In celebration of the SAP Community Network (SCN) turning 10 I thought I would write a blog on how SCN has influence and benefited me both personally and professionally. I’ve been a member for over 5 years now and – to be perfectly honest – I don’t remember exactly why I joined SCN. What I do remember is that I was quite quickly able to benefit from my membership. But not only did I find myself benefiting from the content on SCN, but I also found myself contributing to SCN.
I began early on building and contributing to the SAP Organizational Visualization by Nakisa and SAP Talent Visualization by Nakisa space (formerly “SAP Talent Visualization by Nakisa” forum). Initially there was very little information available on SCN and very little action in this space; there were plenty of questions asked but few responses and even fewer blog posts. I took it upon myself to build a community and promote the work of others, irrespective of whether they worked for competitors or not. For me, this gave me as much benefit as finding answers to my questions. It also helped spread the word about an area I was passionate about and gave greater exposure where I felt it was deserved.
As my career branched out I began contributing to the SAP ERP Human Capital Management (SAP ERP HCM) space and, after its introduction, the Talent Management & Talent Development for SAP ERP space. By this time I was contributing much more to SCN than I was taking from it and I wrote one of my most popular blogs to date, Setting up NetWeaver Embedded Search (TREX) for SAP HCM Talent Management EhP4, 5 and 6. TREX was mandatory for talent searching from EhP4 and there was little information around on it. A few months later I followed it up with another popular post – a 2 part blog entitled What is Nakisa? … or Everything You Need to Know about Visualization Solutions by Nakisa (VSN) part 1. Although impossible to tell now because all blog hits were lost when the new SCN was launched, both blogs have upwards of 10,000 hits. This told me all I needed to know about providing quality content on topics that were of interest to the community.
A Surprise Appointment
This knowledge sharing certainly began to open some doors for me and it wasn’t too much longer that – alongside my regular tweeting via @lukemarson – I was appointed as an SAP Mentor. All of my contributions and knowledge-sharing meant that I had been recognized among the members of the community and appointed to this group of experts. I was shocked and excited – but also inspired to do more. I didn’t realize when I had started to contribute to SCN that it would help me become a part of this prestigious group of individuals. It was something that – over time – I had aspired to, but I didn’t expect it to happen to me.
Through this new avenue, I was presented with many opportunities to get access to individuals and information from SAP that I hadn’t previously. As an SAP Mentor it was my duty to use this to contribute more to the community and provide information that wouldn’t otherwise be available. In addition, it was a chance for me to begin influencing things at SAP that would benefit customers and the community. One of the first blogs I wrote on this was A new SAP Mentor’s HCM & Talent Management take on SAPPHIRE from SAPPHIRENOW 2012.
The New SCN
A few months before SAPPHIRENOW – in March 2012 – SCN was migrated to the new Jive platform and thus the new SCN was born. There were a number of changes to the interface and topic design, as well as the usual teething problems (something that we SAP consultants know about). It took a while to get used to it and overall I think it is certainly a much more modern and easy-to-use site than before. SCN took the site to a new level when they introduced Gamification in April 2013. While personally I think it drives content-for-points and thus creates quantity over quantity, it can be a driver for creating valid content for individuals who might not have contributed previously. However, I feel that recognition through quality content and the change to become a SAP Mentor is enough motivation to contribute to SCN.
All-in-all it is pretty obvious that SCN has been pivotal in my personal and professional growth. Not only have I learned a lot, I have made new connections and also imparted knowledge and elevated my social status to that of a SAP Mentor. I’ve realized that sharing is a natural way of proving knowledge and building a network with people who also value giving and exchanging information. I have blogged enough to have improved my writing quality enough to co-author 2 SAP PRESS books. My problem-solving has improved by thinking out solutions to problems asked in discussions. And overall, I have been part of a highly-respected community that provides value to so many people in so many ways.