What’s ‘app-ening’ at the Super Bowl?


It’s Super Bowl week and the players, coaches, media and fans are converging on New York City and northern New Jersey for a week of practices, interviews and events - all leading up to the big game.

I, too, am making preparations for Super Bowl XLVIII, even though I’m not traveling to the game. Let’s see, I’ve downloaded the NFL app, the Broncos app and the Seahawks app … gosh, I wonder what else I might need.

How about a Super Bowl menus app? A Super Bowl commercials app? Maybe a Bud Light or Doritos or Pepsi app? Whatever it takes to get me ready and connected to the players, teams, scores, statistics and, of course, the commercials. And considering the game’s location, I might be interested in a weather app, too!

With a stadium capacity of more than 82,000, you know there’s going to be an awful lot of smartphone activity going on during the game. How many tweets, Facebook and Instagram posts do you think will come out of MetLife Stadium? How many of those will be selfies? Yeah, I don’t have a clue, either, but you can bet that the numbers will be mind-boggling. Talk about big data!

Mobile technology and social media have permeated virtually every aspect of our lives, so why should America’s biggest sporting event -- or the NFL in general -- be any different? And it’s not just the fans. Teams are making use of mobile tech, too. Take, for example, team playbooks - those giant binders with diagrams of every play in a team’s arsenal. Well, they’re not giant binders anymore; they’re on tablets!

Here at SAS, we want our championship-caliber team of employees well-equipped to always be on the top of their game, whether in the office, on the road or even when they’re tailgating at the stadium.  We have many internal PC applications that we need to put at employees’ fingertips, wherever those fingertips happen to be. We’re currently in the pre-season, just starting to figure out what we’re going to put in our playbook.

You may have noticed that we were recently named No. 2 on Fortune’s annual list of Best Companies to Work For in the US. We’ve been on that list every year of its existence, in part because of our great lines of communication between our coaches and players, er, I mean company leaders and employees. So to get started formulating an internal mobile app game plan, we used an interactive feature on our intranet called “You tell us …” to solicit input on which mobile apps employees want or need most.

The results are in and we’re checking the score. Stay tuned to this blog; I’ll provide an update in a future post as we march down the field toward the end zone. Meanwhile, would you give us a peek inside your playbook? Use the comments section below to let us know about your employee mobility initiatives.

As for the big game and which team I’m rooting for -- that’s a tough one. Two great teams from two great cities. I love visiting Colorado, especially the area surrounding Denver. On the other hand, I have family in Seattle, and Russell Wilson spent most of his collegiate career at NC State, the same school where SAS was born, so Go Seahawks!

Regardless of which side you’re on, I hope you enjoy the game! Or the commercials! Or the tweets! Or the …


About Author

Karen Lee

Senior Director Internal Communications, SAS

Karen Lee joined SAS in 1984 as a technical marketing representative. In the past 28 years, Karen has successfully merged her technical savvy with her communications know-how to foster a sense of trust and engagement among SAS’ 13,000 global employees. In her current role as Senior Director of Internal Communications, Karen has embraced social media to find new ways to connect employees with one another and with company leadership. She has done this by challenging SAS executives to communicate with employees via individual blogs and live, virtual “chats.” In 2011, her team spearheaded the effort to create an internal social media network known as the Hub, which has created virtual communities for best practice sharing, idea generation and work/life balance. Within two weeks of its launch, the site had more than 3,000 registrants and continues to grow. Karen modeled her team’s structure around a 24/7 news cycle, covering company events with real-time updates on the global intranet site. Gone are the days of “holding the news” until the next day’s publication. SAS employees hear news as it happens. Even with a wired employee base, however, traditional communication channels are not overlooked. Karen established regular “coffee with the CEO” sessions several years ago in which front-line employees are able to interact with and hear about the direction of the company from its CEO in an informal setting. Before being named Senior Director of Internal Communications, Karen was Director of Communications Support for SAS' Research & Development Division. In this role, she found innovative ways to communicate with a traditionally introverted employee population. Using a variety of communications vehicles, such as podcasts and employee expos, she improved information sharing among customers, management and developers. Before becoming a SAS employee, Karen was a SAS customer, using the software for capacity planning in her job at Official Airline Guides. Karen has a bachelor's degree in computer science from Eastern Illinois University. Originally from Westchester, Ill., Karen currently lives in Holly Springs, N.C. Outside of SAS, she enjoys spending time with her family, enjoying the outdoors biking, running and traveling to find new adventures.

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