Delivering technology that conforms to how you want to work

This week marks two very significant milestones for SAP in the category of Business and Collaborative networks.

Exactly a year ago, we launched SAP Jam – a purpose-built collaboration platform designed to work across business processes and to affect real business outcomes. Four quarters later, we are privileged to count well over 10 million subscribers on the platform. We’re honored to have executives at the highest levels of organizations such as Marriott International, Kaeser Kompressoren, and TELUS Communications, Inc. attest to how SAP is helping them transform their organizations.

But this post is really about the way forward.  Via intense co-innovation with a 50-member customer advisory team and significant break-throughs in how data and content can now be accessed and manipulated, we’re really happy to announce work patterns by SAP Jam – new work experiences that brings the best of applications data, process, content, and people together in one contextual work space.

So, why did we do this?

According to Wiki Answers, “Formal work patterns are generally understood to be systems of coordinated and controlled activities that arise when work is embedded in complex networks of technical relations and boundary-spanning exchanges.”

We all have work patterns we follow. For instance, if you’re in sales you have a few. You continuously learn about new solutions you sell. You get mentored and trained by those you look up to. You build relationships with your prospects and your customers. And you sell like crazy. If you’re in other functions such as marketing, product development, or partner management, you have similar patterns.

The problem, though, is that today’s system-centric work place is completely at odds with these patterns. Our woefully inefficient systems-centric world is divided up into applications, critical data, content, and failing enterprise social networks that have no cognizance of dynamic, fast-changing events and data that we need to act on. After spending close to $2 trillion on IT over the last year alone[1], we have lots of room left to rethink how we connect employees, customers and partner. Consider this:

  • Traditional CRM can manage customer records and analyze trends. But profits in an organization can increase by 95% by boosting customer retention by just 5%[2]. This opens the door for an immense opportunity to build strong customer communities to delight customers and lower retention costs.
  • Talent management systems provide ways to educate and onboard new employees. But it costs on average $135,000 per year to onboard and support a salesperson[3]

And that’s only the beginning.

We set out to begin to solve this problem a year ago by re-thinking the very value proposition of social collaboration by making it outcome based, contextually relevant and pervasive across your application touch points and business processes.

Workpatterns.pngNow we’re ready disrupt our own innovations of last year with an incredible breakthrough in how application data from SAP and third party systems can be accessed and immediately contextualized by SAP Jam. A clear understanding of the hierarchy of this data now enables SAP Jam to quickly assemble the right network of domain experts and the right content and prior art, to enable you to execute.

Each work pattern is:

  • Centered around you: Dynamically connect the dots by recommending and assembling 20% of the data, process, content and network of experts you need 80% of the time.
  • Repeatable: Slow kills. Kick start each pattern you follow by suggesting prior art – formal and informal learning content to allow for repeatable best practices to get you working, fast.
  • Flexible: Your needs will change. Fine-tune any element of a work pattern to conform more closely to how you work.

This re-thinking of how we work cuts right through the tenuous relationship between systems where we engage and others where we transact. Work patterns by SAP Jam are designed to celebrate how we’ve always wanted to work. And it can only be done effectively because of the underlying business context that SAP Jam can not only access, but also interpret.

Where to, from here?

We’re starting off with a series of 13 work patterns that span across key sales, support and human capital use cases. And true to our promise of delivering collaboration and your network of experts wherever you need it, work patterns by SAP Jam will be available on SAP Jam, within SAP and third-party applications, and via Fiori-powered SAP applications. And if you want to re-imagine new applications and processes, leverage work patterns when you build new applications, or extend existing applications on the SAP HANA Cloud Platform.

This breakthrough is a result of an incredible coordinated global effort by SAP’s product teams in Canada, China, Germany, and the United States. It’s a real privilege for me to work with such a tenacious and dedicated group of colleagues.

It’s time to move beyond transactional applications and beyond social applications. Its time to put the end user in the center of the design experience. This is the essence behind work patterns.

Learn more about work patterns by SAP Jam:

[1] IDC, IDC Predictions 2013: Competing on the 3rd Platform, Frank Gens, Nov 2012

[2] Flowtown/Spoken communications http://blog.spoken.com/2010/10/cost-of-acquiring-a-new-customer-6-to-7-times-more-than-keeping-exisiting.html

[3] Forrester Sales Enablement Forum, 2013

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10 Comments

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  1. Clementine Wong

    Hi Sameer

    This is very exciting and compelling indeed.  Looking forward to seeing this in action/demo.

    The article mentions 13 work patterns including HCM use cases (my particular interest area), but the press release mainly refers to the sales work pattern.  Is there a release schedule or roadmap available for the other work patterns?

    Kind regards

    Clementine

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    1. Holly Simmons

      Clementine – We released addition work patterns for learning and other HR processes.  The team is currently working on the roadmap plans for 2014 for additional HR coverage such as collaborative performance and goals, collaborative learning, etc.

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      1. Rob Makinson

        Thanks Holly,

        I have a similiar interest to Clementine and would like to know more about the HCM processes. Looking forward to further details being released on 2014 roadmap.

