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When the New SCN was first released, I remember it was in Beta, and I had a lot of understanding. And over the last (nearly) 2 years since the release, it has slowly become more usable. I eventually got around to re-sorting my blogs, curating my profile, and I’ve recently started to create content again, after a long hiatus.

In the last few weeks, we’ve had a major step back. Please, could we have some focus to get SCN fixed once and for all. The community will love you for it, and usage will increase.

1) Constant client-certificate popups.

SCN no longer logs me in automatically and I get constant pop-ups.

Screen Shot 2013-11-25 at 11.49.53 AM.png

DJ Adams gets this right! Why do we need client certificates at all for a public website? Plus, Safari has broken client certificate support for the last 5 years and that seems unlikely to ever get fixed. Just disable them.

Screen Shot 2013-11-25 at 11.52.11 AM.png

2) Constant error messages

I just had to use 2 computers and 4 browsers to post a blog. It saved, instead of published, each time. Want to leave a comment on a blog? No chance.

Screen Shot 2013-11-25 at 11.54.18 AM.png

From what I heard… SAP paid Jive Software for this user experience…

3) Ghost messages on iPhone

I keep getting spammed with comments on my blogs and posts that when I open them on the iPhone, don’t seem to exist.

Updates to SCN

Tammy Powlas points out that there is an update to SCN coming this weekend. I don’t see any acknowledgment though that the basic platform is still broken two years on. Please… let’s go back to basics and fix login and content creation. We don’t need any new features until that’s done! All the rest is nice-to-have!

Rant over.

Addendum – 24h later

I just wanted to add two quick points.

First, a thank you to the SCN team because they have clearly worked hard in the last 24 hours and experience is much better. Login problems aren’t as bad and the constant errors appear to have gone (hope I didn’t speak too soon).

Second, I want to call out all the people in the center of the community. SAP Mentors, Moderators and SCN lifers. There are a lot of people who became friends with the core team and feed bad by criticizing it. We are complicit in the bad digital user experience which we have come to accept. If this was Google or Facebook then we wouldn’t accept this user experience and you would take to to the rooftops to shout about it. Our constructive criticism is what makes things better and if you got too close and friendly and comfortable to continue to do that, then you no longer add the value that you used to.

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35 Comments

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  1. Stephen Johannes

    I’m not sure that I ever got SCN to work correctly on Safari on a mac.  I know login issues were so bad, that I had to resort to Firefox instead.  My other biggest issue with SCN is having all the embedded facebook/youtube content that which is blocked by my company. 

    A great example is your blog has an embedded “facebook like/share” button which then messes up the navigation history in IE8.  I don’t want to have to pull or show that I’m trying to go to facebook everytime I pull up an SCN blog.  Do we really need to share blogs on facebook or couldn’t they have implemented in a way so that it doesn’t force the use of an external site that you don’t want to visit.

    That being said, simple things like login working consistently and not logging you out randomly would be good thing.  This is still far less stable after two than the old creaky duct taped together platform ever was.

    Take care,

    Stephen

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    1. John Appleby Post author

      Thanks Stephen. I have a lot of understanding for “supported browsers/operating systems” for corporate networks, and zero understanding for public websites. Imagine if Google stopped working on Safari!

      I use Chrome/Mac and Chrome has 40% of the browser market. Between IE/Chrome/Firefox/Safari, and PC/Mac/iOS/Android, you have about 96% of the internet traffic depending on who you believe. I think that would be enough platforms to support on SCN – Opera, for example is now less than 1%.

      The Facebook/YouTube content point is polarizing because I like it (I have no such blocks) but many SAP customers sit behind corporate firewalls. The conversation that SAP needs its own video hosting site has come up many times. Not sure when we will see a resolution to that problem.

      John

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    1. John Appleby Post author

      I have to use Firefox for my Time & Expenses input using SAP Portal, and I can understand that. Corporate websites sometimes only support certain OS/Browser combinations.

      For SCN that’s just bizarre and wrong!

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  2. Jelena Perfiljeva

    Yep, was wondering about the same – still getting logged off and some strange errors, like a popup ‘An error occurred’. Fantastic…

    I use IE to create content. Auto login works fine with that, although if I’m getting logged off at random not sure if it counts as “works”. Few days ago could not post a single comment due to ‘an error occurred’. Very frustrating.

