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#SCNis10—2006 the Year of BPX or How SDN Got More Inclusive

Everybody has their versions of “the beginnings”.


I got my first look or sneak preview of the SAP Developer Network back in 2003 when I stumbled upon some really interesting “elearning” content on an SAP internal portal while teaching ABAP for SAP. This rich media video I had discovered starring Shay Barry and Etay Gafni  was actually a skunk works version of content that would later be added to an external content library.  But as an ABAP instructor and an employee with Community and Collaboration in her DNA, I knew that SDN was a place I wanted to be in.  Although from some historic error my present profile doesn’t reflect it, I immediately signed up and started lurking….and while I won’t take credit for being “the real founder” I certainly was working on a parallel path when it comes to knowledge share and remote learning content. 

Here’s a note from 5/15/2003 regarding my experiments with Remote Learning
and access to online content which I had engaged in with a fellow SAP Education
colleague from 2002-2003.

Education morphs into SDN.jpg


I tell my SAP Education Management that I will be hanging up my instructor hat and looking for work in the field of my Master’s expertise: Distance Learning and Adult Learning in an Online Environment.  I get a few internal offers but there is the one I can’t refuse.


Marilyn joins SDN.jpg

I’m hired as a “Community Manager” for SDN and my realm of editorial work includes editor of ABAP, Technology, XI (Process Integration), XApps(Cross Application Programs)  and in 2005 the Enterprise Services Architecture Page.

ESA community.jpg


The plot thickens and so does my editorial load

The plot thickens.jpg


I continue to look at the community side and tell Mark Finnern that I want to be him when I grow up. 

I volunteer to help him in May 2005


My big “community advocate” break arrives. Ziv Carthy agrees for me to be the first:

BPX Community Evangelist.

BPX Evangelist.jpg

As Audrey Stevenson , the editor, content strategist and original project manager of the BPX community has already outlined in her blog, #SCNIs10: A Chapter Begins, Another Page Turns—The BPX Community a “Sneak Preview” of the BPX community is introduced May 15, 2006 at ASUG / SAPPHIRE

BPX Sneak Preview.jpg

The executive message stated:

“So we’re launching the BPX Community. We know it’s not enough to talk about the software and technologies offered by vendors. Business
process experts like you need an open, interactive community where they can connect, collaborate and contribute ideas. You need solid technical
documentation, educational articles, best practices, templates and how-to guides. And that’s what the BPX Community delivers.”

While Audrey works on the BPX pages and edits them, I begin to engage the community and work with the talented members of the community to create content that now goes beyond the technology realm of SDN.  I partner with SDN evangellist Craig Cmehil although sometimes it feels like our communities are not so “inclusive” of each other.

geeks vs suits.jpg

One of the first and most active supporters and promoters of the BPX community was SAP Mentor Richard Hirsch who together with Owen Pettiford
created a number of project scenarios illustrating the life of a BPX:

There were so many excellent contributors to BPX and BPM education.  Many folks even launched their blogging careers on SCN in the realm of BPX.

A small (and incomplete) who’s who of some of the voices that created the content include folks like:

Audrey Stevenson BPX Editor and co-owner who highlighted and featured the work of all on this following short list

Frauke Hassdenteufel Industry BPX Lead

Jon Reed Skills and Roles of BPX

Marc Dietrich Process Design Slam conspirator

Mario Herger Who is a BPX and BPX wiki master (introduced Geek Gap concept)

Ann Rosenberg Embedded BPX into BPM content and was powerful evangelist

Bob McGlynn Blogger, inclusive voice and Geeks vs Suits Radio Show host

Dennis Howlett BPX provocateur extraordinare

Ginger Gatling BPM expert and supporter

Alan Rickayzen BPM king and content strategist

Susan Keohan BPM goddess

John Harrickey BPX thought leader

Philip Kisloff Blogger and refiner of role of BPX in BPM

Paul Kurchina Championed BPX/ASUG activities/events

Helen Sunderland BPX poster child

Puneet Suppal Cafe Innovation

Paul Taylor Customer lead in forum conversations

Arun Varadarajan BPX and Business Intelligence top contributor

Yvonne Antonucci Academic views on BPM/BPX

Bhanu Gupta Co-conspirator in introducing BPX to ASUG

Vijay Vijayasankar Challenged and refined Process Design Slam

Richard Hirsch Blogger extradonarire and BPX Community Project Lead

Owen Pettiford Co-creator of first BPX Community Project

Kartik Iyengar Top BPX content creator

Greg Chase – Design Slam enabler and quality content generator

Jim Spath – Sustainability Champion and Advocate

Jim Link – A real live BPXer in action introduced by Jonathan Reed–with-jim-link-of-forest-city

Marco ten Vaanholt – Head of BPX Team and Collaborative author of “Process First – The Evolution of the Business Process Expert” together with one of the SDN originals and one of my writing heroes Dan Woods

I’ll stop my brief history and narrative at 2006 and let others pick up the thread, but I believe that the inclusion of BPX, the creation of the Process Design Slam, which became Innovation Weekend, which became Innojam lay the foundation for a much more inclusive and collaborative participation of a wider spectrum of participants in what is now SCN.

While my heart is also deeply embedded in the SDN roots and my days as ABAP, Technology, Process Integration and Enterprise Services community manager and editor, I love how we expand and include new populations, geographies, roles and voices.

Can’t wait to see what the future will bring.  If you have a voice that you would like amplified and want to include new topics in our ever-growing environment, please see me at your service.

Yes, including new communities and populations in SCN…that’s in my DNA too.

Happy Anniversary SCN…SDN…BPX et. all.

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  • Hi Marilyn,

    Wow!! Such an inspirational history SCN has!!!

