Though I was an occasional visitor of SCN from its very inception it was only three years back I actually started actively contributing there and eventually realized its power, the joy of sharing knowledge and the amazing things which have changed my life thereafter.
It was when I joined my current company three years back, I was working on SAP MII, which was a very new SAP product at that time. I was involved in design and development of the product being part of the SAP development team of the same from my last job at SAP Labs, helping the team in the current company in a SAP MII composite development project as my current assignment, found the sheer lack of detail documentation and expert know-how of the same. It were many times when different people asked me the same questions and I had to explain the same thing again and again. So I thought why not try to document some of my learnings so that it may help others who are keen to learn about this new solution. The best place seemed to me is SAP Community Network which was already very popular among the SAP community world-wide. That’s how I tried my hands on my Reference Document in SAP xMII – The Mystery Resolved and felt really good when many fellow community members and my colleagues told me it has helped them to learn a new tip of SAP MII.
Slowly it has grown as one of my habits to write a blog or article whenever I learn something new or come across a tricky solution. All over the years and even till today I get calls, mails or comments from many fellow community members thanking me for a blog or asking new questions on the topics I have blogged. I must say it is an wonderful experience and feeling when someone I haven’t met and know before tells me that my blog has helped them to overcome a difficult problem or learn something new.
But the most amazing thing of all was still in store for me till summer of 2008, when one fine morning I received an offer from SAP Press by email to author a book on SAP MII. Frankly speaking, initially I thought it’s someone playing a prank on me. But as I realized that it’s an authentic email and they really mean it, I was totally amazed. It seemed the editor of SAP Press was following my blogs and articles on SAP MII in SCN and felt that I can write a whole book on the same topic. This was beyond my all imaginations that this can happen one day just by writing few blogs and articles in SCN. Once I came out of my awe I also pulled my friend, ex-colleague and fellow SAP Mentor Abesh Bhattacharjee in the project, whom I consider another leading expert in this topic, and after almost 10 months of regular night-outs and hefty writing schedule we finally achieved one of our long cherished dreams – the first ever book on SAP MII released just few weeks back in June.
So this is the power of the SAP Community Network and sharing your knowledge. I must admit as well that I learnt a lot and learning every day from SCN. Simply writing a blog or article itself helps learning the topic to great extent as I feel. And the prizes for it are numerous and ever flowing. For the last two years achieving the highest contributor status for contributing in SAP xApps area has given me a lot of focus both internally in my company and externally in the community as well. And believe me, it’s not something very hard to achieve if you just consider the joy and pleasure of sharing your knowledge. There are many instances when my clients have read my blogs and articles in SCN and as a result of which I got it much easier to convince them or make them listen to my proposal. It actually creates a brand for you in the SAP community, where people can recognize you by name and shows lot of respect and a lend a listening ear when you say something on your area of expertise. To add to it last year I was also selected as a SAP Mentor and feel myself really privileged to be a part of the elite community members who can actually take part in some of leading community initiatives as well as come to know about the latest SAP products and solutions before anyone outside the company can get any idea of it.
Contributing in SCN even increases your visibility to other external forums as well and I myself got the offers to write articles on prestigious journals such as BPTrends and SAP Professional Journal based on my contributions in SCN.
Another very important aspect and effect of active contribution in SCN is the CSR initiative by SAP which contributes substantial monetary donations to World Food Program as in last year and to PlaNet Finance currently, based on the points gained by the community members by contributing knowledge content in SCN, which helps the unprivileged in various parts of the world to get a better life and living. To me it is enough of a stimulation to contribute when it can help someone to live a better life overcoming the poverty.
Last but not the least I must say that above all the network and new friends I get in SAP Community every day is one of my most valuable rewards.
To start with you can start contributing by answering questions in your favorite forum, or can write a blog or submit an article as well as can add a wiki blog on the topic you are most experienced with and feel not much documentation exists on the specific aspect. Also do utilize the opportunity of sharing your ideas and knowledge with the community members face-to-face in the Community Day 2009 by proposing a session topic which you can present before a group of active community enthusiasts.
I urge you, who are new to the community or still only a consumer of the vast ocean of knowledge here, to ABAP Frequently Asked Questions from TODAY! The joy for the same is inexpressible and the rewards invaluable.