SAP Steps Up: Inside SAPPHIRE NOW, One of the Year's Most Successful Proprietary Events


It is considered one of the year’s most successful proprietary events and one of the event industry’s most impressive reinventions. What was once SAP’s Sapphire was reinvented as SAPPHIRE NOW, a redesigned, reengineered and rewired digital + live proprietary event.

The reimagined SAPPHIRE NOW Orlando event draws a C-level and top-tier executive crowd interested in being on the cutting edge of software and analytics trends. These are people who need to make the most of their precious time. And although the event has always offered top-level content, SAP redesigned the content and format, then tapped Sparks to offer a comprehensive “experience” that made the most of attendees’ time.

Guests entered the one million sq. ft. experience through two entrances that led into a central area boasting LED pylons displaying images that from afar combined into one single image and hyped the event theme of “Run Better.” “The content strategy was completely different from previous years,” says Bassert. “The floor plan reflected the corporate structure of SAP by dividing the space into key “campuses,” four of which highlighted specific SAP services: Cloud, Mobile, Analytics, and Database & Technology. There was also a dedicated area for Keynotes and another for Partner Offerings. Sparks designed the floor (and a zigzag carpet) to physically bring to life the theme and visually connect those campuses. From these offshoots, attendees were led right back to the central area, allowing them to easily navigate the content by following a logical—and visual—track throughout.

Within each specialized campus, the content delivery strategy followed a similar structure. Each featured a theater for 250 people in which attendees could take a deeper dive into their specialty. Following the presentations, speakers moved on to discussion areas for Q&As with attendees. “Everything was designed so that the repetition of content delivery assured attendees digested the information,” says Ellery.

From the Q&A sessions, attendees were guided toward microforums, small interactive groups of three or four. “This was the arena for more intimate group discussions with a lot more person-to-person interaction,” says Ellery. This space gave attendees the chance to steer the discussion with speakers and other industry experts. “Here, speakers worked off of a loose outline, but were able to go in whatever direction the group was interested in.” Next? An even more casual (and focused) discussion in small “demo pods,” where attendees could get down to the nitty gritty on the product level.

sparks proprietary events Elsewhere, the event also housed an 80,000 sq. ft. executive meeting area designated for Executive and Customer meetings. “Through ceiling and lighting treatments, we gave this area a distinctive, high-end look and feel,” Ellery remarked.

To facilitate high-level private meetings, the space contained 65 executive offices and 30 meeting rooms. For more casual meetings, a lounge area offered 39 conference tables and 59 couches booked through advance reservation. (The area also provided video conferencing and a signing room with champagne bar.)

Also within this area was a forum for potential customers to meet with existing customers. This “Meet Our Customers” space offered a unique opportunity for an honest exchange of experiences whereby potential customers could receive credible, unbiased opinions about SAP and their products.

This new organized floor plan maximized the value for attendees by streamlining their journey. “Everything was on a continuum rather than scattered randomly throughout the space. As an attendee you were on an efficient knowledge-based, yet systematic, journey,” says Ellery.

It was strategic. It was visual. It was streamlined. SAP’s event team took an all-new approach to a corporate experience that couldn’t be matched in any other way.

2828 Charter Road
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 19154
United States

2828 Charter Road
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 19154
United States

January 30, 2013

By Kristy Elisano