    Big thanks for your support and being one of the scn's very strong foundation since from beginning...

    Happy to celebrate SCN's birthday along with you!!



    • Thank you Jansi.  Yes, it has been quite a ride and reflecting on the history IS so much fun. Loved reviewing old correspondences and thinking about many wonderful people who had the vision and talent to provide education, content, collaboration. Those 3 tenets: connect, contribute, collaborate were foundational. My personal favorite part of this journey is constantly "discovering" new voices and talents in the present and wondering how we can influence the future.  I've learned that you are a person so very grounded in the present jansi rani

      Meeting you and conversing with you was one of the highlights of my trip to sapteched_bangalore .  Your insights on empathy during our event with Seung Chan Lim were much appreciated.


  • Lovely blog Marilyn. It's very nice to get to know you more, and also to see behind the scenes of the SDN, BPX, SCN foundation.

    As you already know, you are a great inspiration for me. Thank you for all your efforts to make not only SCN but SAP World more inclusive.

    Kind regards and looking forward to meeting you in Amsterdam.


    • Raquel Cunha I've heard a rumor that you will be mentoring some design_thinking activities with Hester Hilbrecht  at sapteched2013 in Amsterdam.  Hope to see you there.

      And hope too that we can also work together on a new theme of learning through failure or failfaire .  It's an interesting principle to apply to the learnings around what makes for a successful community.  In the most positive light I see as we review scnis10 that we "fail forward" .  My own learnings from my Hands On Learning experiments in SAP Education back in 2002 were that failing early and often gave me ability to appreciate and support models that others were experimenting with online and in the classrooms.  I view those "failures" as the basis for SDN/SCN success.  BPX was a learning for sure.....

      Looking to share more stories around that topic of learning through failure soon!  You have been a wonderful co-conspirator along with Thorsten Franz Heike van Geel Greg Chase (who incidently was amazingly supportive of some of the early BPX events) Anne Hardy Jeanne Carboni in many of our inclusive, empathetic, and (Design) thinking explorations.  And looking forward to further collaboration, connection, content on new topic and themes in SCN and during the SAPTecheds.

  • The specified item was not found.,

    Thank you for the mention!  Your passion and dedication for the Community show in all of the stories you took the time to pen for us in this blog. Also in your labors of love coaching less experienced members to be some of our best participants. Not to mention the labors that aren't so lovable involving plagiarism and points gaming.


  • Nice post Marilyn! You've collected a lot of memories and you must be proud of what the team achieved early on. It must have been a great feeling to pioneer something totally new, and now 10 years later you can be a proud parent 🙂

  • Hi Marilyn,

    Great read, and amazing that you've kept all these (very) old emails! They tell quite the story. Though a developer myself, I think SCN has greatly benefitted from the joining of the 'other' communities like BPX, BOC, UAC, etc.

    And of course I'm looking forward to exploring failfaire with you at sapteched in Amsterdam (was already wondering what you'd have in store for us this year 🙂 ).

    Cheers, Fred

    • I'm a bit of a packrat when it comes to correspondances (although I've given away much of my schwag and many books in my library to community members).  It was fun trying to piece together history.  I actually surprised myself.

      Agree that there was tremendous benefit in expanding SDN to SCN by the inclusion of new communities.  In fact there was a school of thought (and I supported it) that thought rather than create separate communities we should be united.  I guess the "space" or "topic" content in this platform allows for the ability to belong to on SCN but multiple subspaces or communities.  It helps us for example with UAC be more multigenerational, and with topics of interest that align to different skill sets allows us to be more multi-role focused.  It's been quite a journey.

  • Marilyn this is stunning!

    As I already commented on Audrey’s blog, the inclusiveness is what I believe makes things last and evolve for good. You have set the standards so high, you are doing an amazing amount of work and history and it’s exemplary!!!

    I can’t wait to see how this community is going to unfold further.

    • Coming from you, an inclusive and dedicated communicator that is high praise.

      I won't hide the fact that hearing the voice of women on this website is something I'm passionate about and it was fun thinking that a high percentage of our BPX contributors and movers and shakers were women. There representation was even higher than that of the more developer community context.   But now that we are "one community" it is delightful to see Technical/developer leaders like Jelena Perfiljeva stand shoulder to shoulder with Analytics leaders like Tammy Powlas .  And I'll be unapologetic about making a point of pointing to some remarkable women on SCN.  You Mariana Mihaylova have been a remarkable voice in Process Orchestration which was an original focus of BPX!

  • Hi Marilyn,

    I'm impressed that you still have emails from 2003! This is an incredible story and it's great to read your rise to stardom as a community evangelist. Your roots are firmly buried in SCN and it's one of the reasons you're such a great asset for the community.

    Best regards,


    • That's very very kind. I guess there are lots of topics that span technical and functional areas.  I remember when Audrey Stevenson and I worked on the Taxonomy of the original BPX we drew the HCM forums into the BPX fold.  So you were part of that BPX community from inception by default 🙂

      As I said about those 2003 emails, its harder for me to part with people's words than from any material possesions.  Lucky they expanded my archiving capability in Outlook. 😉

    • Thank you Jitendra.  Learning.  That is my favorite activity and the reason I love working with my team and this community.  Knowledge share is what this is all about.

  • Hi Marilyn,

    This is so nice of you to share your experience so vividly with us. This is certainly an inspirational read to me. Can't wait to see you again this TechEd!



  • Marilyn,

    Thank you for sharing all your wonderful remembrances with us. I am with Jason Lax; the mural at SAP TechEd 2007 is one of my fondest memories. I am among your legion of fans looking forward to reconnecting with you at TechEd US!