With 2011 coming to a close, the SAP Community Network team has had a chance to reflect on our accomplishments of the past year. Our primary goal was, and will always be, delivering to our users a highly valuable and usable online community that encourages learning and collaboration to help you develop, deploy, customize, and operate world-class SAP solutions. To that end, we’ve been planning over the past year to deliver a New SCN, and have been busy migrating our current site to a new platform. We communicated plans to go live with the new site in December, but today I have decided to postpone the launch to early 2012.

 

It’s an understatement to say that the decision to delay the launch was not taken lightly… it was really difficult, nearly excruciating after so much time and work has gone into design, build, migration, testing.  But, despite extraordinary efforts by our core SCN team, our partners in SAP IT, vendors/consultants, and key stakeholders, we don’t feel that the new platform is of high enough overall quality to launch to our community members. With a project of this size, there are literally thousands of moving parts, and we need to feel absolutely convinced that every aspect of the site meets our high standards. It is making progress but doesn’t meet those standards now, so we’ve identified what is needed to get it there, and we’re actively engaged around the clock in fixing those issues so we can deliver the new site to you in early 2012.

 

We recognize that many of you have been eagerly anticipating this change, and some have made plans based on the new platform. But ultimately we have to do what’s right for our customer community — that, more than anything else, drives our decision making — and we aren’t willing to deliver a new site until it’s reliable and stable, with all the features and functionality we require, and with checks and double-checks completed. Quality is what’s expected and deserved by our SCN members, and we won’t compromise by launching the new site until it meets our highest standards.

 

We will continue to fix bugs, migrate content, run QA, test scenarios, verify usability, and ensure that full implementation of functionality is delivered and ready for launch in early 2012. We’re constantly in communication with members of the community, and we’ve been humbled by the supportive, enthusiastic and encouraging feedback from so many of you since we first announced plans to construct and launch a New SCN.

 

The team, too, is excited to be able to provide you with this new platform – it will help you stay informed on the topics that interest you most, and it will help you to connect and interact with topic leaders. I’ve seen the detail to which our extended team has focused to ensure we’re delivering the highest quality online community, and we’re excited to keep our plans moving forward and to ultimately launch a New SCN in early 2012. 

 

Stay tuned! … and thank you for your support. 

Mark Yolton

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  1. Thorsten Franz
    Mark,
    I wrote a lengthy comment about how this is an excellent decision, because quality masters most and nothing alienates a user more than a lengthy comment that hours up into a puff of smoke – but it went up into a puff of smoke. *sniff* So much for the “safe” in “better safe than sorry”. ๐Ÿ˜‰
    This joke was in me – but congrats nevertheless.
    Cheers
    Thorsten
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    1. Mark Yolton Post author
      Thorsten, the irony is amazing… showing the stress and strain of the current SCN and its increasingly quirky behavior only underscores the need to upgrade. I’m sorry you – and we – lost your thoughtful comments, but the sentiment is not lost, and your kind words here and on Twitter are very much appreciated.  We will continue diligently to deliver a solution to the mysterious disappearing comment gremlin, with a shiny, brand new SCN in early 2012.

      M.

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  2. Simon To
    Hi Mark, I can’t say enough that you have a fantastic team there at SCN. Although I am a little disappointed that the new SCN is not available this month, but I would rather wait a little bit longer than getting something that is not perfect.
    Kudos to the SCN team and the great job they have done in 2011! And look forward to a fantastic 2012!
    simon
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    1. Mark Yolton Post author
      Simon, I appreciate you giving credit and kudos to the team. It is much deserved and well-placed.  They are all working very diligently to deliver a fantastic new SCN. And I promise it won’t be very long into 2012 until you can use it to do much more than you ever could before. Thanks for your continued support.

      M.

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  3. Stefan Koehler
    Hello Mark,
    sad to read that news and i am sorry to say that, but some parts of your listed goals sounds like some kind of irony to me. Why ? Well over the last month there were several (new) annoying bugs in SDN ( What happened to SDN (quality)? ) which limit the usability and they were not fixed with the argument of the new SCN launch. Now it is canceled and rescheduled to “Early 2012” – but what is “Early 2012”? Will it be january, february or march or maybe even later?

    I can only hope, that the SDN development team will analyze and fix the reported bugs of the old platform now – after the new SCN launch is canceled.

    Hopefully the new SDN launch will not be the same story like Business by Design a few years ago.

