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If this elevator goes down….

Last weekend, nine of us boarded an elevator at the Westin Hotel on Michigan Avenue in Chicago.  Together, as the leadership team of the ASUG Human Capital Management (HCM) Community, we had been working on developing the content to be presented at SAPPHIRE-ASUG Annual Conference.  As the doors of the elevator slid shut, we looked around at each other and joked:  “What if this elevator goes down with all of us on it…”  Well, I know for sure that would put a real cramp in the HCM Tracks to be delivered at the Conference.  But, moreover, it caused me to think about what I would do without this group of friends and colleagues. 

No, I am not going to turn all mushy on you now (although I truly would miss each of these people tremendously).  What I wonder about, though, is my ability to be a force for technological innovation without this group.  If the elevator goes down, I’m not sure I would want to be the only survivor. 

The ASUG HCM Community delivers education and encourages networking around solutions for — you guessed it — HR and Payroll.  The community is the first stop for over 60% of SAP customers who have a development or support need with their deployment of SAP ERP for Human Capital Management (HCM).  They are the first experts I turn to when I have an issue I want to solve. 

That’s hours and hours and hours of free — yes free! — consulting.  Seriously. 

When I wanted to know how to deploy ESS using SAP’s Home Page Framework, I called an ASUG colleague.  When I needed references on data copying tools and data loading tools, I asked questions of other ASUG members.  When I wanted to know if someone else was experiencing the same issues with BSI TUBS, I found a group of them all expressing the same concern in our ASUG discussion forums. 

And – here’s a question for you:  can the person who manages your licensing contract with SAP influence what SAP develops next or how they develop it?  Probably not. But we can.

That’s the power of this community.  That’s the strength that comes from social networking. 

Don’t kid yourself that this is all just about benefiting the customers.  SAP is just as happy to hear from us as we are to hear from them. Have you heard of the influence model?  The current version of Enterprise Compensation Management was developed totally with customer input from the Enterprise Compensation Influence Council.  New features in self-service for time managment came from the input of an influence council. 

So, from the Human Capital Management community, I’m here to ask “how can we help?”  And to all of you, I’d like to know what you can do for me, too.  I know pretty much about SAP’s HCM solution.  But I know very little about Workflow, less about Portals, and even less about BI.  I can get the data INTO SAP.  I need you to help me get it out.  Point is:  I can’t be the only survivor on the island. 

When we convene at the annual conference in May, we’ll be sharing information on everything from “Payroll 101” and building an effective Organization Management structure to deploying full-blown integrated talent management.  We’ll be working with SAP on data privacy and mobile solutions.  We’ll see the results of our earlier input into compensation, time management and self-services.  And we’re pushing the conversation into increasingly technical areas.  We want to understand what Business Objects will do for us…what we can do with the portal…how we can automate more.  I need to understand what UWL does for me… how to get a dashboard and what’s Xcelcius…what do I need to know about business server pages…and adobe forms…I have so many questions.

How about you?  Do you want answers?  Then become part of the discussion.  Ask the questions.  Offer what you know.  I, for one, am looking forward to the dialog.  AND the free consulting.   😉 

Talk to me on Twitter: @sherryannemeyer

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    • Luis, it is certainly a pleasure to stumble upon you here.  The world is so big - and our company is so big -- that is is nice to know that social media and networks like this can keep us together.  🙂
  • Hi,

    I enjoyed reading your blog.  Though I am not from HCM space ( I am from financials- FSCM, treasury etc), I too share the same feeling about the power of community and how it can influence the solution on the whole.   

    There is no way one can learn all the solutions but through community sharing/learning, one can certainly move a level ahead quickly.  IMHO I feel we are in an integrated world where no solution is  isolate one.  Everything will have some inter connectivity / dependence on other.

    Finally it all helps offer better solution to the  customer which is what we all strive to do.


    • Hello to the finance community!  This is another area which we have sought to tackle over the years with HCM.  HR data is very different in terms of the way it is constructed in SAP and the way it is managed (relative to data privacy).  So, we are sometimes the "cheese that stands alone."  We don't intend to be. Our data is used in finance.  Without people - there is no finance.  So we are also interested in solutions that tie two distinct systems (HR and FI) together.  Thanks for reading.
  • Thanks for interesting post, I agree that the community value for SAP is strong, and that it's great that in the SAP EcoSystem that people are friendly and help each other. All working in the common goal to get better solutions. Since I started blogging last year, I feel I've made some friends via the communitiy, and the collaborative, detail orientated and positive nature of the community is one of the reasons SAP is successful I think.
    • Hello John.  Thanks for the feedback.  Questionmark is one of the companies with whom the HCM community has a dialogue.  When it comes to LSO assessment, many companies use a third party to successfully complete the task.  For me, connections with 3rd party software is also invaluable because it helps me to understand the options for using the SAP data.  I don't recommend software; but I'm continually interested in solutions anyway.  So if we can have a dialog like this - independent of sales - that adds value to my daily work. 
  • Hi Sherryanne
    Many thanks for the very interesting post. I was excited to learn that there is an influence model which helps provide input into what SAP develops in the SAP HCM space and the way in which they develop it.
    Can you provide a little more detail on how these influence councils are formed, in which specific areas, how they operate and collect input, their size etc.
    It's great to know that there are conduits such as these in place to ensure valuable input from the SAP HCM world is channelled in a very positive way, to help improve the SAP customer experience.

    Thanks for having such a reflective moment. The SAP HCM community is truly invaluable.

    Nicola McDonnell.

    • Hello Nicola. The American SAP Users Group ( a formal Influence Model that exists on several levels.  The most common is the Influence Council which can be proposed by either a customer or SAP. It requires both an SAP lead and a customer lead.  In the past we've worked with SAP to influence the current model of Enterprise Compensation Planning.  (I have to say that EVERYTHING my company requested is included in the EHP4 version of ECM.)  We also have done a Time Management influence council and those changes appear in the upcoming version of ESS. We are also currently engaged on Data Privacy with Michael Wulf of SAP and are starting a Mobile IC with Gertrude Beisel.  There's lots of exciting things happening - with patience and active participation required. In the Influence Council model, input is gathered via meetings (virtual and live) and at times the use of Collaboration workspaces.  At times the issue that needs to be influenced is not large enough for a council.  ASUG is working thru a model with SAP right now for continuous improvement.  Are you - or is your company -- an ASUG member?  If so I would really like to get you engaged with us.  And either way, I would appreciate your continued input on what we need to influence!  There's much more information on; but I realize that can be overwhelming. Let me know first if you are a member of ASUG and then I can point you in the right direction - otherwise, we can continue this dialog here! 
      • Hi Sherryanne,
        My previous employer was indeed a member of ASUG prior to going into liquidation. Right now I benefit from ASUG bridge membership during my career transition.
        I am hoping to find a new SAP HCM role here in SE France (Alpes-Maritimes) in due course, and meanwhile I like to stay current with all things SAP HCM related.
        Many thanks for all the extra information with respect to the Influence Model.