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Product and Topic Expert
Product and Topic Expert
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I’m waiting at an airport to fly to Madrid to attend SAPPHIRE NOW as a “social media ambassador” for the Analytics campus.

When I was first asked to take on the role, I jumped at the chance – I have been passionate about the power of analytics to transform organizations since my first experience doing HR analytics for Shell over twenty years ago. I’m also a big believer in social media to change the way people can work together (and I have an analytics blog, a LinkedIn profile, a twitter account, a flickr photostream, a tumblr blog, an instagram account, and an page – among many many others. )

But as I sit in the departure lounge, I’m looking at my planned schedule for the conference, I’m faced with the enormity of the task.

There are hundreds of sessions that I’m interested in, not just in the Analytics campus, but also the “Database and Technology” sessions (personally, I think it’s hard to separate this from analytics), and everything going on at the co-hosted SAP TechEd event. And each of those sessions has  not only been carefully prepared to be as information-packed as impactful as possible, but most of them will be available for online viewing. In addition, the key points are already incorporated into blog posts here on SCN and elsewhere.

In other words, if anybody is interested in the information from the show, it’s already at their fingertips – so what can I add to the conversation? 

Here are some areas I’m going to try to work on:

  • What’s interesting? I believe that any particular moment, there are only a handful of really interesting things going on in any particular industry or technology sector. I’m going to try to get people to avoid spouting the marketing bullet points and instead tell me what they themselves are interested in right now. And I’ll be telling you what I think is most interesting about the different presentations, even if it’s not part of the “key messaging”
  • Ask awkward questions. It’s easy to get information – except when the answers aren’t what people want to hear. Then, the marketing folks tend to get a little bit quiet and hide behind some high-level bullet points. For me, that’s just bad marketing: if SAP has made tough choices, the company should be able to explain them to our customers, and ask for feedback.
  • Show the human side of things. The world is smaller than ever before, and every business is a people business. I’ll try to introduce you to some of the people that I admire, and I hope to meet more of them!

Is there anything I should add to the list? Send your “awkward questions” about analytics to me at, and I’ll try to get them answered for you!