    Best Regards
    Stefan

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    1. Gregory Misiorek
      but why?

      i don’t understand. as a frequent user of SDN i have learned to live with its quirks and wanted to get on the new platform as much as everyone else. if something’s not ready for prime time, why push out a half finished product only to meet a deadline? in any event, we don’t pay subscription fees of any kind to be here and only contribute our time and energy, so instead of complaining maybe we should ask how we could help. isn’t this what a community is all about?

      best regards,

      greg

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      1. Stefan Koehler
        Hey Greg,
        yes SDN it is free for everbody, but i don’t know any vendor driven communication / social media platform that is not.

        Please don’t get me wrong – i am the same opinion – if the new product is not ready to use, it should not be pushed out. We also don’t know which part doesn’t work, so that the new launch was canceled. The only thing that i am wondering about is, if the platform quality is so important to SAP – why they don’t care about the currently used “old platform” anymore. Bugs will be in all platforms, but there are some really big ones in the currently used one too (the SSL certificate issue for example) which are not fixed.

        By the way the SCN Migration Announcement is still placed in every area even it is canceled.

        Best Regards
        Stefan

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        1. Thorsten Franz
          Isn’t it easy to guess that the same handful of developers who must have worked like crazy to solve the problems that were now ruled insurmountable in the given time are also the ones who should have fixed the bugs in the old platform? If I was one of them, I would have limited my investment in the old platform to quick wins and absolute necessities and concentrated on getting the new one into the air. Now it might be different – I hope the new plan will give the team enough time to fix those annoying bugs in the current platform.
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    2. Mark Yolton Post author
      Thank you, Stefan, for your comments; and to Gregory and Thorsten for yours as well.  Stefan, what you are pointing out is that the current (soon “old, former”) SCN has bugs and deficiencies. I hear you loud and clear that you would like those fixed.  That’s exactly why we are putting every bit of energy and effort into the new release, to supercede and replace and upgrade the old/current SCN which is straining under the pressure of growth, load, over-complexity, and other issues.  We are not putting limited time/energy/attention/budget/people into fixing the current SCN except to bridge us to the new.  (That sounds to me like putting new tires on the car in order to drive it to the scrap yard…)  Please hang in there with us for a little longer, and we will have an amazing new platform for you to use and enjoy.  Thank you for your active participation and for sharing your thoughts.

      M.

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      1. Stefan Koehler
        Hello Mark,
        thank you for taking the time to reply to each comment. Well we as community members have no choice as to wait (and curse in front of our screens ;-)) ).

        Qoute: “…. putting new tires on the car in order to drive it to the scrap yard.”

        I would describe it more like that: “If you can’t even start (= SSL login issues) your old car, you can’t drive it to the scrap yard”.

        Best Regards
        Stefan

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  4. Tom Cenens
    Hello Mark

    It is the right decision because quality matters.

    I had the opportunity to meet a lot of SCN team members online and just recently in person at SAP TechED Madrid and it has been an amazing year. Each SCN team member that I connected with shares the same passion for SCN and they put a lot of effort into their work. You have a great team there.

    Of course I will be looking forward to the new SCN but I prefer to have a working environment in which the content I have created in the past is still there. If you need another tester to play around on the new environment, I’m always willing to help out.

    The most urgent issue at the moment on SCN is the comment disappearance bug which is blocking newcomers to comment and be active. The die-hard community members are aware and we copy/paste our comment and try again until it’s there.

    Kind regards

    Tom

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    1. Mark Yolton Post author
      Thanks, Tom.  I’m glad you call-out the passion of the team; they really are extraordinary and deserve heaps of credit, respect, and appreciation.  And, yes, I DO want you to participate in a beta test of the new system… you’ll hear from us on that topic within the next week or so.  And finally, thank you for persisting with the current SCN… it has served us well but has outlived its usefulness, and we will put all our energy into building the next-generation SCN that will blow the doors off the old one.  Thank you for your kind support and thoughtful words.

      M.

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    1. Mark Yolton Post author
      Thank you, Huseyin.  The team is really appreciative of support like this.  All of my colleagues are so dedicated that they would not *let* me do anything else, and they are so excited to share with you and the broader community what will eventually be an extraordinary platform for sharing, collaboration, and growth.

      M.

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  5. Nathan Genez
    I’m disappointed in the delay only because I spend so much of my time on SCN and would love to see it improved.  But my first thought is how refreshing it is to see and hear how you logically chose not to rush through this.  In my experience I haven’t seen a single SAP project that made their go-live decision this way…  they push through go-live and rush out sub-standard solutions, calling it a success because it’s on time and under budget.  Better to wait and deliver something that actually works.

