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Nicolas Busson is the Member of the Month for June 2013. I found out about him not so long ago when he was writing about SCN gamification, after the introduction of game mechanics in April. I was of course amused by his French candidness, but also impressed by the way he takes time helping people, always in a polite way, and the level of details he provides in his messages. He also recently published a blog series that got a lot of encouragement and positive feedback from the community.

This Member of the Month interview was the first one I did in French! And it was as long and enjoyable as the  interviews I did with other people in the previous months. I learned about BOL (which is not a “bol”), got super enthusiastic at all the positive comments Nicolas – sorry, Nick – had to say about SCN in general, gamification, etc.

Nicolas, can you tell us a bit about yourself, where you live, who you work for, and other things you would like to share with the community (hobbies, fun facts)?

I’m 35 years old. I’m French, which means that I speak terrible English and I am arrogant. Hum… Does that sound like a good introduction? πŸ˜†

I live in Paris with my wife. I was a freelance CRM consultant the past 4 years, but less than a week ago I accepted a position as a consultant in a small consultancy company in Switzerland: Neo Technologies. So I’m currently in the process of moving to Switzerland: finding a new house, buying a car, and reading/filling tons of paperwork!

I like to play tennis, go skiing… and prepare a good cup of coffee. To be honest I never really liked coffee. But one day I decided to give my beloved wife a good coffee machine. She loves espressos. I spent weeks gathering information about the best coffees, what makes a coffee more acid or more bitter, trying to understand the chemistry happening behind the hood: ideal temperature of the water, optimum pressure, etc. In short, I spent almost 2 months choosing a semi-professional coffee machine together with a coffee grinder, hoping that if I tasted a very good cup of coffee I would finally appreciate it too. Here is the installation I ended up with (using about 50% of my kitchen counter top):

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Result: now I need approximately 10 minutes to prepare one single cup of espresso (it takes time to warm up the machine, grind the beans, tamper, etc.) and I still don’t like it! But at least my wife does, and I’m having fun preparing it: makes me feel like a true barista πŸ™‚

When did you become a member of SCN and what brought you to this community?

I started my career in one of the big 4 international consultancy companies: Accenture. On my first day I was sent on a mission as a SAP CRM functional consultant, without being trained beforehand. Back then already I turned to Google to find information and that’s how I discovered SCN and kept coming back. SCN was always on top of the search results for most of my searches. It didn’t take me long to realize that SCN is a free goldmine.

Note from Laure: Congrats Jason Lax for an SEO job well done!


You mention on your SCN profile that you are active in SCN Code Exchange. Can you share your experience of the platform?

I discovered Code Exchange thanks to Gregor Wolf who mentioned it in one of his blog posts. It’s a platform where you can freely share ABAP code. So I started creating my own projects (SAP Transport request dependencies analyzer, BOL master data generator, etc.) and I tried to participate to existing ones to help solve a few bugs, or extend some functionalities. After a few years using Code Exchange I would say that:

1) I wish:

– SAP Code Exchange was easier to find. Indeed, even when you know that it is there (somewhere), the easiest way to find it is to use SCN search engine. There doesn’t seem to be a way to quickly navigate to it from the SCN welcome page.

– Projects were easier to find within SAP Code Exchange itself too. For example: once connected if you search for any “CRM” project, you won’t find my own programs… although I added the “CRM” tag to some of them, and “CRM” word is even there in the project name.

–  The connection process was easier, without the need to accept the “Terms of Use” each time you navigate to a project page stored in your browser’s favorites. This is annoying and I opened a discussion about it some time ago. I know personally a few people that gave up trying to connect and asked me to send them the corresponding piece of code via email instead.

2) I like:

– The quality of some programs that are available there: according to me SAPlink or abap2xlsx to name a few, are ones of the must-have for any SAP module implementation.

– Projects’ owners are involved: most of the time if you ask a question or raise an issue, you’ll get an answer both fast and above your expectations.

I heard SAP Code Exchange is being revamped and improved. A new version will be available soon, so let’s hope it will address some of those issues, because this platform is definitely worth it.


