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Former Member

This week, October 15-18, we hosted a landmark event in Singapore, collaborating with SAP Insider to bring the first ever Insider event to Asia Pacific-Japan (APJ). Yes, you read that right. We’ve had this event in North America and EMEA for many years, but there has never been an Insider event held in this region.

It was about time. I've been to many Insiders, and have always walked away with great insights into how customers are using and benefitting from for our solutions. The APJ market has the same need, and was more than ready for this event. APJ is seeing steady double-digit growth, and our customers and partners here have been asking for it.

We started out Monday with a GRC Forum, attended by about 120 people from all over APJ. Over the following 2 ½ days, 60 presenters from all over “SAP land” came to talk about SAP HR, Finance and BI with close to 500 attendees. We had an expo hall with SAP labs, and partner booths. It was a small event by SAP standards, but a big milestone for APJ.

We also had something I’ve never seen before at an SAP event: A social media lounge. It was casual, fun and expressed the flavor of the region. We showed and made video (pictured here are Michael Lortz and Erin Hughes from SAP's GRC Solution Marketing group taping a chat and demo), projected our live Twitter feed and offered hands-on help with social media tools and best practices.

Why a social media lounge? This region is as active on social media channels as any, perhaps more so. Our goal with the lounge was to help people become social about their experiences with SAP, and get them comfortable sharing, engaging and learning from others.

Why the ducks? If you followed #FINBI2012 on Twitter you undoubtedly read and saw photos about the adventures of the ducks. Besides being a conversation starter, the ducks in the lounge were a metaphor: When it comes to social media, analytics or putting on a conference, you don't necessarily have to wait until you have all your ducks in a row. You just need to get some ducks in the water.

It's also a good metaphor for tackling the APJ market, which is incredibly complex and diverse. This market will quickly and radically reshape the world. SAP can play a big role in the ongoing story of development of this region, helping companies run smarter and compete globally. We as a company, and as individuals, can also learn a lot from our experiences here. The pace of business, and the scope of deployments will be like nothing we have ever seen. For a lot of our presenters and mentors, this was their first visit to the region, a duck in the water as it were towards getting comfortable and exploring opportunity in this part of the world.

As I expressed in this video, I strongly believe that as active participants in shaping the future of this region, we all need to contribute and share what we know. It’s just the right thing to do.  Nobody needs to go on their SAP journey alone. Whatever you or your company needs to do, someone else has tried it before, or is willing to go on the journey with you. You just need to ask.

Social media is the perfect way to discover those resources, and connect like-minded people who can help. And, there’s an opportunity for you to find your own voice and start contributing to the community.

Like SAP, social media is a journey too. In that metaphor, the social media lounge was a trailhead for starting the journey, or tackling the next leg. We’ve also prepared a social media guide to getting connected in #SAPAPJ that we hope will help you on your social media journey going forward. In it, we’ve brought together people to follow and groups to join for anyone interested in this region. It’s also got some great tools and tips for anyone, anywhere to be awesome on social media.

If you missed the conference, or didn’t get a chance to pick up the guide, get it here. Follow me, @bilafer, @SAPAnalyticsAPJ, on Twitter and join the conversation around #SAPAPJ.