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Plethora of content

SAP’s efforts to provide community platforms like SDN and SAP Community have    been reinforced in the last months. That is, more and more SAP users and SAP    interested people joined these communities. Reasons are complex: Increased visibility    of the SAP NetWeaver platform due to the ramp-up completion, nicer giveaways    (nahhh), and higher user awareness of the advantages of using such platforms…

As a participant in both SAP Community and SDN, I noticed several distinctions    between them. This at first seems natural, being that the sites have different    structures and are related to different topics. But there are some points that    make me think combining the two sites makes sense. Content Consolidation, e.g.,    is an idea used in and enforced by EP, KM & MDM. Why not have just one platform    under one hood? Under this centralized platform SAP could promote the two of    its communities. I don’t want to take service marketplace into account as it    seems to be not that much justified being called a community like the other    two. That topic will probably be a new one in my future weblog activity.

Main question

To come back to the main question: What are the differences between SAP Community and SDN? And: Why not consolidate them?

Well, SDN in reality already IS a consolidation of several “units.”    There is the SDN content, the forums, the weblogs, a specialized download area    and so on. The orientation of the SDN topics, as the acronym SDN says, is development    centric, whereas the SAP Community more or less holds the claim on delivering    information about general concerns and partly specialized subjects. At least    in the latter lies an intersection between SDN and SAP Community. Look at the    SAP Community discussion forum “SAP NetWeaver Best Practices.” This    one goes in a similar, if not the same direction as some SDN topics. People    are unsure where to search or post information. As I must admit this holds true    for myself, too.

“Vision”

Being a bit of a visionary, combining the contents of the two communities without    mixing them up too much, would create a kinda knowledge network with interlinks,    cross references etc. I assume that consolidation of the content on two web    sites (with several more areas of interest and the same look-and-feel) would    be too simplistic.

Without dipping into further details about this “pre-visionary abstract    conception,” I would like to read your opinion. This question, not being    easy to answer, should be explored by SAP with help of a community discussion.

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8 Comments

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  1. Community User
    Hi Klaus,
    Your “pre-visionary abstract conception” is pointing towards things that are happening already.
    I think that in SDN, and in SAP’s ViewPoint technology, SAP has already created an infrastructure whereby nearly all sorts of content regarding the SAP “phenomenon” can easliy be consolidated. You can even find SAP Notes in the DevToday section, that you usually had to look for in the service marketplace.
    So it seems that SDN is already becoming a one-stop-shop for every thing SAP and quite justified so. You are even able to create mappings to sites like Safari Online, Service Marketplace, IViewStudio etc. containing SAP content. We are already heading towards a single huge SAP portal and that will create a “Plethora of Contents”, as you mentioned. For me, this is exactly what I am looking forward to. I think SDN is structured so nicely that it can easliy accomodate this abundance of information. My fullest support to the idea of creating a plethora!
    Thoughts…?
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    1. Klaus Meffert Post author
      Hello Shehryar,

      you made a good point refering to the ViewPoint technology. Of course this would be sufficient to integrate almost any content. But perhaps in special cases, like for SAP Community having a quite different structure and navigation, there could probably be some difficulties in modelling a solution conserving the main characteristics of SAP Community. Maybe one doesn’t want to conserve anything. That is one of the questions to be answered. I am no expert for ViewPoint technology, so I cannot anticipate its true power. If anything, it is capable of enabling extremely flexible ways of implementing infrastucture.

      Regards

      Klaus

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      1. Anonymous
        1. If you could design the SAP content world your way, how would you do it?
        2. Would you see ViewPoint’s role in the future as more dominant (maybe the homepage for the community) or less dominant (to non-existant)?
        3. Does this apply only to hard core developers or others in the organization as well?
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        1. Mark Finnern
          Hi Shai,

          Welcome to the SDN community.

          I love the flexibility that View Point is giving me, if only I could expand it with other news sources of my liking via subscription to RSS/Atom feeds of my choosing.

          Import/Export of an OPML file would be a dream.
          http://www.opml.org/

          Best, Mark.

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          1. Anonymous
            Mark,

            As we are going to ship the ViewPoint Toolkit at TechEd, maybe we can find someone on SDN that wants to take an early kit and build an RSS/ATOM integrator, and show it on stage at TechED…

            shai

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  2. Stephen Heverin
    I never could grasp why SAP maintains the community and SDN, especially in the area of the discussion forums. I would love to see those two discussion forums merged into one set of discussion forums as the topics greatly overlap (at least from the BW and EP standpoint).

    I can understand the areas being different from a content layout perspective, as community and sdn were put out to answer two different needs, but I would love to see the content integrated all around.

    Given SAP’s adoption and push of the portal concept, it makes sense that you can combine (merge) the community with SDN. (I envision SDN and a sub-channel of the overall community.)

    Integration of established outside content and knowledge resrouces (e.g. SAPFans) would be helpful as well.

    Currently (in typical SAP fashion), I look through three different discussion forums (SAPFans, Community, and SDN) to answer questions and find answers to questions. – And more and more I am seeing a lot of cross-posting of the same questions in order to get responses.

    It would be wonderful if I could have a one stop shop for the discussion forums.

    (And not to mention the 4 different mailing lists I am on as well – but those I stopped posting to long ago and focus solely on the three discussion forums.)

    I love the trend of SDN making more and more useful articles, learning and documentation available in easier to access format then other areas of SAP. And I do imagine SDN getting to that point of convergence, its just a matter of when.

    – Stephen

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    1. Klaus Meffert Post author
      Hello Stephen,

      to your last paragraph:
      An indicator SAP is steering into this direction resp. wanting to consolidate their contents is the new look of the SAP Service Marketplace.
      OK, it’s just a small step of placing two icons/links on one common page pointing to two separated communities. But IMO this is a first sign of change.

      Regards

      Klaus

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