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Warning: in this blog I will absolutely, positively say something nice about the New SCN.

Folks, I should start with a disclaimer: I don’t like changes. I thought Windows 3.1 was a laughable concept. People who can’t learn to use DOS commands should clearly get a job in another industry. Begrudgingly I installed Windows 95 in 1998, Windows 98 in 2002 and then Windows XP sometime after Vista was already advertised. I’m going to hold on to my SAP GUI 7.1 until my laptop is taken away for an upgrade, which I await with trepidation.

Needless to say when this “New SCN” came out of nowhere, I was not too pleased. Whaaaat? Where did everything go? Where are my forums and blogs and eLearning? Coffee Corner is gone? Where are all the people, hello?!

In the first few weeks it felt like my beloved SDN (yes, the one with the “D”) was hit by an airstrike and “New SCN” was nothing but its ruins. Like in a scene from one of those Hollywood blockbusters – it goes “kaboom!” and suddenly everything turns into dust and shambles, the sound is muffled, someone is yelling in background “Black Hawk down! Black Hawk down!” and there are moans and groans everywhere. Yes, that’s exactly the picture.

But we picked up our wounded, we patched our equipment (Coffee Corner is back, y’all!) and we moved on. So that’s where we are in the present day – trying to navigate the post-apocalyptic world of “New SCN”.

If Old SCN was a vibrant and civilized society of all the SAP professionals then in New SCN society is reduced to quaint “spaces” that communicate to each other mostly by smoke signals. Gone are the roads, bridges and easy one-click navigation from the Home page. As far as navigation goes, it seems that in the New World the bookmark is king. So let’s see how we can use it to our advantage.

One of my favorite (or “favourite”, depending on which part of the world you are in) things on SDN was to read the daily “blog roll”. Can you find it quickly on the New SCN? Neither could I until some good soul suggested to use this direct link (why it’s not on the top of the SCN home page? – beats me). I was back in business! But there was “eine kleine problemo” – the blogs were sorted by “latest activity” and instead of the fresh material I was seeing blogs from 2009 where someone made a “gr8 thx” comment yesterday. Fortunately, we have an option to ‘Sort by date created (descending)’, which makes the list pretty close to what it was before. After changing the sort option, I’ve noticed that URL also changed. Could I just bookmark it in my browser and get my “new and improved” blog roll next time? Click-click-click – success! Here is the ready-to-use link that resembles the old SCN’s “blog roll”.

You can also create RSS feed for the same list using the tiny button cleverly hidden at the bottom of the screen. And in similar fashion we can also create bookmarks for the forums. For example, this link is for the open forum questions in ABAP Development space.

How do you find a “space”? Personally, I bookmarked the Forum Finder document on Day 1 of New SCN era (or rather Day 7 or so when I could finally login) and have been referring to it ever since. But if you’re not afraid of feeling a bit overwhelmed, then there is also a list of all “places” right here. No, it’s not a typo – apparently there are “places” and there are “spaces”. “Places” consist of “spaces” and “social groups”. If you click on “social groups” though you’ll find that there are… none found. Hm… Anyway, if you want to keep your own reference for “spaces” only, just save a bookmark (in your browser) the same way as for blogs and forums.

Today’s challenge: come up with a short poem using “places / spaces” rhyme and get a Like from me – easy 2 points (or even more if others like it too). Post your comments, folks!

While we are still on the space subject – I keep wondering why there are no humans on the ‘SAP ERP Human Capital Management’ picture and whether ‘SAP Crystal Reports’ is some kind of a parachute jumping enthusiast group. Don’t even get me started on other images (migrating birds for ABAP Development – an allegory for outsourcing?) – that’s just pure comedy gold.

images.JPG

Oh, by the way – images. If for some strange reason you land on the SCN home page, you’ll probably see the slideshow there (it takes like half of the page – hard to miss). The slides tend to move quite quickly, so if you end up in a “oh, this looks interesting – hey, where did it go?!” situation, there are 4 squares in the bottom right corner that are actually the buttons for the 4 rotating slides. So you can just click on them to see the slide instead of waiting for it to come up again in the rotation.

slides.JPG

But back to spaces. Let’s say you’re kind of lost, but if you see the orange tab strip (Overview, Content, etc.) then you’re still in a space. If you click on the Overview tab, you’ll find the “old style” links right underneath the orange strip. Forum, eLearning – oh, nostalgia… On the same page if you click on the blue button next to the space name, you can see where this space is located in the SCN universe (this is really relevant to “subspaces” though) or in the worst case you can get to all places/spaces and check out the funny pictures there.

overview_page.JPG

But what is the most important part of SCN? People, of course! I was really glad to find out that not only I can see my own posts, but I can also look up literally any SCN member and see what this person “authored” or where “participated”. This is like a stalker’s dream come true!

