One week of the new SCN and so many things happened. Time to summarize.

First, I would like to express that none of that what follows is or should be received as an accusation. As a mathematician, I prefer an unemotional view on the facts, and when I conclude: “The transition was – a fail” – and that will be a part of my conclusions – it does not mean in the background: “And there are guilty people who we can hang for this!” Especially if you, the reader, are a member of the SCN team, and are bugged by “just another negative comment”, please ask around for somebody who knows me in person, I hope that this person is able to defend me and will declare: “Sometimes he’s a bit harsh, but for him, it’s about the matter, the facts, and of being honest and truthful. And that people accept and learn from their failures.” At least, this is what I think about me… 😉

OK, I will start with my very personal experience. My first three tries to access the new SCN have failed totally, each ending up in login issues, from which I could not proceed. I was locked out. This ended up in different mails to the support team. As I could not access the platform (I never access it anonymously, as normally I contribute in some way), I wasn’t able to know that this “little” “please let me in”-issue would only be the start of some serious frustration, from which many others already suffered a lot… So I could not know that my mails only have been three small “clicks” in a loud and steady noise the support team already was exposed to.

The rest is well-known: Logout-issues, error messages (ajax & full page) and a performance… Of course I know that these are “only” technical issues which have to be analyzed and then will be stopped (maybe together with some loss of functionality, but at least the platform would be usable some day). But I also know that under the circumstances SCN runs this would be all but easy, and around three days of very serious issues paint a picture of this.

I can’t say how much I appreciate the peek into the details Oliver Kohl gave us in his blog Anatomy of a Go-Live. And not only this – this was the best reaction which could have come from the team. Of course it was “too late”, and not only this, the days before we heard other signals. And that is one point where people can learn from, even if I think that this is something people might have learned within the last two or three years: The times are gone where the big player could “declare the truth” to the little players. Even if I’m so sure that the people in the SCN team have been proud of what they have created, even if of course they have put so many hours and blood & sweat into this and wanted the best for the community, even if I understand that with a go-live the burden should lift from the shoulders and people would like to get something back now, having rolled out the new exciting stuff – even if I know all this, if I respect and appreciate the feeling behind this (I had them often enough myself) — with the issues everything started very fast, this (sad to say) was not the hour (or day, or days) to praise the new platform.

Learn this – and I don’t want to address Mark Yolton in person, on the contrary, I hope that Mark had his lesson and learned something (even if I have to admit that his last update does not make this undoubtedly clear for me). But there are so many people out there which now have the chance to realize this before they run into the same trap and frustrate people and get hurt:

Learn this: If you have created something, it does not, I repeat: (not “less”, “few”, but) NOT count what you know how great this new thing is if the people you made this for are unhappy, absolutely irrelevant if you think that any criticism is justified or not. The user experience is the alpha and omega (*) when it comes to the evaluation of the new system. Nothing else.

And if you (and now I’m pointing to all current or future marketing managers or similar) ignore this rule, the users will come back to you. Especially if you ignore this rule when rolling out a “web 2.0” platform, where the system to be evaluated is the same the users can use to provide their feedback 😉

Mark’s Blog earned a little **** storm, and all I can say about this: This was just logical in 2012. And even if I was the first commenter and sowed the seeds for further negative comments, I hope Mark can agree that at least 10 or 20 comments later my words had no influence any more (not saying that they had any). Also on Monday, nothing was more wrong than publishing “promising invitations” (like on Twitter). Not only that you knowingly lead people to a system where they get frustrated very fast, it’s also not very nice for the technical team, getting at the same time more traffic on the system and increasingly bad feedback.

And here we can learn something more: Don’t rest on positive feedback. To the contrary: If feedback is 50:50, chances are high that the positive feedback is much less profound than the negative. But the negative feedback, if immediately constructive or just the expression of “being pissed”, is the feedback which leads to changes. So this is also maybe something some users on SCN might learn: It’s great to be a nice person, but it does not always help. If somebody is always nice, a compliment from such a person simply means – nothing. The greatest and most valuable compliments are the ones you receive from people who are known sceptics.

OK, all this technical hardcore problems are almost history. But there is one interesting thing I think I have observed: It seems as if there was no “role back scenario” planned. Seriously, not only that I think one should have one (absolutely knowing what extra trouble this might mean), I also think that the start of SCN was one of the seldom situations where such a scenario might have made sense. The trouble was too bad, it was too obvious that fixing this would rather take days than hours, and the technical data to recreate the issues in the lab should have been sufficient.

One might ask if everything what such a step would imply (primarily the frustration factor) would have been justified by “some technical issues”. I tend to say yes without being sure about it. But in the end, I definitely say yes, because all these technical issues only have been the top of it. If I would be a conspiracy theorist, I would go so far to create the theory that all these issues have been produced willingly to distract the users from the underlying “real” problems. And no, I’m not a conspiracy theorist, and I don’t want to create the impression that I believe one millimeter in this theory. I’m just using it to stress – there is more.

“You have to keep in mind that thousands of consultants, partners and employees rely each day on the information made available on SCN and the tremendous feedback of their regular contributors.” [Oliver Kohl]

How true!

So, who can explain it to me that not “some” forum content is missing (this “some” was used again and again, recently in the Day 5 Status Update by Mark Yolton: “some members discovered that some content was missing from the migration”), but much. Just an example: I had two serious problems as a consultant this week on which I asked google for help. Both problems each led to exactly one known issue entry within the whole world (of course, no SAP notes existed for these). Both on the beloved SCN. Both leading to “The item does not exist. It may have been deleted.”

