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Author's profile photo Former Member

Make local SAP aware that Communities and SAP Mentors exist and do matter !

Blog Excerpt

How to promote SAP Communitie and SAP Mentors at SAP local offices, like SAP BELUX.

A SAP Mentor testimony from belgian SAP Mentor @mgillet who promoted SAP Communities and the SAP Mentors initiative through SAP local office at SAP BELUX.

Disclaimer :
The views and opinions expressed here are mine and might not necessarily reflect SAP AG’s views.

Where it all began …

Long before I was appointed SAP Mentors in March 2009, I was already singing the praises of the Communities throughout many channels.

If you still wonder or just don’t know what a SAP Communities are or what a SAP Mentor is, perhaps have a look at SAP Mentors or just get onboarded into SAP Communities.

Throughout this blog post I wanted to share with you how, in my humble opinion, how we could use the local SAP offices to promote the SAP Communities and the SAP Mentors initiative locally. I have started doing the needful for my beautiful country : Belgium and by extension, Luxemburg (also known as BELUX).

As my fellow Belgian mate Jean-Claude VanDamme (JVCD biography) once said, you have to be #aware which means that information is the key word in today’s world.

Picture hereunder illustrates JVCD supporting SAP Mentor @mgillet (Flight FB407 on March 3rd, 2009 at Brussels’s Airport). Although JVCD was jetlagged and seemed tired, he was keen to take the pose and have his cheerful attitude ! Be aware or be square !


JVCD & @mgillet


Being a SAPMentor does opens some doors, especially at events like TechED, SAPPHIRE and SAP Inside Track. But once you returned from the promised community land, in your own country and although it might sounds silly at first; I found out that most of SAP Belux was lacking awaress in the field of SAP Communities and even ‘worse’ did not know about SAP Mentors !

It seems that most local SAP, although some individuals might be aware, are not familiar with the term SAP Communities and even less with SAP Mentors … so I have to chime in !

Having training skills in my skills set, I was keen to educate and share the good news with SAP BELUX, doing the needful as usual. We moved the action into two steps : Internal and external.

First move : Communicate internally !

Having several contacts withing SAP Belux, I was amazed people who didn’t know the existe of SAP Mentors and were also either not fully aware of SAP Communities added values for customers or even worse, neglecting the SAP Communities.

I asked myself ‘Is everyone aware at SAP Belux that SAP Communities and SAP Mentors exist’ ? How to catch their attention ?

After some talks with internal staff, their internal weekly newsletter quickly came to their mind and we tought of an answer.

The answer : SAP Belux is publishing an internal weekly newsletter called ‘TAM TAM’. We managed to add a few words regarding the SAP Communities and the SAP Mentors initiative.

The figure hereunder illustrates an excerpt, provided with permission, from SAP Belux internal Newsletter as published on June 15th, 2010. short note (TAM TAM = make it brief !) is introducing the SAP Communities and the SAP Mentors in a nutshell.

For readers that are keen to know more, pointers have been provided to the SDN and SAP Mentors Homepages.





Second move : Communicate externally

Now that hopefully most local SAP Belux colleagues have been duly briefed about SAP Communities and the SAP Mentors, why don’t we also add these news to the local SAP BELUX Website so that all users connecting to the website get the nice welcome page with the SAP Mentors taken at SAP TechEd in Phoenix (2009) ?

Even better, let’s add a SAP Mentor introduction in a nutshell and a pointer to SAP Mentors dedicated website.

I had the chance to have the Marketing Intelligence / Head Coordinator BeLux on my side as she was enthusiastic with the whole idea. It first started with a trainee that gathered the required information with me then Marketing Intelligence / Head Coordinator BeLux Manager took over and within a few days, all the new content was online !

Cherry on the pie, as ‘Horum omnium fortissimi sunt Belgae ‘ (Julius Caesar referred to the Belgians as “the bravest of all the Gauls“), Belgium as Three official languages : French, Dutch and German.  These pages were thus provided in French, Dutch and working business language English; try it out !

The figure hereunder illustrates the welcome page on SAP Belux Website, just follow thumbnail, located on the right hand side of SAP Belux Welcome Web Page, of Mentor #66 : Tony de Thomasis, who is now even more notorious and famous in Belgium 😉 

You don’t know yet Tony de Thomasis ? Follow this Netweaver technician on twitter !

The picture hereunder illustrates Tony de Thomasis.

Tony de Thomasis


SAP Belux Thumbnail introducing SAP Communities


Once you are navigating from the SAP Belux website, use the Ecosystems and Partners > SAP Community Network > SAP Mentor Initiative as illustrated with the figure hereunder.

These pages are provided in French, Dutch and working business language English; try it out !


SAP Mentors initiative pointer on SAP Belux


Belgian users accessing SAP Belux website have now access in English, French and Dutch to the information and/or reminder that SAP Communities do exist as well a SAP Mentors initiative. They can seek and browse through more information, shall they be keen to discover more…

Wrap up

As you have seen, once you are acquainted with the right people, it takes a few days to get the content right and approved then a few reviews before goind live with the information given.

 I’m very pleased SAP Belux was keen to engage in communicating the good word regarding SAP Communities and the SAP Mentors. Even if already done, I would like to acknowledge these fine individuals commitment to make it happen. Also, I trust this is a first within SAP worldwide ? Time and comments will tell. Nevertheless, it is a know fact that Belgium is always leading ! #w00t to SAP Belux !


