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I sent a tweet the other day that I had finally come around to the new SCN and mentioned it was better than the old SCN. Mark Yolton then suggested that I write a blog describing my journey. When I wrote the tweet, it immediately reminded me when Coca Cola brought out New Coke. The New Coke saga ended in New Coke being scrapped followed by the reintroduction of the Coca-Cola Classic. Thankfully on this occasion, persistence has paid off and the New SCN is here to stay.

/wp-content/uploads/2012/10/dreamstime_xs_11048386_149734.jpgIt’s fair to say that the journey SCN has undertaken to where it is today hasn’t been the smoothest of transitions. From my perspective, there were three key failings that has kept me away from SCN:

1) The aborted Go-Live;

2) The loss of content & search; and

3) Degradation of quality content on the New SCN


1. The Aborted Go-Live

If we go back 11 months, there was a lot of hype around the anticipated upgrade of SCN. Like many others, I was keenly following progress and was eager to see the new site on the weekend of the go-live. When the message came out that the go-live had been aborted, there was a lot of disappointment and some harsh comments. Mark quickly communicated to the community the reasons for the delay and most were clearly valid. Whilst I was disappointed, it gave me valuable insight into the mind-set of an end-user that the impact a delayed go-live can have. As a System Integrator, as many people are on SCN, this was an invaluable experience and something to channel when working towards a project go-live.


2. The Loss of Content & Search

This was, by far, my biggest issue with the upgrade. On so many occasions we would work on a problem, do a Google search to find our exact problem and find that there was a solution available on SCN. That feeling of relief would often turn to despair when the link would be a dead link to the new SCN and we’d get an authorisation error. It was so frustrating to see that others had experienced our issue and resolved it, and we couldn’t use their valuable insight to resolve our own issue.


To add to this, the general search functions of the New SCN were also quite poor. It was very difficult to find the information that we needed. Thankfully Jason Lax developed a very handy Google search as an efficient stop-gap.


3. Degradation of Quality of content on the New SCN

I first got involved in SAP a couple of years ago, after a long time at PeopleSoft/Oracle. I was keen to get involved in the community and submitted my first blog. It was rejected by Marilyn Pratt and it was rejected for a very good reason… it was rubbish. It really was that bad, and I’m embarrassed of it to this day. Thankfully it didn’t see the light of day. What this experience told me, was that SCN had a very effective system of moderation to ensure that only quality blogs are submitted.


Fast forward to the new SCN, and there has been a constant stream of blogs, which for some, serve no other purpose than comedy value. Some of these blogs made my original rejected blog look insightful. To make matters worse, these were being tweeted by SAP accounts almost as an endorsement.


So Why do I think the New SCN is better than the Old SCN?

To begin with, let’s take a quick look at the three points I raise above as failings. The first has obviously now been dealt with. Secondly, if we look at the loss of content and search, I don’t come across many dead links on Google. What’s more important, is that full search functionality is now working properly on SCN. I no longer need to use Jason’s workaround and the search functionality returns the results that I am expecting. Thirdly, there has been a noticeable improvement in the quality of blogs that are being released and the quality blogs are now far outweighing the not so good.


So that essentially gets us back to where we were before the upgrade. What makes it better? The following points (and I’m sure there’s more) are what led me to comment that the New SCN was better:

1. The new design creates a better sense of community;

2. Content is much more organised;

3. And finally, we have mobility.

1. Better Sense of Community

My re-engagement with SCN was partly prompted by my colleague, Anooj Behanan. Anooj has been quite active in the SAP HANA Forum (or should I say Place?), and this led me to becoming more involved myself. The setting up of profiles offer a much more personal touch than the old SCN. There is a greater social aspect with the ability to follow places, people, create status updates and direct message others to name just a few.

2. Organised Content

This took me a while to get my head around. The concept of Places and Content as opposed to Forums seemed, at first, to be a bit clunky. Once I accepted the different method of navigation, it soon became clear that there was consistency between each place, and the the places themselves are designed to host a wealth of information. Having Documents, Blogs, and Content in the same place makes perfect sense. The functionality to show only those places that you follow dramatically improves my productivity with fewer mouse clicks to get to the information that I need.