Note from Laure: I know how much Nicolas likes to find “gems” on SCN and how much he uses Likes, Ratings, etc to surface quality content to the community. I suggested that he does the same for good, useful code available on Code Exchange. Why not write a blog or document series with the best picks for CRM, and share it with the rest of the community? The author of the code may not communicate about what they put on Code Exchange, but Nicolas could be a curator of good code, that is something the community would  appreciate learning about I think.

How does SCN help you in your daily activities?

Usually when I have an SAP-related question there is a 90% chance that the answer is already here on SCN. So I search SCN first. If I don’t find an answer there is a 99% chance that someone will give it to me when I open a discussion thread. In short: in my daily activities SCN makes me feel relaxed because I know the solution to my problems is within reach… hence less stress-related disease, and no need for medication… so you could say SCN is playing its part in lowering French social care deficit πŸ˜›


Note from Laure: There you go! That’s a compelling argument!


Nicolas (continued): I also use SCN to be kept up to date on anything related to SAP, it’s a great source of good information. I use the Jive application for Android phones to follow content whenever I have a downtime, e.g. in the Parisian subway, and I give a lot of feedback directly in the app (liking, rating, commenting, etc).

When I’m at my desk SCN is the first page that opens in my browser so I check the home page regularly, and at the beginning of each month I make sure I’m aware of upcoming events, etc.

How do you find the time to contribute to SCN?

Less “poke” on Facebook.

I’m serious: Today, being active on SCN doesn’t take more time than updating your status on Facebook, or sending 140 characters on Twitter. With the Jive app I’m always connected and receive real time notifications. At the end all I need to do is a small thumb movement to like an article.

By the way, initially I thought that to become a respected member on SCN you had to write the best and longest blog posts ever: but not everyone can be Paul Hardy (see this blog for instance)  So I realized that there is something as important as publishing high quality content or answering 10 questions a day: it is to promote the content that you like and help make it known (by clicking one of the SHARE buttons, LIKE, or leaving a nice comment, etc.). So most of the time my contribution is limited to one click on a few buttons.

I recently found how to rate something and write a review at the same time, it’s something I thought was not possible, so I was very happy to know that it actually is possible. See for yourself:

Screen shot 2013-05-31 at 12.41.49 PM.png

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Contributing high quality content is more difficult because it takes time. Recently I published this blog series about SAP UI 5 because I saw people I admire sharing ideas and experience with SAP UI 5 and I wanted to learn about it. So I “gamified” it: I gave myself one week to create my own app and set the goal to blog about the process every single day. Even if things didn’t work out well I promised myself I would write about it still.

What do you like most about the community in general?

There is no better place to stay tuned about what’s happening around planet SAP.


What technology recently had you most enthusiastic about?

As a CRM consultant, and even if it is not so recent, I’m going to answer “WebUI”. I’m a big fan, because creating complex screens has never been so easy. Sometimes you don’t even need to code anything: just 3 or 4 clicks on a wizard and off you go with a brand new process. You can feel how smart were the guys who developed this framework.

And of course there is also SAP HANA. But I must admit that it’s only when I saw this announcement about Thomas Jung providing a free e-learning course on open.sap.com that I became curious about HANA. So I started reading a few articles and watching the course delivered by Professor Hasso Plattner about in-memory database, about two months ago. I loved his candidness and I was impressed by the numbers he shared… Now I’m looking forward to the opening of “CRM on HANA” space on SCN to learn more. Meanwhile I completed my first assignment two days ago for Thomas’s course; I hope I did a good job!

What is BOL??

Back in 2006 I decided to stop working on SAP systems, because of a terrible SAP CRM 5.0 project where nothing was working as expected (I was implementing many OSS notes each day, and opening a dozen customer messages a week). The system was definitely too buggy (no offense: I’m not ranting here, it’s just that I was really not having a good time). In order to get me re-motivated my employer sent me to a technical CRM WebUI workshop delivered by SAP: during this amazing 5-day course I learned about BOL (Business Object Layer), a new brick on which versions CRM 5.1 and higher are based upon… it’s kind of WebUI backbone and it is now integrated in all CRM modules so that a developer or even the end user can very quickly create an object, the way they want it. So for me, BOL is somehow the reason I’m still around today.

If you want to learn more about BOL, see this overview and a master guide.

