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Bilafer’s BHAG: Taking the BHAG to Singapore

It’s official. I’m taking the BHAG on the road. As of next month, I’ll be moving to Singapore to head up Analytics for Asia Pacific-Japan. It’s a big opportunity, and an interesting one.

This is a key region for SAP and our partners as we work toward our goal of a billion users by 2015. Economic growth is exploding everywhere you look. Our business here grew at a record 30% 2010 to 2011. The market for enterprise software as a whole is expected to be around $65 Billion by 2015, driven by compound annual growth of anywhere from 8-11%, depending on what country you’re looking at.

SAP is already responding to this opportunity. Last month, we announced we’ll invest $2 billion in China over the next four years, open four or five offices and hire 2,000 people.

But there’s more to the region than just China. Every country is investing in technology. And they’re all doing different things. China is primarily about manufacturing and ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning) software. Japan is more oriented towards HANA-based solutions. Companies all over the region are looking to innovate and to scale, and to become consumer-driven economies and global players as quickly as possible.

What is so interesting is that companies here are skipping the first 30 years worth of products that our other SAP customers bought and going straight to our latest and greatest technology. We’re seeing companies that are just moving off Excel to the next best thing, without much legacy infrastructure to consider. They can move much faster to adopt new solutions.

The opportunity for Analytics is huge. A lot of companies can go straight to Analytics, without ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning) in place. Usage of mobile devices is growing at staggering rates; the need for vertical-specific apps will be a key driver as the Analytics market here matures. Under these conditions, companies can realize massive business benefits in a relatively short time.

Of course there are also some challenges. This is probably the least understood of all the regions where SAP does business. There’s a language barrier, and there are culture barriers. The region is incredibly diverse, taking in Australia and New Zealand, the vast Indian subcontinent and small island nations.

There’s no European Union here to set rules and standards. Every country is at a different stage of economic development and business maturity. It’s a challenging region to get a handle on and I’m going to need your help–both to understand it and to show the rest of SAP, and the world, the accomplishments and the opportunity that are before us.

I’ve already been traveling in the region, and I’ve met with over a hundred customers. I’m very, very excited about the challenges and the opportunity.

I’ll continue blogging in on SCN and on our Business Analytics blog. I’ll be calling on people in APJ to join me in blogging and add their voices to the community. You can follow me on Twitter @bilafer, and join the conversation about #SAPAPJ. I look forward to connecting with you.

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