University Alliances (UA) spotlights UA Global Manager of Branding, Social Media, Apps and Partner Engagement Martin Gollogly. Martin and the SAP University Alliances team have spent the last month developing and redesigning the University Alliances Community (UAC) to simplify and enhance the ease of navigation and accessibility to materials and information.
The goal of the UA Spotlight Series is to exchange insights with professors, lecturers, students, researchers and the entire SAP ecosystem and community.
Why redesign the University Alliances Community (UAC)?
The original design was tasked with bringing together students and professors to a point where they could collaborate, blog, and interact. It was designed principally to provide access to University Alliances curricula. This redesign has the same goals but adds new ones, all whilst adopting a slightly different approach.
Would you mind sharing more about the new approach?
The main revision has been in the look and feel, the navigation and the overall dynamism of the site. The new site has fewer active links on a page and makes it very clear where visitors should go to find what they are looking for. All of our curricula materials and e-learning assets can be found in the Learning Center for example. All of our news, media and interactive resources can be found in the Media Hub. If you visit either of these areas you are then taken through a new set of choices so you are led to precisely what you are looking for.
We also have more animated, audio-visual resources – something which SAP as a company is becoming far more aware of. Resources like these capture the animation. Watch the animated movie ‘As we may work’ on Youtube – as of now it has almost 1.1 million views – exciting for an animation created by a software company. It’s a really cool idea to demonstrate thought leadership in a welcoming, narrative way.
I think the key to the site is to be welcoming as possible and that it not only hosts resources but directs visitors to resources held in other parts of the company. It should do this in a way that is exciting, dynamic and shows a clear ‘joined up thinking’ between the many disparate, high-quality resources that SAP has at its’ disposal.
What are the goals of this redesign?
To enthuse, to inspire, to make visitors feel welcomed and highly regarded. To make the whole visitor user experience as painless and efficient as possible. I suppose the key words would be fluidity and friendliness.
We are also much more integrated into the rest of the company – to SCN but also to SAP Education and so on. Much of our thinking on the UAC over the coming months is how to best make available the vast resources that SAP has at its’ disposal and offer them to faculty and students that would give their right arm to have access to such high quality thought leadership, interactive teaching and learning resources and collaborative possibilities.
How does it differ from the previous structure and design?
The main differences are navigation and feel. The new design is intended to be very easy to navigate and visually appealing to visitors. SCN has nearly 3 million users and tens of thousands of those have chosen to engage with the University Alliances Community. We strive to be welcoming to our visitors and make their stay as pleasant as possible.
The key change is the reduction in the effort that visitors expend to find what they’re looking for. I’m firmly of the belief that visitors have two reasons to visit the University Alliances Community:
- The first is to find something specific, and in this case we should lead them to their object as efficiently as possible. This means clarity of navigation.
- The second is because they want to explore and see what is available. In this case we shouldn’t be forcing them to wade through text – exciting things should be leaping out at them. They should have a problem not so much in finding materials that are of interest, but in having to choose because there is so much offered.
One key consideration is that drowning visitors in media isn’t the way. We will provide media relevant to the visitor by placing key media on specific pages related to specific solution area e.g. BPM, CRM, Hana etc. or we will provide notice for things we know will be of interest to the entire community in our key landing page and media sites.
How does this integrate with University Alliances’ strategy for 2013?
This is key – not only integration with University Alliances 2013 strategy but the whole approach to integrated marketing. I’ve been involved in various marketing and business development activities for 18 years and if there is one common theme it is the lack of integration that often exists between the various strands on marketing. I’m proud to say that SAP stands alone, in my own career, as the company that understands what it means to integrate marketing fully and to ensure that the market gets a consistent message across multiple media, including the very latest. Check out our iPad apps and cool new Hana movies if you don’t believe me.
The key for SAP University Alliances is integration because we have such a wide and diverse audience. We reach students at different levels of educational achievement in many countries and cultures, and they have different teaching environments and have interests in different SAP solutions. Yet, our message must always be consistent – that we are exciting, dynamic, a cutting edge company in the field of technology and generally, and that to engage with us is to engage with a whirlwind of opportunities.
Is this the last change to the SAP University Alliances Community?
No, this is an ongoing process. We will be adapting the site based on periodic reviews which includes reviews with SAP Education, the Business Transformation Academy, SAP partners and customers, and students and professors.
Rather than enter a period of constant change we’re looking to make amendments based in phases. This navigational and structural redesign was phase one. Phase two will look principally at curricula – how we can integrate the materials of our partners within SAP and how to engage with faculty and students to adapt materials to reflect the teaching styles of faculty across the globe.
I’m a big fan of integrated approaches between partners but because there are so many stakeholders in the University Alliances Community we have to ensure that our progress is thoughtful, well planned and carried out with full testing and quality checks.
Be sure to check back to see upcoming improvements on the site!