The Hockey Fan Experience Continues: Generations, Sharks, And Pucks Et Veritas

Fred Isbell

Being a hockey fan is a journey, not a destination. I did some cool things last season – my hockey fan experience included playing in a game against Philadelphia Flyers Alumni, attending a hockey game and skating in a rink in the middle of the desert in Arizona, and honoring the legacy of home-town Bruins idol Ray Bourque with a visit to Denver’s Pepsi Center and a skate at the Avalanche practice facility – all the while meeting countless hockey fans along the way.

When summer turned into fall in Boston, the glory of past excellence was all around the Warrior Ice Arena, the brand-new practice facility of the Boston Bruins. Stanley Cup Banners and the retired numbers of Bruins legends, including Bobby Orr, hang prominently from the rafters. An open skate and “meet and greet” with Bruins prospects and veterans inspired the fandom in everyone there. For me, talking with Bruins’ general manager Don Sweeney, who played at Harvard before a long Bruins career, was just as cool as seeing rookie Rob O’Gara, a Yale defenseman who joined the team after graduation.  I would go on to cheer the Yale men’s hockey team in road games at Notre Dame, UConn, Boston University, Harvard, and Brown during the season and see O’Gara play for the AHL Providence Bruins – truly “Pucks et Veritas!”

Every year, I try to attend the match-up between the San Jose Sharks and the Bruins in Boston – far from the SAP Center where the Sharks play home games. I had to wait a little bit longer for this long-standing tradition than in past years – but nonetheless, it was worth it. It was a surprising 6-3 Bruins win days after they dismissed their long-time head coach.

I wore my San Jose Sharks number 19 teal jersey that night, honoring former Bruins’ captain (now Shark) Joe Thornton. A quick glance at the player stats for Thornton, courtesy of SAP analytics, showcases what an amazing career he has had. It was also great to see the amazing Brent Burns, a Sharks defenseman who could be the first defenseman to lead the NHL in scoring since the great Bruin Bobby Orr did decades ago. A feature a few weeks later on Burns and the NHL (“Insights from SAP”) impressively put Burns in the company of both Orr and Hall of Fame defenseman Paul Coffey, who ironically ended his long and illustrious career as a Boston Bruin.

Caritas et veritas on the ice

While I love the thrill of professional hockey, my fandom is inextricably intertwined with the NHL’s commitment to community service and charities. For me, it is hard to top my experience on the ice at the charity hockey game last season playing for Flyers legend Brian Propp, joining a team assembled to take on the Flyers’ Alumni team in the 12th annual “NHS Goals for Giving” event. However, the announcement that the Flyers would have an alumni game against the cross-state rival Pittsburgh Penguins – as well as a reception to meet the Flyers legends playing in and supporting the game – came very close. My son Scott, whom I coached and drove to countless hockey games and practices, decided to come to Philadelphia with me for the event. Being a hockey fan truly crosses generations.

The event started with a montage of original jerseys worn by yesteryear’s Flyers players, as well as a chance meeting with Flyer Hall of Fame goalie Bernie Parent (my childhood favorite Flyer for life). Over the next two hours, Scott and I met and talked with an amazing array of Flyers legends: Bernie; Dave “The Hammer” Schultz, Reggie Leach, and Bill Barber of the “Broad Street Bullies” era; and Brian Propp and his linemate Tim Kerr, a Flyers 1980’s era scoring machine. More contemporary Flyers – including Simone Gagne, Gerry Desjardins, and Danny Brière – were also there, looking like they could still take a regular shift. I met with some of the Flyers legends I played with and against in last year’s charity game, including Bob “The Hound” Kelly, Joe Watson, Larry Goodenough, and Kjell Samuelsson. They gladly signed a picture of us along with Brian Propp from the 2016 NHS game, which I dubbed “the AARP All-Star Team,” and we all had a good laugh.

Undoubtedly, the highlight of the day was seeing my son’s face when he met his idol, Eric Lindros. Scott told Eric how we used to read his biography at story time and how it became a school book report – several times, in fact!

Meeting Flyers great and hall of famer Mark Howe and the son of “Mr. Hockey,” Gordie Howe was very special to me. Mark loved hearing about my recent blog about his dad, who passed away last year, and how statistics and analytics prove he was the greatest player ever. All of this made me think back to when the Flyers were winning back-to-back Stanley Cups and more in the mid-1970s. Nothing has changed in the intervening 40-plus years, and the respect and bond between players and fans continue to be as strong as ever.