3. And for the Drum Roll… SCN now has Mobility

This was the killer feature for me. I came across a tweet from Tim Guest pointing to Scott Lawley’s blog announcing that SCN has gone mobile. Like most others, I spend much more time on mobile devices these days than desktop computers. The ability to effectively use SCN on the go is going to make the biggest impact on how I interact with SCN.

/wp-content/uploads/2012/10/dreamstime_xs_15594262_149741.jpg

Conclusion


There’s always room for improvement, but for my liking, I firmly believe that the journey to where we are with SCN has been well worth it. I’m convinced that the New SCN is better. When I look at SCN now, I see a strong platform that will only get stronger. Thanks to the SCN team for persisting and getting us to where we are today.

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16 Comments

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  1. Michelle Crapo

    MMMMMmmmmmm….

    Well – I could write the anti-blog to this.   I can agree with some of the points as well.  So get ready, hold onto your hats, and here I go.

    Agreed:

    1.  Can set up a more personalized profile.   I’ve got to do a better job of that.  Someone told me I need a picture.   Working on it.  🙂    The problem here is not everyone wants people to get a better sense of who they are.  So it isn’t used as much as it could be.  I would love some figures and facts.

    2.SCN has mobility.   Clear win in my book.

    Here’s my anti-list:

    1.  I’m old.  I don’t like change.  😎   The only constant is change.  I’ll get over it.  In fact, I’m working on that now.

    2.  Organized content – AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!  Nope.   Not yet.  Maybe soon.   I went to look for the current blogs.  I used to do that every morning.  To find out what was going on.   And find blogs that looked fun to read like this one.   Um – people are blogging to get answers for questions.   That makes it a bit of a mess when I’m trying to read the interesting information.   I click on what looks good, and it is a question.  Code exchange is no longer a top button.  Idea place isn’t there either.  I had to search for code gallery.  If there is an easier way of finding it – well I didn’t find it.   So in this, I think SCN could improve.  I know it would make me happy.

    3.  Like buttons – I see a lot of positive comments.  Then I go up and no one has liked the blog.

    4…..

    Hmmmm… getting into another blog range here.   Maybe I’ll follow up with one. 

    Great blog – it lists the positive things while everyone is groaning about what we don’t have anymore.

    Michelle

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    1. Marilyn Pratt

      I’m going to quote Gali Kling Schneider (scolding me too) please don’t denigrate your age.  That’s ageism.  And we, older participants, bring perspectives, experience, values that are priceless. *End of Ageism Rant*

      Now about browsing the latest blogs.

      Go to upper right part of the screen, use drop down for Browse->content-> click Blogs and sort by descending created or simply: http://scn.sap.com/content#filterID=all~objecttype~objecttype%5Bblogpost%5D&sortKey=all~creationDateDesc&sortOrder=0

      You can also see sort by descending latest activity for latest comments.

      If I click into the name of the topic in that blog list, I can also see a widget for most recent blogs in that topic.

      And I can refresh the widget by tapping the little repeat arrow.

      I also love tapping on “trending” to see what people are most actively reading:

      http://scn.sap.com/content?filterID=recommended

      These content filters can be used to advantage once you know how.

      And while they aren’t exactly the same as before, they do provide some additional insights and values.  Try them. Let me know what you think!

      Oh and Michelle Crapo, it’s great to see you back here.

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      1. Michelle Crapo

        OK – no more ageism….   I just should say – I don’t want to change!   😆

        Blogs.  Nope – still get questions when looking for blogs.   Just people putting their questions in blog format.   I think it is just misunderstanding.  

        Trending that sounds cool.  I’ll have to try it.

        I just like to see all my blogs in the morning.   Brose through the titles and find the ones I like.  It’s hard when some of the titles lead me to a question when I wanted an answer – explaination – cool blog.     I think it will just take time.

        I’m glad to be back.  This is one of my happy places.  I’ll slowly learn the ins and outs.   And get on idea place again.   I like having a place to put my ideas for change!

