A few weeks ago, five of my fellow ESTEEM classmates and I had the exciting opportunity to attend the SAP TechEd event in Las Vegas, an intensive five-day conference offering hands-on workshops, networking sessions, and deep-dive technical lectures focused on innovative solutions for meeting current and future technological needs. My initial desire to partake in the event stemmed from my interest in acquiring practical exposure to big data analytic techniques and my goal to pursue a career in cyber risk management after graduation. Not only can big data analytics be a tool in developing a specific cyber defense strategy, but the conference made readily apparent the vast scope of industry applications and the increasing importance analytics will have over the coming years. As I considered the diverse range of companies represented at the conference, it became clear to me that we are experiencing a big data revolution in which many sectors are welcoming predictive analytics into their internal business structures. More than ever before, companies are investigating large amounts of customer information to help achieve future success, making graduates who possess these desired analytical skills very valuable.
Steve Lucas, the global president of SAP Platform Solutions, kicked-off the event with an engaging keynote address covering industry trends he has identified: “Making Digital Real,” “Digital Darwinism,” and a concept which he coined the “Digital Benjamin Button Effect.” The last of these refers to the trend in the average age of a companies being much younger than in previous decades, from 67 years old in 1920s to an expected 15 years old today. A highlight of the keynote was the segment featuring Jim McKelvey, the co-founder of Square. He spoke of his longtime passion, glass-blowing, and analogized it to the business world. He emphasized that proper timing is crucial in the artistic creation process and that good timing is similarly a key in the success of a business venture. Perhaps most exciting of all, however, was the Notre Dame segment. Jenny Lardner, Stephen Ennis, and Professor Sunny Shah had the experience of partaking in the keynote speech and, on behalf of the entire class, highlighting the importance of the ND-Indiana State alliance. They spoke about the SAP predictive analytics tools allowing our class to arrive at data-driven safety recommendations which we proposed to the Indiana State Police. A link to the Notre Dame segment in the keynote can be found here.
Throughout the conference we attended workshops focusing on various topics, many of which were made accessible to those with no prior technical experience. An SAP service which I found especially interesting is the Single Sign-On for Cloud Applications. This service provides companies with a secure system which is not only user-friendly, but is capable of meeting internal and external security requirements. Rebecca Shute, Laura Shute, and Stephen Ennis led an ESTEEM Expert Session in which they explained the data analytics class and how it elucidated the power of predictive analytics through the use of SAP Lumira data visualization tools. They demonstrated how SAP software can expose key insights from seemingly indecipherable datasets. They expressed that it was through these data analytics techniques that our class was able to derive actionable insights. Towards the end of TechEd, Paul Mahony and I had exciting opportunity to be interviewed by Ann Rosenburg for the Live SAP TV Studio for a segment called “Driving Digital Transformation: Strategic Innovation Youth Services from SAP University Alliance.” The focus of the discussion was on SAP Next-Gen Consulting as a cutting-edge strategic youth service for the SAP ecosystem, which will leverage the bright young talent of university students.
I truly relished the experience to listen to technical talks as well as enjoyed the chance to network with developers and business professionals who are leaders in developing and implementing SAP solutions in their own workplace. The SAP TechEd Conference was an amazing opportunity and I am very grateful for the support of our advisors and mentors, Don Ginocchio and Sunny Shah. It goes without saying that, without their efforts and expertise, the trip would not have been possible.