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Change is the only constant in life. I see this here in Berlin where I live on a daily basis. The city is adapting structurally to the ever changing environment with new people from many different cultures moving in, new hipster eateries opening up, old houses either getting renovated or torn down to get replaced by new ones. While the west part of the city isn’t that much affected by this, the former east and especially the areas in the center have been turned upside down. This multitude of cultures coming together, an ever changing environment and a rich history make Berlin, for me and many other people, currently the most exciting city in Europe. SCN has seen a phase of functional stability over the last three years. With Maggie Fox and Jeanne Carboni spilling the beans in their recent blog posts, a major change is coming to SCN. The 1DX program has been the trigger to rethink our strategy and make it fit and adapt to the larger 1DX goals. The plan is to decommission the current platform by end of the year and have it replaced by a modern and longer-lasting combination of new core applications, supported by small, dedicated services built on top of a cloud infrastructure.

I would like to give you an insight into our decision process, why we think the current application that we use for SCN doesn’t fit into the overall 1DX vision and how the new SCN and its high-level architecture are going to work.

 

Status Quo

When designing a new collaboration experience in order to replace something familiar, something we have gotten used to over the last years, it is important to look back at what we currently have.

SCN in its current form is technically a single application. A big monolith, representing a fully integrated social network, which allows you to follow community member but also spaces and content items and get notifications and updates in your personalized activity stream. Especially the social integration aspects of the application are one of its strength, but also the very rich user profile, including the Gamification integration we rolled out close to two years ago.

On the other hand we have core functional elements for creation of blog posts, questions, documents and polls, which don’t live up to current standards. Content is organized by Spaces, which have proven to be inflexible with large amounts of content. A rich set of internal APIs and a plugin framework allow building integrations of external services and small enhancements, but due to its monolithic nature, integration of social functionality into different sites turns out to be difficult at best.

Although fully integrated by design, the content and member moderation features, key functionality for a large social collaboration site as SCN, have been a major issue. Moderators are struggling with abysmal capabilities at hand and the community managers had to fall back to after-the-fact-moderation for blog posts due to a major lack of built-in pre-moderation.

Mobile access is unfortunately a similar story. The application lacks responsive design and we had to rely on the mobile apps provided to us by the vendor. The native app comes out of the box with no acknowledgement of the Gamification extension (released by the same vendor), branding capabilities or integration of functional enhancement. Of course this is a limitation of native mobile apps in general, but the desktop focus of the web site prohibits any mobile representation of even the smallest extensions we rolled out in the last years.

Personally I see the social network aspect we got with the current SCN as a major win for community. There was nothing like that four years ago, and these days it is normal to @ mention somebody in a blog post or check your Communication or Activity Stream to see what is going on in your peer group or the spaces you are following. It has been an exceptional experience to see all of you adopting these new social gestures and capabilities and has formed all of our expectation on how a modern community interacts and communicates, even at large scale.

 

1DX Vision

Beginning of last year, we on the SAP IT side started the first conversation and workshops with the SCN team, trying to formulate what the 1DX vision actually means for the community. Maggie shared with you already the 1DX high level vision. Behind this are goals to harmonize the overall end user experience across all major SAP sites (like SAP.com, SCN, PartnerEdge, Service Marketplace, Support Portal, Help Portal and SAP Store). Let’s focus on the goals that will have a direct impact on the actual implementation of the future community platform and all of its components.

 

Unified Look & Feel

We had the SAP Gold theme now being the global brand for all SAP sites, but over time there were may interpretations about how these guidelines should get applied. 1DX not only defines a new, fresh look & feel (L&F) with proper implementation guidelines, but also common page templates e.g. to make different content types look and feel similar from a usage perspective. Ideally a Like or Share button should be at the same position on a content page, independent if it is a blog post, an idea or a product page on SAP.com.

 

Unified Header & Footer

Part of the L&F is of course the site header and footer. There might have been guidelines, but again interpretations have been many without strict governance and control. 1DX defines a unified header, to be used across the SAP sites, including navigation entries and common controls to access the user profile, SAP search, etc. Similar guidelines are defined for the site footer.