That’s all for today, folks. Hopefully some of these tips will be of use to you. But if not – please feel free to vote up my idea to add ‘dislike’ button on SCN.

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39 Comments

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  1. Susan Keohan

    Hi Jelena,

    You’ve written a nice blog (a real blog!) and I think you’ve done a good job pointing out some of the features of the new #SCN.  There are parts of the old one I still miss, but I am adapting too.

    There are spaces I remember, all my life, though some have changed.

    Some forever some for better, my places will be retained.

    Sorry John and Paul.

    Sue

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  2. Marilyn Pratt

    No surprise to me, it’s Jelena Perfiljeva aka the Leader of the “Bring Back the Old SCN” movement who writes here one of the most articulate and entertaining posts I’ve had the pleasure to read in the space and place called About SCN about…..what else? the “new” SCN.  And yes, folks, she isn’t only an insightful (inciteful?) critic writing intelligent and passionate critique, she is also a supportive, helpful and super smart user and extremely witty and funny (lots of smiles while reading this post which I’m sure makes it even more memorable for some).

    So its no secret that I am a big fan of hers.  And it wasn’t hard to dig back historically and find an entertaining thread and conversation we both participated in back over 2 year’s ago.  Her comment appears as comment 72 (active discussion) in a thread called: The Degradation of SDN|SCN

    She says a great deal of important things and very work relevant too there and in the forums because she has vast technical knowledge (follow her)! But I particularly love this quote from her comments:about the people side of the equation: “Know Thy Heroes”.

    Thank you Jelena for letting more of us “know you” a little better and value your knowledge sharing, your smart supportive talents and your wit.

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    1. Jelena Perfiljeva Post author

      Marilyn, I have to admit your comment made me blush and even shed a tear – you’re too kind! Thank you from all my heart for your support and for the work you do for SCN and for all of us. (Folks, this just shows that you don’t just get interview answers on SCN, you also get inspiration.)

      Special thanks for bringing up that old post. I re-read almost all of it and, interestingly enough, almost all of my own wishes in comment 74 came true on the New SCN, but still somehow I don’t quite feel happy…

      Wondering what happened to Athol Hill, he had such thought provoking posts…

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      1. Athol Hill

        Hi Jelena

        I’m still around, just not active on SDN. I got tired of responding to the same boring questions because people weren’t bothering to use the search function.

        Eventually I gave up and stopped contributing.

        Regards,

        Athol

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  3. Harish Krishnan

    Bookmarking this page. I too am starting to pick up and get with the programme nowadays. I have also “Liked” this post.

    My poem is as follows (apologies to Ogden Nash)

    The new SCN is like stepping on a step

    Or Sitting on a Chair

    That isn’t there.

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  4. Kumud Singh

    Hello Jelena,

    Enjoyed reading the blog. Thanks. While reading your idea, a random thought crossed my  mind – do people on SCN always make use of like button on good posts to an extent that dislike button could be provided! I am not contradicting your idea but just sharing my thought. We do have ‘report abuse’ button already but of course, it does not get highlighted on the replies! I would greatly appreciate if you could share the rationle of promoting dislike button apart from highlighting it on the screen. I would also say that we could think of extensions once we reach a balance between no. of views, rates, likes on the current contents. Hmmm..just my thoughts. BTW, we have an interesting poll by Tim Guest about rating contents here: http://scn.sap.com/polls/1343 and you could see that no. of people who have responded to it is not very exciting and out of that majority of them says that they rate only when they remember to click on like button and not always on good contents!

    Thanks.

