Skip to Content

There has been a lot of fuss lately about the list of top companies. Of course it is too late for my comments as to whether a company deserves to be in the top or not to have any impact on the outcome of the list. In any case it’s not up to me to decide on the criteria for inclusion in the list and in my humble opinion it’s only the privilege of the SDN administrators to do so. I would rather focus on the way this list is composed.
Mark Wipro passed 100K SDN Points. Congratulations. in his web log that it “is derived from the primary email address that you have posted in your Business Card (profile). We take everything from the @ until the next point and summarize it.” At first sight this would appear to be a rather objective and neutral approach, but I wonder if, in this case, it really is the correct method. One appears to be putting incomparable things in the same basket. Before everyone gets up on their hind legs, let me explain.
The problem is that there are different types of companies based on:

  1. the nature of the company. It is clear that a pure computer/development related company is different from a non-profit or manufacturing company.
  2. the size of the company. An SME is clearly not comparable with a multi-national.
  3. there is also a difference between SAP itself (as a company), SAP partners and SAP customers

All of this definitely has an effect on contributions, meaning respectively:

  1. a company consisting only of developers has more resources and expertise than a manufacturing company where the people are only there to keep the SAP system running (or for feeding the system with data) and the actual development is outsourced. It’s not so obvious that such a company can expend valuable time and people in order to contribute to SDN. The effort for such types of customers is thus bigger than for ‘dedicated’ companies.
  2. More or Less the same can be said for SMEs as compared to multi-nationals. But it can be difficult even for bigger companies. Take our university – which is not exactly a company in the commercial sense of the word – as an example. There are about 8500 employees at the university, but not even 0.5% of them are actually involved in SAP development. And even then I didn’t take into account the university hospital emplyees (about 8300), which brings the ratio down to 0.25%. If you ask me, there are, relatively speaking, not that many people that could contribute.
  3. It would appear rather obvious that SAP people and SAP partners can put more effort in to contributing. On top of that, they have more (re)sources at their disposal than SAP customers. The top companies list doesn’t make any distinction on that count.
    In all fairness I have to say that SAP people don’t qualify for the annual prize-giving.

Where am I heading with all this? Well, the list doesn’t take the proportion of contributors per company in to consideration. Shouldn’t a company with only one contributor that ends up in the top 10 get more respect than a company with multiple contributors? Btw, I’m basing this on the assumption that there is a one to one relationship between an account and a physical person. I sometimes see an account contributing 24/7. It is clear to me that multiple people are using the same account on a multinational base. If not, there must be a robot with artificial intelligence behind the account. Whatever it may be, it is –as with anonymous users – against the philosophy of things.
In conclusion I would like to go back to Mark’s explanation. If we take it literally, then there are some (serious?) gaps in this algorithm. It considers only the second level domain name, excluding the top level domain (TLD). What happens with multinationals that use the TLD to distinguish between countries? It works fine if one doesn’t mind putting all the countries in one pile, but does one always want this?
It could also occur the other way around. Some companies put the country in the second level domain name, e.g. company-country.com. They would wrongfully be considered to be different companies. What if they use a third level domain name to do the same? At my previous place of work we used be.company.tld to make the difference. If we put it against the algorithm, we would end up with ‘be’ as company name. At the university we assign the departments to the third level domain name. Applying this algorithm, we would thus be known as ‘aiv’. Even if the FQDN was used, contributors from other departments would be assigned to other companies, despite being from (the same) university.
Some countries, like the UK, have a working standard with three domain levels. It could be even more complicated. We used to have four domain levels here: department.kuleuven.ac.be (the ac stands for academic). The phasing out is still going on, so there is still a mixed use.
Finally, the TLD can also be used to mark the difference between companies: sap.com, sap.be and sap.org don’t have anything in common.
In this forum Re: How does a company earn points? , Craig suggested not working with subdivisions in order to be toted up as one company.  I wonder thoud whether many companies allow their employees to work without the third level domain name. Craig pointed out in this thread that everything after the @ will be considered for the top company list. If that’s the case, some of my remarks would be obsolete whereas some would still remain valid. A clear statement in a FAQ would prevent confusion.
Nevertheless, I would suggest abandoning the current mechanism and instead simply ask the contributors to update their profile and fill in company and country, and whether they want to be grouped or not.

 

imageThe World According to SDN. Put yourself on the SND world map and earn 25 points. Spread the wor(l)d!

To report this post you need to login first.

22 Comments

You must be Logged on to comment or reply to a post.

  1. Community User
    We will be updating the FAQ on this point, but yes we take the whole text after “@” so all sub domains would be included but possibly not lumped together due to what each user from a specific company uses.

