Could Quora replace the SAP SCN Forums
I will be the first to admit that I had never heard of Quora prior to the beginning of 2011 when almost out of the blue everyone seemed to be talking about it. Let me give you a little background about Quora.
Per Wikipedia, Quora is an online knowledge market, founded in June 2009, launched in private beta in December 2009, and made available to the public on June 21, 2010. Quora aggregates questions and answers to many topics and allows users to collaborate on them.
Dennis Howlett a very respected analyst and SAP Mentor chimed in with a good write up called Quora: the latest craze you might wish to explore. You can sign in with your twitter or facebook account which would explain help explain the viral growth as almost overnight my inbox was being flooded with new followers. Being a big believer in the value of twitter for an SAP professional I thought I would give Quora a test drive and started by asking the question “What value can Quora bring a SAP Professional”
I got a great response from SAP Mentor Nathan Genez to my question
“I would hope that it would bring some legitimate insight and sharing of information in a way that is several levels removed from the traditional chatter found on an SAP forum. The forums have their place but they’re the last place I go to for help with SAP issues or professional advice for my SAP career”
There seems to be a general sense in the marketplace that if you ask a question on Quora you are going to be able to get a specific answer from an expert. Quora believes it has a plan in place to maintain a high level of quality but I question whether it will be able to maintain its “campfire atmosphere” and avoid a deterioration of quality in both questions and answers as it grows. As a SAP forum moderator I think it is pretty obvious that deterioration has already occurred within SCN forums, which is understandable to a degree given a community with 2.3 million members.
Using Quora got me thinking about the SCN forums as it is one of the main areas where SAP questions and answers are currently exchanged. I will start off by saying that I personally don’t think Quora will ever be a threat to the SAP forums as everyone knows the amount of SAP expertise that is active on SCN. That said I think there is a real opportunity for SAP to enhance the functionality within the forums or add a new area for “Quora” like questions.
SAP has done a great job through the years with the SAP community network and I think this may be an opportunity to enhance SCN to ensure that the valuable information and experts spend their time here versus a Quora or Quora “like” product. I don’t have all the answers but am hoping this article starts some good discussion on the topic.