    Regards,

    Kumud

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    1. Tim Guest

      Hi – It’s starting to get very de motivating the lack of Comments, Rates and Likes I see on posts. Particularly in the Business One Space we seem to get 600+ readers and no comments or likes. Some of the blogs look like they took considerable time, thought and research to construct but it appears it goes unappreciated. I do hope people don’t stop contributing on SCN because of this lack of interaction.

      Incidentally, the BIF chain blogs all have lots of comments, likes and stars as they are written by active members and read by active members. How can we educate the “passive” member to start using “Like” and even be bold enough to comment on a blog!?

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      1. Kumud Singh

        You got my point Tim. Thanks. The whole idea was to promote aspects which encourage quality contribution and participation. Like/Rate buttons are for them but certainly we need some more active feedback engagements from SCNers!

        Regards,

        Kumud

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        1. Tim Guest

          I have had people email me directly to say they enjoyed a blog and ask further questions, I answer them and politely ask that they use the “Comments” under the post in future as this helps to get others involved. I think the we are “preaching to the converted” here as we all get involved, we need to help other SCN members to participate which will happen in time I’m sure.

          Gosh I have used a lot of “Speech marks” today!

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          1. Marilyn Pratt

            You speak to something that I often experience.  Some people seem to be reticent about expressing themselves publicly, or doing it in a format such as blog content, even if it *seems* as simple as pressing a like button or giving a rating.  Yet those same folks welcome a safer “one on one” interaction.  The DM (direct message) function gives the opportunity to be “more discrete” (yep I’m using the speech marks a great deal too).  Sometimes people need assurance that their comments and public voice are welcome.  That’s part of my work here (making people feel comfortable) and I delight in seeing others in the community doing that coaching (even better than I manage).  Folks like yourself @tim_guest and Thorsten Franz Otto Gold Tammy Powlas Susan Keohan Michelle Crapo Kumud Singh Greg Chase Matthias Steiner Fred Verheul to name but a few of those that continuously encourage participation, dialogue.  That’s such an important  part of this “working” and increased contribution.  But many folks are just transitioning to learning this particular language of interaction in a new environment.  For example, Jelena Perfiljeva was extremely active in the forums for many years, but just now went over to the “dark side” and began to share her valuable opinions in the blog sphere.  Gives a wider range of people access to her opinions…and interest in what she says could bring eyeballs back to her technical engagement in the forums.  So perhaps addressing this outright in the Business One space, within the culture and context of the readers might be the key.  Perhaps the culture is one that encourages consumption rather than participation.  Without any valid “use case” for commenting and contributing, people might continue the habits of consumption without engaging.  Perhaps raising this with the space owners/editors would be helpful.  

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            1. Kumud Singh

              Marilyn, couldn’t agree more when you say – “Perhaps the culture is one that encourages consumption rather than participation” and it’s an interesting topic for discussion!

              Regards,

              Kumud

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            2. Tim Guest

              Hi Marilyn, I will definitely raise this with the Business One space owners as I do agree with your points. I’m presenting to the Business One users at this years UKISUG Conference and part of it will be on SCN, how to get the most form it and how to contribute. As I said, the community is evolving and if we can all do our bit to make others feel welcome and included then it can only help SCN to become better and better.

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            3. Audrey Stevenson

              This may not be new behavior on SCN, but just more obvious now because the contribution model (points system) in the new SCN rewards different behavior than before.

              In the old SCN, writing good (moderated) content was rewarded upon contribution. Now writing good content is not rewarded until it’s recognized as such by the community, via Likes and Ratings.

              In the past, content consumers proliferated just as much, but their absence of active, visible engagement did not affect others’ contributions (except perhaps to garner some exceptional content extra points). Now it does…

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      2. Jelena Perfiljeva Post author

        Tim – I hear you about the lack of comments/ratings. I feel that new SCN setup with is actually making some content more difficult to notice.

        Personally I’m also not fond of the verbiage chosen for ratings. I’d give 5 stars for something I really liked but would I always call it ‘exceptional’? Not really… But then if I rate 4 stars then author would think that I “took away” a star for something. So in some cases even I end up not rating after much nail-biting about the moral dilemma of “being nice vs. my own criteria of exceptionality”.

        And I also suspect that some SCNers might just be, well, selfish jerks, ahem, but that’s another story… 🙂

        I’ll comment on the poll too. Thank you!