    Also, one of the improvements to this list company is the ability to see each person listed under the company – thus one could easily see company 1 has 10 people and company 2 has 3 regardless of whether company 2 is before or after 1.

    Lastly there is no prize giving for companies at the moment, and I’ve not heard otherwise prizes are giving to individuals not companies at the most they get recognition but no prizes are given to a company as a whole so really I fail to see the problem with having the list to begin with.

    Craig

    (0) 
    1. Eddy De Clercq Post author
      Craig,

      Thanks for the improvements.
      There seems to be something called the top contributor company award, which handed out last year at the NW Tech Tour/SDN meets labs though (see also SDN Meets Labs and Netweaver Tech Tour – Bangalore – Photos), so the list has some value apart from the obvious recognition.
      Putting all companies in one category can be unfortunate due to the in the web log mentioned reasons.
      Maybe a filtering simular to the top contributors can be solution. The criteria can be different than development area and thus need to be defined.

      Eddy

      (0) 
        1. Community User
          Also these are the prizes that normally would have been at TechEd but last year for Bangalore they did them at the TechTour with Shai and none were given at TechEd.
          (0) 
          1. Craig,

            I was wondering whether it is possible to include the filtering based on “Development areas” as well – just like what we have now for “Top Contributors”. This I think makes sense as you can not expect every company to excel in all areas available from SAP. I think, it will be benificial for people who are looking for “Top Contributing company” in development area “X”.

            Eddy: When I originally raised the question on the way this list is currently populated in Mark’s blog, I was under the impression that this list is populated based on company’s URL. Considering email address may not always be a good option as an employee from company X might have registered with his personal yahoo or hotmail email address – believe me, this is quite a common scenario (I had my yahoo ID until Mark responded to my question). I very well remember “yahoo” being listed in the Top 50 list for quite some time. May be having a separate field for company in the profile makes more sense…

            My two cents…

            Regards,

            Rajani Kumar

            (0) 
            1. Community User
              All that filter is being applied just is taking time as this is not a top priority for us and our focus is the contributors 🙂

              As for the separate there is one but we had to many people writing the company names slightly differently so email was the way we went.

              Before SDN went and opened the doors to the public it was easier everyone accessed via their S user ID for the Service Marketplace.

              Craig

              (0) 
        2. Eddy De Clercq Post author
          Craig,

          The layout is bit messy, but under photo 8
          “Kartik Iyengar receiving the top contributor company award(WIPRO) award from  Mr.Shai Agassi”

          But let’s not cavil about if award X was given or not to company Y at event Z and focus on the philosophy of the list, it’s reason for existence, how to improve it (see also Top Companies List) and how to avoid misunderstandings. It’ll certainly prevent unwanted discussions like in Wipro passed 100K SDN Points. Congratulations.

          Eddy

          (0) 
          1. Community User
            I see it now, but no the only thing ever been discussed was “maybe” giving the company a certificate or something no prizes – that was something unique to that event and that “time”, not an SDN thing or precident for the future.

            We’ll always have unwanted discussions regardless, but the point about the list is that it receives nothing but recognition – can a company with more people achieve more, yes of course it can but a small company and I know several have held their own in that list with only a few individuals involved – Kimball and Hella were in that list for a very long time and there were only one name behind each 😉

            The company list is there, it’s not going anywhere it’s being enhanced to show more filtering options as well as who’s contributing for that company – no plans to give prizes to companies for contributing – basically it’s a nice way for members within the same company to see where they rank amongst each other like in the top contributors list.

            The Top Contributor’s list though is where the focus of the community is or at least should be.

            Craig

            PS – we first had the list made by the actually “company field” but you’d be amazed at how many ways there are to write the name of a company 🙂

            (0) 
            1. Eddy De Clercq Post author
              Craig,

              Thanks for clearing things out and for the improvements.

              Concerning the spelling of companies, I was thinking on linking things to the SAP cust. number. I guess that solution has also it’s implications or problems.

              Eddy

              (0) 
              1. Dirk Herzog
                There might be even more customer numbers than different spellings of a company. I’m working for a global automotive company that has about thirty different customer numbers.

                Best regards
                Dirk

                (0) 
    1. Eddy De Clercq Post author
      Hi,

      A first bulk is downloaded by the SDN admins and you will get the points soon.
      Remember that today (July 4th) is a public holiday in the US.

      Eddy

      (0) 
      1. Community User
        The points are going to take a few days to get into the system – I have to manually add them (initially) once I get the first batch in then each week the update won’t take so long 🙂

        Craig

        (0) 
  2. Amit Khare
    I know this might have been put up several times but I am unable to get a satisfactory reply for this one.
    I want to use my alternate email Id for communication purpose rather than email Id.
    Is it possible?

    Regards,
    Amit

    (0) 

Leave a Reply