 

Unified Navigation

Navigation in the core SAP sites were never aligned or harmonized at all in the past. The most complex implementation of a navigation that we probably have is the one here on SCN. This is one of the most discussed items in the program, and a tricky one too. In the end, in an ideal scenario you would want to have a simple, clear navigation, consistent on all SAP sites, always getting you to the right place for the product, topic or industry solution dependent on the context you come from. A tough nut to crack.

 

Unified Profile

On SCN we have the most rich user profile of all SAP sites. It is loaded with useful information about the registered member, it has a social URL (containing your unique username), and it provides you insight into the member’s activity, content created and reputation earned. Again, 1DX strives to provide a single user profile for all. The main contributing site to this new profile will be SCN.

 

Unified Metadata

On SCN we have used a rich set of defined metadata for tagging since end of 2013. The goal was to provide a clearer indication to our members, what a blog post or discussion is about. SCN currently provides a fixed set of defined tags for topics, products, industries, events and tasks. With 1DX we do the next steps and align this metadata with the harmonized corporate metadata schema that will be used across all core SAP sites. The goal is to have all content pages tagged with uniquely identifiable keywords, which relate directly to an SAP product, industry solution or topic, maybe down to a specific product version.

 

SCN and 1DX

Many of these tangible and from an end user perspective much needed goals only became clear once we drilled deeper into the high level vision of 1DX, but we saw already very early on, that SCN in its current form of a single monolithic application would not fit into this vision. We sat down to define our own vision statement, which still for me personally brings it all together in a very beautiful way.

“Enable anyone on any device to collaborate, engage, network, and access relevant, quality community content across all SAP touch points.”

Or put even more simple, as Bill McDermott would: Community everywhere

If we try to harmonize all these aspects as part of 1DX, then this also should include social features that we have on SCN. We would still want to have an activity stream, but it should be able to show activities from other sites (e.g. likes and shares) and be easily accessible from anywhere. In a similar way, activities from across all sites should be able to contribute to the Gamification program and be presented in the unified user profile.

With the goal to harmonize the overall user experience in such a drastic way, an “isolated” social network application like SCN could simply not work. We would have to customize the current solution in a way where it could not be properly supported anymore or would defeat its original purpose and design goals, to provide a fully integrated community platform.

In addition, we also looked back to the last three years to see what was working really well and what not. Again, the integrated nature of the current solution shines, but many other aspects not so much. We heard many of you loud and clear over the years, that central functional pieces like blogging, discussions or moderation don’t live up to current standards. And looking at the roadmap of the third party solution that we use here, there was no salvation in sight. This application is never going to provide the best tools that our community needs to get the job done, neither for the members to find an answer to the pressing issue at the job, nor our army of moderators who try to ensure on a daily basis the high quality standards that we have for content.

This is how we came to the decision to go back to a best-of-breed approach and decommission the current solution.

 

Goals

Once this idea sank in, we started working out the details of how a future community could look like, where single-purpose applications would integrate into a social network that spans across multiple sites.

If you look at our current solution, you can identify a core set of functionality, which would need to be replaced in a future scenario, ideally with a better or at least equally good alternative.

 

  • Blogging
  • Discussion
  • Documents
  • Polls
  • Bookmarks
  • Group Chat / DM
  • User Profile
  • Content Browser
  • Activity Stream
  • Social Network
  • Gamification
  • Moderation
  • Search

 

Some of these functions are of a contributing or collaborative nature, where a user would go in and create a blog post, question, or comment and by that contribute to the community in an active fashion and by that produce content and activities.

The others are more a type of service, where a user would search through all contributions, calculate and show a member’s reputation, browse the content, bookmark a blog post or use a personalized, time based view into all the contributions. These services consume the activities and content created by the producer applications and provide integrational value. I would categorize the user profile and social network (building your social graph, @mentioning, following spaces) also as services, with moderation somewhere in between (well worth another blog post).