How could SAP? How could SAP migrate “some” content, or, don’t let us argue about the percentage – how could SAP not migrate some of the content? And if, what I doubt a bit, this was done by accident, if there is a surprising big open issue which you had not planned – how to dare (anyhow) to explain that this would be some kind of a minor issue? That really makes me wonder if the team really knows what great platform SCN is and how unbelievable valuable it is, for the customers, for the consultants – and for SAP itself!

Maybe this story has it’s value in the end: Print all the frustrated reactions on paper and throw this into the mail box of the manager who hinders the progress of SCN the most. Maybe he’ll learn, too 😉

Altogether I have to admit that I wonder about testing in the last year. One could discuss why the load testing was incomplete, but there I would tend to say: “**** happens.” It was a failure, but this is a very human failure. But to overlook some technical issue is something different from disregarding obvious issues. Some of them:

  • Line breaks / paragraphs have not been migrated in the forums. Therefore all threads are very lengthy, just for using too much vertical space. (At least, something which still could be attacked with an after-migration-run on the new system.) I don’t want to believe that no one saw this. Also blogs have some trouble, but at least with the forums, technically it would have been so easy to care about it (not that sure about blogs).
  • The width the new forums have is too small and breaks the simplest and most basic UI rules. Needs more scrolling etc pp.
  • There is no hierarchical navigation / overview, which makes it hard to find content; especially for newcomers who don’t know for what expression they should search. But then someone gets the great idea to create helping documents like the forums finder document — hey, hello, cooee! If someone realizes that something central is missing, why creating workarounds instead of attacking the root cause?! (It was created on 6th of January!!!)
  • The existence and the need of all the help documents very much shows: The software is all but completely intuitive and self-explanatory (I could name hard technical reasons for this, but don’t want to get into the details for different reasons). Maybe a general lesson learned: “Social collaboration platform” is a buzz word with very few substance, sometimes not holding what it is promising, but to the contrary. Many problems could have been attacked simply by using different default values (instead of now bringing the information to users where they can switch things to see content as they are used to).
  • I just can say this for the portal section, as I know it like the back of my hand: The new space structure violates some core needs, content has been moved (EP-KM, following the forum finder, is now ECM, which simply is a lie), the parent space does not show child content, etc pp. It’s a small catastrophe.
  • Features which have been valuable have been removed (“Who made the last comment on a thread?”, points applications (company leader and more), etc pp) – this happens often at migrations, but should be avoided in general; a general lesson the world has not learned yet, SCN is no exception, but it’s bitter that almost everyone runs into the same mistake again and again.

This sounds quite negative, and I have to admit: Yes, I think it is. And once again: I do not doubt the spirit of the SCN team and therefore the least I want is to get on the wrong side of such committed SCN team members. I hope that these team members are able to share my criticism, because I simply think it is profound.

But there is one thing, which really bothers me: I have been part of many many projects, and especially within the long-term-many-people-projects, there are always voices “from below”, which realize such things. Now, normally, this leads to two possibilities: On the one hand, the project structure might be so hierarchical and unfriendly, that people don’t have the courage to speak out loud and clear. From all I know, I cannot really imagine that this is the case with SCN. The other possibility is that people warn, but get ignored at the end. (The third – that warnings are heard and get respected – to my knowledge is a pure theory.)

So, I would like to dedicate this blog entry to the people within the SCN team who realized that the migration had come too early. I’m often the admonisher myself, and I know how hard it is really to see something but to live with it that the people in charge don’t want to see it or don’t believe you or don’t care for whatever reasons. I’m with you, people, with all my heart and soul.

Now, it is one week later, and now there are technical reasons why not to switch back. We will live with it, SAP will optimize the system. But I hope so very much, that people learn something from it. If not, I would call it a double fail, really fatal. But I don’t want to give up hope that bad things have their “raison d’être” – and if it’s just to be better next time.

Detlev

(*) Sorry for this christian expression in a world wide read blog; I have absolutely no intention using it, it’s just my language.

PS: I definitely have to add some self criticism. One of the very good moves during the project had been the idea of beta testers; as such all mentors had been invited. I have to admit: I did not take the invitation (for pure lack of time). I should have. Anyhow, I thought that realizing issues not everyone else realizes would have taken hours to days, which I did not have. And – I got the feedback from someone else, that the reported issues have not really been addressed until the go live. So, yes, I should have taken the opportunity, and sorry that I did not. But who knows how my manner of speaking would have turned out in this blog entry if I would have warned about the issues before… 😉

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45 Comments

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  1. Mark Finnern

    Hi Detlev,

    Thanks for the feedback. How easy was it to blog?

    It is Sunday evening and I should organize my Europe trip that brings me to DKOM and beyond in two weeks, but your post should get a reply. So I got a Hoegaarden with Sprite, as it was a hot St. Patrick’s Day weekend here in Savannah.

    Mark prost.jpg

    I asked you about your blogging experience, because that is my main focus on SCN. Even though I loved the presentation side of the old blogging software, I hated the editor with a passion and that even though I was the one who implemented it back in 2003. Time has moved on since then.

    From my mostly blogging perspective, I love the new SCN and am so happy, that the old editor has been kicked to the curb.

    This little example shows, that there are different perspectives on the transition. Similar to life, it is not black and white, many shades of grey in between.

    Almost from the beginning you were a leader in the forums especially portals. Therefore of course forum functionality is your source of frustration.

