SAP recently held their Sapphire Now in Orlando for 20,000 attendees. Based on feedback from meeting participants who attended last year’s conference, the event planning team at SAP really stepped up to make this user conference everything the attendee wanted.

Michael Trovalli, Vice President of Global Events at SAP, recently shared with BizBash, “The top two things (attendees) want is to hear the thought leadership and future vision of the company from our senior executives, which we’ve always given them. But a close second is they want the ability to network with peers.”


SAP event management changed two major things; the number of small meetings and the number of sessions within the conference.

Event managers added 40% more meeting space for one-on-one or small meeting groups. These individualized sessions went from 3,000 to 5,000 meetings taking place over the three-day conference. Organizers also made the space more approachable by removing walls and making it more airy and open.

In addition, SAP changed their event line-up. They took the following actions:

  • Went from 6 to 3 campuses
  • Reduced presentation theaters from 9 to 5 and
  • Cut down the number of event sessions by 20%

“We’ve reorganized the content much more in the terms and worlds they think in as opposed to how we like to think of ourselves,” stated Trovalli.


SAP focused on attendees through extensive surveying methods. Here is what they did:

  • 400 volunteers asked attendees about the registration process or the mobile app. This data can be collected through an app on an iPad or laptop rental. Volunteers can ask the questions and immediately input the data. In addition, Audience Response rentals work well if the attendees are in a large meeting space.
  • 70 members of Trovalli’s staff gathered and continue to gather customer feedback on a monthly basis. 
  • 20 individuals served on a customer advisory board and conducted pre-event surveys and worked with facilitators on their sessions. 


  • By focusing on different survey methods, through a combination of volunteers and staff, SAP was able to create and use measurable, workable conference solutions aimed a pleasing the attendee.
  • Attendees need opportunities to meet one-on-one or in small groups with living room style environments.
  • Attendees want fewer, quality sessions focused on content where they can easily network with each other.

​​SmartSource Rentals is your event planning partner and has laptops, iPads and Wi-Fi network arrays available for your next conference. Don’t delay, call SmartSource today at 800.888.8686 for more information!