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Value for SAP Customers to start using Twitter

As I have become more active with Twitter over the last year it has become very clear that the adoption by SAP customers has been very slow. In this article I would like to point out the reasons why SAP customers and employees should start to become more active with twitter and the value it will bring to their organization.

What is Twitter?


Twitter is a social networking and microblogging service that enables its users to send and read other user messages called tweets. These tweets are text-based posts of up to 140 characters that are displayed on the author’s profile page. Over the past year the amount of individuals working within the SAP ecosystem, networking and content being shared and on Twitter has grown by leaps and bounds and it is only in its infancy.

Value of Using Twitter


There are some common misconceptions regarding the value of twitter and I will outline below some of the key areas and value that it can bring for SAP customers and their employees.

A. Networking/Industry Contacts – There has been quite a bit of talk recently about twitter and its value in bringing people together based on the Malcolm Gladwell article “Twitter, You’re No Martin Luther King” which I generally agree with. On the other hand I have had and seen many SAP relationships start on twitter which lay the foundation for a more meaningful future relationship. I often get asked what type of people use twitter as they must have a lot of spare time on their hands but I think it would surprise you that SAP, SAP Executives, ASUG, SAP Mentors, SAP Industry Analysts and senior consultants are actively posting information, new content, their views on SAP, sharing information and using the tool to network with each other.  Just to give you a flavor of some of the people with “to much time on their hands” some of the regular providers of content are as follows:

1. SAP – @SAP   @sapnews   @sapteched   @SAPEDU   @SAPNorthAmerica  @SAPByDesign

2. SAP Executives – @sapcio   MarkYolton  vsikka  @hschepp   @MTHei @spoonen

3, SAP Mentors – SAPMentors  jonerp  @finnern @@marilynpratt   @chiprodgers @MicoYuk @thorstenster @applebyj   @MartinLang @NathanGenez @MGILLET , @vijayasankarv @thomas_jung @steinermatt @sjohannes @pixelbase

4. By SAP and ERP industry experts – @dahowlett @mkrigsman @erickimberling   @fscavo   @dealarchitect @twailgum   @dbmoore   @bevansIW  @CIOonline  @cbjorlin

5. ASUG – @ASUG365   @BChambersASUG

6. Senior consultants- @R3Now   @micdoane   @martin_english   @SteveBogner   @SAP_Jarret   @Mark_Chalfen   @SCNblogs

This is only a handful of the key individuals in the SAP ecosystem that are active on Twitter and my apology for all that I left off the list. You can click on any of the names above to follow them or get some additional information. Once you start using twitter you will get a better idea of the people, information and viewpoints from the SAP industry which is very impressive.

B. Information – I realized early on in my career that there was a lot of SAP information available in the marketplace and the primary challenge was being able to find it and stay on top of it. While I personally use Google Reader as my main tool to stay current on SAP information over the past year I have started to use Twitter not only as a social networking tool but to occasionally find new content or even better, new sources of information I can start following. It is important to note that a majority of the content found on twitter can be accessed by different means but it another tool to ensure I don’t miss listening to a Jon Reed (@jonerp) podcast  for example as I know he will tweet out a link to it.  You will be pleasantly surprised by the amount of free SAP information available that will help you and your organization.


C. News – Many years ago I used to read the newspaper to get cutting edge information but over time the internet took over making the daily paper seem like old news and now in a way it feels like twitter makes some of the internet information old news.  Just to give you an example of how news travels on twitter, SAP announced their earnings this morning and as soon as it was released the information was on twitter and shortly thereafter were some tweets (aka 140 character analysis) by industry respected analysts as well as in the hours that followed tweets with links to articles dissecting the earning from Dennis Howlett (@dahowlett) and others.  When I open up the US Today or Wall Street Journal tomorrow I will read about SAP earnings in what will feel like “old news” to me.  It is important that companies and employee have all the relevant news and information so they can make informed decisions regarding SAP.


D. Industry Events – All of the SAP industry events are now well covered real time via twitter and this was recently shown at SAP Teched 2010. If you look the SAP Teched website you will notice what a great job SAP has done integrating twitter to the event for anyone that posted a comment or information using #sapteched. If you followed this stream there was an unbelievable amount of free information, links and replays to sessions, insider information, pictures, and commentary.