        Michelle

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  2. Marilyn Pratt

    Thanks for getting my attention by calling me Gary ElliottGary Elliott and if that didn’t work in SCN, you threw in Twitter shout-out for extra measure 😉 and here I am.  So, I ‘dissed  (disrespected) your first blog attempt on SCN, did I? Back in the day when we really guided the newbies BEFORE they even posted, I assume?  So gracious of you to claim it was rightfully rejected by me.  My usual modus operandi is to guide folks to blog “betta” blogs, more resonating content, less marketing drivel.  Lord knows on what grounds I had the audacity to defer your stuff then, but glad to see you weren’t eternally discouraged and here you are back and blogging!

    Yep, Search, quality, navigation and logon ease were the top reasons folks gave for being less than ecstatic about the current migration.  As challenging as it is to transition to spaces (places, neighborhoods, topic areas) for those used to:

    1. using forums as main vehicle for communication
    2. those who like looking at general blog content that already had been moderated (or purportedly checked and released) 

    …it does seem that there are folks daring to personalize their content more.  We see an upsurge in certain forum old timers jumping in and blogging for the very first time, for example.  The Pay it Forward theme does seem to galvanize quite a few folks and new communicators.  So, please pay it forward further and invite others to produce quality content…and yes, guide them even if the old “junior blogger moderation” is defunct.  In fact, better to have community guiding community than some mean ‘ole blog policeperson like moi.

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    1. Gary Elliott Post author

      I like to think that you saved me from myself. But seriously, things are getting better. As Michelle says above, most of the current issues are due to people asking questions in blogs rather than posting as content. It’s more of a learning issue which is improving.

      A point I didn’t add in the blog, is that the blog editor is a welcome advance. Yet another piece of functionality that is better than the Old SCN.

      BTW, great tip on the url for trending blogs. I’ve saved that URL. Very handy.

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  3. Tim Guest

    Hi Gary – Finally I got round to commenting! Thanks for taking the time to post further to your recent tweet. Personally I think the new SCN is better and is just different to the old version as there is more of a sense of community and it feels more interactive.

    As long as the SCN guys continue to listen to users and implement ideas that add benefit whilst continuing to improve it then SCN will continue to be a success.

    In case anyone wants it, here is the link to search the entire SCN site using Google Custom Search.

    http://www.google.com/cse/home?cx=013447253335410278659:k8ob9ipscwg

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  4. Doug Allard

    you people make me wanna PUKE!

    This place is a mess and you know it.

    mobile content… whoopdeefriikindo.

    how bout you ladies stop drinkin the kookaid

    your main seach opens an IE session.

    Any drill down on the results opens an IE session.

    So ok fine… then I sit there reading through a thread or two for say, 20 – 30 minutes and boom, I get logged off or something and any new search or drill down in any already open session will just sit there and clock never reaching it’s destination. Not to mention the fact that a fair percentage of the links inside the threads are still broken and I think will remain so, probably forever.

      I got no problem with change… as long as your adding value.

    All you appear to have added… is fluff

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    1. Marilyn Pratt

      I had responded to Michelle earlier about comments that are self-denigrating and smack of “ageism”.  It’s a topic that gets me roiling just as much as challenges with the migration.   Since Michelle Crapo and I seem to be the only ladies around here, I’m going to ask nicely to refrain from pointing to a gender specific set of opinions here. Some might even think of that as “sexism” and it’s also something that might be viewed as abusive.  You are welcome Doug Allard to critique: the platform, the migration, the search, the response time, you would find an empathetic ear and a community advocate who publicly and behind the scenes cares to remedy those.  You are invited to share your comments, frustration, feedback.  Even if it isn’t always pleasant to hear, such critique adds value and is welcome.

      Comments about the gender of some of the participants here and marking them for especially denigrating remarks is not only inappropriate, it’s not to be tolerated.

      That being said, I’m always available for discussion.  I’ve reached out to you privately and made my contact details known to you.  Fire away, but please keep your ammo and statements above board.