Generations and the fan experience

The alumni game between the Flyers and Penguins was played to a sold-out crowd and benefited the Ed Snider Foundation, honoring the passing of one of the Flyers’ founders. From the player introductions and homage to fallen Flyers players and colleagues to the opening face-off, the only word that could describe the day is “magical.” The game had players representing several generations and eras for both teams. While that in itself is impressive, the level of play was also very high. What looked like a Flyers runaway win early on ended in a 3-3 tie. Everyone in attendance left the rink with huge smiles. And of course, seeing Flyer great, ambassador, and friend Brian Propp introduced to an enormous ovation 15 months after suffering a massive stroke – and then skating and playing at a high level of play that simply defies logic – was an absolute thrill. Brian greeted the crowd with his signature “guffaw” and wave, and the place went crazy.

Being a hockey fan is something that passes from generation to generation – and sharing the Flyer magic and tradition with my son Scott is something that I will never forget. It’s not about logic, but it’s all about passion for our favorite teams, players, and special moments. Scott and I, wearing jerseys honoring Flyers legends Brian Propp #26 and Brian Boucher “Bouch” #33, were united with the 18,000 other fans that night in one magical moment. The magic of the hockey fan experience transcends generations and with amazing memories to last a lifetime.

So despite my steep challenge to top some pretty cool things last year, I think I did a good job adding to my fan experience this year. And best of all, the season is barely half done as the second season of the NHL playoffs awaits. Keep an eye on the NHL Network and NHL on NBC for lots more insights by SAP and much more!

Join Fred online: TwitterFacebookLinkedInsap.comSAP Services Hub


About Fred Isbell

Fred Isbell is the Senior Director of SAP Digital Business Services Marketing at SAP. He is an experienced, results- and goal-oriented senior marketing executive with broad and extensive experience & expertise in high technology and marketing. He has a BA from Yale and an MBA from the Duke Fuqua School of Business.

Data Analysts And Scientists More Important Than Ever For The Enterprise

Daniel Newman

The business world is now firmly in the age of data. Not that data wasn’t relevant before; it was just nowhere close to the speed and volume that’s available to us today. Businesses are buckling under the deluge of petabytes, exabytes, and zettabytes. Within these bytes lie valuable information on customer behavior, key business insights, and revenue generation. However, all that data is practically useless for businesses without the ability to identify the right data. Plus, if they don’t have the talent and resources to capture the right data, organize it, dissect it, draw actionable insights from it and, finally, deliver those insights in a meaningful way, their data initiatives will fail.

Rise of the CDO

Companies of all sizes can easily find themselves drowning in data generated from websites, landing pages, social streams, emails, text messages, and many other sources. Additionally, there is data in their own repositories. With so much data at their disposal, companies are under mounting pressure to utilize it to generate insights. These insights are critical because they can (and should) drive the overall business strategy and help companies make better business decisions. To leverage the power of data analytics, businesses need more “top-management muscle” specialized in the field of data science. This specialized field has lead to the creation of roles like Chief Data Officer (CDO).

In addition, with more companies undertaking digital transformations, there’s greater impetus for the C-suite to make data-driven decisions. The CDO helps make data-driven decisions and also develops a digital business strategy around those decisions. As data grows at an unstoppable rate, becoming an inseparable part of key business functions, we will see the CDO act as a bridge between other C-suite execs.

Data skills an emerging business necessity

So far, only large enterprises with bigger data mining and management needs maintain in-house solutions. These in-house teams and technologies handle the growing sets of diverse and dispersed data. Others work with third-party service providers to develop and execute their big data strategies.

As the amount of data grows, the need to mine it for insights becomes a key business requirement. For both large and small businesses, data-centric roles will experience endless upward mobility. These roles include data anlysts and scientists. There is going to be a huge opportunity for critical thinkers to turn their analytical skills into rapidly growing roles in the field of data science. In fact, data skills are now a prized qualification for titles like IT project managers and computer systems analysts.

Forbes cited the McKinsey Global Institute’s prediction that by 2018 there could be a massive shortage of data-skilled professionals. This indicates a disruption at the demand-supply level with the needs for data skills at an all-time high. With an increasing number of companies adopting big data strategies, salaries for data jobs are going through the roof. This is turning the position into a highly coveted one.

According to Harvard Professor Gary King, “There is a big data revolution. The big data revolution is that now we can do something with the data.” The big problem is that most enterprises don’t know what to do with data. Data professionals are helping businesses figure that out. So if you’re casting about for where to apply your skills and want to take advantage of one of the best career paths in the job market today, focus on data science.

I’m compensated by University of Phoenix for this blog. As always, all thoughts and opinions are my own.

For more insight on our increasingly connected future, see The $19 Trillion Question: Are You Undervaluing The Internet Of Things?

The post Data Analysts and Scientists More Important Than Ever For the Enterprise appeared first on Millennial CEO.


