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“Idea Place…where ideas go to die.”

That’s an actual statement (or the quote as I best remember it) from a prominent community member.

Not exactly the kind of thing I’d want to see on a T-shirt.

Idea Place doesn’t matter” is a sentiment often expressed ’round here. It’s also a sentiment hard for me to refute — because there’s not much evident…uh…evidence to the contrary. So I’d like to explain what has been happening behind the scenes with Idea Place — and what you can expect in the coming weeks.

First, we never ignored anything in Idea Place. When ideas got posted, a member of the SAP Community Experience team responded with some form of acknowledgment (albeit with a generic “thank you” sometimes) and changed the status. Often this status was set to “under review” — and that status remained unchanged for months. That didn’t mean we had forgotten about the idea. It just meant we didn’t do a good job of circling back and providing updates (because, quite honestly, we didn’t always have updates). Still, any update — even the occasional one saying “no update yet” — would have at least told you we were still keeping an eye on Idea Place.

Now, in an exercise long overdue, the SAP Community Experience team members are going through Idea Place to share the latest news. Each of the topics in Idea Place (blogs, tags, notifications, questions and answers, etc.) has a team member responsible for it. And all of the team members will revisit the ideas related to their subject areas — to change the status (where appropriate) and provide updates (where possible).

This work has already begun. I hope that you have seen some of my colleagues more active over the last few days in Idea Place, and you can expect even more activity in the coming weeks.

I hope that you have also noticed that the release highlights link to Idea Place suggestions where appropriate — to show the connection between feature requests and feature delivery.

Sometimes this connection is easy — such as the January 23 release highlights linking to the “Automatically mark a notification as read when notification is clicked upon?” submission. Other times, the connection is a bit more complicated, as we may have only delivered part of an idea. Email notifications is a good example. We rolled this functionality out recently, and we linked this announcement back to Idea Place — but we also admitted that these new email notifications didn’t meet all requirements. Ergo, the idea’s status remains as “accepted” — and it will stay that way until we deliver everything that was requested.

Which brings me to an important point: While we’re aiming to add new comments to all ideas, the statuses won’t change for every one of them. We’ll give updates wherever we can — and we won’t dance around the bad news — but there may be situations where there simply isn’t anything to report. Don’t be surprised if a whole lot of “under review” ideas remain “under review” — simply because these ideas are still under consideration as we work to prioritize so many needed and requested features. Take RSS feeds. RSS is a popular request — in both Idea Place and SAP Community conversations — and certainly one worth serious consideration. Does that mean we’ll bring back RSS (removing WordPress RSS from the equation)? Quite possibly. When? I couldn’t tell you, because prioritization depends on so many factors.

As Gali Kling Schneider wrote in her recent blog post about the roadmap: “We must continuously keep the right balance between what’s wanted and what’s needed, what’s possible and what’s pragmatic.” Put another way: Ideas below a certain threshold may be rejected simply because not enough members showed interested, but even highly voted ideas may not make the cut. (As recent history has shown, the popular vote doesn’t always guarantee a win.) Consider that the Idea Place leader is “Return classic SCN back to keep SAP professionals in the community.” Nothing could more clearly express dissatisfaction with the new platform, but at the same time, we aren’t going to implement the top idea and go back to the SCN Jive application. That being said, any highly voted idea will have some form of influence. Again, to quote Gali: “We will listen to you and do our best to develop with your requirements in mind.”

For some ideas, the answer is a bit gray — as an idea might be somewhat delivered (such as with email notifications) or partially accepted. For example, we may work to address the general request, but we may do so with iterative developments or without the specific solution outlined in the idea. Consider “Q&A – Notifications of ALL activity in a question to everyone related to that question.” The idea has 72 votes, and it has been accepted, but how and when we get to that functionality might not match the path proposed in the idea.

I realize that I’ve only cited a few examples out of hundreds of submissions currently in Idea Place. I also realize that Idea Place alone doesn’t represent all of the feedback from SAP Community members. Most noticeably (and embarrassingly), both the Beta Feedback and Known Issues pages have been gathering dust. So just as we are reviewing Idea Place, we are also reviewing those pages — to prepare status updates and other information about older feature requests and bugs reported.

