Our newest moderator spotlight in the series is Java expert Benny Schaich-Lebek, an early community member and initial SCN blogger! Read to learn learn more.
Please share with Community a bit about yourself: I am located in Walldorf, at –you guessed it – SAP headquarters and just about last year had my tenth anniversary with the company. Back then, I was “bought” into the company with a lot of Java stuff. Today, I still care for technology in Solution Management.
Outside the company you’ll find me involved in a lot of activities around the medieval times, namely an archaeological research directly in SAPs neighborhood. In the summer you will find me in many weekend “medieval camps” living in the style of our ancestors.
What do you moderate on SCN? Over time there has been some stuff adding up here. I regularly stroll the forums to check for things that I can explain about how and why things are the way they are at SAP. Unfortunately over the last years my focus became less technical and as time is limited I leave more technical topics to those who are deeper into them.
I still do the moderating for Java wikis and forums and occasional blogging about technological topics that come my way.
When did you join the SCN Community? Just checked and found that my first blog is from February 2004. That was really early on SDN, although it existed already a year then. But the frequency was like 26 posts in that whole month!
When did you join the moderator community and what does your role entail? I tried to get involved with the moderating community from the beginning because I was absolutely convinced this would become an instant success. Today this sounds obvious, but back then people like Mark Finnern and Ziv Carthy had a lot to do initially to convince everyone this would be a lively community and not a dead website. (Yes, that was really a concern!)
You never run out of work 😉 Moderators must always strive to strike a balance between suppressing content and accepting low quality. Neither is good, but you have to try to hit the right point. So far I managed to keep out of trouble.
What is the frequency of your involvement? I am in SCN at least on a weekly basis. In addition, many times the blog moderating gets me in the middle of something because it sends emails and tells me that there is something on the plate to have a look at.
What motivates you? As dumb as it may sounds: to please customers. But really, to provide the right information at the right time in an understandable way is what motivates me. Because this means I helped to get things forward and created some value. This makes me feel I earned my salary.
Have you attended TechEd in the past or planning on going this year? Oh yes, I did. But I have not been there this year. This is likely due to the fact that my topics have not been released yet. Soon, the stuff we are now working on for the last three years will come out. Just to mention a few buzzwords: River, OSGi, JPaas, all projects that do not have a final name yet and once they are out need to be explained in context of the overall strategy. I guess that will be work for a couple of TechEds in the future.
How has the SCN community helped you? SCN for me is the number one information hub. If I need information about our own products this is the place to look up and that might be surprising to non-employees, but if it’s not in the manual, the best place to find it is SDN (well, sometimes it helps talking to developers, but that takes way more time).
In addition it helps me to find out what keeps customers busy with my product. Yes, there is also our customer ticket system to check this, but we found that customers prefer forums even for cases that they never will bring to our attention. In that concern I also have given up on telling people to raise a ticket because I can see a case is worth one. The reason why customers prefer forum over ticket is to see whether they are on a known issue or something specific that anyway needs more time to solve. This is also the reason why SAP support started to support forums: they found that the number of more general requests was driven down by the forums, because forums are the internet and tickets are not. Thus forums are an unbeatable knowledge engine.
Is there a moderating or community story you wish to share? Yes, absolutely. One day I checked one of the specific forums (I think it was mentors) and a person was asking for a specialist on some SAP product and I think that in addition that person was needed in a different country. I started to routinely activate my channels to find somebody from SAP to help out here, because this was an actual sales cycle and the information was for a buying decision.
When I came back to the forum after an hour or so I found that a specialist already had been reported and she was not even an SAP employee. This showed me the immense power and value of SCN. Some people just were on the way producing SAP revenue with SAP doing nothing but providing a platform for them to meet! Although it is tough to measure such value for SAP I am pretty sure that such occasions outnumber the cost of this platform by far.
Please see previous moderator spotlights here.