All of the functional components allow the user to interact with content and other members. The purpose of a social network is to expose these interactions to your peer group in order to foster collaboration and to make it easy to interact with your social graph or discover other people and content of interest.

With that, all the end user activity becomes the glue that defines the social nature of such a scenario. In a community platform with distributed applications and members contributing and collaborating in them, we have to make sure to collect all their social gestures (post, like, share, follow, etc.) and distribute them to the social services for consumption. The same thing will happen here the moment I publish this blog post. The event will get tracked, packaged and sent to an application-internal component, where it will be persisted, accessible for other components like the user profile, activity stream or moderation. Except in the new best-of-breed scenario, we’ll have to deal with many distributed applications and services, each specific for its purpose.

 

Spaces vs. Tags

I have to quickly touch on the space/place concept, which our current platform uses to organize content. A space is mostly a bucket into which you put content. You see this every time you create e.g. a discussion–we ask you where to create the content, and you are in the delicate position to pick one of 500+ spaces available in SCN. Spaces are mostly organized by SAP products, industries, topics or events.

What we’ve seen over the years is that spaces are really hard to manage. Due to the massive amount of content we have in SCN, it becomes impossible to merge or split spaces and their content without an unacceptable long downtime of the system (because this system process should not get interrupted by users creating new content in the processing spaces). It is also worth mentioning that spaces are an artificial concept of the solution we use for SCN. Although tags and even categories exist already, we forced ourselves to organize the content and permissions for managing the content into this concept, which turned out to be a not-so-great idea.

In the new community platform, content will solely be organized by tags (and yes, this is worth its own blog post too). A team in the 1DX program is working on a metadata schema which will reflect all SAP products and topics, so that we can offer you a very rich set of metadata that everybody can use to tag the content. This will allow for a much greater flexibility and more granular contextualization of content and activities.

 

High Level Architecture

If you made it this far and didn’t get distracted by some push notification from your mobile (note to self: mention new focus on mobile below), you are probably really interested in how this is going to work. It all depends on the producing application being able to track all of the user activities, package them into a harmonized format and make them available to the consumer services that provide the social integration layer.

Activity Aggregator - High Level Architecture.png

The top layer shows producing applications. Once you have registered and logged in, any of your contributions and social gestures will get sent to the Activity Aggregator (sort of a misleading name, because aggregation means something different in the SAP ecosystem…but this is what we call it), which distributes them to the consuming services in the lower layer.

The Activity Aggregator is based on Apache Kafka, an open source project originating from the needs of the LinkedIn platform. The purpose of the Activity Aggregator is to provide an API endpoint, which is always available to receive messages, store them for a defined amount of time, and make them available to the consuming services, based on a subscription model. The consuming services only get a subset, targeted to their specific use case.

Apache Kafka is a message broker, which is highly performant, redundant and scalable. It has gotten a following in the recent month and I highly recommend having a look into the project, in case you find yourself having to deal with a similar problem. There was a very good podcast episode by Software Engineering Radio where Kafka was discussed in great detail.

The benefit that this architecture gives us is that we have the ability to plug in new content- and activity-producing systems over time, and by that slowly extend SCN over time. Also all of the producer applications are separate servers and don’t have any hard technical runtime dependencies, and therefore can be extended and maintained separately. No more single downtime for all of SCN just because we have to release a single bug fix in a small component.

Same is true on the consumer side where we can add new consumers on demand, only providing them a targeted subset of all available activities for their specific use case.

We run all applications and services in our own SAP Cloud. For Kafka and the producer application we leverage our own SAP IT cloud called Monsoon. Some consumer services are also run on Monsoon, while other small, community-specific services are built on HCP as dedicated, single-purpose applications. This gives us a high fault tolerance, so that even when a single application fails, only small parts of the overall functionality become unavailable, while the rest of the community will be unaffected and you might not even notice it.

It is also worth mentioning that all applications and services will be mobile enabled using a responsive design approach. Small supporting services are custom built, using an “API First” approach, which will provide us the ability to build alternative UIs like mobile applications in the future.