    Throughout reading your post I was thinking: “Oh, if only he would have been part of the beta program, may be some of your frustration could have been avoided, I am glad that you admit at the end that you unfortunately didn’t have time to be part of it.

    I think we are also experiencing cultural differences. In Germany and I am exaggerating, there is more focus on the negative, wrapped in the mantel of perceived objectivity, which is like free will, an illusion. In the US and again I am exaggerating the positive is highlighted and celebrated, sometimes too early, which leads to the German belief that serious things are swept under the carpet.

    Independent of our final assessment, do we really have to shout in a headline it to be a failure? What benefit does it have to people involved?

    I strongly recommend to post your recommendations to the Idea Place and the bug reports to the Bug Reporting space, so that they can get the proper attention.

    I would love to read a follow up with: These are the top 10 items that need improvement, with links to the Idea Place suggestion / Bug posts for further discussion.

    That kind of post I would love to revisit  a year later to really measure our progress.

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    1. Anton Wenzelhuemer

      Mark,

      wrote a lengthy comment to this post supporting many of Detlev’s observations but it got lost in the middle of writing it – didn’t we have an autosave feature in the old forums already and why don’t we have it here? Will try again this evening …

      Anyway, im want to say that the positive reaction “My dream became reality today” cited last Tuesday, given the status of the platform at that time, to me sounds more like a piece of comedy rather than a simple exaggaration of the positive.

      My 2 cents,

      anton

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    2. Detlev Beutner Post author

      Hi Mark,

      The picture you have added I cannot see (“Unauthorized”).

      The blog editor of course beats the old one, no question. But the blog editor on the old SCN really was SCN’s weak spot 🙂  Anyhow, for people like you primarily blogging, of course this is a nice improvement. But it would be the same some weeks or months later… 🙂  And for a lack of trust in the new system, of course I used notepad to draft the text. (Just got the “Internal Server Error” popup (i.e. I’m logged out), have to save this answer carefully.) Ah, and preview is missing, the old one had it.

      “there are different perspectives on the transition” – this is just the point I would like to (have) attack(ed) with my text. No question, of course there are good things and improvements, but people get annoyed by bad things. Not only me, and some (I think very few) people are just annoyed for the fact that “something has changed”; but most of the people with negative feedback have some very real reason, and that’s the point of it: You don’t outweigh the negative aspects with positive aspects in other areas.

      And, my 100% approval on this, there are cultural differences between the German way and the US way to evaluate such projects. But that’s again the point: I think the US way, if one might use such a generalising expression, I don’t like very much, and not just for having a different cultural background, but for real hard facts: People have been annoyed, frustrated, disappointed. Many. I think this should count for much, more than a, sorry, bit superficial “hey, let’s party, everything is great”.

      “do we really have to shout in a headline it to be a failure? What benefit does it have to people involved?” I really tried to express this with, admitted, many words, sorry if I was not clear enough. I very much addressed people involved. I hope that those people involved who saw that the migration has come too early are relieved that someone from outside speaks out loud and clear. At least I tend to like such a feedback (as written, I know situations / projects where I as a member get frustrated because everyone wants everything implemented now, unwilling to discuss that quality needs other, more fine-grained approaches). For the others, I still have tried to make clear why I think that the migration was playing too rough with the content and users. And, hey, Mark: It’s not me (alone) who was and is suffering; it’s not a posting where I just want to complain. I just hope so very much, that some people with the “hurra”-attitude might get more thoughtful. I’m sure, it’s needed. And I’m sure that in the end, it would make all people involved – team and users – happier and coming together.

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    3. Detlev Beutner Post author

      Hi Mark,

      Just a short update: I know now where (at least) thousands of threads are missing: The KMC content has not been migrated at all.

      • Not migrating (at least) this content,
      • talking of “some content” has not been migrated (aiming at Feb/Mar content), which happened in different threads and blog posts,
      • but not talking about which content completely has not been migrated

      makes me almost speechless…

      I really would like to get some answers:

      • Was this done deliberately?
      • If no, when it is planned to migrate the stuff now?

      If this was really (not) done by accident, this is another pointer that there was too much pressure so that people could overlook such a major issue. If this was planned (just to remove KMC support and to push the new OpenText), yeah, that would make me speechless for the moment, but speech would come back…

      I have pointed out this issue (just with small examples, as until now I wasn’t aware of the complete issue) now several times. I never got a clear response, if any.

      I know (I hope) that I have not really to address you with this, I just wanted to address you for your answer “How easy was it to blog?” and the intention behind this. As written in the blog entry, I really doubt that everyone knows how precious the content is, if something like this happens. Of course, in addition, we are talking of very much content created by myself, which also is often a “brain backup” for me, so there is some extra sensitivity on my side… I’m sure you’ll understand…

      Somehow extra frustrated
      Detlev

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      1. Detlev Beutner Post author

        Just to answer my own questions – got the answer directly from within the team:

        1. KMC content has not been migrated, approved.
        2. Will be migrated some day… (hopefully soon).

        The root cause was a typo on the technical mapping list which noone has observed. So, at least it was not done deliberately, but of course this underlines my theory that the pressure was too high so that quality got too low.

        Anyhow, at least this issue will be fixed, too. Can’t wait for it, as this content really is precious for me (all the stuff I have written there…).

        Regards
        Detlev

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  2. Andy Silvey

    Evening All,

    as an English man, geographically that’s somewhere between Germany and the US I can take the middle ground and see both sides of the discussion.

    One huge positive I take from this whole exercise is the passion which we all have for SAP, for our work, and for the SCN.