You said you like SAP Press book. Who is your favorite author?

Indeed I like those books very much (I read some of them more than once) but I don’t have any favorite author. All those guys rock.

Any favorite book(s) you would like to recommend?

Hard to make a choice! But if I had to pick only one, that would probably be “Next Generation ABAP Development“. I’ve got the 2nd edition, published in 2011. This book is terrific: it stages Russell, an ABAP developer who wants to discover and try new features available in SAP NetWeaver, Thomas Jung and Rich Heilman did an incredible job. You read this book like a novel. As I used to be more a “functional” consultant, I learned a countless number of things when I read it for the first time. I can imagine how much work it was to produce such a good book.

And for those who would like to know more about SAP CRM 7.0 I recommend “SAP Web Client“. I’m also looking forward the release of Stephen Johannes‘s book “SAP CRM: Technical Principles and Programming“.

What do you think about the introduction of game mechanics on SCN one month ago? I saw you’ve earned a couple of badges already.

I love SCN Gamification! I think it was an excellent idea to introduce such a mission concept to help people discovering many not-so-known aspects of SCN. For example: how to update one’s status. I didn’t even know it was possible before I earned one of my first badges. Also, I’ve been quite impressed by the way everything was sent to production, without noticeable bug. How a success is that?

As far as I’m concerned I’m stuck on the “I shared some knowledge” mission, because I still haven’t found anything interesting enough to share. But I’m working on it!

If a new member came to you and asked for your advice on how to be an active and respected member of SCN, what would you say?

Three pieces of advice:

  1. Complete the first 3 or 4 “onboarding” missions on SCN because they contain some precious pieces of information about how SCN works. For example: the rules of engagement, or how to “Follow” people (which is, according to me, THE most important functionality provided by the new SCN).
  2. However do not hurry either. It really doesn’t make much sense trying to complete more than 5 missions on the first week for example. Be curious, and take time to read available content first. The worst you can do is publishing very poor content like “Hello World” blog post in order to gain points.
  3. Last but not least: check the 12-months Leaderboard of your areas of interest. There is most probably a few rock stars you’ll want to follow.

Is there an SCN member you admire (OK… you can name a few)?

Gregor Wolf. He’s definitely the first one that became known to me, and quickly became a legend for me. Then I discovered Thomas Jung, Ivan Femia, Horst Keller, Stephen Johannes, John Moy, Matthias Steiner, Marilyn Pratt, Graham Robinson, etc. The list can be long: How much time do we have left?

Easy question: Mac or Windows? Or Android?

Windows and Android.

Are you on Twitter?

Yes, I’m @Nicolas_Busson but I don’t tweet very often. I mostly use Twitter to stay tuned about important OSS notes sent by @SAP_Gsupport or @SAPSupportCE. Also, I use it to follow people that share interesting content they find about SAP. So don’t expect me to be very active. I’m more the “follower” kind.

Do you want to be called Nicolas or Nick? πŸ˜‰

Nick! That’s how Graham Robinson called me in a comment left on one of my blog posts. I can’t tell you how happy I was when he did that, not because of the nature of his comment (even if I liked it very much too), but because giving me this nickname meant that a connection had been made (nobody ever called me Nick before). And that’s SCN: I don’t know him, and I’ll probably never meet him in person since he lives in Australia, but we share ideas and talk like old friends… THANK YOU Mister Robbo! (I did mention him when you asked for people I admire, didn’t I?)

Every month, a member of the SAP Community Network is recognized for exemplary behavior: sharing knowledge with peers, being helpful and taking on additional tasks to support community engagement. See the list of previous SCN Members of the Month.

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48 Comments

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    1. Laure Cetin Post author

      Congrats again Nicolas! I have another question: who is on the profile picture, the third one on the right in your user profile? πŸ˜‰

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      1. Nicolas Busson

        Heheheee… it’s my previous customer (on the left), and me (on the right). We became very close friends πŸ™‚

        It’s one of my favorite pictures!

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  1. Stephen Johannes

    Congrats Nick on being featured.  I always tell folks offline about the great people who are in the CRM community on SCN and you are definitely one of them.  Your dedication to making a perfect cup of coffee is amazing!