 

Challenges & Wins

As you can see, this is no small undertaking and there are many challenges ahead. The biggest one from a user experience perspective is probably to make it look and feel as integrated as the current single application approach. I will be very straight here and say that we probably won’t get it right on a first try. I’m pretty sure that there will be functional gaps with version 1.0 to what we currently have. Think about something like @ mentioning across distributed applications and getting proper notifications. We know how to do it, but is still a substantial effort to get all the details in place to make it look and feel like a fully integrated experience.

Then again, I also see so many advantages over what we currently have:

  • much richer single purpose applications, like a top-notch Q&A platform, one that comes close to what you see with stackoverflow.com
  • a state-of-the art blogging platform with WordPress
  • new tools and approaches to tackle moderation and Gamification
  • the possibility to extend SCN way beyond what we currently have and integrate other SAP core sites in the future
  • and finally, a decent mobile UI that adapts to various device sizes, along with the ability to build native mobile applications specifically for you

In case you got the impression over the last couple of months that SCN is not moving ahead, then this is because we have been busy with building the future of SCN. We have made good strides and we plan to provide you some early access to what we are building in the next couple of months.

This might not be as exciting as Berlin, but you are the citizens of this great community and we are building this for you. It will be a crazy ride and there will be bumps in the road ahead, but we are in it for the long run.

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50 Comments

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  1. Matthias Steiner

    Thanks for sharing Oliver! I believe many within the community are looking forward to this! Keep it up!

    Oh… and since you mention an “API first” approach, does that imply we’ll get a public API for this next community platform? 😉

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      1. Tom Van Doorslaer

        Well, API first should then be a short term goal 🙂

        I’m really excited to see this roll out.

        With those API’s, we could build new social integration into Fiori apps, sidepanels, mobile apps… *gnnn*

        (because I don’t like SAP JAM that much 🙂 )

        excited to see this florish

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  2. Mike Howles

    Thanks for the update!  I remember hearing about 1DX but hadn’t heard anything recently. Will there be a content migration to Kafka similar that happened from SDN to the current iteration we have today?

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    1. Oliver Kohl Post author

      All of the relevant content will be migrated to the new single purpose applications, like blog posts, discussions, documents etc.

      But Kafka doesn’t do any content storage. This is a message broker for distributing the user activities, which is key to create the integrated social network experience again.

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  3. Samuli Kaski

    Thanks Oliver. I’m sure it will become evident but where do clients, e.g. browsers and apps, connect to in order to consume services? Will there be a portal of some sort like an entry page with tiles linking to individual services? In the high level architecture picture the client is connecting to the content producers but clients need to connect to all services they want to access, right? Will clients connect to all services individually or is a proxy approach in the works?

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    1. Oliver Kohl Post author

      Blogs, Q&A and Wiki are just regular web apps, so not much going to change there. Except they will be on separate domains, like in the old SDN days with the NW Portal. Consumers are usually also web apps, but could also be a pure API based SaaS solution.

      There will be an entry page, but also direct access to each core apps from the header. At least that is my current understanding. This is currently in the works.

      Producers push -> aggregator <- Consumer subscribes to subset of activities/content.

      The users won’t see anything from this. It is for message distribution only.

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  4. Matt Fraser

    As someone familiar and comfortable with the blogging tools provided by WordPress, that piece sounds encouraging indeed. For an organization which has built its reputation on “integrated solutions” as being a better choice than distinct separate solutions, the decision to go “best-of-breed” cannot have been easy, but sometimes it is the only way to achieve the desired end-state.

    I’m a little confused about the idea of doing away with spaces entirely and only using tags. Of course, when SCN moved to the current platform, I hated spaces, because at first I found it difficult to navigate them hierarchically. I got over that, and figured it out, and now I’ve become comfortable with them, but I agree there are so many that it can be unwieldy and confusing, especially to a newcomer. But will tags alone be enough to organize content? Does that mean that custom tags will no longer be available, and only predefined tags will exist? Or am I misunderstanding this part? Again, going back to WordPress, there is a concept of both tags and categories (which you did mention), which are very similar (and in some cases interchangeable), but categories tend to be predefined ways of organizing content, whereas tags are primarily search terms that can be reused or created on the fly (well, so are and so can categories, but there’s the interchangeable part). Categories can be organized hierarchically, and it’s possible to build an index or “table of contents” based upon them. However, I don’t know if you can define separate moderators or editors by category, the way you currently do with spaces. Presumably there will be a way to define moderators by category?

