If you missed SAP Insider in Singapore earlier this month, I have three words for you: save the date. This will be an annual event happening here the first week of September. You will not want to miss this event next year.
Insider puts on a great show, and their events became a regular part of the SAP social calendar in North America and EMEA long ago. However, last year marked the first-ever Insider event in APJ. It was clearly long overdue, because attendance at this year’s event more than doubled and we saw many repeat attendees. Over 700 people people joined us for four full days of education and networking on four tracks. Here’s the event by the numbers:
This was the largest tech event in Southeast Asia in recent memory, according to the 19 press and analysts who attended. These people go to IBM, EMC and other big tech company events in the region and they all said they’d never seen that many people at this type of event.
I heard from the managing director of SAP for Southeast Asia that this was the best event he’d been to, because it wasn’t a selling event. It was all about our partners and customers educating and enabling and increasing awareness about our offerings and people were hungry to hear it. I think we’ll probably have 1200 people here next year. Like everything in APJ, it’s growing fast!
The whole point of events like this is to more rapidly close the skills gap here in APJ. Don’t get me wrong—there’s no intelligence gap here. But the market for enterprise software in general, and analytics in particular, is at a different stage of maturity. There’s a shortage of talent everywhere as technology innovation speeds up. There just aren’t enough people that can help businesses take advantage of all that these new technologies have to offer. It’s more acute here.
If you look at where North America is now as a benchmark, it took North American market 10, 15 years to get to where they are now. This does not need to be a 10-year journey. This region has an opportunity to leapfrog ahead, and we think it will be more like a 3-5 year journey here.
One of the keys to shortening that journey are events like these, where people can come in and learn new skills and talk to other people and see what they’re doing and how it’s transforming their companies.
So, I’m hoping this event becomes the (at least!) one time a year when people from all over APJ come and learn new skills and learn about what the latest and greatest product are, not from our sales or marketing department but from real customers and the community.
I believe that the other key to shortening that journey is social media. This event provided a great opportunity for in-person networking, but the key to keeping that going all year round is being connected and active on social media.
Last year’s event had a strong social media component. This year social was front and center. The numbers are impressive:
We had Drew Calin from LinkedIn’s Singapore office here to talk about using LinkedIn to learn and build your network. We also had SAP technology evangelist Timo Elliott present on social media. I couldn’t even get in the door—during their presentations. It was amazing, and it demonstrated there’s a real appetite for social in this region.
Ducks abounded, and I used the duck again in my keynote presentation. For those of you who have been seeing them and wondering what the duck is about, I use the duck as a metaphor for getting started—getting some ducks in the water—rather than waiting to get your ducks in a row.
That’s our biggest challenge—people know there’s all this technology available, but they don’t know how to build the business case and they don’t know where to get started.
If you missed the event, follow the hashtag #SAPInsiderAPJ on Twitter to see all the videos and content from the event as they are released, and follow the continuing conversation at #SAPAPJ. Visit SCN, the SAP Community network and start exploring all the resources there. Check out the APJ social media guide and find some LinkedIn groups to join. Connect with me on LinkedIn and Twitter (@bilafer), visit my blog, and don’t forget to save the date for next year!