    When I was growing up my grandfather advised me that in my life, if things don’t go as intended I shouldn’t spend my energy and time trying to change the past, it’s happened and gone and cannot be changed, but equally I must learn from the past and try not to make the same mistakes twice.

    Mistakes or not, the new platform is here, and of course it is going to improve, the rough edges which were missed because not enough resources were available for testing are being ironed out and sanded down as we speak, just look at how the format of the blogs list has changed.

    Look how Mark Y has shown that right from C level executives downwards, SAP is listening to the feedback and taking in the suggestions and advice.

    How many other blue chip companies modernising their community platform have a C level SVP on the frontline fielding discussion feedback ??? That is something not to be sniffed at.

    As a Basis Technician and a veteran of many many SAP landscape upgrade projects and upgrade CutOvers something I take from this is the end User experience. This is really the first time I have been an end User on a SAP CutOver. I’ve always been on the other side in my job and doing the upgrade and Cycle Zero tasks and supporting the slow motion testing ironing out the issues and the post go-live support.

    From the experience of the last 7 days I will surely have a more sympathetic ear in the future when doing CutOvers to the issues and problems the Users are reporting. I’ve been through it now and see what it’s like.

    So to wrap, coming from somewhere in between Germany and US, let’s put aside spending precious energy trying to change the past, lets all learn and take all of our lessons from this whole exercise and let’s focus on giving feedback and lobbying in such a way that from Mark Y down our colleagues at the SCN will be enthused to make the cosmetic improvements we are asking for.

    The performance and SSO will be fixed for sure, for the rest of, I”d like a direct link to forums, I’d like a direct link to listing the blogs etc etc, let’s lobby in such a way that the Team can only say, yeah, that makes sense that will be for the benefit of everybody, thank you for the feedback, we’re going to do it.

    #1, let’s not lose our passion for everything SAP and SCN.

    All the best,

    Petr.

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  3. Clemens Stich

    Hi,

    For sure there are some improvements in SCN now, but I think “new” is not always “better”.

    In past I used mainly the content provided by the forums and blogs, which could be accessed quite easily. Of course this was not perfect, but it was not so bad at all. Now I really spent lot of time in finding my way… I know that one of the reasons for this is that I am accustomed to the old SDN, and that it takes some time for accustoming to the new one. But this is just part of it. To give just one example: The top menu bar is almost completely useless for me; I would have expected that things like forums, blogs, wikis etc. pp. (which are quite important things for me on such a platform) could quite easily be acccessed from there, but if there wouldn’t exist a section like “Where Did Everything Go?”, I wouldn’t have found it after all. The usability of this menu bar is also not really good designed.
    But this is just one example out of so many ones…

    For me it seems that the migration to a web 2.0 platform was performed only for the sake of web 2.0 itself, but the real advantages of web 2.0 like lightweight usage, easy navigation, easy&quick creation of content, etc. pp.  are definitely missing. The old platform was definitely more lightweight as the new one now… Not to mention the performance, which is terrible from time to time.
    There exist some good examples of web2.0 community platforms out there, but for me the SCN isn’t one of these.

    Just my opinion…

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    1. Andy Silvey

      Hi Clemens,

      if you look, the top menu area of SCN is now aligned with the top menu area of http://www.sap.com

      so we can conclude there was some ‘corporate’ level design involved here and not only SCN level design – which is clever

      the simple fact is, the old platform was out of date and past it’s sell by date

      change is always hard

      but we of all people, we are the ones who thrust change on others and so we should be avoiding hypocracy and open and willing to embrace change in our areas too

      the new platform is a gigantuan improvement in so many ways

      I privately hope the rest of the business suite will follow suit as soon as possible

      stick with it, a little patience and perseverance and you’ll be a preacher converting others

      before you know it

      all the best,

      Petr.

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      1. Anton Wenzelhuemer

        Hello Petr,

        with all due respect, all you throw in here might be valid arguments from SAPs point of view but they are not necessarily from the user’s point of view. So, I really just looked up your profile to learn if you are from SAP, and knowing that you are not, I wonder if you’re about to join SAP anytime soon.

        if you look, the top menu area of SCN is now aligned with the top menu area of http://www.sap.com

        so we can conclude there was some ‘corporate’ level design involved here and not only SCN level design – which is clever

        honestly, I am using SCN a lot, and work with SAP software every day 9 to 5 and more. but I can count the annual number of times that I visit http://www.SAP.com on two hands (even more so now that they have those bandwith munching hi-res images, even though they are beautiful). And I think that’s true for a lot of users here.

        So, what do I as a user care if this is harmonized? Nada.

        Regarding your often times re-iterated of “change is hard”, obviously trying to suggest that change is always good – A specific change is not per se good or benefitial. In biology change is 99% a fail. In design, business, … often many changes, new things need to fail just to find the one good thing.

        Obviously, it is not possible to judge the issue here at stake objectively. What’s probably good for SAP, isn’t necessarily good for some users, and probably good for some others.

        All people raise here is there personal, indivdual point of view which is valid for them an you shouldn’t really preach to them kind of arrogantly that they are wrong if they don’t appreciate a certain change or any change.

        my 2 cents,

        anton

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        1. Andy Silvey

          Hi Anton,

          we’ve all been pushing change on our Users for years, with our implementations, upgrades, migrations, process changes…

          and now it happens to us all we all start belly aching

          these last couple of weeks are a lesson to all of us, time for us to eat some of our own pie

          the fact is, the new platform is better, and the direction it is moving is for the best

          darwinism in action, if us veterans don’t embrace the change and modernisation we will be left behind from a different ice age like the dinosaurs

          we should be thanking SAP for this, not permanently criticising them

          onwards and upwards, now back to studying for my Hana certification 😉

          Petr.