Thank you for reading me until the end.

See you online,

All the best,


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      Author's profile photo Matthias Steiner
      Matthias Steiner
      Hi Martin,

      quite interestingly I wrote an email to Marilyn on exactly this topic today. In my LoB I also feel that awareness for the value-add that SCN and its communities is just not there. Neither do I feel that they see the potential that comes with regular interaction with the community.

      Consequently, I think a lot of discussions need to be held with management to make them aware that active contribution to teh community and involving SAP Mentors early on is a very worthwhile investment that will pay off - substainability.

      Yet, especially in revenue-driven LOBs such value-add is hard to quantify and therefore I believe that managers are not to happy to see their people spend too much time interactiving with communities or even do social networking. It needs a lot of evangelism to make this happen it seems.

      Would love to discuss that with you in SIT Walldorf (if it'll happen!)


      PS: Keep pushing 🙂

      Author's profile photo Former Member
      Former Member
      Blog Post Author
      Hi Matthias,
      Thanks to chime in !
      Well big minds and big ideas can sometimes happen at the sametime 🙂 Glad you got to engage with Marilyn.
      I'll be happy to highlight or help where applicalbe in the LOBs although I'm an external.
      As for #sitwdf doubtful it will happen (only few participants as this is summer break) but we can be efficient and sustainable all at once by using a telco, let me know when and count me in.
      Keep up the good work,
      Author's profile photo Marilyn Pratt
      Marilyn Pratt
      I guess this is so very much a product of what the business goals of your management are and how they regard this online community.  Perhaps a presentation to your management by our team and some additional support from mentors who are not SAP employees would be beneficial?
      And maybe a hookup with some of the teams that do see the community as a critical success factor to their lines of business.
      Let's continue the conversation.
      Author's profile photo Tammy Powlas
      Tammy Powlas
      Would I challenge my local SAP Office?  That's a great question, as they are in Washington DC.  I had never considered it until reading your great blog.

      I would like to work with our ASUG chapters first.  But in the meantime, I will consider the local SAP office.

      Excellent work, Martin!  BELUX is a new word to me today 🙂

      Author's profile photo Former Member
      Former Member
      Blog Post Author
      Kudos for your feedback. Glad you learned a new word, assuming you knew where to place Belgium on the map 🙂 (teasing ya).
      Yes, that's perhaps the idea to shake/challenge local SAP as well, feel free to do so.
      As for JVCD, just got lucky, didn't even know he was onboard (privilege to board the last in Business to have a peaceful flight).
      Author's profile photo Former Member
      Former Member
      Yes, Martin, great blog and you truly are connected with the famous people :-).
      Author's profile photo Tony De Thomasis
      Tony De Thomasis
      I never thought it would happen...
      I am in a weblog with my 2 most favourite Belgians.
      Author's profile photo Former Member
      Former Member
      Blog Post Author
      My pleasure, all by accident 🙂
      You should only have #one fav belgian 🙂 I'll let you guess 🙂
      Author's profile photo Former Member
      Former Member
      Martin, Thanks for sharing your personal approach to solving this "awareness" challenge. When we talked to the Mentors in May, we agreed that we'd approach this from a number of angles, like how to get more adoption in your own company ("what's the value; how to I get my boss to see the time I spend on SCN as valuable?, and so on..."); through ASUG (as Tammy just said) and now you are adding your voice to this. There will be more approaches like this coming. If anyone has any other ideas on how YOU can raise adoption in your corner of the world through your testimony, please do share.
      Author's profile photo Former Member
      Former Member
      Blog Post Author
      Hi Gail,

      My pleasure.

      Glad you got to meet JVCD and his awareness concern 🙂

      I was pleased to encounter so many challenges and positive answert to make so much 'noise' around SAP Communities and the SAP Mentors.
      As I'm an external, sometimes I get weird attitudes or comments from SAP internal, which was not the case at SAP Belux.
      I'm pleased to see they found out there was added value in this move; for all of us.

      I like the way the SAP Ambassadors were introduced, I tend to believe all SAP Mentors, if willing to do so, should be also 'SAP Ambassadors' in their own country.

      But in the meantime, I couldn't help thinking SAP internal Communication guidelines and/or strategy should be re-inforced to 'avoid' people like me -externals- knocking on their doors.

      Like you said, there is a myriad of ways to tackle this, I don't have the answer nor own the process, it's a joint effort...

      We'll only sleep once everyone at least heard SAP Communities and/or SAP Mentors !

      Hope this helps our 'cause' and did not jeopardized any internal current or forthcoming evil plans when it comes to #communication.



      Author's profile photo Marilyn Pratt
      Marilyn Pratt
      Matthias (commenting below) shared a lovely blog piece of his this week about cultural nuances of Israelis. Cultural Awareness .  Perhaps you would be willing to create a Belgian Culture Cue card? Cultural Cue Card  Your incredible energy Martin (and your whimsical sharing of your chocolate, your movie idol countrymen/women)....could they be other than a good reflection of your local environment? The only other Belgian member of the community I recall having met is the dear  Eddy de Clercq  (Grumpy old man in his own words), with lots of humor (dark), a great sense of theatricality (like yours) and passion for community (and environment).
      It's fascinating to see how each of the locales creates their own community event and each with a unique style and flavor.
      Viva Belux and chocolate and the special ingredient Martin Gillet.