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  2. Jim Spath

    Sameer Patel – thank you for letting me rehearse my comments in a smaller crowd the other day. 😐   I’ll repeat a few of them so the dialogue can expand.

    • What is the security and identify model for this tool?

    In software I have used, such as SharePoint, SAP’s former Collaboration Workspace, and change or incident management portals, not to mention BW, the access control model can kill innovation if data or workflows (cc Susan Keohan AKA The Workflow Goddess) are restricted, or open huge risk holes (cc Gretchen Lindquist AKA ASUG’s Security goddess).  What SAP or third party tools, including Active Directory, fit here?  Is it a Single Sign-On environment?

    • What does this compete against?

    My blunt comment the other day was that I don’t hear requirements for this type of software.  And having implemented R/3 in the last century, I know what kind of challenge connecting bolt-ons can be, not just from the authorization side, but from performance.  Not everyone is running their business on SAP HANA. KM? CM?

    • SAP Mentors have mixed feelings

    I can’t reproduce polls or discussions from our NDA meetings and talks, but it’s fair to say the Jam software doesn’t get a 100% satisfaction rating from power end users.

    • “put the end user in the center of the design experience”

    Would I sound jaded if I said I had heard that one before?  This isn’t the fault of the tool or software, it’s in the implementation and roll-out.  Sometimes the success depends on “that guy.” 

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    1. Sameer Patel Post author

      Jim and Gretchen, thanks a lot. Some answers for you from both me and our product managers.

      What is the security and identify model for this tool?

      SAP Jam can leverage user information from any source within an organization that they deem “authoritative” for managing security.  This could be from Active Directory, LDAP, or from any other source of user data, including SAP GRC, HCM or SuccessFactors Employee Central.  It is a Single Sign-On environment, including support for SAML SSO.  We fit into a customer’s existing IT landscape, the same as you could expect from any other SAP or SuccessFactors application.  In the next mentor update we can go deep into this topic if you like.

      What does this compete against? And “you don’t hear requirements for this kind of software.

      We’re privileged to have over 10 million subscribers now, so there is a need. 🙂 . When you add other providers who also offer social collaboration software, we collectively power tens of thousands of customers seeking collaboration. We at SAP believe that this only works if you have one collaboration platform that goes across your applications and device touch points. And well continue to make sure that performance is dealt with along the way. Its worth it.

      SAP Mentors have mixed feelings….

      Thanks for taking the time to play with it. We’ve spent time with many mentors and talked about the unique situation they are all in with multiple log ins for multiple customers that they work with. Its a unique use case but that’s great – thanks to the mentors its presented an opportunity for us to look at supporting an entire new use case and as we’ve said to the mentors, we are working on this new use case.

      Re: Being jaded about “put the end user in the center of the design experience” because of the implementation.

      Fair point. The reality is that we hadn’t originally designed for this use case.

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  3. Gretchen Lindquist

    Sameer,

    Besides the security questions that Jim Spath has already mentioned, the big questions in my mind concern use cases involving internal and external users. I am looking forward to finding the issues resolved so that Jam works for such use cases correctly, consistently.

    Regards,

    Gretchen

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  4. Keith Swenson

    Sameer,

    Very interesting.  Love the focus on “just in time” and “repeatable” but not pre-defined or enforced.

    I am unclear on the idea of a “work pattern”.   It seems there are just 13 of them.  Clearly, every knowledge worker (in this case salesperson) is different, so there are an unlimited number of actual working patterns, but this term “work pattern” is being used as a very specific term of art.  What, essentially, does a work pattern consist of?  What are the differences between them?  Is a work pattern a process?  Or maybe an abstract process?

    Some people may be concerned that 13 would not be enough to cover all situations.  I feel sure that this is a misunderstanding of what a work pattern is.  Can you give any details that would help persuade people into a better understanding?

    -Keith

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    1. Sameer Patel Post author

      Hi Keith

      Thanks for the comment. Re: Work Patters – 13 are the ones that we have pre-created as our first cut. Expect to see more with every rolling release. However, whats most important here is a) we’ve gone as far as putting together 20% of what you use 80% of the time. Each work pattern is flexible and customizable though – it would be presumptive of us to think a hard coded design will work for everyone. And b), the way the team has architected this allows customers to innovate faster than us if they like and create their own patterns as well.

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      1. Keith Swenson

        I was really hoping you could give some insight into what constitutes a work pattern.  What is it made out of?  What settings can a user customize, and what aspects are fixed by the 13 basic patterns.  I realize you will offer more in the future. 

        I contrasted this with a business process because everyone knows that business processes are so specific that no two organizations can reuse each other’s processes.  You have avoided the term business process for good reason.  But tell me how these differ from a business process.

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        1. Sameer Patel Post author

          Hi Keith

          Happy to. Why don’t we do a demo after the holidays? Better to do show vs tell. Game? Also, just to be clear, we did not look to do adaptive case management specifically  so it may not fit with your definition. Still, would love to show you what we’ve done.

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