SAP Community Network as added value in the daily work environment
Hello SCN community
I first want to give a little background information about myself so you have an idea where I’m coming from as a SAP Basis Administrator.
When I was very little my parents bought me a car which drives when you pull it back first to wind up a spring. The first thing I did was dismantle it to check how the mechanism works, of course I broke the actual car but I was so interested in how it was done I couldn’t resist analyzing it.
I have studied IT (main focus programming) and did my thesis at Kaneka Belgium N.V., a company active in chemical industry, creating innovative chemical solutions. My thesis there was writing a php program to register visitors (they still use it today, almost unchanged) and by doing that they recommended me to the company that managed their SAP systems.
I started working for a consulting company doing SAP Basis in July 2006. My first two weeks were holiday because I had booked a vacation to Tunis already long up front. Driven (some call it crazy) as I am I took a SAP book on basis administration with me and read through it while on vacation.
I joined the SAP Basis team of Inbev (Interbrew in those days) in Belgium as an external consultant in September 2006. Having only very basic knowledge from the book I had read, I started gathering knowledge by doing simple tasks and by staying in late in the office, following actions my senior colleagues had to perform.
I joined the SCN community some time ago now, I registered in March 2007. By then I had learned lots of content and I was performing any action I could get my hands on under the slogan yes I can do this. Since 2007 I’m working for Electrabel as an external consultant and I still am today.
I recently decided to become more active in the SCN community, I answered some questions in the past on the forum but I was never as active in the community as I am today.
This has several reasons:
For starters I have experienced to what extent SCN improved my daily work. That is where the title of the blog is coming from and it contains a message I want to transmit.
Another reason is that I have always had the urge to share information and help people develop their knowledge (I help organize/participate in periodic knowledge sessions for CTAC concerning SAP Basis topics).
quieting the lizard brain
Another reason for stepping up is that I stumbled upon a video of Seth Godin, talking about quieting the lizard brain (I seriously recommend checking out the video http://vimeo.com/5895898). I had something like, hey!, I can relate to what he is saying and he has some very good arguments.
After watching some more of his conferences, I have to say it got me inspired to take action.
added value of SCN in the daily work environment
I only started blogging around two weeks ago and already I can sense how passionate SCN moderators are and how being active can help you get in touch with people who have interesting idea’s, thoughts and are inspirational. You can get added value by being connected to other community members.
While I still continue to try and spread knowledge within CTAC, I also noticed how important it is to share more widely. Some persons are reluctant to share information, fearing that they become replaceable. In my opinion not sharing information doesn’t make you less replaceable, in contrary.
SCN has already proven itself useful for many companies by providing content that help companies in making important decisions, which SAP product to implement, how to use it or integrate it in a proper way. This is possible because knowledge is spread through sharing, it’s a give and take process.
I have presented several SAP Solution Manager tools after checking them out on SCN by following the blogs, installation instructions, demo videos and so on. Those tools are being implemented as we speak as the customer liked the concept. You can filter through the content and pick out the interesting products for your customer.
As a Basis Administrator, troubleshooting is a large part of our daily work load. I have always liked troubleshooting, coming to a solution gives a nice vibe, a satisfaction. It makes people happy, it makes me happy.
One of my main resources for doing fast troubleshooting is the SCN community, another important source is SAP Service Marketplace (especially for tracking down SAP notes).
When you perform troubleshooting you know that a lot of the issues you encounter, are not close encounters of the third kind (a movie in which an Indian electrical lineman has an encounter with a UFO which changes his life).
When someone has already encountered that issue, blogged about it, did a webinar on it, wrote an article about it or posted a forum question about it, added value is immediately generated. Sharing within the community generates added value.
You can find that answered question and check what solution they have implemented. It might not be bullet proof that you always find a match but it can also give you another perspective, ideas on what is going wrong or important side information.
Solving other community member’s issues is not a waste of time, it further improves your knowledge.
learning something new
One of my goals (I like setting goals which I try to achieve) is learning something new every day. It might sounds like it’s a hard thing to do, people tend to say “I don’t have time for it” but I disagree on that statement as you have to make time for important things.
You can learn something new by reading a single blog, an article, an e-learning video, watching a video or any other content you are offered. I often multitask, working while listening to a conference for example. Changes are important in IT, not thinking ahead, not innovation is as good as going backwards. It’s not an easy task to keep up with what is actual and important but learning something new every day is a first step to get on track.
What better place than the SCN community site to learn something new every day about SAP. Tons of content, new content each day. If you are a frequent visitor you can also notice which topics are trendy.
room for improvements
Some thoughts and ideas for possible improvements, some might be bad ideas but better bad ideas than no ideas at all. You are welcome to post comments on the ideas or comment your own ideas to further improve the SCN community.
lack of feedback
Finding a similar issue on the forum and reading that the person who asked the question solved the issue is of almost useless when there is no feedback how they came to that solution.
It remains a huge challenge getting people to realize how important feedback is and how important sharing is in today’s world.
Writing a blog and not getting any comments or feedback on it can be frustrating for the author because the author might start to wonder if anyone is actually interested in the topic or actually does anything with the given information. Please see the importance of giving feedback, if you like content why not post a quick comment, it won’t hurt you and it will further motivate the author to create content.
I’m convinced there are a lot of persons out there with good ideas and vision who are afraid to speak up. Don’t be afraid and help build an even stronger community, we can all benefit from it.
You don’t have to wait until you have content that no one has ever discussed or that is not available on for example help.sap.com. Sometimes people have a hard time understanding the help documentation, I noticed so on the forum lots of questions regarding trusted RFC were posted. If you can create similar content but better than the help documentation, then go do so.
I have a new blog series pending on SAP Java administration troubleshooting with topics such as what a java object is and how garbage collection works. A topic which has been discussed lots of times, lots of content exists but I sensed some people are having troubles understanding the content so I’m aiming for an explanation my mother would understand.
blog creation tool
I started blogging two weeks ago and I already gave feedback on the fact that I think the blogging creation tool could be done better. Improvements of such would out the whole community as the bloggers have more possibilities, they can create content more easily in a better fashion (better formatting, easier handling) and of course the readers also benefit from it having access to more information in a better fashion.
I would love to see an option to import a word document so I don’t have to play around with headers, line breaks and upload pictures separately.
keeping track of trends
Keeping track of which content is trendy can also be a nice feature to have a more global idea on what lives in the community. What is already important, what will become important.
further integration of social media
How about an option to follow a person through twitter. Integration of your twitter account in your profile making it more easy for people to follow your twitters when they read a blog they really like and want to follow the author.
use of favorites
I’ve seen the suggestion from someone in a blog to be able to have favorites on the SCN community network site so you can build your own personal list of favorite articles, blogs etc. Good idea in my opinion, I fancy the favorites options on SAP service marketplace which enables you to add favorite SAP notes and create your own folders to store them in, a good way to retrieve information you already saw in a fast way.
SCN can be a real added value to your daily work environment, solving issues, learning something new, sharing knowledge and finding possible improvements for your customer are just a few examples of how you can benefit from being a SCN community member. Don’t wait until tomorrow, start sharing today.