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              1. Clemens Stich

                Hi Petr,

                Don’t get me wrong. I am not stuck to the old SDN, I don’t care as long as I can find (and also participate in) my needed information in an easy and quick way, And I think that there were indeed many possibilities for improvements and new features. But for the new SCN this seems now to be much more complicated than it was in former times, so for me it’s no improvment, but it’s a little bit like a step backwards.

                I believe in fact that there were made many “improvements” in the new SCN. But I think these improvments can be mainly seen from a technical point of view by means of changing the complete technical infrastructure behind. And this was certainly very difficult to achieve and is certainly quite interesting from a technical point of view. But in SCN I am just a user and I just want to use this platform and don’t care about the technical stuff behind it. And the usage of the new platform is much more difficult as it was before – at least for me.

                Like Anton I visit SAP.com maybe one or two times per year, so I don’t care about the harmonization between SCN and SAP.com. It’s obviously that the main website of SAP is designed and structured on a focus of marketing and so on. That’s fine. But SCN should be structured more for people who are already developing and working with SAP software. Here I want to delve deep as fast as possible into the stuff I am working with.
                Furthermore if something is not designed very user friendly I see no reason why it should be copied the same way on an other platform.

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                1. Andy Silvey

                  Hi Clemens,

                  Clemens Stich wrote:

                  But SCN should be structured more for people who are already developing and working with SAP software.

                  It is, that’s what we wished for, and that’s  what we’ve got.

                  Good innit.

                  Petr.

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        2. Keith Elliott

          Hi Anton,

          I can’t resist chiming in on the navigation alignment with sap.com. During our usability sessions, we tested the navigation, which did well in testing with new users, but I think we might have gone a bit too far down the road in lock-step with sap.com. Particularly because we don’t have the same kind of controls on our platform that they have and that allow them to overlay content panels and navigation extensions.

          Also, part of the problem is that we now have a single, mega-navigation that includes drill-down to everything under the SAP sun, whereas before, we had the landscape neatly packaged into SDN, BPX, BAC, and UAC communities, each with their own navigation bar. We do plan to revisit and, I hope, optimize our navigation sometime in phase 2, after things stabilize.

          On the new platform, the navigation is a customization that reflects the SAP landscape and does not reflect the underlying Jive space structure. Underneath, Jive is very flat with a depth of maybe 3 sub-spaces in some cases.

          I hardly ever use navigation in Jive, but tend to use Browse as my primary navigation tool (also history, and bookmarks) because it seems more efficient on this DB-driven platform — at least it was until Oliver Kohl took away keyword search from the Browse window 😉

          Keith

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          1. Tobias Hofmann

            Keith,

            about the navigation, hope this will get revised shortly. SCN does not allow me to post images in replies, so:

            • LOB -> IT -> DB and OS
            • Solutions -> Technology -> AS -> DB & OS

            -> some content

            • Learning Software -> Education -> OCM

            -> Why the sub categories?

            SCN != SAP.

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          2. Elad Rosenheim

            Oliver Kohl taketh away, oliver please giveth back…

            Seriously, we’re working on getting it back. This is a 1st-priority issue for us.

            I realize the browse content could be improved from a usability standpoint. I do find it powerful from the functionality side once you work with it a bit, but of course keyword search must be back. At first when I joined the porject I thought the navigation tools are not there –  now I think a lot is there, and there is a matter of presentation and ease of use. But first thing – proper search.

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            1. Oliver Kohl

              Hi Elad,

              Keith Elliott knows very well that we didn’t remove the functionality to anger the end users, but only to stabilize his system, as he is at least in part owner of this system. Of course we are working on getting it back ASAP. This platform is going to last probably for the next 10 years, as the old platform was and it will take some time to get everything into shape. Some thing may take days or weeks, others may take month, but the filter by text will come back very soon.

              Oliver

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              1. Andy Silvey

                Hi Oliver,

                with the greatest of respect, your answer,

                This platform is going to last probably for the next 10 years

                that statement brings de ja vu of when Bill Gates said 640k will be enough for everybody.

                I’ll bet the platform will have moved on within 10 years 😉

                All the best, good job, keep it up.

                Petr.

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        3. Patrick Flanders

          Hi Anton…I think we’re all finding elements that we don’t like in the new platform, along with some that may make our lives easier when it comes to finding information on SCN. Petr brings up some very valid points here – and I we’re seeing more of this from users who have gone through some pain in getting used to the new site. I agree that it’s not been completely easy to move from the original platform to this new one, and even though I’m working on the SCN team, I even have difficulty at times getting to the content I’m trying to access. But I urge you to put your questions in these discussions, or look at the Getting Started documentation. We have a huge community who is willing to help.

          –Pat

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          1. Anton Wenzelhuemer

            Hi Pat,

            thx for your reply, though I fail to get the essence.

            Sorry for my honesty, but I don’t see much practical valid points Petr is addressing here and elsewhere on this site. It’s almost always culminating in the statement that we (users) have to accept whatever change is imposed on us because … SAP for sure knows whats good for us, because we are wimps opposing change just for the sake of opposition, … I am very much tempted to think that Petr is a classical troll and I kind of feel guilty to feed him every now and then.