    Overall, though, an ambitious project with a worthy goal, and I’m looking forward to (frightened by and wary of?) the transition.

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    1. Oliver Kohl Post author

      We think that tags will be enough. Also they are available in most collaborative applications, not like categories.

      User/Custom Tags will still be available. In additional there will be what we call Managed Tags, which come from a defined repository. From an user experience perspective these will be accessible very similar to what we currently have here in Jive, via type ahead search.

      Moderation will be based on tags, similar to how they are currently responsible for spaces. But this will be described in depth at a later point in time.

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  5. Joao Sousa

    Going forward with best-of-breed I am awry of a potential loss in integration. For example discussions are tightly integrated with blog posts nowadays and it’s critical for one to be able to reference the other. Blogs are the result of discussions, discussions use blogs to provide information.

    If I paste the link of a blog in discussions, it converts to the title. That is very important. References are also very important, because in a blog you get the context of the discussions and where the blog is referenced.

    I’m a bit skeptical, since I like the integrated approach and separating blogs from Q&A must be handled with great care. I like to come to SCN and look at ONE activity stream, if I have to go 3 sites to get all my daily info, it will be a downgrade.

    Hopeful but skeptical. 🙂 I would like for your mission statement to be:

    “Enable anyone on any device to collaborate, engage, network, and access relevant, quality community content across all SAP touch points in an integrated way”.


    Consistency is not enough, a great UX must also provide integration which provides the illusion that I’m using a single product. As a golden rule, if the user becomes aware that you have different silos, you have failed to create an awesome UX.


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    1. Steffi Warnecke

      I understood Oliver’s blog that way, that this is exactly their goal. That there are different single solutions in the background working together, but as a user you don’t see and feel that. And that there will be one activity stream for all the content, no matter where it is produced. Hopefully I didn’t get that wrong.

      Regards,

      Steffi.

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      1. Joao Sousa

        I know that’s the intention, but it’s not that easy to achieve when you are using best-of-breed solutions, and don’t have full control of each piece. Are they going to make AnswerHub have the kind of integration that Blogs and Discussions have at the moment in SCN, where I can search for both in the same screen?  Where I can reference a blog inside a discussion and get a translation to the title? With WordPress and AnswerHub in different domains? Like I said, skeptical but hopeful (my nature).

        For example I hope with tags we don’t lose that “welcome screen” we now have in each space with stickies and important tutorials. Tags work in Stackoverflow, but that’s not a place for “first-steps”, it’s a pure Q&A site.

        Let’s wait and see 🙂 .

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        1. Oliver Kohl Post author

          Hi Joao, I’m fully with you. Getting the integration piece right will be hard and take some time, but the goal is to get it done. Search is the easy one, we have that already (although there will be plenty of improvements in that area). Content integration like you mention can be achieved by a central repository, and pulling the title from it via application local JS and retrieving the title and some other meta data. To have all activities available in a single activity stream, we have to collect it anyway, which is the purpose of the aggregator.

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  6. Yariv Zur

    Hi Oliver,

    Thanks for this very elaborate explanation on where SCN is going. I think the vision is very compelling.

    One open question I have (we’ve also discussed this offline during DKOM) – What do we do with whitepapers / documentation?

    Yariv

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    1. Brian Bernard

      Yariv Zur – Our main focus right now as we build the new best-of-breed community platform is to deliver “much richer single purpose applications” as stated by Oliver. Therefore the first version will provide a better blogging platform and leading-edge Q&A platform – the principal content types used by the community – along with many other services and functions that together optimize the ‘community experience.’

      Meanwhile, SAP official content (in the form of whitepapers, how-to guides, help documentation, etc.) will be made more prominent on the main customer entry points, with linkages between customer and community destinations to make access fairly seamless. There’s still much work to be done in this area.