    Take care,

    Stephen

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  2. Kavindra Joshi

    Hi Nicolas ,

    Congrats on being the member of the month. You mentioned in your profile you don’t like CRM Forums. Can I take the liberty of asking any incidents which made you thinks so ?

    For me it was great way to not only increase my knowledge base through contribution.

    ~Kavindra

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    1. Nicolas Busson

      Hi Kavindra,

      Thanks for the kind words. And in fact, it’s not really that I don’t like CRM forums: on the contrary I learned a lot of things there too… but indeed I mentioned on my profile that I find my contributions to this forum “more and more useless”, because if you try to follow this space on a very frequent basis (let’s say you connect everyday to see if new questions have been raised that you would try to answer), you’ll notice very soon that there is more work for moderators than for simple fellows like me. And moderators are doing an awesome work in this regard!

      Usually what I do is the following: I go to one of the CRM forums, select the open questions, and sort them by creation date in descending order, to get the fresher ones. And I remember that day when the first 3 questions I clicked on were locked because of duplicates or “search-before-you-post”, and then I couldn’t even understand the next 2 of them where most of the text was in the title.

      But don’t get me wrong: I like to be there. Somewhat I just can’t help it. And I’ve had an interesting discussion about it a few days ago with Stephen, to see what can be done to improve the content quality: Pop some tags and Pay it Forward V2.0.

      And may I take this opportunity to promote one of my ideas posted on ideaplace to hide locked questions when searching for open ones? Don’t hesitate to vote for it if you agree that could help others too, and one day we’ll eventually get some feedback whether it is doable or not =)

      https://ideas.sap.com/ct/ct_a_view_idea.bix?c=8A060447-ED55-41EB-905E-C077161D66AC&idea_id=AF00C98A-8672-4DC5-8D2D-7F1BEE20E552

      Cheers,

      Nick.

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      1. Vinodkumar Kommineni

        Hi Nicolas,

        Congrats for being the MoM. I agree with you that we find few duplicate/simple questions in CRM/Web UI Forum as few companies/projects just pull consultants from ECC background into CRM projects and some times with out any training. Searching before posting is sometimes not used by the users unless they get used to it by surfing the forum regularly and by observing how experienced users are posting. Few users would only visit the forum to post the questions when they are stuck as per my observation. In such cases moderators would have more work for sure.
        By the way I liked your Idea and I hope it should be possible to implement!

        Regards

        Vinod

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      2. Andrei Vishnevsky

        Nick (could I use such name from now? πŸ˜‰ ),

        As a fresh moderator in CRM spaces I’m doing my best not to allow poor content in our spaces. And other moderators are doing the same. Do not know the background but I try to reject simple questions and poor content and contact the author of the content immediately with DM to suggest to proceed in a different way. Not even allow such content to appear.

        PS: vote for your idea too πŸ™‚

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        1. Nicolas Busson

          Hi Andrei,

          I noticed the “M” next to your name that appeared recently: I’m not gonna say “congrats”, but “THANK YOU!”. Needless to say how much indebted I feel to SCN moderators because this is a lot of work they accept to take responsibility for. And as I already said, they are doing an awesome work (I don’t even know how you and Leon have time to do their “real job” outside SCN).

          So again: thank you very much for accepting this mission. I’m very grateful for this.

          Cheers,

          Nick.

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  3. Gali Kling Schneider

    A wonderful read and great pick Laure!

    Nicolas (aka Nick) it was great getting to learn a bit about you and the value you find in SCN. I completely agree regarding the friends from SCN that I sometimes never meet in person or do once every few years!

    I also really admire the research that went into your wife’s gift especially as you don’t even like coffee! (which I must agree with πŸ˜‰ as I am a tea drinker)

    Gali

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  4. Andrei Vishnevsky

    Excellent, Nick and Laure!! Congratulations!!!

    Just read the interview in one breath!! πŸ™‚ Always like the way Nick interacts on SCN! Hope you’ll continue your great contribution to the Community!

    And enjoy Switzerland!!! Do not know about tennis, but skiing is definitely awesome there! πŸ˜‰

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  5. Fred Verheul

    Congrats Nick, well deserved! πŸ™‚

    Excellent choice Laure, and a French MoM was long overdue of course πŸ˜‰ .