            Since I started to test-drive the beta of this platform and later used the productive version I reported a number of issues and bugs and thereby tried to contribute to the improvement of the usability of this place. I actually quit doing so due to several subjective impressions I don’t want to go in detail here but the essence being, that the users of the system are currently  not regarded as valuable stakeholders and community members but just as entities producing load and trouble.

            As for the difficulties to get familiar with the platform: Being a mentor I had the chance to be at this platform since December and I have learnt a bit to move around myself, often only with the help of some workarounds like browser bookmarks. I do of course appreciate certain features and views. But after all that time I still find it to be much more difficult compared with the old system to quickly find something I haven’t visited till then or to find new things or ‘approach’ topic areas I know/remember only vaguely. Actually this refers to navigation, doing everything by search might be the alternative tactics. As an example, after three months I wouldn’t be able to immediately navigate to the Scripting Languages Area I used to hang out a lot some times ago since I simply don’t know where it is hidden unless I do use the search functionality and then navigate to that space ‘by example’.

            Regarding your remark on the Getting Started Documentation I must admit and did it earlier, that I am simply not willing to learn how to use a platform like this. Just accept it as a feedback from my side, a mass audience site like this has to be intuitive. I really don’t know any other comparable site where you are asked by the operators to read and listen to a number of (multimedia) blogs just to do simple things like navigate, find, post, blog. How can it be that nobody is able to understand the difference between document and blog intuitively?

            But this may definitely just be my ignorance and I do accept that to be my problem. I like others just tell you what’s problematic. If you don’t listen, you’ll probably lose a few people. But hey, I’ve heard the new platform is so much more scalable, so, even though I don’t know where you(SCN) aim to go – unrestricted blogging might give a hint – you’ll probably also win a number of new users … time goes on.

            regards, anton

            PS: Sorry Petr for my words. After all I am looking forward to your contributions because they are often entertaining from a certain perspective. And since Coffe Corner has been destroyed I am happy to have another fixed point of entertainment on SCN. See, I am adjusting … 😉

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            1. Marilyn Pratt

              A Coffee Corner is more easily restored than reputation.  I’m glad some of the personal attacks (or what some have perceived as personal attacks) have abated a bit here.  As one of the “elders” of this community, in presence and in age, I must admit to how jarring change can be (and was for me as well), especially when it comes to a major change imposed on a very large community of people.  Back in the day (2003+) when SDN was launched, as momentous as certain evolutions were, they didn’t effect as many users, nor was there a history of use in this frame or context.

              I’ve been a “not-so-innocent” bystander in this migration process and I witnessed a number of things and was informed of a number of things that sounded to me like it was an imperative to make changes to the existing SCN environment. While I often wish there was a more democratic way of making changes, democracy here wasn’t really ever an absolute (and may I remind us all, it wasn’t in the past either when SDN was created as a marketing platform for Netweaver). 

              1. Like it or not, the platform we were previously on, with its collage of tools for various forms of collaboration, was reaching an end of life stage and needed to be replaced.
              2. SAP bought a solution from an external vendor and attempted to implement as many “out of the box” functionalities as possible with the understanding that some would be enhanced and modified but others would stand “as is”
              3. I still believe that a vocal and vigilant community will continue to fashion the nature of this community including its look and feel.  And while I am saddened to think that frustration with the “unasked for” change will cause some to “drop out”, all communities have a life cycle and perhaps we are headed toward a very different environment, learning context, and future than that which we have experienced before on SCN. Very possibly this will mean demographic changes (ie a new kind of participant or way of participating) or adaptive ways of using the tools we now have.
              4. The only way to ensure relevancy for this platform and community IS engagement. I think Anton’s point about this being a “work” environment first and foremost is well taken.   So a big thanks to you Anton, Detlev, Petr and countless others who either invested time and energy and work in kicking tires before launch or are giving their solicited (or even unsolicited) feedback on an ongoing basis: in discussions, comments, blog posts.  Thank goodness for your voices, as strident as some of us may hear them.  I, for one, am heartened that you continue to make your opinions known and known loudly.  If this new SCN does not serve a business purpose it will soon find itself relegated to irrelevant.  Without sounding a starry-eyed optimist, I’m fairly confident in its continued relevancy.  Jarring change might even ensure that.  What a concept.
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              1. Andy Silvey

                Hi Marylin,

                you’ve given me an idea, a bit of seasonal fun…

                What about if SCN Team plants in different locations around the community site different coloured and patterned Easter egg images

                And then, community members can have an Easter egg hunt, perhaps it could be sponsored for charity and a by product of the Easter egg hunt would be familiarisation with the navigation of the site.

                voila

                Petr.

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                1. Marilyn Pratt

                  I love the idea of having a “scavenger/knowledge hunt” to familiarize users with the site.

                  To keep this community-minded and very personal I would personally award from my own account, Kiva cards (charity/loan cards) to the top 4 winners to distribute to folks around the world who need a loan http://www.kiva.org/lend and from what I see on the site, every new lender gets to make an additional free loan so that means we can really pay it forward.   To keep it even MORE community minded I would nominate someone like you Petr to engage with me in creating the contest, the pictures, the challenge.  Can we do this by Easter time?  Even if we don’t it should be something we can create and execute on.  Of course we will need to see when the functionality that Oliver alludes to is turned back on because it would be best to have good search filters activated and some of the best ways of looking for things are somewhat limited at the moment as the IT team works tirelessly to enhance performance.  But I say, Let’s make this happen.  I’m in!

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            2. Andy Silvey

              Good Morning Antonio,

              you’ll be thankíng me in the end 😉

              Your homework for today is to find the links for:

              a, listing all blogs by upload date

              b, the hana forum

              c, making an @mention of a fellow member who has shown you the light

              and then, you must write out 100 times, I like the new sdn, I like the new sdn and no copy and paste

              😀

              Petr.

