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Coal in my SCNocking

Before the SCN platform was scheduled to be launched, as an upgrade to the discussion forums and blogging spaces, I Five signs that the new SCN is dysfunctional with the intentionally controversial title “Five signs that the new SCN is dysfunctional”. At that point, I was complaining about the lack of planned damage control and lack of effective communication on the behavioral modifications and content changes that would hit users. I can take no credit, or blame, that the site launch date was scrubbed hours before the conversion would have taken place on December 12th.

I wrote that post in November, before the first one-week delay, and the second, now indeterminate delay.  When Mark Yolton announced that quality issues had caused him to decide not to continue with the site change, I was surprised, but not totally shocked.  Others, who had heard nothing but the positive aspects of the planned site, generally reacted with dull, “Oh, okay, whatever you say Mark.”

Not so for Dennis Howlett, who held the SAP community network management teams collective feet to the fire: “SAP delays launch of new community – provides no insights” not long after the delay was made public on December 9th. As a result, Mark Yolton spent a lot of hours that weekend revealing in much greater detail what was happening behind the scenes, some of which I had heard or suspected, and others of which were news to me, as a partial insider.

And lest anyone believe that I’m merely on the outside throwing stones, just ask those on the “SCNergy” team which planning meetings I attended, what constructive criticism I raised in the past several months, and the time I spent trying to get this zeppelin off the ground.

A few days later, as the accolades poured in (“yes, we want quality, we forgot everything you said about how great the new site was already!”) ex-SAP community network guru Craig Cmehil shared his thoughts on the conversion project state: “SAP Community Network – Fail?” Unlike Dennis, who makes a living stirring up controversy (and does a fine job at it), Craig really doesn’t seem to have an axe to grind. As far as I know, he left SAP on generally good terms, though I suspect he was having a hard time putting his excessive talents to work in the mature SCN environment.  You should also carefully read the first comment (so far) to that post.

On Friday December 9th, mere hours before the delay was made public, Jon Reed and I chatted over the phone, recording a podcast that I had intended to put on the new SCN site somehow, once I figured out how the new upload process worked. As it turns out, that gift turned stale, as not only did the new site not start up, there was nothing I could do with it on SCN.

For those who are ASUG members, I shared the podcast on a blog, “SCN and ASUG platform changes – delays and debacles” as that site has had its share of miscues. And it continues, from what I’ve seen.  But back to SCN

After not hearing about a specific planned launch date, I figured it would make sense to upload the podcast anyway. After all, the discussion was fresh, would still be relevant to the platform change when it happens (not if), and I could write about the revised testing plans. But when I went to the content upload location I have used for audio files before, I was sent to this blog post:

Moving to Jive – New Submission Process for Articles and Media Items from the community

This blog was posted on November 1st, 2011, meaning almost 60 days now without a pipeline to push articles and media onto the community network site. And how much longer? 30 days more? 60?  If you read the comments on that blog (most unanswered), you’ll see there is content going back months that is essentially toast because it won’t be moved to the new platform by SAP. I can understand that from a technical view, but it’s not good customer service to just drop material.

Through the facilities of SAP Mentor and uber-blogger Jon Reed, I’m sharing the podcast we recorded, literally at the same time that Mark Yolton was pushing “Mark as Final” on his post (and yes, the pun was fully intentional).



Note: this audio is around 25MB, because I had a high-record quality setting pushed up. Because Jon was on the phone, it may not have that recording studio quality.

Now what?

There is a (very) limited beta period that began yesterday.  With year end projects, Christmas around the corner, and then the flood gates opening as people start back to work in January, I’m having a hard time figuring when I can concentrate on systematic bug tracking and reporting.  A few comments have already trickled in from early risers (e.g., Tobias).

Let me know if there are features I should test.

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