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SCN is a great place for SAP professionals to share ideas, thoughts, tips and help, through forums, Blogs, whitepapers, Wiki, Idea Place, Code Exchange, and various other assets.

It has always represented a great place to hang-in, where the community could discuss in a pleasant way, sharing (virtual) drinks. It is also one of the major professional communities around. And many vendors are secretly jealous of its success.

Although all the great things and content it provides, it may be time to offer SCN a facelift. And certainly many of you will agree.

 SCN is currently lacking several features that would make it a true platform for collaboration, enhancing real-time interaction between the users.

Social Networking

User profiles: Currently the users on SCN have at least three profiles. A Blogger profile, a Business Card and a Wiki profile. This needs to be harmonized, providing a single page giving an overview on all the information regarding a user.

  • User information
  • Blogs
  • Contributions (Forums, Whitepapers)
  • Rewards

User interaction: Allow users to network, create connections, share and recommend content. Allow users to subscribe to specific user content channel.

 – Communities: Allow user to subscribe to communities. The TechEd badge banners are a good example of how people love to identify themselves as part of communities, and this is true on SCN as well.This would facilitate the networking between professionals with the same interests.

 – Product channels: allow users to subscribe to a specific product channel and get close interaction with professionals and product management.Content would be a mix of contributions from the communiy and PM, and real time information provided through micro-blogs (Twitter).

Content

– Content Rating: Allow the users to rate content and promote it. A specific forum or blog that draws particular attention should be able to be promoted to gain more visibility as it is more likely to be looked up, to call for further contribution

 – Content organization: Current content organization and architecture might gain into being reviewed. Although areas look clear from a high level perspective, I witnessed several people having issues, navigating into SCN, to find the content they were looking for.

Content is spread across several areas and type of content. The person does not necessarily now in the first place the format in which format the information might be available (whether it would a paper or a blog post).

– Media: Lots of information goes through sharing media, audio and video podcasts. It would be a great enhancement to be able to create media/podcast channels and be able to publish them easily. This does not necessarily require the hosting of the physical files.

– Real-time interaction: the integration of micro blogging in SCN will be a great asset. We see here and there a few Twitter lists being displayed in the front page of communities. But a proper integration will bring more value. Not to forget the awesome ESME project built on NetWeaver CE.

Contribution

Contributions are currently rewarded with SCN points.Great. Top contributors will be awarded badges (from bronze to platinium). That is a great way to recognize the effort. But my feeling is that this should be pushed further. Top contributors might gain further involvement within the community, and could be offered chances to make things better.

Events

Setup an event engine allowing people to RSVP to the event. The event page would have a proper description of the event, its content. It would also display guest lists and provide the venue information and organization details.

 These are just a few ideas, and I am pretty sure, you have lots of them. Feel free to contribute with your own. A collaborative brainstorming would definitely help provide the right ideas on how to make SCN a better place for us all.

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  1. Thorsten Franz
    Hi Faycal,
    Very good blog and good points – I agree. A next generation SCN should aim at incorporating these things – as active SCNers are highly social beings, user interaction would be among the most important to implement.
    However, this reminds me of the “many inboxes problem”, where every service you use wants to offer you the convenience of an inbox and you end up with an infinity of inboxes. Look: The SCNers I know are almost all users of the most popular Web 2.0 sites: Twitter, YouTube, Facebook, Flickr. Many are also users of LinkedIn and XING (in the Germany). In Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn, people maintain their social networks both inside and outside the SAP world. They follow, (re-)tweet, like, friend, comment, share, etc. and connect to both their SAP/SCN friends and their non-SAP network.
    Bottom line: Currently, the social aspect of SCN is spread over the popular Web 2.0 sites in a community-organized way.
    In my humble opinion, it wouldn’t make any sense for the SCN team to develop a better Twitter or Facebook. Twitter and Facebook have their top rank because they are very good, easy to use, and also because you don’t join a social network with nobody in it if you can instead join Facebook with half the world in it. I wouldn’t want to use Twitter *and* an SCN twitter clone or friend people on Facebook *and* and SCN Facebook clone. That’s why I raise my hat to the smart move the SCN team did when they teamed up with LinkedIn to create a tight integration between SCN and LinkedIn. I hope that the next generation SCN will work the same way: incorporate all the features you mention, but not by replicating them but by integrating in a smart way with the most widely spread Web 2.0 sites – the services which the SCN community has effectively been using for years.
    Just my 2 cents. 🙂
    Cheers,
    Thorsten
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    1. Faycal CHRAIBI Post author
      Hi Thorsten,

      I definitely agree with you. And actually, enriching SCN does not mean re-creating and re-developing everything from scratch, into a new silo.

      Let’s go to the basics and do what SAP does best : integration.

      SCN should be able to leverage all the various services that already exist. These services have APIs that can be reused. Most of them have a support for OAuth. And I can fairly see a great value in integrating the various features they provide to enhance the collaboration within SCN.