That’s a lot of content to sift through, a lot of items to investigate. But once the work is complete, we will provide a single source of information about member requests. And we’ll keep it up to date.

My goal is to publish something before the end of the month.

At least that’s the idea.

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14 Comments

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  1. Jürgen L

    Actually I am more interested in having ideas realized than better administered.

    The idea place had and still has a shadowy existence, it is promoted after the launch of a new platform, then it goes into oblivion, later a person gets assigned to it (still remember Oxana) who promotes it again and updates statuses before it again falls asleep.

    The administration team waits for more votes while there is no link to it and it can’t be found by any member if it is not constantly promoted and linked in Q&A and blogs. I just searched again for 10 minutes to find a path to the idea place from here.  I did not succeed. Of course the ideas die.

    And not to forget the mass closure of the old ideas, which were from my point of view still valid even the platform has changed.

     

    (11) 
    1. Jelena Perfiljeva

      I’m guessing better administration is just a path to implementation (i.e.  one does need to understand the scope and priority of changes before making them).

      But overall I agree – Idea Place is just not a part of “Community” and does not even feel like a part of the SAP online ecosystem, if you will. Other than having a link from a blog, how would anyone know it even exists? It’s not really cross-referenced anywhere else on SCN and it even has a completely different functionality and UI (and please don’t take this as a request to apply 1DX “50 shades of grey” theme there).

      I visited Idea Place for some time shortly after 2012 migration and back in October. But after a while it’s just a chore – yet another place to go (and when I go there I usually just feel lost). I do get the emails from the ideas I’m following and occasionally come back to comment on them but that’s all.

      And yes, promoting an idea would be yet another project for the owner. It may not be that easy if they are less prominent community member. Few years ago I posted a blog to drum up support for some Ideas that were not moving but now it’d be a moot point because the SCN blogs get 4 likes and 2 comments on a good day. These days one has to post in CC to promote a blog. 😉

      P.S.Just checked – from the old blog only 3 ideas were actually implemented. At least 2 are still in demand today (“questions with no replies” and limit open questions).

      (3) 
  2. Martin Hinderer

    I can just hope that this is getting better. My idea on better user account management possibilities (https://ideas.sap.com/D37848) is in the idea place since October. The last update was from March and only after I asked for a status.

    While I appreciate the fact that you want to update the status more recently I do have the same interest as Jürgen: I want this idea being realized. And in my opinion it is a long overdue issue to solve, as we had the same issues with SCN.

    <sarcasm> I am just beeing afraid that it is something which is not visible/sellable as a big enhancement, so nothing to gain for all the SAP social media marketing guys…</sarcasm>

     

    (3) 
  3. Rob Dielemans

    Hey Jerry,

     

    Regarding the idea place leader.

    You don’t have to go back to SCN, however and this is very important, you have to change the base.

    At the moment this app is still mobile oriented and in order to succeed this has to be desktop with desktop resolutions in mind and different ways of displaying overviews, and a complete overhaul of the colour scheme.

    Then and only then will it have a chance to supercede SCN.

    Kind regards, Rob Dielemans

    (4) 
  4. Bartosz Jarkowski

    I’d love to read blog on how the Team is working to make new SCN better. How many of you is working there? How does the deployment looks like? Something about technology behind the scenes.

    Since I become active member on SCN I saw few blogs saying what’s the next steps, but I never understood why it’s taking so much time to introduce new features and corrections. Communication and being transparent is very important now and a lot of frustration is caused due to limited knowledge on how do you work.

    It’s six months after the start and I think in this time with a good team you could build SCN from scratch with more functionality.

    Best regards

    Bartosz

    (7) 
    1. Jerry Janda Post author

      Hi, Bartosz:

      Other than the comment about a “good team” (I’d like to think I’m a proud member of a good team…but maybe that’s just my ego talking), I very much like what you’ve posted here.