    -nathan

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    1. Mark Yolton Post author
      Thank you, Nathan, for your support and understanding. I’m sure we are not the only SAP team to make a decision to put the highest quality and customer experience above all else, and we won’t be the last… but saying “customer first” and living it are very different, and difficult.  In the end, the only thing we really lose in this delay is suffering some embarrassment and criticism about an arbitrary go-live date. What will be remembered in the near-future is that we put everything we had into a fantastic new community platform.

      M. 

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  6. Matthias Steiner
    Hi Mark,

    as many of us are very eager to get our hands on our new, improved home base the disappointment about these news will be felt.

    Yet, I believe it’s the right decision and to be honest – a surprising one. Far too many times a project is rushed and quality is surrendered to meet timelines. Not this one!

    It’s like before a move… your old home, well once you made your mind to leave it behind you stop investing in it. You suddenly notice all the things that will be soo much better in the new place… all the things that made you wanted to move. Yet, it’s still your home and spending a last holiday season there will be more than “just fine.”

    In Germany we say “Anticipation is the greatest joy of all!”

    So, I think we all be just fine staying here for a little bit more time until our new home base is *all* ready. 

    Yet, I can also understand why some are grumpy about how communication was handled in this manner – like pulling an emergency brake. People wonder: since when do you know the timeline cannot be met? And what were the reasons for not communicating it earlier?

    For me your blog gives me enough explanation from what you wrote and what I can read between the lines being in this biz for a decade. I would also treat it as a family affair. There sure are lots of learnings – as there always are in projects of that size and magnitude – yet I’m confident that you and your team knows best howto handle this and that the platform will be amazing.

    At the end of the day, I have to say that I think the decision is the right one, I can relate how it feels to having to postpone it at the last minute, and I have a lot of respect for stepping up and saying it how it is… knowing that it’s never a pleasure to be the bearer of bad news.

    But then, it’s just a short delay… and frankly speaking, knowing that the team behind all this gets a little bit more time – especially now before the holiday season (!) – I’m just fine waiting a little longer…

    Best regards,
    Matthias

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    1. Mark Yolton Post author
      Thank you, Matthias. I and the team appreciate your support. You make alot of good points – many of which we considered.  I will explain more shortly – just need some time tonight to collect thoughts and details. 

      M.

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  7. Mark Chalfen
    Mark – thanks for your blog it explains very well the issues.

    You are in a hard place – you have over 2 million users to please and SCN as a service offers many different solutions.

    Having attended sessions both in Madrid and webinars covering the new functionality I was excited to finally get my hands on the new solution, and am part of the grumpy pack.

    I think your BETA roll out is a good idea, and hope we can test drive this for you to find the bugs so when the rest of the pack get access it is seamless.

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    1. Mark Yolton Post author
      Yes, sometimes it seems we have 2 million different opinions to please, but we are feeling confident that the delay will be brief and will be well worth the wait.  Especially people like you, who have seen the new version, will feel grumpy that it’s delayed, but it won’t be long. And we will include you in the beta-testing group so you get your hands on the new SCN early and can give us constructive feedback as we head toward public go-live.  Thanks for your support.

      M.

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  8. Anil Kumar
    Hi,

    I was today so excited about New SCN Look, But still not seen.

    We can understand that it’s not just a simple task, it’s a huge task for change it..

    We are all with you..and best hopes for Early 2012.

    Regards,
    Anil Kumar

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    1. Mark Yolton Post author
      Thank you, Anil. I’m sorry to disappoint you today, but look forward to the day early next year when we will really get you excited about the new SCN platform.  My hope and expectation is that it will be worth the wait.

      M.

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  9. Tobias Hofmann
    delays are nothing new in large IT projects. What counts more than the go-live date is the result. It’s better to have a working SCN than a partially broken one (Microsoft style).

    What impresses me is how you wrote the blog: explaining what is going on, assuming the responsibility and justifying it the right way: quality and (!!) people. Doesn’t happen too often in the IT world.

    Someone can only wish to have you as your manager.

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    1. Tobias Hofmann
      Well, that comment was meant for your other blog (/people/mark.yolton/blog/2011/12/10/the-new-scn-an-update-on-our-delayed-release). Don’t know why it got posted here …
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    2. Mark Yolton Post author
      Thank you, Tobias, that’s very kind of you to say.  Open communication is what we do in this community; I think it makes us different and special.  Also, don’t tell my boss, but I really have a pretty straightforward job as a manager since the team does all the heavy lifting – so all I need to do is to guide and support them.

      M.