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    2. Jelena Perfiljeva Post author

      Kumud, I meant ‘dislike button’ mostly for the forums (= discussions). Currently there is no way to rate the replies in the discussion. This feature exists on many, many websites. I really don’t understand why SAP prefers to be so “warm and fuzzy” about this. It’s not doing anyone much service (just IMHO, of course).

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      1. Kumud Singh

        Would the option of providing rating on replies in forums a better approach than dislike button? Currently the discussion can be rated but not the replies, I think the option of rating could be made available for replies as well. What do you say? Thanks.

        Regards,

        Kumud

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  5. Tim Guest

    A very good post Jelena, I agree on most points particularly on “Migrating Birds” symbolising ABAP! I think as SCN is new, these are hopefully just Temporary images as the priority is to get the site up and running. Do you know if 1 person or a group of people is resposible for each space? If so, they should be given the power to customise it. Also, it would be great if people used the spaces to start interactive discussions like we do with #SAPChat on Twitter or a G+ Hangout.

    I really love the new SCN but as with anything Web related it is Work In Progress and will continue to be improved. The guys / girls that run SCN are always listening and it is posts like this that make a difference.

    Tim

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    1. Audrey Stevenson

      Hi Tim,

      Groups of people are, indeed, responsible for each space, and the space editors in particular are able to influence the content, links, space image, and so on.

      But they do so within certain guidelines and branding limitations, and sometimes require additional support (sometimes even IT support) to effect certain changes. This is the case, for example, with space images.

      You were right to suggest that we went live with these preliminary images in order to avoid the “space image placeholder,”  (which still snuck in in some cases). Space editors have begun requesting different images in their spaces, and the SCN team is working on implementing the requested changes.

      –Audrey

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  6. Patsy C Fields

    I’m bookmarking this blog in my new “SCN” folder (yes, I organize the Favorites) for all the information it provides.  If I can determine how to “like” the post, I will.

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    1. Jelena Perfiljeva Post author

      Patsy, thanks for the comment! In IE the Like button for blogs/posts is right above the gray ‘Action’ box to the right from the blog header (approximately). I should’ve actually highlighted this feature too since it’s not very well visible. I guess I’ll have to start working on a sequel! 🙂

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  7. Jelena Perfiljeva Post author

    Thank you all very much for the comments! ‘Likes’ were disbursed to the challenge contestants, as promised. It is still open though, so don’t be shy, we are all friends here.

    I’m so glad to see that my humble entry is not only on the way to the ‘Top Rated’ list (can we get a whoop whoop?!) but has also spurred such an interesting and productive discussions. There is so much I’d like to respond to that I feel almost overwhelmed, but I’ll certainly respond as soon as I can gather my thoughts into less than 100 pages. 🙂

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  8. Otto Gold

    Supercool, thanks a ton! Liked, bookmarked, rated and will share everyhwere I go, anything I do! And YES, we are all freinds here indeed!

    Best thing about the new SCN: you see who moves on and who stays. Thanks for staying with us. No need to say you would be missed!

    cheers Otto

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  9. Audrey Stevenson

    Jelena,

    Very interesting post with good (and humorous!) feedback for our team.

    One of the features I like about the new SCN is how easy it is to upload a profile photo. It makes the whole experience so much more people-focused. Any chance you might upload your photo as well?

    –Audrey

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  10. Mark Yolton

    Thank you Jelena, for this blog. Not only does it give the context around your (and others’) “state of mind” toward change, but it provides helpful hints and practical advice to help fellow community members adapt to that change.

    In your comment to Marilyn’s comment above, I was also pleased to see that many of the things you asked for two years ago during the “old SDN” days are now features and capabilities in the “New SCN” now. In one sense, it demonstrates that our memories of the wonderful and glorious “old” are somewhat romanticized, in another sense it serves as evidence that someone listened to you and others and delivered those requests, and in a third sense it is an example of how difficult change can be…

    All worthwhile.

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  11. Gail Moody-Byrd

    Jelena,

    Thank you for the post and the open attitude that allowed you to find goodness in the new SCN. I am talking to a group of Marketing managers at Jive, our platform vendor for the new SCN at their annual conference. My topic is basically “change management” for projects such as these. I will talk about the steps we took to make the transition to the new site easier. Is there anything else we could have  done from a communications point of view that would have made the transition easier for you? Forgetting features you wanted and we didnt have – just the communication alone – anything you think we could have said better?

