Some of you might have seen some of the recent blogs that Joanna Chan and I have been putting together about our experiences in building a mobile app using the SAP NetWeaver Cloud as a platform.
There is an awful lot of work that has gone into these blogs (and there are more to come too).
The other day I got asked by someone in my company,
“Are we doing the right thing by publishing all this? Aren’t we giving away our competitive advantage by telling the competition how to do all the great things that you guys are building?”
Now, I’m pretty certain that it is good for me personally to share. I learn a lot more by having to explain what I doing in a (relatively) clear fashion to someone else than if I just do it. But I could probably do that by just having a team meeting and doing some sharing of info. So what’s the benefit of sharing more widely? Well, I get some pretty useful feedback from others for a start, my ability to present improves each time I try. Like Graham Robinson once said in a conference presentation he was giving, “if you don’t get up here, you’ll never learn how to present”. It’s probably fitting with my SAP Mentor status, but more to the point, that just how I like to do things. I enjoy sharing.
But is it good for my company that we’re sharing so much? The guys down the road, could just pick up our blogs and then use them to build something without having to spend nearly as much time – surely? Well, actually I doubt that. Firstly, only the really motivated ones are actually reading the blogs, and generally, I’d like them to become as familiar with my ways of doing things as possible, because in the future its likely that I’m going to try to hire them! 😉 Seriously, though, if you’re motivated you can find out this stuff on your own. And you’re going to need to be motivated, because the blogs certainly aren’t a step by step tutorial.
Secondly, I really like that my company is promoting its employees to spend time sharing information with the wider community. This is one of the reasons that makes it a place that I want to work at, and I hope that others see this too. One of the aims of our company (I’m pretty sure this isn’t a secret) is to be the employer that employees want to work for – and through this get the best talent on board, and through that be successful. It’s a pretty simple formula. I hope it works.
And finally, this is a bit about advertising, not just about how great a place it is to work here, but about what our skills are. It’s one thing to be able to say “hey we can do A,B,C,D,E,F” – but quite another to be able to point out how you are helping others to learn that stuff. Hopefully, if you’ve read one of my blogs, and you find yourself in a similar situation, you’d think, “might just ask Chris/Jo about that, he’s/she’s probably come across a similar situation.” It’s thoughts like that, that lead to potential business opportunities.
So don’t kid yourself, I’m not doing all this blogging completely out of the kindness of my heart, there’s a certain amount of wanting to be able to “give back” to the community that has taught me so much, but I really think that by “paying it forward” I will get just as much, if not more in return.
No video today, but the usual disclaimer applies, my thoughts, opinions and mistakes. Please don’t take this as representative of my company’s views, although they might well be aligned. Thanks for reading, and if you have some thoughts about this, if you think there is a “line” where it becomes commercially wrong for a consultancy to publish detailed blogs, I’d love to hear and understand your thoughts because I’d really like to be able to go to my next management meeting and justify why I’ve spent so much time this month blogging on SCN.