      I think a series of posts about other involved teams, deployment, and behind-the-scenes processes would provide valuable information — and be well received. (Other members have requested similar insights.)

      Let me do some pitching on my side.

      Best regards,

      –Jerry

      (5) 
      1. Bartosz Jarkowski

        Hi Jerry,

        I’m super happy you like the idea. I’m sure you are great team and you are doing your best to improve the portal (and your engagement in SCN is a good prove).

        Best regards

        Bartosz

        (0) 
      2. Michael Appleby

        Hi Jerry,

        I appreciate the time you took to write the blog and some of the points are spot on.  As Juergen desires actual realization of the ideas and not better administration of Idea Place, so too would I like to see some of these ideas actually get implemented.  But I endorse your efforts to accept the shortcomings in how Idea Place was a place for ideas to be put to rest.

        Recently there was a question posed to SAP’s top leadership regarding what has happened to SCN when it became the SAP Community.  The response to the question came from people other than to whom it was directed (our top management).  But one item was quite telling about the way your good team operates which in my mind is why it can’t possibly be a good team.

        “Teams from IT, 1DX and Marketing are collaborating to improve the experience based on community feedback and 2017 UX research and recommendations, resulting in a revised Q2/Q3 road map.”

        Where are the members?  Where are the Moderators and Mentors in this process.  I recently asked if any members of the community were participating in this UX review.  The answer is apparently, and sadly, once again, none were invited.  If there are or will be members involved, let’s hear from them.  Far too much of “We have your feedback and will incorporate it into our plans”  and nowhere near enough of, “Let’s put the plan together with the involvement of IT, 1DX, Marketing, and the Strategic Advisory Council.”  Or even just a couple of the people in this conversation.  Even one person who suffers from the missteps of the community as we have gotten to this point?  Mentors, Moderators, SME’s, oh my!

        The team’s constant belief in the righteous path forward is detrimental to ever adequately addressing the shortcomings we members, Moderators, and community supporters struggle with on a daily basis.

        A simple example of what happens when members were not directly involved in implementation of Idea Place and one of the linked Release Highlights is Automatically mark a notification as read when notification is clicked upon?”  Perhaps you are not aware that the posted fix is unworkable by those mostly likely to want it?  For a notification to be marked as read, it must be opened in the same window.  But then you can hit the previous page (back button) in your browser.  It still shows as Unread.  You then have to refresh the webpage to see that the Notification has been Read.  Very few folks operate that way.  They right click to open in new window each item.  This is so we do not lose our place in working through a list of items that usually extends down below the bottom of the screen (i.e. requires scrolling).  If we open the item, we lose our place.  Then we have to scroll down again (after refreshing).  Might as well not have the fix at all for all the value it has for most of us.

        The members are quite willing to provide not just input that the team then takes into consideration, but also immediate feedback during development that could prevent a kludgey solution from being implemented.

        Whether anything changes in how these fixes are implemented, remains to be seen.  There are plenty of other examples where members being present would have improved fixes.

        The most important people in our community are the people in our community.  Our members who make this a community.  Don’t they deserve a seat at the team table?

        (4) 
          1. Michael Appleby

            Hi Sajid,

            I guess you were waiting for me to post the Chat message.  Whereas, I was expecting your Chat message to show up.

            Since it still works the same convoluted way which does not resolve the problems most folks have with using it, I will put the onus on you to send the chat or alternatively, schedule a short conference call, or even ping me when you have a free moment via Skype/Lync

            Cheers, Mike

            (0) 
      3. Bartosz Jarkowski

        Jerry,

        let me give you an example why people are angry:

        https://answers.sap.com/articles/196731/really-unanswered-questions.html

        Looks like the bug was reported initially by Jelena in November. I reported this three weeks ago. Yesterday it was reported again, and we received a comment that now it the bug ticket will be created. Shouldn’t it be rather solved already in November?

        I remember one blog post saying that not enough members participated in beta testing and that influenced the number of bugs after Go Live. But it looks like even when we report a bug sometimes it gets ignored (or lost).

        Best regards

        Bartosz

        (3) 

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