Skip to Content

Nearly six years ago, the SAP Developer Network (SDN) launched to serve the needs and interests of developers and IT professionals who work with SAP NetWeaver and related technologies, and at the end of the first year of operations, there were about 100,000 registered members.  Today, we have a vibrant network of multiple communities (SDN, BPX, BOC, UAC…), each serving the needs of different roles in our global ecosystem, and we count more than 1.6 million registered members in the SAP Community Network (SCN). 

In a very short period of time, what started out as a purely developer-focused community has ballooned into a very broad and robust landscape of developers, sysadmins, business analysts and business process experts, report designers, business users, university students and professors, IT architects and other technology professionals, and partners of all sizes and types, across all industries and geographies worldwide.  And during that time, the environment around us has changed, including the legal, privacy, intellectual property, and other formal structures that govern or inform our collaboration together online in professional social networks. 

In order to keep-up with and continue this phenomenal growth while protecting our individual community members, SAP, our partners, and other participants in SCN, we will soon deploy both a Terms of Use (TOU) document and an updated Privacy Statement.  Starting next week, all currently registered members and anyone joining the communities as a new member will be presented with these two documents along with a request to acknowledge and accept the terms through a simple click-through agreement in order to actively participate (post questions, answers, and comments in the forums, publish blogs, edit the wiki…) in the communities.

Here are some highlights of what to expect:

 

Privacy Statement

The SCN privacy statement contains details of what personal information is collected, how that personal information may be used, the persons and affiliated companies to whom the personal information may be disclosed, the use of cookies, and the security measures we take to protect your personal information. 

For example, in the Privacy Statement we remind you that when you register as a member of the SAP Community Network (SCN), you enter your email address, which SAP collects and stores in order to identify you as an individual member at your next login, and for communications with you via any of the newsletters to which you might subscribe.  We also inform you about our use of cookies to simplify your use of the SCN site for storing session-related information (saving you from having to continuously supply logon credentials).  We also describe our use of Google Analytics alongside SAP BW and SAP BusinessObjects tools for gathering statistical data about the use of SCN (number of visits, pages viewed, popular topics, etc.), because Google Analytics also uses cookies to help us analyze how users in the aggregate (not individuals) navigate our site.

 

Terms of Use

Terms of Use (TOU) are rules set up by the owner of an intellectual property or service to govern how that property or service may be legally used. 

While these documents are typically long and cover a wide range of topics, we believe that Intellectual Property Rights is by far the issue of most concern to our community members. Therefore, we made certain that it states very clearly in the new SCN TOU that you shall retain ownership of all content you submit, and nothing in this agreement shall prohibit you from selling or licensing your content to any other party. Additionally, in order for SAP to effectively distribute your content across the globe to all of our members, partners, and customers via our community resources, websites, newsletters, and other channels, you grant SAP a worldwide license to use and redistribute this content of yours.  Much else is covered in this broad document, which has terms similar to the TOU click-thru agreements you likely see on other websites, online services, and virtual community resources. 

 

Why are We Making this Update, and Why Now?

With the passage of time since our initial launch, the evolution of various country laws during that time, the emergence of behavior patterns, and the growth of the community in its sheer number of members and in the scope of the services we offer, it’s now time for us to update what were “community guidelines” to full-fledged terms of use (TOU).  In order to balance the needs and to protect the various stakeholders (individual community members, SAP, our partners, and independent third parties), we took 18 months to study similar site TOU documents, adopt best practices, steer clear of their mistakes, clarify certain country requirements, and get every detail as “right” as possible.  Significant time and effort was also spent discussing various details with prominent members of the community in order to clarify, explain, and modify the terms where needed. 

Now, we believe we’ve reached an appropriate balance and clarity whereby the SAP Community Network (SCN) Terms of Use and Privacy Statement will help SCN remain a vibrant community of people committed to sharing and discovering beneficial content. Plus, since everyone who uses SCN will agree to abide by the same TOU, we will establish a clear, level playing field and maintain a positive experience for all SCN community members by plainly stating its proper use and by identifying and prohibiting inappropriate use (things like spam, porn, hate speech, and so on).

 

What Can You Expect?

Apart from a pop-up notice next week asking you to read and click-thru the agreement in order to accept the updated policies, and updated legal links at the bottom of the pages of SCN, there’s not much to notice. 

In particular, you should notice no change in our attitude or approach to management of the communities.  The SCN Team will continue to run the community websites in a professional and responsible way, in a fashion that is consistent with SAP policy and all applicable laws, and in the spirit of true community, always considering how we can best benefit our members. 

 

What Should You Do?

When you see the pop-up next week, please read it and agree to the terms in order to remain an active member.  At that time, you’ll be able to read and study the full TOU and Privacy Statement.  (If you choose not to accept the TOU and Privacy Statement, you can still read and consume SCN content, but you will not be allowed to post or download.) 

And as always, if you have any questions or feedback, please contact the SCN Team at sapnetwork@sap.com and we’ll do our best to answer your questions or implement your ideas.

 

Thank you for your continued support.

 

Best regards,

Mark Yolton

To report this post you need to login first.

1 Comment

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

  1. Jim Spath
    Mark:  Thanks for the heads up on this change.  Would that all organizations think about the impact such changes could have, and inform users prior to the fact.  Jim
    (0) 

Leave a Reply