Skip to Content
Author's profile photo Former Member

5th Book This Year — “The Network is Your Customer” — Shines a Spotlight on SAP Communities



SAP Community Network, a different kind of Customer Network

In an ever-changing economy and always-evolving business world, organizations are constantly adapting to shifting consumer needs while they search for optimal strategies to provide their customers with the most value. 

Soon to be released on in January 2011, “The Network is your Customer – 5 strategies to Thrive in a Digital Age”, is the latest book written by David L. Rogers from Columbia University in New York.  The book serves as a guide for companies trying to navigate today’s digital revolution, and suggests the use of five inter-related strategies. 


5 Strategies to Thrive in a Digital Age

David L. Rogers — who is Executive Director of the Columbia Business School’s Center on Global Brand Leadership — says that any business seeking to thrive today in meeting challenging business objectives through customer networks should implement the five strategies described as:

  • ACCESS — be faster, be easier, be everywhere, be always on
  • ENGAGE — become a source of valued content
  • CUSTOMIZE — make your offering adaptable to your customers’ needs
  • CONNECT — become a part of your customers’ conversations
  • COLLABORATE — involve your customers at every stage of your enterprise

The overall approach provides a valuable and insightful way to access the social / business / customer network revolution and engage the network in the best manner for most businesses.  This customizable approach, which permits an extended connection with customers and allows comprehensive collaboration, enables businesses to establish their goals of a consumer focused network. 

The book lays the groundwork for any business to successfully penetrate and connect with business, social, and customer networks, further strengthening and improving business relationships.


SCN: “A Collaborating Ecosystem”

While reading such a powerful analysis of current business challenges and strategies, I was honored and humbled to see a segment of the book focused on SAP.  In the chapter on Leadership, Rogers highlights SAP’s success and specifically points out where we have “…embraced a far-reaching focus on customer networks…” and says we have exceeded our competition by deciding to “…pursue a business strategy focused on collaborating with this ecosystem of developers, service providers, and software and hardware companies.” 

I hope you recognize yourself in that quote. He’s talking about our SAP Community Network specifically, and our inclusive, differentiating ecosystem strategy in a broader sense.   That SAP community, of course, includes you and more than 2 million people around the world like you who are working with SAP as customers, partners, independent consultants, and in other roles.  


 More kudos for SAP’s strategy, leadership, and results

“The Network is Your Customer” says that “SAP’s focus on customer networks has begun to reshape the very structure of its organization.”  Rogers notes that “SAP has focused on collaborating with partners, sharing knowledge, and thereby increasing the value of its products and their utility for customers.”  I think he’s on target with those observations, and I hope you notice this extreme focus by the folks who work to bring you a vibrant community here on SCN. 

The author talks about other benefits and attributes of our communities, as well.  He specifically notes things like: product innovation, market trend insight, product support, open direct customer feedback loops, recognition and reputation for active members, best practice sharing, solution accessibility, responsiveness, influence, faster product adoption and ramp-up in the global market, and breaking down barriers to communication and collaboration between SAP and its customers and partners. 


Could this apply to your organization?

Many readers might contemplate whether this book and its advice offers content that is applicable to all businesses, and specifically their business or function.  Fortunately, Rogers cites over 100 cases masterfully, examining a wide array of businesses, ranging from the Obama campaign, and Apple, to the Ford Motor Company.  His advice and examples demonstrate that the social media age offers many benefits regardless of industry, size of company, geography, or function.


5 and counting…

It was an honor to have the SAP Community Network highlighted by a thought leader and expert like David L. Rogers.  To learn more about David, to download of a sample chapter, or to buy his new book, visit The release date is January 11, 2011.

This is the 5th book to mention the SAP Community Network as a social media leader in 2010.  



Beyond the books, SCN was featured in numerous industry articles and presentations that focused on our work in the social media space. We’re proud of the community and its contributions, and we will continue to share and build on our successes in the year ahead. 

Much of the credit, of course, goes to you and other members of our community, and to our colleagues across SAP who provide such terrific content, support, moderation, and guidance.  

Let’s keep building on that success and telling our stories in 2011!

Assigned Tags

      You must be Logged on to comment or reply to a post.
      Author's profile photo Former Member
      Former Member
      SDN has always been improving and still its getting better day by day.
      Kudos to SAP's effort to provide easy access to its material and a common collaboration platform..

      Author's profile photo Former Member
      Former Member
      Thank you, Hussain. Credit the core team, our colleagues across SAP, and our amazing community members - especially those who take the time to share / help each other, comment on blogs, write items themselves, present at TechEd... connect, collaborate, contribute.

      Mark Yolton

      Author's profile photo Otto Gold
      Otto Gold
      Great to see the Community shines worldwide and in the books. But that is not how "we" think, right? Since we are leaders we prefer to talk/ write about us instead of reading, I think.
      Mr. Yolton, you´re the best man to write a book that will "teach" others how to do this "social thing". I am sure you have so much to say.
      Best regards, Otto
      p.s.: Happy New Year!
      Author's profile photo Former Member
      Former Member
      Otto, I think this community could write such a book. First, we value collaboration and the mix of ideas over the insight of any one individual. Second, I know this community has far more collective expertise than anyone on the planet. Third, we actually do it every day ... we don't work in theories or models but in the real world of trying, failing, making mistakes, forgiving, correcting, improving, succeeding.  Even with all that, I do appreciate when someone makes sense out of what we experience and puts it into some sort of order... that's one of the good things about these books, and this one looks pretty interesting and insightful since it uses real-world case studies as the basis.

      Best regards,
      Mark Yolton

      Author's profile photo Former Member
      Former Member

      some time ago I read a great book on community building.

      Seth Godin :: Tribes - WE need YOU to lead US



      Author's profile photo Former Member
      Former Member
      Thanks Guido. Yes, that's a good one - as is most of Seth Godin's writing. Thank you for the tip.

      Mark Yolton