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Ideaplace “Suggest Mobile Apps” – Buzzing with Activity

Ideaplace “Suggest Mobile Apps” has only been live for a few weeks – since September 16th, 2011 to be exact – and 50+ contributors have already provided 140 ideas. New ideas come in on a daily basis.

We continue to broadcast this new crowd sourcing tool through twitter and other channels, and we see the traction growing. Ultimate objective will be that top ideas will be selected for production – either within SAP or by partners. Ideaplace “Suggest Mobile Apps” offers an unique opportunity for SAP’s ecosystem, encompassing SAP colleagues, partners, customers, or any other stakeholder to get involved in SAP’ Mobility effort. All stakeholders can chime in and influence the SAP portfolio decisions directly, by suggesting apps, discussing and voting. Everybody can participate, there are no restrictions.

In the customer discussions that I have been involved in (e.g. the SAP Life science Executive Council, early November) the responses are positive. Customers and partners understand that SAP has made a very important decision; they have asked SAP many times for this type of transparency, and we now deliver this. With crowd sourcing, we can listen to hundreds of voices. Ideas that get many votes are ideas that are resonate well, that are truly exciting. Anybody that has ever participated in brainstorming (who hasn’t?) will know how well brainstorming works. And  crowd sourcing isn’t much different from that.

Ideas are already being passed on to partners. One partner was interested in use cases for specific device types, they would like to create apps on the Sybase Unwired Platform. Jointly (and within minutes) we pulled eight proposals directly from the system and passed them on. These ideas are now under evaluation by that partner. This does not restrict other partners or customers from building similar apps. After all, in Mobility open competition is the name of the game – just think about the thousands of Apps in the Apple Store. In fact, we invite partners that are building an App or that have created an App to include that idea in Ideaplace “Suggest Mobile Apps”: why not show the world what you are working on? Why not get an early stake in the ground? You can even include a link to your existing App homepage, to show that your app is already available!

Top rated apps include the “Sales Incentive App” with 51 votes and the “Contact Person App to upload contacts directly in SAP CRM” with 33 votes. Both are very exciting ideas, one to support the sales person in keeping track of commissions or quota, the other one allows scanning of business cards and automatically feeding that content into an SAP system. Any takers interested in productization?

How does the process work?

Anybody can visit the website Ideaplace “Suggest Mobile Apps” and within minutes you can post your App idea. Choose a good title, and add as much relevant info as possible in the description. Very important: activate your personal ecosystem: use email; SDN, twitter, linkedin, or other social media to promote your idea.

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  • Hi,

    really great to hear you are getting crowd sourced traction for mobility ideas. What is the process for getting from divergence to convergence with ideas harvested from outside of SAP? I recently wrote an article on Open Innovation Strategy that is posted here to SDN. You can get to it via my recent blog post on it:

    Open Innovation Strategy

    In the paper I discuss some of the different OI programs at SAP; Idea Place being one of them. I am very interested to see us do more to strategically link the diffrent ways we engage with firms external to SAP so that we can more thorughly benefit from tacit knowledge exchange as well as to channel crowd sourced ideas into other programs like the SAP Co-Innovation Lab where it might be of interest to further collaborate with other firms to develop mobile apps.

    We are doing such mobile co-innovation project work through our PADMA program today and some have in fact ended up in our SAP app store:

    1.     SIGGA SM2-Mobile EAM by SIGGA
    2.     mApprove by Arteria Technologies
    3.     mSFA by Arteria Technologies

    It would be great to assess how more formal strucutre could be considered where we can direct new ideas into COIL for deeper collaboration or in some instances just being able to see more sharing of ideas and information could prove valuable to SAP and all collaborators.


    • MMMmmmmm....  But doesn't idea place kick start some of the different COIL initiatives.   I love idea place it seems to get attention by a lot of different people.

      Formal?  It would discourage a lot of individuals from posting their excellent ideas.  I know that could intimidate me.

      Go Idea Place!


      • Hi,

        to my knowldege, COIL has never seen an idea sourced via IdeaPlace get vectored to us with the intention to develop a co-innovation project.

        What I mean to suggest in using the word "formal" is simply that we need some degree of awareness and process for ensuring theat we can cross pollenate and cross utilize our open innovation resources. At some point,we want a means of transitioning from the divergence space where good ideas first form, to a convergent space where we can shift to focusing upon implementation.

    • Good points!
      I take a pragmatic view on the process. First, we must make sure that all App ideas do end up in “IDEA PLACE Suggest Mobile Apps” – whether they come from customers, partners, or SAP colleagues (so make sure to insert any past or future project that you are working on; also the ones that you've listed). Secondly we will need a large number of votes and/or comments – only when we have a critical mass of both will the system be truly valuable. Ultimately, we will end up with a stack of proposals: the top ones having received a large number of votes. Then the “divergence to convergence” will start. First, we can search for ideas e.g. “App AND Warehouse” or “App AND medical” and pass on such hit lists to partners that are interested in getting new ideas (in fact, I have done this a couple of times on request already). Internally at SAP, any App development project must use “IDEA PLACE Suggest Mobile Apps” as a key decision support tool. If the development team is envisioning to create an App, but that proposal got no votes in IDEA PLACE – should the project be continued? Probably not! And if we look at the top ten of high-rated apps, and some of those are not in production (either by SAP or a partner) we must ask: why not?
      I am hesitant to add more formal structure. Optimally, all Mobility organizations within SAP should simply use this site to track “where we are at in Mobility”, to use it as the touchstone / acid test for any development idea. After all, only here can each idea get feedback from hundreds of people.