It was a very unique experience but it almost got to the point where you felt like you were actually there and it something that you have to experience for yourself but it helped cement the value in twitter for me personally.  All the SAP events both big and small will be covered using Twitter going forward and I don’t want to discount the value of attending these events in person but as budgets tighten it is another way for companies and employees to be involved and get the conference content and a bit of the experience without having to send their entire team. There are a lot of SAP industry events yearly and it is important that companies and employees participate and gather the appropriate information so that they can learn and make informed decisions.

How to get started


I would recommend reading a previous article I wrote called “How to find and follow SAP Content on Twitter” as it should provide some valuable insight as to how to get started using twitter.  It is important to note that it takes some time and effort to learn and maximize the value that twitter can offer so don’t get discouraged.


Just like anything in life you have to give Twitter a fair chance which means committing to spending 15-20 minutes a day for at least a month and I will be very surprised if you don’t start to see the value this can offer you and your organization. I have seen firsthand the value that it can offer people involved in SAP and my goal is to spread that message to SAP customers because having the relevant industry contacts, information and news are some important aspects that are found in all successful SAP implementations.

If you enjoyed this article and want to give twitter a try please feel free to follow me on Twitter at @SAP_Jarret

28 Comments
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  • Jarret,

    nice post and thanks for the mention.

    I think you have done as good as job as anyone of making the business case for Twitter for the SAP community member in an easy to read way.

    The one thing I would add is that you can track specific searches in Twitter and even subscribe to the results on Search.Twitter.com. For example, mentions of yourself or your company name. I have all those RSS’ed in my Google Reader and have also helped companies figure out how to track that information, using only free tools. It’s not hard to do, and it can be a source of important feedback as well as the occasional client lead.

    Since some will charge you thousands to set up a “sentiment analysis engine,” it’s good to know you can accomplish some of this on the fly just with a bit of time and organization.

    You can also track different kinds of content. For example, I have a continued search running on “SAP podcast” (not the exact phrase, but both words used in a tweet, which had led me to a lot of interesting content I would have missed. The possibilities are pretty endless.

    – Jon

    • Hi Jarret,

      Jon – had part made the point I was going to.

      If you search for say SAP on Twitter there are literally 100’s of tweets.

      The one area where it seems to be really growing is for new SAP jobs and roles. There seem to be thousands.

      I will weekly do a search on twitter for FSCM to see what I have missed, and normally it is just jobs.

      As the volume of blogging has grown -the volume of SAP related tweets has as well.

      Good post.

      • I have a few targets searches for the core areas I am interested in but agree that doing a blanket SAP search has become a waste given all the job postings. That said if you are looking for an SAP job there seem to be 100’s of posting daily.

    • >> For example, mentions of [..] your company name. <<
      >> helped companies figure out how to track that information, using only free tools. <<

      One of these free tools is Twibap. Direct from your SAP ERP or CRM installation you can catch the results and perform actions (ie. with workflows).
      Project home on SAP Code Exchange: https://cw.sdn.sap.com/cw/groups/twibap

      – Uwe aka @se38

    • Thanks for the kind words as they mean a lot coming from someone with your experience with social media.

      I have several twitter searches with the RSS feed to my google reader as well as at times the information can be overwhelming to follow.

      Good tip on the SAP Podcast as I am going to add that to my search.

  • Hi Jarret,

    Excellent blog!

    As a Twitter user I can definitely relate to all the points you’ve mentioned. And I believe companies should jump on this social media bandwagon before it’s too late. But it’s a tough job to REALLY convince people (let alone companies) to use Twitter. With TechEd we finally got some colleagues to Twitter about their experiences. Most people I talk about Twitter say “I don’t have anything interesting to tweet…”. They don’t see it as a means of gathering info/news but as some kind of ICQ/MSN tool where they HAVE to tweet something. When they finally start experiencing Twitter they see the real added value of it. These kind of blogs certainly aid in getting them there 🙂 Thanks!

    BTW: I find these also very interesting Twitter users: @thorstenster @ttrapp @tbroek @wolf_gregor @yojibee @skeohan @se38 @jpenninkhof

    My account is @roelvandenberge

    Cheers,

    Roel van den Berge

    • Thanks for the kind words and I couldnt agree more as you have to use twitter for awhile and see how it works before you give up on it. I can speak from experience as I joined orginally and did 1 tweet and didnt log back on for 6-7 months as I didnt see any value.
  • Very good stuff, Jarret. Our company will have a brown bag lunch session (organized by me) about Yammer / Twitter use tomorrow. I will definitely use some stuff from this weblog.