About Daniel Newman

Daniel Newman serves as the Co-Founder and CEO of EC3, a quickly growing hosted IT and Communication service provider. Prior to this role Daniel has held several prominent leadership roles including serving as CEO of United Visual. Parent company to United Visual Systems, United Visual Productions, and United GlobalComm; a family of companies focused on Visual Communications and Audio Visual Technologies. Daniel is also widely published and active in the Social Media Community. He is the Author of Amazon Best Selling Business Book "The Millennial CEO." Daniel also Co-Founded the Global online Community 12 Most and was recognized by the Huffington Post as one of the 100 Business and Leadership Accounts to Follow on Twitter. Newman is an Adjunct Professor of Management at North Central College. He attained his undergraduate degree in Marketing at Northern Illinois University and an Executive MBA from North Central College in Naperville, IL. Newman currently resides in Aurora, Illinois with his wife (Lisa) and his two daughters (Hailey 9, Avery 5). A Chicago native all of his life, Newman is an avid golfer, a fitness fan, and a classically trained pianist

When Good Is Good Enough: Guiding Business Users On BI Practices

Ina Felsheim

Image_part2-300x200In Part One of this blog series, I talked about changing your IT culture to better support self-service BI and data discovery. Absolutely essential. However, your work is not done!

Self-service BI and data discovery will drive the number of users using the BI solutions to rapidly expand. Yet all of these more casual users will not be well versed in BI and visualization best practices.

When your user base rapidly expands to more casual users, you need to help educate them on what is important. For example, one IT manager told me that his casual BI users were making visualizations with very difficult-to-read charts and customizing color palettes to incredible degrees.

I had a similar experience when I was a technical writer. One of our lead writers was so concerned with readability of every sentence that he was going through the 300+ page manuals (yes, they were printed then) and manually adjusting all of the line breaks and page breaks. (!) Yes, readability was incrementally improved. But now any number of changes–technical capabilities, edits, inserting larger graphics—required re-adjusting all of those manual “optimizations.” The time it took just to do the additional optimization was incredible, much less the maintenance of these optimizations! Meanwhile, the technical writing team was falling behind on new deliverables.

The same scenario applies to your new casual BI users. This new group needs guidance to help them focus on the highest value practices:

  • Customization of color and appearance of visualizations: When is this customization necessary for a management deliverable, versus indulging an OCD tendency? I too have to stop myself from obsessing about the font, line spacing, and that a certain blue is just a bit different than another shade of blue. Yes, these options do matter. But help these casual users determine when that time is well spent.
  • Proper visualizations: When is a spinning 3D pie chart necessary to grab someone’s attention? BI professionals would firmly say “NEVER!” But these casual users do not have a lot of depth on BI best practices. Give them a few simple guidelines as to when “flash” needs to subsume understanding. Consider offering a monthly one-hour Lunch and Learn that shows them how to create impactful, polished visuals. Understanding if their visualizations are going to be viewed casually on the way to a meeting, or dissected at a laptop, also helps determine how much time to spend optimizing a visualization. No, you can’t just mandate that they all read Tufte.
  • Predictive: Provide advanced analytics capabilities like forecasting and regression directly in their casual BI tools. Using these capabilities will really help them wow their audience with substance instead of flash.
  • Feature requests: Make sure you understand the motivation and business value behind some of the casual users’ requests. These casual users are less likely to understand the implications of supporting specific requests across an enterprise, so make sure you are collaborating on use cases and priorities for substantive requests.

By working with your casual BI users on the above points, you will be able to collectively understand when the absolute exact request is critical (and supports good visualization practices), and when it is an “optimization” that may impact productivity. In many cases, “good” is good enough for the fast turnaround of data discovery.

Next week, I’ll wrap this series up with hints on getting your casual users to embrace the “we” not “me” mentality.

Read Part One of this series: Changing The IT Culture For Self-Service BI Success.

Follow me on Twitter: @InaSAP


The Future of Cybersecurity: Trust as Competitive Advantage

Justin Somaini and Dan Wellers


The cost of data breaches will reach US$2.1 trillion globally by 2019—nearly four times the cost in 2015.

Cyberattacks could cost up to $90 trillion in net global economic benefits by 2030 if cybersecurity doesn’t keep pace with growing threat levels.

Cyber insurance premiums could increase tenfold to $20 billion annually by 2025.

Cyberattacks are one of the top 10 global risks of highest concern for the next decade.

Companies are collaborating with a wider network of partners, embracing distributed systems, and meeting new demands for 24/7 operations.

But the bad guys are sharing intelligence, harnessing emerging technologies, and working round the clock as well—and companies are giving them plenty of weaknesses to exploit.

  • 33% of companies today are prepared to prevent a worst-case attack.
  • 25% treat cyber risk as a significant corporate risk.
  • 80% fail to assess their customers and suppliers for cyber risk.

The ROI of Zero Trust

Perimeter security will not be enough. As interconnectivity increases so will the adoption of zero-trust networks, which place controls around data assets and increases visibility into how they are used across the digital ecosystem.

