Recently I thought a lot about what SAP could do to drive a more social experience in its products and connect with non-business users. This blog is a first try to put my thoughts into words.
Obviously Project Robus will address this to a certain extend by combining the best of StreamWork and Jam to allow social collaboration in the enterprise.
Our new OnDemand products such as Sales OnDemand already show a similar social experience by providing their own Feed and will have to figure out how to deal with their own already existing functionality if Project Robus will become the social backbone of SAP’s own solutions. They might have to pull the plug on it and integrate with Robus instead, in my opinion.
Social Customer Engagement OnDemand on the other hand allows our customers now to monitor Twitter and Facebook and react on tweets and status updates mentioning their company or their products. For that the solution needed a connector to Twitter and Facebook of course and as far as I know they use Netbase for that, a tool that not only monitors these two major social media channels but also all kind of other sources such as discussion forums that exist a long time longer than Facebook or Twitter.
In addition I see a few more initiatives at SAP moving into the direction of consumer apps:
- The AppHaus is building consumer apps such as Recalls Plus.
- SAP wants startups to build their solutions on HANA.
- SAP Netweaver Cloud allows to build new stand-alone solutions based on Java.
Reusable “social” components
With all this in mind I got to the point that SAP needs to provide a few fundamental reuse-services that everybody at SAP can use for their applications in order to not build it by themselves every time:
- Central Collaboration/Feed application – Project Robus
- OAuth connector
- Connector to Twitter and Facebook
- To be able to sign-up for an SAP application via Facebook Connect or Sign In WithTwitter
- To be able to get access to data from Twitter or Facebook
- Unique SAP user ID
- Possibility to connect my SAP user ID and my social media profiles
Only if we get millions of consumers to use our applications step 4. – the unique SAP user ID – will be feasible and achievable. But if we can get this done the possibilities are endless:
Imagine that SAP provides multiple consumer apps and every user can just use their Facebook or Twitter account to sign up for it.
SAP would know exactly which user signed up for which app which would allow for better usage and target group analysis.
If users can connect their social media accounts to their SAP ID in addition we would be able to centrally provide an integration with socialmedia channels in all of our enterprise applications. Later SAP could even deliver a service SAP Connect similar to the kind of Facebook and Twitter.
An enhanced central SAP User Profile would even allow a distribution of necessary data across multiple SAP (or external) products. Think of business address information, cost center, business connections/friends, goals etc. Even transactions could be delivered to my SAP ID: In the end every transaction I do anywhere in the world – online or offline – will automatically be posted to my SAP Account, including warranty information and the possibility to get in touch with companies directly. This is could just via messages or in a more transactional format such as a service request for a product I brought in the past. I can connect with my bank and by this even be able to set up automatic payments for everything I buy using my SAP ID. Analytical apps help me analyze my spending and manage my cash, bank accounts or credit cards.
I’m looking forward to that future 🙂