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A Look Inside SAP Higher Education & Research User Group (HERUG) 2021

This past week the University of Toronto hosted HERUG 2021, SAP Higher Education Research User Group conference. As we reflect back on this informative and enlightening week of presentations and social networking opportunities we would like to share some of our highlights! 

The event was a resounding success (600+ attendees, across 33 countries) despite the ongoing pandemic and a lockdown in Ontario Canada.  LSI has participated in every HERUG since 1997 (started at MIT) – and we are always amazed by the enthusiasm and knowledge transfer that occurs at these events. Dr. Malcolm Woodfield, Head of the SAP Higher Education Industry Business Unit, reminded us that this was the 2nd virtual event!  In 2010, HERUG had to quickly switch to a virtual event due to volcanic eruptions in Iceland which shut down air travel. 

HERUG Blog (1)In the opening keynote speech by Dr. Malcolm Woodfield, he explained SAP’s overall direction for Higher Education and the ways the industry is driving innovation forward. Dr. Malcom Woodfield was proud to say "Our Industry [Higher Education] has submitted more SAP Innovation Awards than any other industry".  In fact, there was over 400 entries this year, and LSI is proud to be a finalist with it's entry  for Penn State University “Enhancing Decision-Making and Enabling New Standards with SAP S/4HANA embedded analytics". Dr. Malcolm Woodfield went on the explain the significance of the Cloud and the push to move to the SAP S/4 multitenant solutions and away from on-premise systems.  LSI expects to get access to these systems in the near term and start positioning them globally.  Many of the install bases are still skeptical about the extensibility of the multitenant solutions – however, the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam is the first client in this industry to start its migration.  We will all take learning from their journey.


Academia is particularly special because it encourages the sharing of ideas and the forum is sincerely collaborative.  Over the three-day event, there were 27 presentations, of which LSI employees were the presenters for 2 of these break-out sessions!


Tim McCready and David Calacci lead a session by presenting “Ready for Take-Off – Air University’s Student Information System Journey” via an interview with AirU’s Dr. Joel Farrell.



Charlie Collins, Kaushal Kurasa and Matt Trip presented "Penn State University’s New Budget Era with SAP Budget and Planning” with Jody Heckman and Alana Marie Loht from PSU.



LSI was blown away by the number of attendees at our break-out sessions. We also had the opportunity to meet attendees at our virtual booth which featured informative demonstration videos and downloadable materials for visitors!

The conference closed with a focus on The Future of Education and Emerging Technologies, specifically smart analytics – leveraging the SAP Analytics Cloud (SAC) to monitor and inform the information user proactively if certain alerts occur (for instance actuals exceed budget) and predictive planning (eg. budgets, forecasts) to assist analysts with their budget analysis. 

Bravo to the University of Toronto for pulling off another great HERUG conference! If you missed HERUG 2021 you can still access all of the presentations on the HERUG website

Next year's conference will be hosted by Hernan Garcia and Tec de Monterrey, we look forward to HERUG 2022 in Mexico!