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      1. Yariv Zur

        Hi,

        Thanks for the clarification. To me – the issue is that the “main customer entry points” are marketing driven and not technical / PM driven. In that sense – SCN provides a good “mitigation” enabling technical roll out to developers. I hope that this channel remains available in the new community.

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  7. Andy Silvey

    Hi Oliver,

    I am trying to picture how Spaces will change to Tags.

    I understand the concept Tag everything correctly and naturally collections of interest will form according to Tags and their satellites.

    But, what I cannot understand is how the collections of tagged interest will be moderated.

    What I picture is, if we send 100 ten year olds out into a field, give then a few minutes and they will break apart into groups of similar interest, how I envision the Tags concept creating areas of collective interest. But then, for the prefect or the teacher, how to moderate all those disperate groups of children or even know if they exist ?

    I love the freedom of the Tags concept that in principle organically areas of interest, collections of interest could evolve, but how will it be moderated if it’s not formally registered as a Space ? How wil anybody know it exists ?

    Best regards and looking forward to the future.

    Andy.

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    1. Audrey Stevenson

      Hi Andy,

      We have both managed/governed tags (which will be aligned with our harmonized corporate metadata schema as Oliver has described above) and user tags which users can create themselves. What you’re describing in your question are user tags; the spaces will not be mapped to those tags, but to the managed tags.

      Hope this helps,

      Audrey

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      1. Matt Fraser

        Hi Audrey,

        I had similar concerns as Andy (see my earlier comment, which Oliver responded to). So, in this scenario, the managed tags will not be organically created, if I understand correctly. Will they still have a hierarchical organization, so that one can find an area of interest by drilling down, as we do today?

        Cheers,

        Matt

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    2. Oliver Kohl Post author

      Let me add to what Audrey already laid out…

      Each community member will still be able to create a user tag. But while entering a tag, we will encourage to pick a managed tag during “type ahead”, very similar to what we already do here in SCN at the moment. The managed tags come from a central repository, have a guid and have a defined relation to an SAP product, solution, industry etc.

      Moderation happens now on managed tag level. Moderators will be responsible for one or more tags. Because the managed tags come from a hierarchy, moderation responsibility may role up to a higher level/tag. This is similar like a SCN space at the moment, where a subspace might not have a moderator assigned, but the parent will have one and a moderation request from the child space gets pushed up the responsibility chain.

      In order to replace a space, a tag should have a page that represents the tag, explains what it is about and shows content tagged with it. A tag should be linked to that page.

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  8. Sven Gierse

    Thanks for sharing, Oliver. Are you able to provide a rough timeline on the expected changes? What is supposed to happen still in 2015? Most important to me: will sap.com search and SCN serach converge soon?

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    1. Oliver Kohl Post author

      Hi Sven, the plan is to retire the current application and have its most/all core functionality replaced by end of the year. Regarding search, yes they will be merged into a single index. This is part of the overall harmonisation approach by 1DX.

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  9. Anna Su

    We have made good strides and we plan to provide you some early access to what we are building in the next couple of months.”

    Just can’t wait to see how it looks like 🙂

    By the way, SAP Jam seems not in above social ecosystem.

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  10. Jelena Perfiljeva

    Thanks for sharing, Oliver! Looking forward to finding things to complaint about in the new version. 🙂 Just wait for an avalanche of “dear gurus” posts tagged “sd mm pp fi hr scm crm bi pi abap hana ui5 iot cloud”, bwahaha! I’ll bring the popcorn. 🙂

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    1. Oliver Kohl Post author

      I’m pretty sure there will be plenty of things to complain at the start. And I’ve an easter egg in mind that will replace each mentioning of the word “guru” with “dear elders of the holy internet that gave us SCN to solve all our problems with SAP software known to human kind” …or something like that  😉

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  11. Maggie Fox

    Thanks for the great post, Oliver – it’s a complex topic and a big project, I think you’ve done a great job of explaining it simply. Lots more work to do, and the support and contribution from SCN members is critical to our success!

