SAP annual conference kicks off in Orlando today

SAP's big annual confab, SAPPIRE NOW 2011 AND THE ASUG ANNUAL CONFERENCE, kicks off today in Orlando and runs through the 18th. Although it is not in as turbulent environment as last year's conference, which followed in the wake of CEO-level changes (Leo Apotheker out, Bill McDermott and Jim Hagemann Snabe in) and occurred in the immediate aftermath of the Sybase acquisition, there are several key issues industry analysts will be watching closely:

One year after the Sybase acquisition, where does SAP's mobile strategy stand?

What tangible progress can SAP show for its Business ByDesign SaaS product line?

The positioning of other SaaS offerings such as Sales on Demand, which are intended to work in tandem with its on-premise ERP systems. Also, any indication of management direction in this area in the wake of John Wookey's recent departure.

Offering a more complete explanation of its strategy for its HANA in-memory database analytics technology.

How will SAP position the relational database technology it acquired through the Sybase acquisition?

An update on SAP's software maintenance strategy and related plans for "key performance indicators".

Observers will also be watching closely to see how in-sync top management team members appear to be with each other.

Another anticipated highlight will be Sting's live performance on Wednesday night.