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  10. Alok Kumar Tiwari
    Hello Mark Yolton,

    I was very excited about the new SCN look today. We are waiting eagerly for the New SCN to be lunched. Thanks for informing us about the delay.
    Wish You and SCN core team all the best.

    Regards,
    Alok Tiwari

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    1. Mark Yolton Post author
      Thank you for your support, Alok.  In case you missed it, I also provided another update over the weekend. You can find it here (/people/mark.yolton/blog/2011/12/10/the-new-scn-an-update-on-our-delayed-release) in case you’d like more details. We will get you the new SCN as soon as possible in the new year. And we will provide more updates as we make progress. 

      M.

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  11. Bob McGlynn
    Mark,
    For those that have worked on this new platform and to those that have been exposed, they already know the ‘look and feel’ and will be comfortable with the changes.
    When this gets rolled out the the larger SDN community, there will be enough change to digest without introducing poor performance. It is a good idea to delay the launch so that when the roll out does occur, people can focus on understanding the new ways of participating.
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    1. Mark Yolton Post author
      Thank you, Bob. I do think that the UI and UX are pretty solid. Up next is to ensure that all the moving parts are working well together, that all the content and capabilities are in place as planned, and to ensure excellent performance in both stability and speed.  We appreciate your thoughts.

      M.

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  12. Rambabu Boorugu
    Hi Mark,

    I have been waiting with so much excitement for the new look and feel of SDN however i really apreciate your justification and status update to the community, will wait for the further update,

    but one small clarification,  once after moving to the new look and feel still old version will be available until certain period of time which can be switchable in between like we can notice in GMAIL nowadays..?

    Cheers,
    Rambabu

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    1. Mark Yolton Post author
      Hi Rambabu: Thank you for your comment. Apologies for splashing cold water on your enthusiasm and excitement, but we will re-energize you in early 2012 with the new site.  Also, I did publish another blog a day later with more details, which you can find here: http://weblogs.sdn.sap.com/pub/wlg/27755. [original link is broken] [original link is broken]  And finally, to answer you question: no, we do not plan to keep both the old and new systems running simultaneously in parallel.  The new system is MUCH more than a look-and-feel change; it is a completely new platform, fully integrated, with a tremendous amount of new functionality. All blogs, discussion forums, and most everything else will move over onto new systems. Therefore, keeping the old would mean it is always out of date and out of sync with the new; so, we will shut down the old and make a big switch. It will be jarring at first, but we are taking care to help through the transition so people like you get comfortable fast. I hope you will find it a positive change.

      M.

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    2. Mark Yolton Post author
      Hi Rambabu: Thank you for your comment. Apologies for splashing cold water on your enthusiasm and excitement, but we will re-energize you in early 2012 with the new site. Also, I did publish another blog a day later with more details, which you can find here: http://weblogs.sdn.sap.com/pub/wlg/27755. [original link is broken] [original link is broken] And finally, to answer you question: no, we do not plan to keep both the old and new systems running simultaneously in parallel. The new system is MUCH more than a look-and-feel change; it is a completely new platform, fully integrated, with a tremendous amount of new functionality. All blogs, discussion forums, and most everything else will move over onto new systems. Therefore, keeping the old would mean it is always out of date and out of sync with the new; so, we will shut down the old and make a big switch. It will be jarring at first, but we are taking care to help through the transition so people like you get comfortable fast. I hope you will find it a positive change.

      M.

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  13. Alvaro Vidal-Abarca
    Hi Mark,
    I just cannot wait for the new SCN’s look and feel… maybe it can be a new-year present for all the Community ๐Ÿ™‚
    Keep up the good work. I’m looking forward to the new improvements.
    Cheers,
    Alvaro
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    1. Mark Yolton Post author
      Hi Alvaro: I think we are within weeks of the new and improved community platform. I will know more this week and next, as I get the latest feedback from our beta testing team (more than 200 community members are pounding away on the beta version and giving daily input, from which we are seeing daily improvements).  Coming soon! Thank you for your enthusiasm and support.

      M.

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  14. sri nath
    Hi Mark Yolton

    It is very nice that you are updating us and i can understand the effort that the team is taking on the new SCN Look.But if it takes time also finally if new SCN look starts from 1st January 2012 then it will be  very good.We all can go with the feeling that it as a 2012 New Year gift to all of us.

    Regards
    Srinath

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  15. Ramachchanthiran S
    From this blog and the content, we can understand the efforts which were put in backgound of new task. We are more exited to hands on the new JIVE with the latest functionality. Many thanks for your time and support to us.

    Thanks
    Ram

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