      Users would not need to re-create their networks from scratch. They would expand them. You would also facilitate the cross-platform interaction.

      As you mentioned, most people we know do have all these several accounts, siloed, and have to share each content separately. By aggregating these, you would have access to all of the content they would like to share with you straight from SCN, without the need to duplicate entries for that purpose.

      The LinkedIn widget is a great achievement, and we should look forward that kind of development in the future. Moving from the current state to a real integration platform (rings a bell ?).

      Cheers,

      Faycal

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      1. Thorsten Franz
        Exactly — I knew I wouldn’t have to convince you, was just spelling out what you had probably intended all along. 100% agreement re: APIs, both service and embedding, and authentication protocols (SCN even supports OpenId).
        I have long had a somewhat vague but intriguingly vivid vision of a next generation SCN experience – I call it “SAP space” – where all the events that occur in the SAP space – on Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, SCN blog area, etc. – hurl around me in 3D and real-time like a snowstorm. Those that are addressed directly at me (tweets @thorstenster, Facebook comments, comments to my blogs) pop up right before my eyes, those that concern my areas of interest – new blog posts about my preferred topics, updated topic pages in those areas, etc. – are powerful currents of snowflakes going through my field of vision, each flake representing one contribution.
        All of the content will be classified along many dimensions, allowing for powerful filtering. Semantic web technologies will allow to filter by sophisticated queries (e.g. “all the content I haven’t seen before by people who have posted in my areas of interest or are part of my network”).
        It will be the first thing to link into after arriving at the workplace in the morning. Tuning into SAP space will be like immersing in an alternate reality where you can swim in the collective stream of consciousness of the wider SAP community.
        Looney? 🙂
        Cheers,
        Thorsten
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  2. Darren Hague
    I like the idea of integrating an Events organising system – it would be great as a central place to organanize Inside Track events. Is there a dominant event-organizing system out there already?
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    1. Faycal CHRAIBI Post author
      Hi Darren,

      The most used ones are probably:

      – Facebook
      – Upcoming (Yahoo!)
      – Amiando

      But the last one doesn’t seem to have a developer API for integration purpose. It would still be the most used one for organizing conferences.

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        1. Faycal CHRAIBI Post author
          Hi Dennis,

          Thank you for bringing this to our attention. Obviously, I had missed it. This is promising. Will look into it and eventually get back to the API group.

          Cheers.

          Faycal

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  3. Witalij Rudnicki
    There is one point I missed when discussing SCN 2.0: getting mobile. It is alomost impossible to use SCN on smartphone (I tried HP IPaq with Windows 6 and Palm Pre with Web 0S 1.6).
    -Vitaliy
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      1. Witalij Rudnicki
        Thanks, Martin. Shame on me – I haven’t seen this prototype yet.
        Living on the US West Coast and working with Europe I need to get up early. The best way for me is to start reading something on my smartphone immediately after I turn morning alarm off, but it did not work with SCN so far exactly for that reason – it is not mobile-friendly. Now I bookmarked your link and hope posts will be good enough to help me to get up 🙂
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        1. Martin Lang
          Don’t feel bad, the prototype exists since less than 2 weeks and was only communicated via twitter and facebook so far, just to get some early feedback. I am planning to put out a blog soon to get some more exposure to it and provide a place for feedback.
          Until then I hope you can enjoy SCN blogs on your smartphone in the mornings and throughout the day 🙂
          Cheers, Martin
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    1. Faycal CHRAIBI Post author
      Hi Vitaliy,

      You are right. Actually, I didn’t mention mobile, but you are true, it worth mentioning.

      As Martin mentioned, there is this first attempt to make blogs available on mobile devices, and it is lovely. I’m sure apps will pop up soon.

      But then I assume, that all of the features mentioned in the blog will then be available, for on-the-go reading and sharing.

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  4. Otto Gold
    Hello,
    hope you´re going to turn your suggestions and ideas into a set of “real” ideas on Idea Place. We all can talk, we all are captains of the football team, but when it comes to some “real” work, things go different.
    So.. hope to see you and your ideas on Idea place.
    Cheers Otto
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      1. Otto Gold
        I am not telling it is obligatory. I only point out the existence of IP, the purpose etc. I also believe that Ideas submitted to IP has better change to get reviewed (at least), or implemented (would be great!).
        Have you every visited Idea Place? Have you ever vote, comment or support the ideation process in any way? Would be great…
        I seek support for Idea place and try to help people understand that since IP launch earlier this year we have a central point for ideation process.
        You can write anything you want, anywhere you prefer. But if you would like to help “building” something, I would like to see your ideas and feedback on IP.
        Br, Otto
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        1. Faycal CHRAIBI Post author
          Hi Otto,

          This ultimately will go to Idea Place later. But first, I wanted to trigger the conversation here. Blogs are usually more appropriate for that purpose, and have higher visibility than Idea Place.

          Once, ideas have been discussed and collected, they might go to IP and be voted on.

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