out like this is a source of great pride."

In the end we came 1st runner up, winning a prize of a $3000 donation to a charity of our choice – an achievement we can be proud of across the Group and in IT. SAP have acknowledged how we took their base technology and used their capabilities to develop a unique solution to meet our needs. Given the number of organisations running SAP globally, to be singled out like this is a source of great pride.

After three very long days we headed home full of ideas and with very tired feet! The trip has given us a huge amount of up-to-date information to understand how the system we are implementing today is changing and all the potential it has to offer. I am keen now to work with the Group and IT to make our solutions better and better as we move forward!

Darlene Crossley
IT Director, Threshold and Strategic Projects, Cambridge Assessment

Watch the videos

on YouTube

Join the discussion

on twitter