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  12. Paul Abrahamson

    Aligned with the concept of a Unified User Profile, will you be considering how to link or associate a user profile to their (in some cases) many S-User accounts with a “main” SCN profile? Examples are when a person gets a new S-User i.e. because they’re moving to another company or become a partner whilest also remaining a customer. Or for contractors who may have multiple S-User accounts for their different contract customer’s SAP installations?

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  13. Knut Heusermann

    Thanks for all the upfront info, Oliver!

    For me one the main painpoint of SCN turned out to be the editor to create blog posts. Cut & past from other sources with lost or changed formats as well as changed formats after save makes it cumbersome to create SCN content.

    Will the editor for blog posts and discussions be improved in context of the 1DX program?

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    1. Oliver Kohl Post author

      Knut, not sure if you have been using WordPress in the past, but that is what we are going to use. In basic editing I think WordPress sort of nailed it. On top, we will have all the third party plugins and we are building our own to enhance the overall experience.

      I think it is fair to assume that blog post writing overall will be much better then what we currently have.

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  14. Boris Zarske

    Thanks a lot for sharing, exciting times are ahead of us 🙂 !

    One concern that immediately comes to my mind: what about the transition? If we switch to the new environment, I guess this would mean that links to existing SCN content would have to be updated as well (besides the fact that a new environment would demand a lot of activity and efforts in the beginning anyhow). As this existing content is an absoultey crucial key pillar for our roll-out and the enablement of our customers (referenced in a lot of existing material – from documentation, guides, presentations, … – all spread over a lot of different places), such an update of these links would be critical. I see the big potential of 1DX to bring this all together. But now having the timelines in mind (and the fact that at least our space is mainly administrated by colleagues from product management), I would see the risk of a conflict of required and crucial changes with the conference season (namely SAP TechEd), where exactly those experts are fully occupied by these external roll-out events. Also, we will promote new topics at SAP TechEd and will have to add links there to the corresponding material in our presentations (normally due in late summer). Not sure how we should be able to cope with such a major transition exactly in the busiest time of the year for product management (followed by the holiday season)… Any thoughts spent already on that timing aspects? Will existing links still work and consumers be automatically forwarded to the content transitioned to the new platform?

    Thanks a lot,

    Boris

    (0) 
    1. Oliver Kohl Post author

      We have some experience with content migrations, system replacements and content management in general. We always try to make sure that each piece of content has a unique URL. This way we can make sure to log and map all source (current SCN application) -> target (future SCN blog, Q&A, etc. applications) URLs during the actual migration process. We have a dedicated Apache HTTP server only serving content redirects. This way we try to ensure that a) all user bookmarks still work and b) by using HTTP 301 response codes make search engines understand that the content has moved to a new place. Most of these URL mapping get automatically generated during the run of the content migration, some of it needs to be gathered manually, because pages like space overviews won’t get migrated automatically.

      Hope that explains it.

      (0) 
  15. Knut Heusermann

    Hi Oliver,

    Currently I would like to post a document about MS Office integration with our Cloud products. For that I would like attach an Excel example.

    Unfortunately I’m only allowed to attached pictures with at max. 1 MB.

    Is there a way to attach Excel files (with Marco and VBA) today?

    Are these kind of attachments supported in the future?

    Are attachments migrated as well?

    Thanks and best regards,

    Knut

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    1. Oliver Kohl Post author

      We don’t allow any binary attachments (beside images) at this point, but we allow some text based attachments.

      For the future we should improve overall embed capabilities, and the new core platforms will provide this to us.

      For SAP employees to publish vetted content, please use the Content Submission System that Dedi has written about.

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  16. Sijin Chandran

    Am feeling good that I have already witnessed one major transition in our SAP community which is from SDN to SCN and now yet another 🙂

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  17. Peter Spielvogel

    Oliver,

    It appears that you have built a robust and extensible platform that will allow SCN to meet all the stakeholder needs today and in the future. I especially liked the architecture diagram that clearly differentiated the producer and consumer applications / services.

    Regards,

    Peter

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