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    2. Alvaro Tejada Galindo

      Doug:

      Simply put…you don’t like here…you’re free to go somewhere else 🙂 You want to critique? Fine…just keep your language and respect…and BTW…don’t bother on reply me back and I don’t like “Troll feeding” and this is my first and last comment on this post… 😉

      Greetings,

      Blag.

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    3. Michelle Crapo

      Hi Doug,

      Have you thought about posting a blog?  Yes, keep gender and agism and anything else that seems like it is geared towards a certain segment of readership out of the blog.  😉

      As a lady – I sure like drinking the koolaid.   There are many different kinds.   Some of them I like and some I don’t like.    But I have ti try it before I decide I like it or not.   And sometimes I try it more than once.

      SCN, it’s a great forum.   With different veiws.   I love to hear them all.  If you don’t feel like a blog, feel free to list all the things you don’t like about the new SCN here.

      Me – well I think I’ll write a blog.  I just haven’t got around to it yet.   I’ve been busy.  There are many things I don’t like about the new SCN.  There are also many things that I do.

      However those all the bad things – all the  things I hate about the new SCN.  No way would they keep me away from here.  There is just too much information at my fingertips.

      I hope you talk with Marilyn.  She gives the best advice out there.

      Michelle

      FYI Troll feeding.   Trolls are those that place comments out there meant to flame people.    Or cause a bad result.   To feed the trolls makes them happy, because they know they are being heard, and they want more flaming comments.

      Personally, I don’t like flaming comments.   A good debate – well – I’m all about a good debate.

      Remember everything changes.  This new SCN will change little by little.  And it has already changed a little already.   Watch out, I’m sure there are more changes to come.

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  5. John Kleeman

    Thanks for this post, I agree there is a lot positive about the new SCN, and agree that overall it’s better. Can anyone comment as to why it’s still marked as in beta, it seems to work and it’s the only SCN there is. Wouldn’t it be better if the beta moniker was removed? It must be a barrier to its use and for SCN being taken seriously?

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  6. Stephen Johannes

    I’m going to argue that sense of community is actual worse now, because until the Coffee Corner was re-introduced, it is actually harder to meet/interact with people outside of your interest area.  Personally I think it’s gone from one large community to 100+ small micro-communities.  I think the community is more fragmented with the new platform rather than unified. 

    As much as there are simple work-arounds to find other content outside of your normal “space”, I don’t feel these have the same impact as old “central” blog feeds and forum listing.  That being said there are a lot of other “technical advantages” of the new platform that I would agree that moving backwards to the old structure would be a move backwards.  That being said there is nothing currently wrong with the platform that prevents me contributing beyond my lack of time.  Content creation is much simpler when I do have the time to participate and besides the emoticons in the editor had to be my number one reason why the upgrade was necesary. 😏

    Take care,

    Stephen

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    1. Jelena Perfiljeva

      Stephen Johannes wrote:

      I’m going to argue that sense of community is actual worse now, because until the Coffee Corner was re-introduced, it is actually harder to meet/interact with people outside of your interest area.  Personally I think it’s gone from one large community to 100+ small micro-communities.  I think the community is more fragmented with the new platform rather than unified.

      Second that. I’d also add that navigation and finding good content has become more difficult for someone whose interests span over more than two “spaces”. “Following” has not lived up to my expectations so far, unfortunately.

      Even though personally I came to terms with New SCN, the performance and “getting just the good stuff” are still big challenges as well.

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  7. Henrique Pinto

    3. Degradation of Quality of content on the New SCN

    I first got involved in SAP a couple of years ago, after a long time at PeopleSoft/Oracle. I was keen to get involved in the community and submitted my first blog. It was rejected by Marilyn Pratt and it was rejected for a very good reason… it was rubbish. It really was that bad, and I’m embarrassed of it to this day. Thankfully it didn’t see the light of day. What this experience told me, was that SCN had a very effective system of moderation to ensure that only quality blogs are submitted.

    What?? Blog moderation was good??

    I hope the SCN mgmt team sees this. 😉

    I’m actually making sure they do: Jeanne Carboni Patrick Flanders Gali Kling Schneider Laure Cetin Audrey Stevenson 😎

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