    My haiku:

    Places in Autumn

    Where we all want filled spaces?

    Tech Eds Las Vegas!

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    1. Jelena Perfiljeva Post author

      Gail, thank you for attention to my humble opinion on this subject. Purely from communication stand point I felt that it should have been simply communicated that old SCN design outlived itself and needed to be migrated to something different. The SCN members didn’t really need to be “sold” on the new platform. But when we were promised “faster, better SCN” and the delivered result was not faster and questionably better, not surprisingly it caused an outrage.

      When this became apparent, it was still not too late for an “oops!”, but that opportunity not taken either. I felt this created an impression that either SAP management lives in a different universe or thinks the SCN members are fools. This blog by Detlev Beutner explores this aspect a bit further. Just one quote from it (which I think is brilliant and pretty much sums up many of my points as well):

      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.

      Thank you.

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      1. Marilyn Pratt

        I hope am sure my colleagues going to Jive World will also articulate the challenges (as customers) we face working with another vendor’s product and working to deliver with it a viable collaboration experience to our ecosystem and our users.  I am deeply saddened when a brilliant member such as Detlev Beutner feels that he can no longer work (and play) here.

        I also revisit a quote of his (from the comments of the blog you quoted)

        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…

        I wonder if we haven’t fallen into the trap of rushing enthusiastically (but misguidedly) to deliver an improved user experience only to find that our users are saying “this isn’t quite what we had in mind”.  And it seems that youJelena Perfiljeva and Detlev are speaking more about our listening and responsiveness than about the improvements that need to happen (some of which already have) .

        My take-away from this continued conversation is that we can and should listen better.  That we can and should drop some of our pre-conceived notions about what works and is needed.  Paying attention to how a user “feels” about a product is called: “empathic design”

        Heike van Geel and I are running an entire evening event for TechEd where we hope to examine this lesson (in Heike’s words) “ practice empathy vs assuming knowing what’s desireable”.  In a call today discussing the design thinking workshop at Innojam : Michelle Crapo shared this diagram.

        http://blog.thingsdesigner.com/uploads/id/tree_swing_development_requirements.jpg

        I hope we can explore not just how we communicate change but how we inquire around the need for it.  I’m driving and also attending an event: The Role of Empathy in Design Thinking

        It bodes well for future development and for customer engagement that our management thinks this topic important enough to let us create training around it.  We all have a lot to learn about active listening.

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        1. Detlev Beutner

          OK, one great feature is getting a notification if someone quotes my name 😉  So, just to throw in some additional info:

          1.) “… and Detlev are speaking more about our listening and responsiveness than about the improvements that need to happen”. At least for me I can say that is true; of course it is a mixture of both elements, as if there wouldn’t be any improvements that need to happen, there wouldn’t be anything to listen to :-). But the main difference is: Some technical improvements might be hard to implement for example; in such cases, it is just sad that this might be the case, but at least it is pleasant that people have listened and know why at least it should be the aim to get this and that running. If the need for improvements is simply ignored, than people get really frustrated (at least me).

          2.) “Detlev Beutner feels that he can no longer work (and play) here.” That’s not the complete trueth. Part of my absence is due to a big migration project (funnily being under many of the pressures I wrote about in my blog, but now again I’m the one who tries to struggle against this). On the other hand, it’s right that the missing “sexyness” of the new SCN doesn’t help to steer against this basic situation.

          3.) “my colleagues going to Jive World will also articulate the challenges (as customers) we face working with another vendor’s product”. JiveSoftware is a topic on it’s own. I cannot and don’t want to write too much about this in public, but Marilyn, I’m sure we’ll meet in Madrid, and I would be keen on exchanging our experiences with it… (Oliver already knows much about my experiences and point of view).

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  12. Lukas Weigelt

    Jelena, you = awesome 😀

    ‘aight, I got this, here we go, in limerick-form Ò.ó!

    In the new SCN full of places,

    you can find many different spaces.

    Yet they all are mixed up,

    people’s patience has snapped,

    they are wearing ‘dislike’ on their faces! 😈

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