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    1. Roberto Vidotti

      for me, IE 8, today was the worst day, just in the evening I was able to complete an answer without several logoff before posting.

      I notice also that I received a communication 4 days after (and mail is even worst), tomorrow when ok I will reopen a bug reporting about that.

      Regards

           Roberto

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        1. Roberto Vidotti

          it seems user-random, now I’m home (and going to bed), but this evening I saved the answer of Petra … of the 21 nov. and in my communication was just 1 hour before

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      1. Jelena Perfiljeva

        I’ve seen some email notification lag as well, but it’s usually a few hours, not days. I believe this was working fine at first and just started lagging maybe a couple of months ago.

        The ‘server errors’ and logoff does seem completely random. It’s like a lottery – will I be able to post today or not?

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        1. Roberto Vidotti

          yes, I confirm the email notification lag normally some hours, I don’t check the communications delay I saw this casually, so I’m not sure if they are other big delays.

          Yesterday for me was bad in the afternoon and evening, now starts from morning.

          I work without problems for hours and suddenly when I try to answer or when I refresh I loose the login and starts the logoff-show, sometimes after few seconds, and like now it changes in “Internal server error” but result is the same, I’m logged off again.

          After a few days of chaos there are longer periods (month) without issues then again, it seems follow Cantor’s dust scheme.

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  3. Luke Marson

    I’m using Chrome on PC and haven’t had many problems. I still get SSO issues occasionally that actually remove the history of the page it was trying to login into so I can’t hit back. Sometimes it logs in and takes me to the homepage, with the same “lost” history. A few Mentors have SSO issues with SAP Jam, which uses the same SAP ID Service.

    My biggest problem for me and some others are getting emails for people or blogs you don’t follow. Sometimes you follow someone and then unfollow them – but you keep getting the emails regularly. Frustrating.

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      1. Mark Finnern

        Hi Matthew,

        I figured out that this has to do with zooming. If you get a grayed out popup, hit <cntr>- to zoom out and the form magically appears. Something that needs to be fixed.

        Hope that helps, Mark.

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    1. John Appleby Post author

      Thanks Luke, I think that the SAP ID Service is a big part of the problem. Internal SAP users have X.509 certificates installed on their PC for Single-Sign-on across all company resources.

      Now, because the SAP Service Marketplace has an idiotic load-balancer design that means you have to login to each app server separately, many of us also use the X.509 certificate that SAP offers.

      This has all kinds of irritating knock-on effects. For a start, it means that SAP Connect doesn’t work at all unless you use Firefox.

      And then it means SCN also uses the same certificate. I think that using certificates is a big part of the problem with SCN, but it’s too frustrating with SSM *not* to use certificates.

      I think a big part of the problem is that there’s no one thinking from a user-centric perspective about the customer experience across all SAP digital platforms. If there was, then some of this stuff might get fixed.

      John

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  4. Sven Ringling

    My biggest issues are with the mobile site, which is very annoying as I don’t want to use too much rare “desk time” on SCN.

    It doesn’t seem to work properly with iOS7. In most cases the “back” button doesn’t work, so I’m stuck and have to open a new browser window.

    It also often looks as if a comment or status update hasn’t been posted even though it has – resulting in a few double postings.

    I also don’t understand, why I can’t mark things as helpful or correct on mobile – shouldn’t be much more difficult tgan “like”.

    I could imagine any new user exploring SCN on mobile would make a big mental note that this company can’t do mobile and never get near Fiory or any other SAP mobile technology. Not a very clever marketing at all.

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    1. Martin Grob

      the mobile on iOS7 is brutal. I have the same thing no back button and if you hit reply you have to trust it got sent because it won’t leave that page . I always need to close it and reopen for each thread I want to read.. I meant o have read somewhere that this will improve with a better iOS app on the jive platform they look at next year..

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  5. Jitendra Kansal

    yesterday evening i had that constant error messages issue in chrome. every time i replied to a thread, commenting to a blog/doc, i faced this issue. i had to move to IE and it worked.

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  6. Steffi Warnecke

    I got used to the fact, that I can’t edit my posts via iPad and Safari. It’s just an endless loading process, so I am more careful before posting or edit errors when I’m back at my windows laptop. ^^

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  7. Michael Braun

    Hi John,

    I added a ticket to our next development cycle to solve the certificate issue.

    Regarding the constant error messages we fixed an issue with one of our app servers today that likely is the root cause for not being able to publish content.

