I recently watched Mark Finnern’s session from SAP Inside Track Palo Alto 2009. You can join SAP Inside Track Silicon Valley tomorrow – Mark Finnern to Kick Off SAP Inside Track Silicon Valley
Are you in my tribe? He asks
Figure 1: Source: SAP
Looking back at SCN 2009, SCN had 1.6M members
Should you create a community? Can you afford not to? Can you afford not to listen?
Mark’s idea was involve your community throughout your process – from ideation to product so you have advocates
He advocated having a community goal
96% of your community is made up of lurkers; just consuming. The other 4%
Figure 2: Source: SAP
1% of 1% of top contributors (times have changed since then) SAP Mentors
SAP Mentors should have 3 things:
- Expert in area of SAP
- Be good communicators
- Show and prove community spirit
Figure 3: Source: SAP
Figure 3 shows a button that Jim Spath created and distributed at ASUG Annual Conference 2009; Alvaro Tejada Galindo aka “Blag” designed it. The image is grainy as the image is captured from the Adobe Connect recording.
How involve your community? Make it safe to speak your mind.
Figure 4: Source: SAP
Mark said to “Listen”. He said to create status (and mentioned the SCN points system), recognition (Mentor shirts, icon around name)
At TechEd, they show pictures from the community
How to motivate your community? Helping could be a motivation
Figure 5: Source: SAP
More on motivation; if you do a points system you have to constantly improve it. You have to set aside development time; as soon as you do a points system people try to game it.
On SCN they used to have 38 hours of first reply; after points system they found that the time to first reply is 20 minutes but not all were quality answers. This is still relevant today.
Endorsements is what LinkedIn does
“Barn Star” is like at Wikipedia
Make a name for yourself
Figure 6: Source: SAP
Give them a say; Mentors have private access forum
Mentor lemon icon is a status
Figure 7: Source: SAP
Figure 7 is a quote from Seth Godin’s book; Mark said with the Mentors assemble a tribe
Other – SCN Background:
Simple one page community guidelines and include etiquette. This is a world wide community and there is different standards for what is OK and not okay.
Early on he said no one from SAP was interested in SCN; then someone said something negative about ABAP objects, and he was asked to remove it. Fortunately Horst Keller wrote a blog and then people were commenting to the blog. This gave the community credibility.
Watercooler is what they have in Walldorf and to discuss things you go to a “Coffee Corner”, hence the space here on SCN “Coffee Corner“, where “community is happening” with lots of posts about cricket (back then)
Figure 8: Source: SAP and Alvaro Tejada Galindo
“Rating for articles is coming” (side note, this did happen)
“integration to Linked In to show your points from Linked In and your last 3 blogs” (side note, this has not happened)
Question & Answer
Q: Are you working on a SAP Mentor track at SAP TechEd?
A: If you have a session in TechEd, and want to only see the Mentor sessions (back in 2009) – not a separate track
Reserve slots just for SAP Mentors
Q: Rise of SCN and paralleled opening of SAP, do you think SCN would have flourished?
A: It would have flourished
SCN started as a place for NetWeaver, 0 for ABAP – tumbleweeds
Opened ABAP forum, then people flocked to it
No place for ABAP developers to go
Q: Issues of communities, networks, do you think the medium is the message, counter to the assumptions to business, do you think trend will be reflected in companies?
A: Because of technologies available, negative discussion is happening anyhow; you can’t avoid it. You try to bring it to your area and what is going on to solve the problem. Technologies are changing companies for the positive trend as it gives transparency
Q:Paricipating in SCN helping businesses?
A: Previously before SCN had to use SAP Fans, now can use SCN to help you genuinely
SCN gives you real results
Q: Facebook, twitter, the idea is not innovative, if SAP had no community, and starting from scratch, how would SCN be different?
A: Not much different
If creating a community bring them together face to face at least once a year
Focus is not about tools and technology but how bring people together to solve problems
Twitter is nice to stay in close contact with your tribe
Q: If you tell people they are mistaken they will forgive you but if you tell them they are misconceived they won’t forgive you; “ABAP Objects is a failure” – a fine line in terms of criticism
A: Criticism should be positive
Also shown during the session was video by Michael Koch
For me, it was a worthwhile look back, having not seen Mark’s Palo Alto 2009 session. It was good to see to the three features of SAP Mentors. I can’t wait to see/hear what he presents tomorrow at SAP Inside Track Palo Alto 2009.