A Layered Approach

Companies that embrace trust as a competitive advantage will build robust security on three core tenets:

  • Prevention: Evolving defensive strategies from security policies and educational approaches to access controls
  • Detection: Deploying effective systems for the timely detection and notification of intrusions
  • Reaction: Implementing incident response plans similar to those for other disaster recovery scenarios

They’ll build security into their digital ecosystems at three levels:

  1. Secure products. Security in all applications to protect data and transactions
  2. Secure operations. Hardened systems, patch management, security monitoring, end-to-end incident handling, and a comprehensive cloud-operations security framework
  3. Secure companies. A security-aware workforce, end-to-end physical security, and a thorough business continuity framework

Against Digital Armageddon

Experts warn that the worst-case scenario is a state of perpetual cybercrime and cyber warfare, vulnerable critical infrastructure, and trillions of dollars in losses. A collaborative approach will be critical to combatting this persistent global threat with implications not just for corporate and personal data but also strategy, supply chains, products, and physical operations.

Download the executive brief The Future of Cybersecurity: Trust as Competitive Advantage.



How Digital Transformation Is Rewriting Business Models

Ginger Shimp

Everybody knows someone who has a stack of 3½-inch floppies in a desk drawer “just in case we may need them someday.” While that might be amusing, the truth is that relatively few people are confident that they’re making satisfactory progress on their digital journey. The boundaries between the digital and physical worlds continue to blur — with profound implications for the way we do business. Virtually every industry and every enterprise feels the effects of this ongoing digital transformation, whether from its own initiative or due to pressure from competitors.

What is digital transformation? It’s the wholesale reimagining and reinvention of how businesses operate, enabled by today’s advanced technology. Businesses have always changed with the times, but the confluence of technologies such as mobile, cloud, social, and Big Data analytics has accelerated the pace at which today’s businesses are evolving — and the degree to which they transform the way they innovate, operate, and serve customers.

The process of digital transformation began decades ago. Think back to how word processing fundamentally changed the way we write, or how email transformed the way we communicate. However, the scale of transformation currently underway is drastically more significant, with dramatically higher stakes. For some businesses, digital transformation is a disruptive force that leaves them playing catch-up. For others, it opens to door to unparalleled opportunities.

Upending traditional business models

To understand how the businesses that embrace digital transformation can ultimately benefit, it helps to look at the changes in business models currently in process.

Some of the more prominent examples include:

  • A focus on outcome-based models — Open the door to business value to customers as determined by the outcome or impact on the customer’s business.
  • Expansion into new industries and markets — Extend the business’ reach virtually anywhere — beyond strictly defined customer demographics, physical locations, and traditional market segments.
  • Pervasive digitization of products and services — Accelerate the way products and services are conceived, designed, and delivered with no barriers between customers and the businesses that serve them.
  • Ecosystem competition — Create a more compelling value proposition in new markets through connections with other companies to enhance the value available to the customer.
  • Access a shared economy — Realize more value from underutilized sources by extending access to other business entities and customers — with the ability to access the resources of others.
  • Realize value from digital platforms — Monetize the inherent, previously untapped value of customer relationships to improve customer experiences, collaborate more effectively with partners, and drive ongoing innovation in products and services,

In other words, the time-tested assumptions about how to identify customers, develop and market products and services, and manage organizations may no longer apply. Every aspect of business operations — from forecasting demand to sourcing materials to recruiting and training staff to balancing the books — is subject to this wave of reinvention.

The question is not if, but when

These new models aren’t predictions of what could happen. They’re already realities for innovative, fast-moving companies across the globe. In this environment, playing the role of late adopter can put a business at a serious disadvantage. Ready or not, digital transformation is coming — and it’s coming fast.

Is your company ready for this sea of change in business models? At SAP, we’ve helped thousands of organizations embrace digital transformation — and turn the threat of disruption into new opportunities for innovation and growth. We’d relish the opportunity to do the same for you. Our Digital Readiness Assessment can help you see where you are in the journey and map out the next steps you’ll need to take.

Up next I’ll discuss the impact of digital transformation on processes and work. Until then, you can read more on how digital transformation is impacting your industry.


About Ginger Shimp

With more than 20 years’ experience in marketing, Ginger Shimp has been with SAP since 2004. She has won numerous awards and honors at SAP, including being designated “Top Talent” for two consecutive years. Not only is she a Professional Certified Marketer with the American Marketing Association, but she's also earned her Connoisseur's Certificate in California Reds from the Chicago Wine School. She holds a bachelor's degree in journalism from the University of San Francisco, and an MBA in marketing and managerial economics from the Kellogg Graduate School of Management at Northwestern University. Personally, Ginger is the proud mother of a precocious son and happy wife of one of YouTube's 10 EDU Gurus, Ed Shimp.