    Naturally this article applies also on any other area, no matter is it SAP related or not – Twitter is good source for all kind of information :). But like you pointed out, SAP customers / consultants are slow to adopt things like Twitter. For example, I was able to find only few Finnish SAP consultants on Twitter.

  • Hi Jarrett,
    Thanks for the mention !!,

    One of the things I found hard to get used to on twitter was the continual flow.  There was a temptation to stay glued to it in case I missed something.  I soon worked out that I didn’t need to stay online because, apart from the ‘echo chamber’ effect working for you (important news tends get repeated, unimportant stuff tends to get ignored), this is the web and there are countless ways of tracking and monitoring the ‘conversation’.

    Some initial places to look for good tutorials on tracking people and subject matter are
    * http://mashable.com/2009/04/04/twitter-trends/
    * http://www.inkfoundry.com/2010/10/7-free-social-media-monitoring-tools/
    * Jon Reed’s YouTube Channel http://www.youtube.com/user/jonathanwreed

    And don’t forget lists… for example, http://twitter.com/#!/SAPMentors/sapmentors is a list of all SAP Mentors; follow that list is the equivalent of following everyone currently on that list.

    One final tip; Because a lot of the US based conversations occur outside my time lime (I’m in Australia), I also added the RSS feeds of about 15 or so of the people I consider the top SAP tweeters to my newsreader. 

    HTH

    PS hope I haven’t written your next blog 🙂

    • Thanks for providing the links as there was some useful information and it does take awhile to get used to the flow that is why I think it is important to start by only following a selected small group and grow as you get comfortable.

      Following a list is a very good idea and one that I mention in my blog about finding content.

      I think the important question is am I on the list of 15 🙂

  • I am a “new” twitter member.  I’ve been wondering what on earth I could use this tool for…

    This helps me understand what might be of value to “tweet”.

    Thank you!

    Michelle

    • Hi Michelle

      Thanks for the kind words and I think you hit the nail on head as there is a learning curve with twitter and I believe that most SAP professionals give up long before they start seeing the value.

      Jarret

    • Hi Simon

      Thanks for the kind words and agree about the misconception. I think a lot has to do with how most people heard of twitter (ie people talking about what they ate for lunch) and have not revisited as it has evolved.

      Thanks

      Jarret

  • I’ve signed up on Twitter a couple of months ago and mostly use it to stay on top of industry news and blog posts as many authors – including SAP experts and mentors “tweet” their articles.

    Twitter can still be improved. In particular, the information could be more organized (the tweets of the people I follow are mixed up on my Home screen) but overall, Twitter is quite useful.

    • Hi Annabelle

      Thanks for the comments and it sounds like you are seeing some of the value in twitter.

      I would recommend setting up a list called SAP to help organize the people you follow as it will make viewing the “tweets” a lot easier.

      Thanks

      Jarret

  • As a current student learning business processes and technical aspects of SAP at the same time, I have found that I need to use all the resources possible to learn quickly and stay on top of all this new information.

    Between your blogs and Jon Reeds, I have started using twitter as another source on retrieving information on the Web.

    Thanks for your valuable information,

    Kevin

    • Thanks for the kind words and it is easy to become overwhelmed with all the information that available around SAP and important to use all the tools that are available.  I would also recommend setting up an RSS reader (Google Reader is my choice) as it is a very easy way to stay on top of SAP Content.

      Jon Reed is a true industry expert and you will learn a lot from his original content and podcasts so glad to hear that even very early in your SAP journey you are following him.

    • Thanks for the kind words and I followed via Twitter the “bring Natascha to Vegas”. Showed on a small scale how powerful Twitter can potentially be.
  • Hi Jarret,

    I clearly remember your first twitter-related blog and you know it matches with my own views and experiences. This one is just as great and I would not limit the value-add to customers. In fact, I am chiming the same tune in trying to get more of my colleagues onboard.

    I’m flattered to be considered and listed among such prominent names. And now what… I bet you are being followed by every single one of that list 😉 – for a reason! 😉

    • Hi Matthias

      I remember that first twitter article and discussion very well and it will be interesting to look back 1 and 3 years from now and see use of twitter by SAP professionals.

      I agree 100% that Twitter has value for all and just wanted to focus more on SAP customers as from what I am seeing they are not using twitter (and many of the free/easy tools available) which would help them with SAP.

      Hope all is well.

      Jarret