Last month, the SAP Social Software team announced that SAP Jam reached 15 million subscribers and launched a developer program.
At SAPPHIRE NOW 2014 in Orlando, ASUG News reporter Craig Powers caught up with Sameer Patel, SVP and GM of Enterprise Social Software at SAP, to talk about the announcements.
With Sameer were Ulf Kossol from T-Systems Multimedia Solutions, an SAP Jam partner, and Martin Wanitschke from Itaricon Management Consulting, an SAP Jam customer, who are taking advantage of the developer program.
Watch the video or read the edited transcript below to learn more about how Itaricon is embedding social collaboration into their sales process using SAP Jam.
Craig Powers: Today I’m joined by Sameer Patel of SAP, Ulf Kossol of T-Systems, and Martin Wanitschke from Itaricon. We’re going to be talking about SAP Jam and all the latest developments. If I could start with you, Sameer – tell us what you do at SAP.
Sameer Patel: Sure. Thank you for having us. My name is Sameer Patel, and I run our collaboration business at SAP. I’m the SAP general manager for products and go-to-market which includes SAP Jam.
Craig Powers: Right. I think Sameer, I think collaboration. Ulf and Martin, if you could also introduce yourselves.
Ulf Jost Kossol: Thank you. My name is Ulf Kossol, I’m from T-Systems Multimedia Solutions from Germany. I’m responsible for a team of social businesses consultants covering all things for customers who want to build up social collaboration systems in their enterprises.
Martin Wanitschke: Hi, I’m Martin Wanitschke. I’m head of sales at Itaricon Management Consulting. Together with T-Systems, we’ve integrated Jam with our CRM, which we’ll talk about later.
Craig Powers: Sameer, Jam had some news last week, if you can get into that for us.
Sameer Patel: Sure. First, I’d just like to say thank you to a partner and a customer for joining us here today. There’s two things that we really wanted to share today. One is that, in the last eight quarters, we have surpassed 15 million subscribers on the platform. The second piece of news is the launch of a developer platform and program for Jam. What this means is that our customers and our partners can do three things:
First is that they can extend and customize work patterns – to help manage deals, to manage accounts, to manage customers, learning, on boarding across the organization. The second thing is – because our customers live in heterogeneous environments with SAP technology and non-SAP technology – we’ve allowed Jam to be able to use live data and content from back end systems that are both SAP and non-SAP. Third, they can now build net new apps that are collaboration-first, using the HANA Cloud Platform and Jam. So that’s the news.
Craig Powers: Ulf, talk about, from partner’s perspective, how you’re approaching this new ability to develop on SAP Jam.
Ulf Jost Kossol: Let me say first that our approach is to be a consulting partner for our customer. It’s a multi-vendor approach. We deal with a lot of leading social software companies from all over the world. With Jam, we are partnering with one you know. We’ve been very excited about the invitation to join the early development program before the launch.
The reason why it’s a good opportunity for us is that with the new release of Jam, it’s different to the approaches of other social collaboration technologies. What’s important is that social collaboration will take place not next to a process but within a process. Some vendors also have integrations, but only in the activity stream, for example: You have an activity, and you can share the activity.
But in combination with work pattern methodology from Jam, we can combine it in one community. That was the reason we recommended this solution to our customer Itaricon. Because our recommendations are always based on use cases, we bring the best technology for the specific customer’s case.
Craig Powers: Martin, obviously Ulf and T-Systems made the recommendation, but you still had to make the decision. Why did you choose SAP Jam and what was the purpose that you wanted to fulfill with it?
Martin Wanitschke: Before I explain the technology decision, I should probably explain why we chose social collaboration at all.
When I joined Itaricon, my task was to find processes within the sales organization that could be speeded up. What I found was that when any employee for Itaricon had a sales opportunity, he had to put it into the CRM. Then he’d send an email with a link to the CRM to all the people that he thought might help win that deal. But then collaboration stopped. They all worked in silos on their own laptops. They had a couple of meetings or telephone conferences to make the deal happen. It worked, but there were things that could make it better.
After putting the opportunity into the CRM, there was kind of a black box. No one really knew what happened – even the person who initially found the opportunity didn’t know what happened with the opportunity. It was quite clear that we needed a tool or a technology that made this black box a little bit more transparent. Social collaboration can help make processes transparent. That’s what Ulf just said: You don’t put a collaboration suite next to a process; you put it onto the process.
Our process trigger is the opportunity. We work together within the sales organization – and within our whole organization – on the opportunity in Jam.
Why did we choose Jam? It was a pretty easy decision. SAP is one of the core technologies that Itaricon provides technology services, professional services, and consulting services for.
We have several technologies of course, but Jam is just easy to use – easy to integrate. That’s what they promised, and that’s what we’ve realized.
Sameer Patel: That’s why we’re here, and we appreciate that. Thank you. Because this is a developer program, we paid attention to two specific things as we rolled it out. The first was that large partners like T-Systems, with 60,000 plus employees, can use this platform to develop these social solutions.
The second thing is we also wanted to make it available to individual developers. Individual developers who bring deep domain expertise in certain lines of business can now build deep solutions that enhance business processes and then sell them as products in the HANA Cloud Marketplace.
Craig Powers: Great. I’d like to go back to you, Martin. You were talking about siloed emailing and collaboration. Talk briefly about what SAP Jam looks like and how that leads to collaboration.
Martin Wanitschke: First of all, let me briefly explain what we did with Jam. As Ulf said, it’s not only SAP technology that needs to be integrated with it. At Itaricon, we use SugarCRM for our CRM system, and we’ve integrated SugarCRM with Jam – bidirectional, by the way. When the opportunity comes into CRM, it also appears in the list of opportunities within Jam. That’s where the collaboration really starts.
You have the list of opportunities and everybody who can see that list can create a group from one of the opportunities. You open up a group because you think you have the best expertise and you have the time to make that deal happen. You open up the group and you get into a very familiar design. Social collaboration within business might be kind of new, but social collaboration – Facebook and stuff like that – is really familiar to everyone now.
If you get into one of these groups in Jam, if you have ever seen Facebook before, you will be able to deal with the group. There are group templates that are already predefined that we can also change.
Sameer Patel: The work patterns.
Martin Wanitschke: Yes, work patterns. We can design the work patterns. You open up a group and there’s already a template for the details of the opportunity coming right from the CRM. You have a list of the members of the group. You have an activity stream, which is the most important part at Itaricon, at least. It’s just easy to handle, it’s really easy to handle. Whoever has a chance to look at it should do so.
Craig Powers: To wrap it up, I’ll go back to you, Ulf. For other developers, are there tips on how to get started with this program?
Ulf Jost Kossol: Not just for the developers. My most important tip is to not only to look at the technology. When we look at a project with customers who are running social collaboration initiatives, there’s more and more emphasis on qualification training and change management. And it’s really important to think about these things not only from the technology side but also the developer side. My advice for developers is to go deep into the developer tool kit. SAP did a brilliant job with many best practices. Test – do it. Test and go your way.
We created the integration together with Itaricon in three weeks. So it is simple. SAP is simple.