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 Collaborative Innovation at SAP – An Introduction

SAP provides Information Workers many tools today that help improve their productivity and allow them to create collaborative workspaces. The products are DUET (SAP and Microsoft), Adobe Connect, NW Portal, NW Search, and NW Mobile.

The story of these products as the foundation of a suite of collaborative tools from SAP has yet to be told. The provocative question is – can SAP stake a claim as a player in the “collaboration” market today? What products and actions would solidify SAP’s position now and in the future? Can we connect to Enterprise 2.0 and the related social media topics with this message while our product roadmap evolves to an even stronger offering?

We think the answer is YES, and that is what the Collaborative Innovation theme is all about. You will be hearing more from me, in this blog, and others from within and outside SAP in the coming days and weeks about evidence that SAP is enabling collaboration today.

This week I am blogging to introduce the concept and get feedback on the questions above.

Collaborative Innovation helps make each individual member of the enterprise more effective at their job and more effective as part of the team.

By bringing together the right people, with the right information, at the right time, Collaborative Innovation delivers

  •  Increased personal productivity
  •  Simpler collaboration within teams
  •  Higher levels of creativity and innovation by connecting people across the enterprise increasing

We see these customer challenges:

1) Ineffective Collaboration Across Teams

  •  The collective power of teams, both inside and across companies, is not harnessed effectively to achieve business objectives
  •  Sub-optimal decisions are frequently made due to inability to see the whole business context

2) Unproductive Activity Dominates

  • Time and energy is wasted collating content and trying to document and preserve collaboration
  •  Workers waste significant amount of time looking for information or performing tedious, repetitive tasks
  •  Enterprise intelligence is difficult to locate and access as it is stored in many and varied systems as well as in the workforce’s tacit knowledge stores

We have created two scenarios that help solve these customer challenges:

  1. Create collective workspaces
  2. Enhance personal productivity

Creating collective workspaces is a simple way for teams to plan and solve problems together by enabling them easily aggregate and share information from multiple sources, discuss ideas and track progress in a single online workspace

Enhancing Personal Productivity helps users to get their work done quickly by providing easy access to the information and processes they need and automating routinely performed tasks

Do you have examples of how you have used SAP products to solve these customer challenges? We’d like to hear about them. For your convenience, I have added links to existing community discussions on

DUET: Duet for Microsoft Office and SAP

NW Enterprise Search: http://www.sdn.sap.com/irj/sdn/nw-search

NW Mobile:  http://www.sdn.sap.com/irj/sdn/nw-mobile

NW Enterprise Portal: http://www.sdn.sap.com/irj/sdn/nw-portalandcollaboration

In my next blog I will share examples of such collaboration. Cheers!

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4 Comments

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  1. Ignacio Hernández
    I think that usually systems are prepared for specific roles and specific tasks for users involved, and collaboration is sometimes when somebody can do something more that the work expected for him/her. I feel that systems are not prepared for “collaborative” users, and then collaboration is missed. We need systems prepared for the management of collaboration, and that it is not easy. By decades we made systems to control processes, and now we are talking about systems that could be improved by any user. It is a founding change.
    Regards,
    Ignacio.
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  2. Dan Woods
    SAP has a huge opportunity to amplify the value of its applications to its customers by making it as easy as possible to get at the data and functionality regardless of the environment. People don’t collaborate for its own sake. They collaborate to get work done and SAP has the systems of record that describe much of that work.

    I think the key to success here is the acceptance of heterogeneity. SAP’s collaborative environment as an integrated suite will solve a lot of problems for the late majority segment because it will deliver the ability to collaborate when they are ready for it.

    We are in the adoption phase of the early majority now, and the people who are creating a collaborative dial tone are doing it with a combination of products. Nobody has the whole solution.

    The key’s to SAP success is simply to continue on the road it is on and make it as easy as possible to get to the valuable information inside the applications. Here are a few ways this is happening:

    The ES Wiki documents the Enterprise Services Bundles that expose content and functionality from SAP applications. These Enterprise Services Bundles are avaiable with enhancement packages and provide web services that allow information from systems of record to be included in collaborative systems. When these services become popular they will be delivering information in to SAP’s collaboration tools but also into wikis and other mashup environments.

    Duet is becoming a configurable mashup environment that allows mini applications to be delivered at the points in users life that they will be most likely used. The key here is to expand the amount of information that can flow through Duet.

    UI frameworks from various sources allow widgets to be created so that users can assemble pages with just the information they need.

    The easier to get to the information inside SAP applications the more important SAP will be in collaboration.

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  3. Richard Hirsch
    Hi,

    If you want to see one example of how collaborative innovation took place, take a look at the BPX Community Project in the wiki: The specified item was not found. .

    What I think is critical is the interaction between collaborative tools (such as the wiki) with existing SAP tools. In a project environment where such tools are used, how can team members jump from a collaboration in the wiki to Visual Composer or Galaxy? This interaction is where the real benefits will appear.

    Dick

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  4. Jon Reed
    I think you are right to call attention to the beginnings of such collaborations. Tools like ES Wiki, or NetWeaver Search, NW Portals, etc reflect the beginning of having a toolkit to truly foster collaboration within an SAP framework.

    I know that when I talk with SAP consultants in the field they often express frustration that their day-to-day work does not always embody this kind of “visionary” collaborative work.

    I think that is for one of two reasons: first, not all companies are running on the latest releases and are able to take advantage, though that is quickly changing and will be in the past tense soon. Second, I think there is still the perception that some of this collaborative stuff is really “fluff” that is a nice luxury when revenue is flowing but when oil prices surge and belts tighten it gets lumped back into “Internet fluff” that isn’t part of hardcore business.

    In my view, the biggest thing that could happen here is to document examples of how using these collaborative tools has improved not only morale but the “bottom line,” and also to look at how unstructured data and information can work seamlessly alongside more structured transactions to further business strategies and extend business processes. Another comment talked about moving directly from a Wiki into Visual Composer, and if that’s the kind of potential we can realize, that seamless connection that will help bring the power of collaboration to life.

    If this blog documents such success stories, that will be very helpful. I will share any I run across myself as well.

    – Jon Reed –

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