    Cheers, Fred

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  6. Matthias Steiner

    I always enjoy reading those and getting to know the background story of fellow community members!

    And of course congrats to Nick for sharing quality content and getting the well-deserved recognition! Keep sharing!

    Cheers,

    Matthias

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    1. Laure Cetin Post author

      Thanks Matthias! I am glad you enjoy reading these blogs as much as I enjoy writing them. All these rock stars! πŸ™‚

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  7. Susan Keohan

    Cheers Nick and Laure,

    Excellent choice for MoM,  as I can totally relate to Nick’s advice about floating good content to the top.  I am a fan of liking or rating content as well. 

    I also greatly appreciate his advice not to write a ‘Hello World’ blog just to get points!

    And I have also thought that you can and do make connections via comments on posts.  That is one of the reasons I love this community; Nick has a connection to ‘Robbo’ – and who knows, maybe they will get to meet IRL.

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  8. Helder da Costa

    Félicitations champion. πŸ™‚

    When i entered the CRM world, i was lucky enough to have Nicolas as colleague / mentor.

    He taught me a lot and always encouraged me as i was going from a crazy project to another crazy project. I know how much i owe him and this MoM recognition is well deserved indeed.

    Good luck for your next adventure in Switzerland πŸ˜‰

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  9. Pankaj Pareek

    Congratulations Nick πŸ™‚

    Thank you for sharing your experience. I was not aware of code exchange and thanks to you. Now will explore it more.

    Best wishes for future endeavors.

    Regards

    Pankaj Pareek

    (0) 
  10. John Appleby

    I do like this series – highlighting members who contribute but aren’t mentors or moderators. Seems like it encourages good things.

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  11. Jelena Perfiljeva

    Congratulations, Nick! Great tips on SCN use. Hey, any pointers on how to get a decent cappuchino cup from my cheapo DeLonghi BAR32 machine? πŸ™‚ Darn thing doesn’t make a good foam no matter what I try.

    Is it just me or are the interviews getting longer by the month? πŸ˜‰ (Not that I’m complaining though – job well done, Laure!)

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    1. Nicolas Busson

      Heheheee… Thanks Jelena!

      I’m definitely not a cappuccino specialist but I would recommend to start your machine 5 to 10 minutes before you make yourself a cup of coffee (to give it enough time to warm up) and use cold milk.

      πŸ™‚

      Also, it’s a good idea to make the foam first, then cool down your machine, and make your cup of coffee afterwards (see how Gail is doing it: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7jbuRTyWn9A)

      Cheers,

      Nick.

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    2. Laure Cetin Post author

      Guys, I am not a coffee expert and this may sound low tech to you, but what about this type of frother?

      I know some capuccino machines have something similar, but I don’t have one, so for hot chocolate I use this type of frother:

      Foam_Maker_milk_frother_Cappuccino_Maker_II003.jpg

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      1. Nicolas Busson

        You can probably use this kind of tool providing that you use warm milk I guess. But it is more likely that you will get far too much foam. On coffee machines with integrated steamer, with use steam to both: warm the milk and incorporate air in order to get a nice and satin foam. At the end of the process, you should get a milk that has quite the same consistence as paint, or double cream. No bubbles.

        πŸ™‚

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      2. Jelena Perfiljeva

        I thought about it too, but looks like these frothers only last 6 months or so (or 6 hours if my kid gets to it). Also it’s totally not comme il faut for true cappuccino afficionados. πŸ™‚

        Hey, we can learn about everything on SCN!

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  12. Harshit Kumar

    Many Congratulations Nick. Now I know whom to consult on Coffee making skills:) and All the very best for your Swiss adventures.

    Regards,

    Harshit

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  13. Midhun VP

    Nicolas

    Congrats. Good to know your skills. Each time when I was logging into SCN it was your pic polling through the first page of the SCN πŸ™‚ . Great.

    – Midhun VP

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  14. Shobhit Srivastava

    Many congratulations Nick, good to know more about you. Appreciate your help and response in the community. Your UI5 blog series shows your hard work & motivation, keep it up πŸ™‚

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