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SAP InnoJam 2011: The Story of The Business ByDesign Team

My friend DJ Adams told me about SAP InnoJam the pre event to SAP TechEd and so I thought I would check it out and decided to sign up. InnoJam is a 30 hour event where business cases are pitched and people form in to teams they want to work with for the next 26 hours. The objective is to take a business scenario and develop a solution or working prototype for it using one of the SAP technologies available: SAP HANA, SAP Business ByDesign, Sybase Unwired Platform, SAP Netweaver Gateway, Duet, Project River and SAP Carbon Impact were chosen for Madrid 2011.

Some people may ask: Why would anyone want to spend 30 hours in a room with no windows with a bunch of SAP Techies? Read on!

Andreas Eissmann from Data One in Saarbrucken and myself had similar ideas and we decided to pitch it together. My Business Case and Andreas Business Case and if you really want to then you can review our un prepared pitch here! Tim & Andreas pitch business case

Then came the networking, we spoke to a number of people and tried to attract some talent for our team in both technical terms but also on from a practicality point of view. The final team consisted of Myself and Andreas who is an SAP Business ByDesign Developer, Roland Weis a Global SAP Architecht, Fred Verheul an SAP ABAP and PI Consultant, Doug Munford an SAP Technical Architect & Developer and Greg Chase Director of Platform Marketing at SAP. We also had assistance from SAP Business ByDesign experts Werner Wolf and Matthias de la Roche.

So the team was formed, we had an idea of the concept: A way to incentivise employees to be more “Green” and think about how their actions impact on the environment, the company and the wider society but that was it. We then started a Flip Chart session to get as many ideas and extensions of ideas as possible, using a voting prrocess we picked the top five and started to get to work on exactly how we wanted the solution to look and work.

The business scenario had evolved and the basics of it were formed around our team name E.T.H.I.C.S. “Employee Tool for Holistic Individual & Corporate Sustainability”. Employees could opt in to the programme where various actions they take carry points, these points go on record and can form part of a bonus or reward structure. We wanted an employee to be able to log on an iPad or Smart Phone if he / she had taken public transport rather than drive and to be able to score points for booking an Appointment in ByDesign but carrying out a WebEx rather than visiting the client. We also wanted to demonstrate a new KPI being approved that was doing some “Volunteer work” or a good deed, recording it with a photo and earning points. It was also discussed that we could use SAP StreamWork to set up a committee to vote on new ideas and for employees to create a “Social Buzz” around the programme.

So, we knew what we wanted to do and how we wanted it to work but how are we going to get this built in the next 20 hours? The various pieces of work were divided up and interdependencies determined then each person got on with their own part. We worked in to the night and I left about 1am Monday morning. Andreas Eissmann actually stayed until 4am!

Luckily for us Rui and his incredible team had left us with a fully stocked fridge including Beers, Jaegermeister and Red Bull!

We met just before 8am on Monday after only a few hours sleep and reviewed what had been done. The various pieces of development work were really taking shape and Andreas had managed to get the KPI’s to record back into the ByDesign framework showing an effect in the overall score Visualisation. This was a major milestone and gave us the motivation to push on with the work.

Myself and Roland got to grips with putting a staged approval process together in SAP StreamWork and would like to thank Jerome Selles for his advice. The rest of the team carried on with the development and integration in ByDesign, making sure the Mobile App worked and the activity was reflected back in the ByDesign platform whilst I started to put together a presentation and script. It then dawned on me that I was actually going to have to present this to a very high profile panel of judges and a room of over 140 people. That was when the panic set in!

We decided to base the presentation around a story board, “A day in the life of a Green Employee” to make it more realistic but also in case the demonstration didn’t work! With critique from Fred and Doug I tweaked and practiced my pitch until I was happy with it and we were ready to do a run through with Andreas and the ByDesign platform.

Then, 15 minutes before the cut off, disaster struck. Andreas tried to get SAP StreamWork to open up in the ByDesign Mashup but it crashed the whole thing. No KPI’s, no Newsfeed, nothing. Everything that had been worked on over the last 28 hours was gone. The mood on the team was of utter devastation and disapointment. Then, Andreas said “I’ve fixed it.” The relief was unbelievable but we only had 5 minutes and still hadn’t practiced together. Oh well, I like to live dangerously so we shut down and went to the presentation room.

The standard of all the presentations was excellent and then it was our turn, Myself, Andreas and Doug went on stage for our 6 minute slot and I’m happy to say it went very well. Being a person who has struggled with public speaking and a severe case of “nerves” I was very pleased with myself! Andreas ran the demonstration perfectly, Doug chipped in to get me back on track and then introduced the technologies used. The audience also loved the picture of a “Homeless and Luggageless” Martin English being helped out by the employee to gain “points”. I was on such a high after the presentation it was amazing to hear the feedback from such a distinguished panel of judges!

After the final presentation we had a couple of beers while the judges deliberated and then we came back in to the room. Had we done enough to win? Would we go on to present to a 1000 strong crowd at DemoJam? Not quite. 2nd place but that was good enough for me I was overwhelmed by how well the team had done.

Two 13 hour non stop days were over, we had come second in an extremely tough competition. I will remember SAP InnoJam Madrid for a long time, I have made some great friends, learnt a hell of a lot about SAP Technology, overcome my fear of public speaking and had the honour of being part of such an awesome team who I would like to thank very much. Thanks also to Werner and Matthias for your hard work and advice.

I also want to thank Rui, Karin and the whole InnoJam team including the Audio Visual guys who were amazing and those who kept us well fed and watered for the whole event.

This has been a truly unbelievable experience, I will be recommending it to others and will surely return next year.

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