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              1. Anton Wenzelhuemer

                thx for the homework Petr unfortunately I was on the road yesterday.

                ad a) not possible because blogs are not uploaded but created

                ad b) not possible, because there is no such thing as a forum in the new world anymore

                ad c) not possible because I have not yet been enlighted

                regarding the writing I don’t dare to, since my grammer is so bad that I fear to suffer the same fate than the guy who falsely wrote Romanes eunt domus to the castle’s walls (http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0079470/quotes?qt0471974)

                anyway thx for the challenge,

                anton

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      1. Detlev Beutner Post author

        Hi Petr,

        I don’t know if everyone followed your remarks from day 0 on – I did, and I must admit, really, really: no offense meant, that I concluded that your opinion should not be taken too serious. Why? In the first days, you have been one of the loudest people here, complaining ironically about how rich consultants would get now as it would be almost impossible to find any content. After some days, you changed your direction, made a 180 degrees turn and you are not only praising the new platform (without any differentiation), but also declaring your own experience to the general status quo.

        I have to admit that I liked you sarcastic remarks in the first days a bit, at least irony always has it’s value. But then you made a strategic error: You thought that at the moment you get more insight into the new system, it suddenly makes a system “good” which you for yourself found to be bad, counterintuitive etc pp before. When people go more or less through your own suffering (you had before), you just answer: Come on, it’s cool, the business suite should look like this (really mixing up issues), and how cool is blog2pdf now, and finally we old consultants should get used to the new world and start to use facebook etc.

        Please, to evaluate such a system with some impartiality, one has to “forget” about the own point of view as much as possible. Stick to the facts. Of course, you won’t forget your own point of view completely, but people are able (hm, ok, should be) to differentiate between very personal experiences and objective measurable points. That for example I tried with this blog entry. Also, as written in the entry, one point to learn is that (some) positive user experience generally counts less than the negative user experience. Not the one counts who is smart enough to circumvent all traps, but the one who falls for them!

        About your very personal point of view: Why do you think that experienced SAP consultants would not already have (also much) experience with other “web2.0” platforms? It’s just you, at least there is no connection between having no such experience and finding JiveSBS and the concrete SAP implementation partially suboptimal. Print as PDF – you already got the answer somewhere else – he? you are not able to use some software PDF printer??? C’mon…

        My main point always stays the same: It’s not just me, it is, from all reactions, a general experience that things have not been optimal in some ways. There are some technical problems, which will get fixed sooner or later, there are some quality issues (like not migrated content), which hopefully get fixed too, soon, and there are some general issues (like navigation), where obviously some departments within SAP had (too) much influence, where the question is if SCN gets back it’s individual standing. Anyhow, the initial user experience was much below just “bad” – and people should learn from this. Saying “projects are always somehow ******” does not mean “learning”. Saying “oh, for me it works now” does not mean “learning”. It’s not about accusing anyone, it’s about learning something valuable from projects which have run into some traps. It simply frustrates me if beneath the negative impacts there is nothing…

        And you still have to get used to the new parapraph distance 😉

        As said, really, no offense meant, but it would be great if you reflect some points and see that you have to differentiate between the objective evaluation of such a project and your personal experience.

        Best regards
        Detlev

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        1. Andy Silvey

          Hi Detlev,

          thank you for the diplomacy of your feedback.

          I will try not to click enter too many times 🙂

          What to say ?

          When SCN changed, I was inconvenienced, but, I am guilty of being one of the ones who ignored all of the warnings that SDN was going to change and advice that we had upfront in advance to prepare ourselves for the changes.

          Upon reflection and overall, I have changed sides, I have the foresight to see that what we have now is for the best for all of us – and I mean this – no tongue in cheek this time.

          Yes the change is hard but we will all get used to it.

          I’ve met Mark and Mark in Frankfurt a few years ago when they generously organised an Adhoc SDN Meeting at an apple wine place in Frankfurt and I happened to be working in FaM at the time and went along with a colleague, they were warm and generous in their welcoming us and openly discussing everything.

          I’ve watched everybody here going on and on, and taken my stand based upon my conclusions and forward vision and foresight and also because Mark and Mark are not going to clean their dirty washing in public and somebody needs to offer an alternative perspective and remind us all of the fundamentals and things to think about.

          We’re all on the same page, we all love SAP with a passion, and I think with time everything will roll back to normal.

          You know, if I may be so audacious, you commented on my lack of savvy with pfd generators and saving the blogs for the last nine years as word documents, which yes was a pain in the backside, but, touche, when you said you’ve lost all your work which you had stored on SDN blogs etc, don’t you keep local backups of your stuff 🙂

          Please, only teasing 🙂 I should have used the ADS shouldn’t I.

          Anyway, Í think in general, this is a storm in a teacup and it is for the best and with time we’ll all be on the same page because our fundamentals and foundations are aligned we all love SAP.

          All the best,

          Petr.

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          1. Anton Wenzelhuemer

            I love my family and make my living from working with SAP software. I don’t even love this website but am glad to know some of the fellow community members.

            Maybe this already makes a difference.

            Just sayin’.

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            1. Andy Silvey

              exactly (and agreed of course we love our wives/partners and children more than SAP), you see, the change has bought the community closer together

              in retrospect, I have one criticism, the swear box

              if SCN Team had implemented a charity swear box for the CutOver period I think a handsome sum could have been collected for charity from us lot

              that’s experience eh

              Petr.