    And thanks for sharing the IPhone issue. This one is new to me.

    Regards,

    Michael

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    1. John Appleby Post author

      Thanks Michael I appreciate your efforts. SCN has gotten better in many ways over the last year.

      I’ve only been using SCN for a short while today so it’s difficult to be sure, but it seems 100x better than yesterday. No errors yet!

      I don’t think the certificate issue can be properly solved by looking at SCN alone. I think it requires a holistic perspective at how customers access the overall SAP digital experience including SAP.com, SAP Connect, Jam, SCN and SAP Service Marketplace (as well as the SAP ID Service). I think the problem is a complex interaction between all of those resources and how people outside of SAP use them in the real world.

      By the way the iPad app doesn’t work at all any more. “Unsupported Jive Instance. The entered url points to an unsupported Jive instance”

      John

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  8. Chris Kernaghan

    To be honest, I do not want to automatically log into SCN because I have multiple certificates for me, Capgemini and my customers stored on my laptop – so I like to be able to choose which one I need.

    Although the SSO errors when clicking from a link in an email are not easily forgiven nor are the requirements for multiple logins – I am just institutionalised because of the experience from Service Marketplace

    Chris

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    1. John Appleby Post author

      Chris – this is for SSM though, right? You don’t log into SCN with multiple identities, I shouldn’t think?

      This is a big part of the problem – I think the SCN team think of themselves as a silo, but customers and partners use a diverse set of digital resources from SAP.

      In particular, SSM belongs to AGS whilst SCN belongs to Marketing. There is no-one responsible for a unified customer experience.

      John

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  9. Oliver Rogers

    I have had a couple of issues with the SCN – perhaps they just affect me but I thought it best to share in case I am not alone!

    On Android, using Chrome, the experience is terrible. At page load it says that I must set a pin on the device before I can use certificates or informs me I have no certificate installed but one was requested. (Depending on Android version)

    I just cancel out of all these prompts, that happen at each page load, but I guess the downside for you is that you lose the analytics that I visited the page and I can’t interact with content on the go.

    I liked the idea of linking my Google account to the SCN. That way each Google browser if signed in, would sign in automatically to the SCN. This doesn’t work if you have the X.509 installed though. I am loathed to remove it since I use SAP service marketplace often and, although it is a pain hitting YES to each prompt to use my certificate – it is a lot easier than entering my S-ID and password each time!

    – On this note, Firefox has a nice feature (at least in Windows) that you can mark a certificate as not requiring a prompt for use. I agree this reduces the security somewhat but at least it makes the site useable again.

    I find content discovery on the SCN/Jive a pain. What I am interested in is diverse (not in one space/group/etc.) and there seems to be no way of aggregating custom feeds together (?) in one place. So, I setup notifications of posts to forums and posts by specific authors to be emailed to be, but these don’t come through…

    However…

    For the past week, the SCN has been spamming me (>1000 emails) with content notifications from September and for forums I haven’t heard of, let alone subscribed to!! Some of the content 2 months ago was interesting, if only I had received it back then. The funny thing is that I seem to be getting email in order. Perhaps it will catch up?

    Anyway, that’s my 2 cents.

    Oliver

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  10. Andy Silvey

    I’ve wondered if some of the reasons for the behaviours that we see is because SCN is used as a proving ground for technologies which we will later see supporting the Business Suite, hence test driving new technologies through the SCN Platform.

    Andy.

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        1. Matthew Billingham

          I’m working on a BW system that is running HANA – in production for several months now. It works well. But the biggest performance improvements seem to be seen by the back office people like me, rather than the end users.

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          1. John Appleby Post author

            Well we had to head over to talk about HANA sooner or later, right ๐Ÿ™‚

            Do you mean that in a positive way, i.e. HANA increases developer productivity, therefore getting change done faster, or in a not-so-positive way?

            John

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  11. Matthew Billingham

    I think the reason the reason why it’s “broken” is because the measures used by the users for the success of SCN are different from the measures used by SAP Management.

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    1. John Appleby Post author

      That’s pretty speculative, but it may be right.

      From what I remember from @Mark_Yolton before he left, the new SCN has increased the amount of usage, hits, etc. So in some sense, the new SCN is a success.

      It’s all a big shame, because SAP has a terrible name in the industry for user experience. Fiori is starting to change this, but the core SAP digital resources all have bad user experiences.

      John

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