FLXathon  2020
FAQs

What is FLXathon?

FLXathon2020 is a hackathon for all AP SAS employees running in conjunction and as a leadup to the 2020 Front Line Experience (FLX2020). FLX2020 will occur in Singapore during mid-January 2020. 

 

Why the FLXathon? 
There are two core drivers to the FLXathon: 

  • It is an opportunity for all AP employees to showcase their ability to find innovative solutions for our customer's business problems of today, and another avenue to join the FLX2020 in Singapore if not already invited. 
  • From a SAS APAC perspective, it is a great way to refresh and update our demo assets with new and innovative showcases. Demo assets are critical sales assets, and hence these must be kept fresh and exciting to secure our future.   


Why should I participate? 
There are many reasons why you should participate including: 

  • a new challenge 
  • a creative outlet 
  • collaboration, possibly with new colleagues you may have never met 
  • an opportunity to widen your network 
  • prizes up for grabs 
  • possibility to join the FLX2020 in Singapore  
  • showcasing your innovative streak to SAS executives  

When does the FLXathon start? 
The FLXathon went live on the 12th November 2019 

When will the FLXathon conclude? 
The event will end at FLX2020 in Singapore in the week of the 20th January 2020. If you are amongst the four finalist teams, you will be travelling to Singapore on the 18th January 2020 

What are the key dates that I need to consider? 
12th November 2019: Invitation for team registration opens 
24th November 2019: Registration for teams closes
5th January 2020: Final submission of 1st round projects for judgement 
10th January 2020: Announcement of finalist by category 
19th January 2020: Final Judgement day in Singapore for the four finalist teams 
21st January 2020: Demo sessions during the FLXHibition to all AP staff at FLX2020 in Singapore 

When should I start building my application?
You can start any time now, the earlier, the better. However, remember to register in time to ensure your team’s spot in the competition. 

Can I reuse something that I worked on previously?
Yes, you can reuse assets that you created previously. However, you may need to improve your application to take into consideration the judging criteria:  

  • Business Value,  
  • Innovation,  
  • Collateral,  
  • Portability and  
  • Collaboration 

What if I don't know what I want to work on yet?
At registration, you will also need to provide a synopsis for your project. However, this can change as you progress with your project. 

The recommendation if you do not know what you want to work on yet is: 

  • choose your category 
  • and provide your synopsis as an idea of your project 

Naturally, you can discuss your considered project with a mentor for that category to obtain maybe some additional thoughts and pointers. They are there to help. 

Is there a possibility for an extension of the deadline?
No, the deadline for the final submission of your project on the 5th January is governed by the dates of the FLX2020 event, and this is unmovable.  

 

Categories

What are the categories that I can compete in? 

Customer Experience 

  • This could include using CI360 create a new approach or improve on an existing approach which would enhance a customer’s experience 

Open and Operationalisation 

  • Using Phyton, R, SAS Viya or another language, create a model which solves a business problem, and operationalize it using SAS technologies with modern techniques, typically used by IT.    

Decisioning 

  • Using an analytical approach create a real-time decision-making application which utilises SAS on Viya plus any other additional components required.  The decision should be analytically driven. 

Solutions 

  • SAS solutions solve many business problems today. Using a SAS solution, such as fraud, solve a new use case that is not commonly solved by our solution as yet. 

 

Prizes

Are there any prizes? 
All team members of the 4 finalist team per category will win a prize. The four awards that will be up for grabs and will be determined at the final judgement in Singapore on the 19th January are: 

1st Prize and overall winner of all categories 

Prizes worth $5,500 per team member comprised of: 

  • $2,500 in cash  
  • An extension of your stay at Marina Bay Sands until Sunday, 26th January and up to $1,000 to fly companion to Singapore to join you. If your companion is unable to join you in Singapore, you can choose to convert your stay extension into $2,000 cash. 

Runner Up of all categories 

Prizes worth $2,500 per team member comprise of: 

  • $1,500 cash 
  • $1,000 in tuition reimbursement for obtaining (a) online certification(s) with Coursera  

Remaining categories winners 

Prizes worth $1,500 per team member comprise of: 

  • $500 cash 
  • $1,000 in tuition reimbursement for obtaining (a) online certification(s) with Coursera 

 

Team Composition 

Who can be in a team? 
Any SAS AP employee can part of a team. 

Is the FLXathon just for techies? 

No, the competition is open to any SAS AP employee to participate, including employees from HR, Sales, Marketing, Finance as an example. Everyone brings their unique skills that can contribute or even differentiate your team from the competition. Overall success is not only been judged on your team's technical capabilities but also: 

  • the idea 
  • how it is pitched  
  • the validity of the business problem and quantification of the value 
  • innovation 
  • persuasiveness 
  • graphical and media aids used 

Do I need a team to register? 
Yes, you need to register a team of 2-3 members. Note, multi-disciplinary teams and or multi-region teams will automatically gain bonus points. 

How many people per team?
Between 2 and 3. The team must contain at least one member from Customer Advisory 

Why at least one Customer Advisory on the team? 
Customer Advisory will ensure the application is fit for purpose, demo-worthy and reusable. Customer Advisory also helps source infrastructure and develop demo scripts.  

Can I be in mutiple teams?
Yes, a participant can be in multiple teams.

