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Since we launched the EcoHub at TechEd Berlin in October, 2008, we have continued to see solid momentum building from customers, partners, and the broader community.  Recently I have been able to sit down with several customers to listen to how they have been utilizing the SAP EcoHub and the value they have derived from it.

 

I was lucky enough at this past SAPPHIRE to run into some SAP veterans who have been long time customers and more recently members of the Independent Executive Advisory Council (IEAC).  Steve Barrett who was CFO, Whirlpool and VP, Finance at Proctor & Gamble, John Dean who was VP, IT at Steelcase and Tim Biehle who was an executive at Proctor & Gamble shared their insights on the SAP EcoHub, how they are using it and the value they see.  We were able to capture some of their thoughts on video and why they feel this is such a valuable tool to leverage during the customer buying lifecycle. 

 

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I have summed up my various conversations into an easily consumable “Top 5 List”.  Not quite as fun as the David Letterman Top 10 list but hopefully a little bit more useful.

 

5. Social is just as important as the commercial

 

One thing that I found particularly interesting was how valuable the social aspect to this commercial marketplace was viewed.  The ability to connect with other members in the community around solutions, provide ratings and reviews and to bring in the knowledge captured in our community via wikis, blogs and forums in context of industry of solution categories was reiterated to me several times.

 

4. Shift from vendor based information to reputation based trust

 

The ability to provide not only what a partner has to say about their solution but capture what SAP, customers and community individuals have to say as reflected in success stories and ratings & reviews for example, were considered very powerful. This move from vendor based information to reputation based trust was deemed essential and provided a solid foundation of trust and transparency.

 

3.  Enabling us to easily “kick the tires”

 

When we built in the capability for partners or SAP to provide customer access to trial versions or online demos of a solution, we didn’t think much about it.  Without a doubt though this is what customers have consistently appreciated the most.  I heard some horror stories about the difficulties customers had in the past getting access to simple product demos. SAP EcoHub facilitates an online demo or trial of the products in a quick and painless manner.

 

2. Empowering us (The Customer) during the buying lifecycle

 

Empowering customers with the tools they need during their buying lifecycle from solution discovery, evaluation and ultimately a purchase was key.  Customers look to SAP and its Ecosystem when they need to solve their business problems.  They prefer to do as much research and analysis on their own.  Then they want to engage when they are down to a shortlist of companies or the decision is even made.  We have heard from customers, partners and SAP that this is a win-win-win as this helps streamline and accelerate the buying or sales cycle for all parties involved.

 

1. Pulling it all together in one place

 

The ability to get such comprehensive information about a solution for their business needs all in a single location is invaluable.  They view the SAP EcoHub as a trusted source of information and appreciate the different perspectives being available in a transparent and easily accessible manner.  As Steve Barrett noted “it’s the best thing since new and improved Tide”, which is saying a lot from anyone who has ever worked at P&G.

 

I hope this Top 5 list helps give you some guidance about how you can take advantage of the EcoHub today.  We look forward to seeing you on the SAP EcoHub and you can follow us on Twitter @SAPEcoHub.

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