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I attended an AFSUG Strategy Session held on Dec.3rd – 4th. The main aim for the session was to map out a plan of action for the next year. Various Special Interest Groups were represented (HCM, PLM, Analytics, EPM, etc.) I am competitive by nature and was absolutely annoyed with the fact that the HCM Special Interest Group was mentioned on a few occasions as the most successful SIG. I put my personal issues aside and managed to find out why they were so successful. The main reason for their success though is simple, they have a spirit of community amongst their members and their community understands the notion of “what you put in is what you get out”!

I realise that as the Steering Committee we play a “co-ordinating” role but the reality is that we all need to work together as the members to make our SIG a success.

So…how can we all get involved? It’s simple really…what we need to do is the following:-

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Understand the benefits of being part of a SIG. It’s not for just for the sake of networking…it’s understanding what benefits one can derive from this network. The ability to call on another customer when you are experiencing an issue! The ability to call on another customer if you want to bounce ideas can save your organisation greatly! I remember two weeks ago when Andrew Mayes from Pick ‘n Pay(hope he doesn’t mind me mentioning him) put out a question on twitter relating to BIA…he had people trying to assist him within minutes… and this is based on a network that was formed from attending SIGs/conferences.

Understanding that AFSUG is there to also influence SAP in terms of developments/enhancements that YOU want to propose, through the Customer   Connect Programme & the Idea Place (see www.afsug.co.za/library/documents/Why-belong-and-how-to-belong.pdf)

Having access to the Americas’ User Group (ASUG) content.

ASUG is the most successful User Group and their statement of “ASUG is a dynamic community of intelligence, influence, and action” works because their members see the value in getting their hands dirty and getting involved, whether it be through conferences, online and regional communities and collaboration.

Respond to the Call for Speakers

·     /wp-content/uploads/2012/12/presenter_image_164855.jpg I know it can be daunting to speak in front of our peers and I can tell you that the nerves never go away but AFSUG is planning on hosting a few sessions on “Public Speaking” next year…it might be a great session to attend if you want to get practical advice on how to improve as a speaker. Realise though that the audience that attends the SIG Meetings understands that you’re there to tell your story and everyone wants you to do well!!

·         A lot of people don’t want to present because they feel their story isn’t good enough or there’s nothing exciting about their solutions. If you’ve had a specific business problem that you were trying to solve and you implemented a solution that has resolved that problem or has even saved your organisation some bucks…that is what people want to hear about! It might be a small solution in your eyes but it might help another customer immensely.  We will also be hosting webinars – where you as the customer can present remotely and the audience dials in. This is great if you’re a bit shy and want to present without having the added pressure of presenting to a crowd.

Be Present

·      Attend SIG Meetings and bring a business buddy to the SIG. The vibrancy of the community cannot be based on the Technical Consultants (which is how it’s been in the past and this is not sustainable). It should also be based on the people that utilise the solutions we implement on a daily basis and the people that drive the change in your organisation…the business users. /wp-content/uploads/2012/12/community_164856.jpgIf there’s something that you feel AFSUG/the Business Analytics SIG should be looking into…be vocal and make suggestions (that’s the only way we’ll grow).

Adopt a Newbie – If you know of someone that’s starting out in Analytics, make yourself available to assist them in their journey. If you’re a newbie and you know of an experienced consultant that you would like to connect with and you’re a bit shy let us know…we’ll make it happen.

Enough said! My plea to you is that you understand that in a community no man is an island – whether you’re an SAP partner or customer – it’s about all of us working together and helping each other gain as much value out of the SAP’s Analytics offering. If your organisation is a paid up member of AFSUG you have no excuse…join a SIG and get involved…you’ll reap the benefits.

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