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The feasts and parades have ended, and we’re settling into the Year of the Snake. This year is an intriguing one for me, personally and professionally.

This was my first time celebrating Chinese New Year in Singapore with my family. We went to some spectacular parades, and did the traditionalYearofthesnakedish.JPG thing and celebrated with our friends by eating Yu Sheng, which translates as “prosperity toss.”

Yu Sheng consists of strips of raw fish mixed with shredded vegetables, sauces, condiments and other ingredients with symbolic meanings. It’s literally tossed together cooperatively by the diners as part of New Year’s good luck rituals in Singapore and other parts of Southeast Asia.

One reason this year is intriguing for me is that my daughter is a Snake. It is very cool to have a such personal connection to a Snake. It’s said that your birth year is actually unlucky for you, so she’s following the local tradition of wearing a red bracelet all year for protection. I’m a Dog myself (metal Dog to be exact), so no bracelet needed.

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There are many interpretations of the significance of the Year of the Snake. As an Analytics person as well as an interested dad, I did some research and found that the Snake year is a very good one for those embarking on, or continuing, an Analytics journey. Consider the following:

  • Snakes are known for financial savvy. Fittingly, most horoscopes agree–this is a year to mind your money. Being thrifty should be a top priority. This is not a year to embark on risky ventures.
  • This is also a year to expand your horizons and connect with others. I chuckled when I read this particular horoscope: “People in the computer business will become your best friends, and so will people at a distance.”

So what does that all mean for analytics in APJ?

2012 was an amazing year for the region – we had tremendous growth across all areas of the business, growing at over 22% . Clearly our customers, big and small, are valuing our offerings and innovation. We’ve been making steady progress.

I’m extremely proud to have been part of an amazing team, and we still need focus and discipline to continue to help our customers as they reinvent their businesses.

Analytics needs to move from an afterthought to the core of the business. It’s all about putting information in the hands of end users. We need to help businesses move from pushing out standard reports with tons of information to helping them let people discover and explore the data the way they want to–so they can make quick decisions, like a Snake, and move on forward.

Visual Intelligence and Explorer are critical for helping customers take their Analytics programs to this next level, and our customers need them. To see a cool example of what business users should demand from their Analytics experience, check out what SAP built for NBA.com/stats. You don’t have to be a basketball fan to see what a tool like this can do for your business.

If you have already bought a BusinessObjects Business Intelligence solution, this is the year you should convert your license through the Analytics Plus program and move on to BI 4.0 so you can get those products. It’s an awesome deal, so tell your customers, and tell your friends. There’s never been a better time to upgrade. In a previous post, I reported on Nucleus Research findings that every dollar organizations invest in Analytics yields $10.66 in return. That sounds very thrifty and Snake-like to me.

It’s all well and good to say Analytics needs to move to the core of the business, so go out and get those tools. The challenge that always comes up is a shortage of skilled people who can help your business move at rate of innovation and capture all these new opportunities.

This is where you want to make new friends with people in the computer business, including people at a distance. I’m in the computer business and I’d love to connect with you. I’m not sure I can be everyone’s best friend but I can introduce you to someone that might be your new best friend on your Analytics journey. 

Year of the Snake is a perfect time to deepen your commitment to getting social in APJ. There’s no faster way to close the skills gap than to learn from and leverage other people’s experience. There’s a huge SAP community out there, and APJ is underrepresented. That means there’s lots more we can do here to connect people to each other and to all the resources SAP and the EcoSystem offers.

We kicked off a big effort to get social in APJ at our Insider event in Singapore last fall. We introduced six new APJ mentors to the community. We also pulled together a starter kit for getting connected in APJ. And we just created this new infographic on the APJ Social media landscape (click to view larger):

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In the Year of the Snake, we need to stay focused on building our social networks in APJ. Connect with the mentors. Join some groups on LinkedIn where you can connect with peers and like-minded folks. Follow SAPAnalytics on Facebook, and definitely join SAP Community Network (SCN) where you’ll find over 2.4MM people that interact with SAP solutions in every imaginable capacity. Get active on Twitter. Follow me @bilafer, and join in the conversation around #SAPAPJ. And invite a Snake to come along with you for good measure.

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