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Relationships between people are inherently important in many of the business processes that SAP enables for our customers.  The social element has been fundamental to doing business since the dawn of mankind.

The terms ‘social networking’ and ‘social media’ don’t sound very enterprise like, so let’s bundle them into something called enterprise social systems :).  For our purposes enterprise social systems are defined as systems that leverage relationships between people to execute business processes. They often include, or easily access, some type of well-defined social graph. Examples include LinkedIn, Facebook, Xing, Cubetree, and SAP’s Social Network Analyzer.  They include collaboration tools such as 12Sprints, and others from companies such as Jive and Atlassian, as well as scores of others.    

New technology and standards are rapidly emerging that enable SAP to model and leverage relationships between people, and most importantly provide the benefits of such relationship, community, and context to our end users.  

It’s intuitive that enterprise social systems further:

  1.   Enhance transactions between trusted parties
  2.   Enable better decisions
  3.   Help break down silos
  4.   Remove barriers to excellence
  5.   Drive down costs
  6.   Provide clarity and transparency

From SAP’s perspective, social systems are of value, primarily in the context of enabling a business process, whether structured or unstructured, moreso when they span beyond company boundaries.

Enterprise social systems such as SAP’s Social Network Analyzer, some of the emerging capabilities of SAP Community Networks (SCN), and new capabilities being released by SAP, may run standalone, and provide value for our customers, but at our best, we’ll weave these technologies into the applicable application solutions that SAP offers.

Think about it.  SAP’s leadership have made it clear that key elements of SAP’s long-term strategy are to:

  1. Enable efficient and agile business networks (BNT)
  2. Provide clarity and transparency for businesses so that they can operate with maximum efficacy.

The enablement of efficient business networks requires SOA, Standards, and social capabilities.  

Furthermore, enterprise social systems have the potential to provide unprecedented clarity.

SAP itself is an innovation platform with a footprint that matters.  We’ll continue to build out SAP’s social composite, which includes technology from the Business Objects Innovation Center, SCN, and technology that will be announced in the future.   We’ll co-innovate with our customers as part of the SAP led Enterprise Social Systems Community.   We will co-innovate with our customers to shape and support standards, such as OpenSocial, that matter.  All this is to ensure that our customers and partners realize the full benefit of what enterprise social systems have to offer. 

Related Links:

  1. http://www.sapweb20.com/blog/
  2. SAP Social Network Analyzer at GoogleIO 2009
  3. Social System Standards 101 – Joseph Smarr from Plaxo
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  1. Bill Wood
    A few years back I wrote on this subject. Gave quite a bit of detailed background and insight on how social media in the enterprise can be used to transform business. I refer to it as ERP III where ERP I was back office integration, ERP II was extended value chain integration for operational excellence.  ERP III brings the people-centered nature and the knowledge component in front of the Enterprise.

    SAP, ERP III, SOA — Learning Organizations through Social Media Collaboration

    http://www.r3now.com/modules.php?name=news&file=article&sid=5

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