Can a regional/global team member join FLXathon?
A global/regional team member (excluding AP GTP ie. Deepak’s reports) located and based in AP can participate in the FLXathon


Registration 

When do I register my team?
Registration opens 12th November 2019 and closes 24th November 2019. 

Where do I sign up? 
Register your team at https://www.sas.com/en_au/events/2019/flxathon.html   

 

Infrastructure 

What infrastructure can I use for my development? 
The team may choose between any of the following (keeping in mind portability judging criteria): 

  • Try before you Buy  
  • RACE 
  • AFT boxes (subject to host country approval) 
  • Work issued laptops 

NOTE: Strictly, no external cloud hosting is allowed to manage costs and ensure a level playing field. 

What if my country has no AFT box? 

Every sub-region (ANZ, ASEAN, GC, India and JPK) have at least one AFT box. You may use that box even if not located in your country. 

If I develop my project on an AFT box, will it be shipped to Singapore for the final presentation? 

No, in that case, you may be provided with another environment to port your project to, or you may use the AFT box you built your project while remaining in its original location. But take into account that when choosing the latter option, you are not demonstrating portability, and challenges such a latency, firewalls and proxy servers may cause technical complications that you may not want to deal with on the day of your final judgement. 

 

Mentors  

Will there be mentors to help us through the FLXathon? 
Yes, for each category, we have appointed a mentor. 

Who are the mentors for each category? 

  • Customer Experience - Ramashish Singh 
  • Open & Operationalisation – Jacky Long 
  • Decisioning - Ramashish Singh 
  • Solutions 
    - Risk – Abdullo Akhadov 
    - Fraud – Keith Swanson 

Judging

How does the judging work? 
There will be two rounds of judging as follows: 

Round 1: this round will select each winning team for each category. These winning teams will then proceed as the 4 finalist teams for final judgement in Singapore. 

Round 2 or Final Judgment: this round the finalist teams will compete for the position of the overall winning team and runner up team for all categories.  

Who are the judges? 

Round 1:  a group of panellists from APAC's leadership team   
Round 2: a panel of 5 to 8 SAS executive
s

 

What are the judging criteria?  

Entries will be judged on the following criteria: 

  • Business Value 
  • Innovation 
  • Collateral 
  • Portability 
  • Collaboration 

 

How will the project be judged? Can I have some guidance?
You should plan to meet all 5 broad judging criteria where possible (Business Value, Innovation, Collateral, Portability, Collaboration). 

For each criterion, we have listed some details below which should be observed as guidance only, they are suggestions that you can take into considerations and you may not have to cover them all.

Business Value

Your project will be judged in how well you defined the business value of the problem you are attempting to solve. To the judges, how well defined it is, not how big the problem is, but how real you are representing the magnitude of the problem. Quantifying the size of the business problem will be crucial. Most likely, during this process, you will have to make assumptions. Assumptions are normal, but 

  • record them, and
  • substantiate the quantifications of your assumptions.

The workings in how you quantified your business problem will mainly interest the judges. Naturally, it would be best if you kept in mind that the solution to the business problem needs to derive sufficient return for our clients to act on it. Think net present value, rate of return, payback etc. 

Innovation

This criterion focuses on creative idea generation. The judges assess the degree of exploration incorporated in areas such as 

  • Variation
  • Risk-taking
  • Experimentation
  • Flexibility
  • Discovery

Right balance of exploration (free-thinking, unstructured activation) with exploitation (structured activity focused on refinement, efficiency, productivity, implementation, and execution).

Collateral

To submit your project for judgement, you will need to provide the following by the 5th January:

  1. A video recording of your pitch (10-minutes), including the associated written script of the talk tracks
  2. A business problem statement including the workings to the quantification of the estimated value for the problem
  3. Access to a running instance of your developed application, preferably via an end-point or URL to get to it
  4. Your portable demo assets.

Any additional collateral submitted could attract bonus points. Remember you are trying to sell your solution to the judges. So any further marketing or sales materials that could swing their decision will help. Be modern and think multimedia!


Portability 
It is the ease with which a system or component can be transferred from one hardware or software environment to another.

The quality attributes are judged based on portability between different:

  • hardware platforms
  • operating systems
  • virtual machines/containers
  • versions

Where applicable, this may include tier separation (ie. compute vs database tiers) and code portability (ie. use of platform specific APIs).

 

Collaboration

This criterion recognises the importance of effective relationships and collaborations within and across disciplines to tackle difficult issues. Where teams have collaborated, you will be judged against the following:

  • Show evidence of collaboration having a direct impact or improved outcome
  • Evidence of other departments/divisions having influence as a result of collaboration
  • How the collaboration led to the success of the project eg. incorporating Marketing’s feedback

 

What will the judges require for me to submit for judgment? 

For Round 1 you will need to submit:

  1. A video recording of your pitch (10-minutes), including the associated written script of the talk tracks
  2. A business problem statement including the workings to the quantification of the estimated value for the problem
  3. Access to a running instance of your developed application, preferably via an end-point or URL to get to it
  4. Your portable demo assets

You will also be pitching your project via a video conference.

For Round 2, you will be using the Round 1 assets to pitch your project to the SAS executive team. Think Shark Tank style! 

This will be in front of the judges in Singapore if you are amongst the finalist teams.

 

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