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          2. Detlev Beutner Post author

            > thank you for the diplomacy of your feedback

            Hm, why is it that I feel some irony again…?! 😉

            (I know that I’m not known for being very diplomatic, but on the other hand, people who know me (I know, many don’t) know that I really don’t want to annoy or accuse anyone, but that I just suffer from imperfection… :-)).

            Anyhow, at least you didn’t get angry, huh, wasn’t too straight 😉

            Best regards
            Detlev

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            1. Andy Silvey

              Hi Detlev,

              no worries, it was not ironic or sarcastic, I can/could clearly see how you felt about the changes here and considering the angle of my responses I thought you had been very controlled in your response hence the comment ‘thank you for the diplomacy’ –

              I’ve been around Iview Studio -> SDN since the beginning and although I am one of the lurkers I am familiar with the quantity and quality of your contribution to the community, so, although we have never met I already have a level of respect for your work and contribution in the past – and the future 🙂

              I can’t get angry, I went publicly through all the emotions when the site changed, but I do feel we shouldn’t be too hard on the SCN Team and we should embrace the journey they are taking us on and see where it leads

              You know, there is one ingredient we are missing in this whole ‘thang’…..

              and that is……

              if only Craig was still here

              that would have been interesting 😀

              all the best and nice evening,

              Petr.

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  4. Andy Silvey

    Hey Anton,

    when you’ve got five minutes, click this link and read it from the top to the bottom,

    http://scn.sap.com/thread/316298

    a blast from the past eh !  You were agreeing with me !  There’s hope yet.

    I think the new SCN will be for you one of those classical romances which takes time for the love to grow, but once it does there’s no turning back ala those Danielle Steel books that my Gran used to read.

    Petr.

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    1. Anton Wenzelhuemer

      Petr,

      maybe you got a wrong impression of me. I am not a fundamentalist. So if you and I disagree in some issues(e.g. the lates SCN wonders), I do not disagree with you as a matter of principle on any issue you raise.

      I am sure if we happen to to meet at some event we’ll have a good chance to drink a good beer or something together and have fun and even agree on  a number of serious matters.

      Rest assured, even if my former troll comment was personal (how else than personal should you address that?) I do respect your opinions, read and think about them but not necessarily agree with them.

      Have a nice day,

      anton

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      1. Andy Silvey

        WHAT !!!

        you called me a Troll !!!  I missed that, let me check..

        5 minutes later….

        You called me a Troll, how dare you !!!

        I think you should do the honourable thing, turn yourself in, click the Report

        Abuse button and tell the Polizie of your sin 😀

        No offense taken no worries.

        Back to the subject in hand, so you like the new SCN now ja ?

        Petr.

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        1. Anton Wenzelhuemer

          Petr Solberg wrote:                    

          You called me a Troll, how dare you !!!

          I think you should do the honourable thing, turn yourself in, click the Report

          Abuse button and tell the Polizie of your sin 😀               

          Still undecided if I was right or wrong because of this

          Petr Solberg wrote:

          Back to the subject in hand, so you like the new SCN now ja ?

                             

          But back to the subject, there is a recent excellent blog of some SAP guy here

          http://scn.sap.com/community/getting-started/blog/2012/03/29/custom-google-search-for-the-new-scn

          While this is a very valuable instruction, IMHO it also very much supports the main topic of this actual blog here.

          Imagine you position one of your favourite and undisputed SAP solutions, say about content management and collaboration, at one of your valuable customers. Now, further imagine one of your consulting colleagues finds no other solution but tell that customer that to be able to search that content oriented great product in an effective way he has to implement an AddOn based on Google search. Doesn’t the word “Fail” come to your mind at least for a fraction of a second? If you don’t think in such bold terms as Fail, wouldn’t you at least think for a moment that there might be something wrong, maybe the product just for the moment being to be too immature to be released to productive environments?

          just asking, feel free to regard my attempt to discussing specific issues as trolling as well or just dismiss it as anti-progressive if you like. I have a thick skin as well 😉

          anton

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          1. Ethan Jewett

            Welcome to the new SCN Search. Same as the old SCN Search 🙂

            On the other hand, blogs should be showing up in Google now that the new SCN is live, so at least there is one way to find them!

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          2. Andy Silvey

            Anton,

            Imagine you position one of your favourite and undisputed SAP solutions, say about content management and collaboration, at one of your valuable customers. Now, further imagine one of your consulting colleagues finds no other solution but tell that customer that to be able to search that content oriented great product in an effective way he has to implement an AddOn based on Google search. Doesn’t the word “Fail” come to your mind at least for a fraction of a second? If you don’t think in such bold terms as Fail, wouldn’t you at least think for a moment that there might be something wrong, maybe the product just for the moment being to be too immature to be released to productive environments?

            Still even if the only way to find the SDN thread or article was via google, the end result is it came from SDN, so je ne comprend the question.

            Petr.

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  5. Andy Silvey

    Dear SDN Team,

    good job !!!!

    The Library Search is faster than a speeding bullet !

    As somebody who is an avid collector of doco, on a regular bi-weekly basis I search ‘Articles’ in the SDN Library on subjects in my Basis Administrator orbit, and I can say, I am qualified to say, that on the old SDN the search was painfully slow, but now, I get the results back before I’ve clicked search, it’s that fast !!!

    And if you change for example from Relevance to Newest the results are updated almost simultaneously.

    Fandabidozi.

    This is a huge improvement. Good job.

    All the best,

    Petr.

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