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This week our very own BPX team received SAP Labs Most Valuable Players Innovation Award!!  This prestigious recognition was awarded due to the BPX team’s innovation and high performance.   While this was of course a world wide group effort, special recognition was given to: Matthias Boehmert, Ziv Carthy, Ran Cliff, Keith Elliott, Frauke Hoffmann, Aiaz Kazi, Ciara Mathews, Izzy Olivkovich, Marilyn Pratt, Helen Sunderland, Marco ten Vaanholt, Thomas Volmering and Audrey Weinland.    Congratulations to the entire BPX team for this well deserved award following a fruitful year building the Business Process Expert Community.
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    1. Marilyn Pratt
      Hi Anton, I’ll take a stab at that, although I honestly was surprised myself over this nomination (and claim a personal flaw in that my suspicious nature kicks in when given any kind of recognition).  Yes, I think we have a long path to travel towards what you might consider innovation, or massive community engagement or measurable “success”.  But I am guessing that this innovation recognition (an internal recognition which Gali “outed”)  was meant to signify or celebrate that SAPlabs appreciates how here, in SDN we could expand an already successful and passionate Technical Community into one that embraces the Business side as well.  We amazed ourselves, I dare say, when so many folks not only expressed an interest in jumping over to see what was doing on the BPX pages, but made them heavily trafficked areas of our already blooming and booming technical community.  Now we have the challenge of generating value for those that visit.  The industry launch, by some customer reckoning, is also doing that, by bringing awareness of important business issues to new audiences (take No Data no Market – The Impact of REACh and How to Comply awareness in the chemical industry as an example) or in our own internal and self examination of the
      Process Management Lifecycle externalized on the BPX homepage.

      Inventing the BPX idea might claim “a first” in this regard:  SAP Community Networks are attempting to bring geeks and suits together on one platform.  Now that’s not to say that there aren’t other “businessy” sites out there and goodness knows, there are many successful technical communities.  But I dare say we are one of the few, if not the only attempt at bringing the business and technical community together into one SAP Network Community. And I’ll be the first to agree that we still have a journey and a long one to bringing value, measurable and concrete instances of business success to our community.   Innovation is an intention.  It is a journey.  It will require experimentation :  See BPX script: “Innovation Takes too Long and passion and commitment.  See  some of the work and thoughts of new BPX contributors ,  and zealots like:  Richard Hirsch .  I have it on pretty good authority from members of a number of other large, process and business-oriented organizations that wish they had launched this kind of community first, that being first holds  some sort of advantage.  Perhaps the “firstness” is what was recognized and the word innovation was used because there wasn’t a “first” award?

      Interestingly, these last few days brought some external recognition to what is happening here.  I particularly noted this quote out on ZDnet, “you are selling SDN short ….(others..sic) would do well to focus less on the artifacts of community and more on building out the actual community beyond geeks. Look at BPX for an indication of what I am referring to….. SAP has the SAP community” which in turn quotes our own Craig Cmehil  as well as  to  Jerry Bowles   of Social Media. 

      It’s not about being defensive either.  It’s about taking the healthy, earnest and often deserved criticism and using it to shape, mould, improve…and perhaps, yes…innovate.

      Thanks so much for your response, Anton, and your own ever-watchful defense against marketing and politics. 

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      1. Mark Yolton
        I think you capture it well, Marilyn.  In essence, the innovation was taking the deep learnings gleaned from SDN — both about our members, and about how to create a vibrant community — to extend and create something new that meets an unmet need among our customers, partners, suppliers, and others… for more tools and information and sharing about business processes, methodologies, change management, and generally making the link stronger between technical and business people.  We took a big leap of faith with BPX, and based on the 120,000+ members in less than a year, it seems clear that we’ve hit on something important.  I’m pleased and proud that SAP (as a company) recognized our little BPX team and our many cross-organizational teammates for their hard work and good results in this innovative area. 

        Mark Yolton

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  1. Marco ten Vaanholt
    Anton, thanks for the opportunity to let me answer this question.

    The SAP Business Process Expert Community was founded in 2006 to address the unique needs of people who act as bridges between IT and business. It provides them with the tools to help them collaborate on improving business processes and provides the context to utilize the best practices software and technologies companies need to be successful deploying an enterprise service-oriented architecture. The BPX community was a grass roots initiative without any funding. Through active planning and building in early 2006 we were able to sneak preview at Sapphire in May 2006  and had launches and momentum launches at TechEd events in Las Vegas Amsterdam and Bangalore at the end of 2006.  We received high praises by many analysts (Gartner Ovum Summit IDC) and by independent third-party analyst bloggers media coverage claiming first-mover strategic advantage for SAP.’

    Through this we have staked out ground in the market and have associated SAP with a new group of workers increasingly important as Enterprise SOA is adopted and associates SAP with agility and innovation and thought leadership.

    This integration of best practice business processes and Enterprise SOA especially enhances BPX members already through sharing via the BPX community site at events etc. ‘Expertise is a dispersed commodity as vastly distributed as SAP’s locations themselves. Bringing this expertise together is the goal of the SAP Business Process Expert Community. We are a resource designed to help business analysts, process consultants, business process architects and other business process professionals meet the challenges and take advantage of the ever-changing trends in the IT industry. Additionally it will both help drive adoption co-innovation and collaboration on SAP’s ESOA and BPP platform’

    Through this innovation we provide SAP a first to market advantage. Quotes like: ‘SAP is acknowledged by respected analysts and partners to have taken first-mover advantage and an 18-month head start on the competition.  “Wipro recognizes the BPX Community as a key link in SAP’s enterprise SOA roadmap for its customers and partners” This new community will get many such people into the SAP ecosystem and thereby enhance the knowledge within” Gartner: “there is no other vendor that has a community like this”  Touted by software industry experts as a key differentiating driver behind SAP’s success such as AMR IDC OVUM’ We are defining a new set of roles that are increasingly important.’

    This innovation identified also new business trends. Thru analysis of our SDN community demographics we recognized a trend of business analysts and solution consultants joining in higher numbers and participating more actively.  We dug into the numbers to understand their unmet needs. Formulated a strategy and aligned with  our existing and future story around Enterprise SOA.  Matched with SAP’s expertise in workflows and process management. This puts our community and SAP at the forefront of a new and growing trend – and aligned with other parts of SAP.’
    ‘Gartner: Analysis: SAP’s fostering of business process expert roles is an excellent strategic move. The shift toward SOA has a parallel change in the roles and responsibilities split between IT and business in the life cycle of business processes. Because this paradigm shift is relatively new to most organizations there is a great opportunity for community learning. SAP’s sponsorship of that community can yield very positive results.’

    In the end we are trying to remove barriers and improve simplicity. Our community removes barriers of working with SAP and SAP software reduces eventually support costs and reduces barriers of entry to work with SAP
    On Co-innovation when it taps it into resources both inside and outside of SAP, e.g. by introducing wiki for BPX and Forums for BPX our community co-innovates ( even within the ES community that is part of the BPX and SDN ) Involved/engaged SAP across orgs customers partners. Iterative to incorporate member feedback participation.’

    Our BPX effort did not just sliced the pie differently but grew the size of the pie — SAP’s addressable market number of people affiliated with SAP SAP’s thought leadership and market impact.  Our BPX community creates a ready market for SAP’s BPP with skilled professionals sharing best practices and experience with outside-in feedback and sharing across customers partners SAP product groups and industry efforts.

    Hope this explanation helps you understand why we won the innovation award.

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