SAP Community? Why?
If you’re reading this, you are likely aware of the ongoing debates, complaints, failures and the general situation around the SAP Community platform and the state of this very community in general, which is why I am not going to point out the many technical and organisational deficiencies. Others have done that well and often.
Very unfortunately, this, sometimes tedious, feedback did not lead to the expected changes but instead to the perception that “SAP is not hearing it” (why-oh-why.html, what-weve-got-here…)
Brian Ellefritz, the new Head of SAP Community , promised betterment and received sceptical encouragement and “good lucks”.
Many, including myself, believe that he means what he writes and that he will try to improve the situation.
Do I trust him with this, though? No, I do not and cannot.
And that is not because of Brian or what he has done, not at all. Frankly, I don’t personally know him so the trust that I could feel would be for his role and this role does not mean a thing to me.
I believe it does not mean much to the vast majority of community members either.
In my case, the distrust reaches further and covers the whole area of people, processes and decision making behind the organisation of SAP Community (let me refer to it as SAP-Community-ORG for this piece).
I simply don’t understand, on a very basic level, what the motivation of SAP-Community-ORG for providing and operating a platform for the community is.
What drives the actions and plans to win back active and engaged members?
Why does SAP-Community-ORG want to host the community platform?
I don’t know or feel their goals at all.
Don’t rush for answers
Now, before this question gets addressed with answers, let me point out that at this point I am not looking for quick and easy answers, but that there simply does not seem to be any explicit statement that explains to me and everyone else who might be interested in this community, what SAP-Community-ORG stands for.
“About SAP Community” does not provide this but is rather the digital version of a product leaflet (“look feature A, B, C…“, “this is what we have, this is how we do“).
I believe that the lack of this core “Why Community” is pretty much at the heart of all current problems.
The reason for me to believe this is how I think I pick the communities I am active in or which ones to not engage with.
I very much value knowledge sharing and exchange.
I have profited a lot of other people’s knowledge sharing in my life so far and I want to “give back” and contribute myself.
I learned and improved on public writing, about the different kind of people you find in forums and to try and see what someone like to achieve first instead of handing out a copy-from-the-manual-answer to a question.
I like the recognition I receive and feel very excited when I find out about things that I did not know and that I find interesting. These questions take me away from my normal business as usual problems and give me the chance to learn a lot more about the technology that I spent most of my waking hours with and on.
I also like to see how other members get similar benefits and sometimes develop from “mostly receiving/reading” to “active contributors”. That is probably one of the most motivating aspects for me: helping others to have positive experiences with communication in a forum.
When I find that these are the things that I can get from a community, that gets me interested.
Much noise, little signal
For several years now I have been active in different forums (SCN, stackoverflow, SAP internal JAM site around HANA) and became dormant in others when I felt that the forums did not follow the same goals and did not share the same values as I do.
In the case of SCN, I have been considering for the last two years what I get out of it and how many of my own values I still find a match.
Coming up with an answer for this question turned out to be difficult. There was so much noise due to the technical platform change, the bugs and the aftermath of all of this, that the usual signals for the values were and are very hard to see.
The few “signals” I find (a big shout out to the active moderators and the few remaining non-corporate contributors in the HANA-tag space!) are washed over by a wave of noise.
That frustrates and disappoints me and is the major reason for me for reducing my efforts in SCN and rather spending time elsewhere.
I cannot know that this is the same or similar for most members, but I believe many will have values and reasons to actually be active in the community beyond “what is the answer to my question?“. The latter can be solved be googling long enough, but no amount of search engine usage can provide any of the outcomes I described before.
It is pretty clear that the technical failures annoyed and keep on annoying the users of the platform. But I don’t think that this is the reason for anyone who was interested in active participation to turn around and leave for good.
There are many comments where the author mentioned to have returned after a hiatus of 1, 3 or 6 months to see if the “toothing pains” were gone.
What I think, made them turn away again, was the impression that not only had the feedback not lead to enough improvement and that they could not find their own values in this community anymore. It is maybe just hidden behind too much noise, but the effect is the same as if the values are not there in the first place.
It looks, tastes and feels like these values are gone.
This lack of values, the “Why” of the community, is what prevents people to engage and to feel that this is a place where their own beliefs and values are shared.
Come with your vision and your values
What I see so far in terms of “community recovery” is very much focussed on organisational matters and in reducing the technical noise.
But what is needed, I believe, is that SAP-Community-ORG finds their own values and makes those unmistakable clear.
These values and the motivation behind SAP-Community-ORG need to lead the decisions made for the community and its platform.
Don’t hand out merchandise and gimmicks (everyone will take it, sure) and expect that this can buy engaged members.
Come with the vision and the values for what this community should be in your eyes instead.
That would be something one can relate to – or not. But without it, there is just nothing behind a lot of noise.
You are ? percent right Lars.
Personally, this community was the inspiration for me to progress on my career. This was the single place where I go for learning new things. With the recent changes I couldn't find much interaction in the HANA-tag space.
Hope it will get better soon.
I would just like to share some positives from the past. I also would like to re-iterate that bugs when moving to a new platform are neither here nor there. You are always going to get bugs, and things that used to work not working anymore. Eventually these always get addressed. It is what a lot of us do for a living!
When SCN first got going, I literally could not believe how good it was. It seemed like almost every day, someone, in a blog, shared something I could start using right there and then at my company.
I would have loved to reciprocate, but in those days blogs were subject to approval, and mine never got through!
In 2012 the rules changed, and so I went bananas. I loved being able to put something back in, and the responses often taught me something new. It is great to be both a teacher and a student at the same time.
People often ask - what makes you a good Mentor? It could be said that you need to also have a desire to be mentored yourself i.e. admit you do not know everything, always e willing to learn new things.
Anyway, the SCN seemed to embody this
Now, on the surface it still does. However for some reason, which I cannot put my finger on, there seem to be a lot less blogs (percentage wise) that give you something you can start using the next day, and when there are - and there are still a fair few and very good at that - the number of "views" is a small fraction of what it was before, and the "banter" in the comments where people suggest better or different ways to achieve the same thing, is drastically reduced.
In conclusion, I agree with your desire to know the purpose of the SAP Community. If there are several groups of target users, all with different aims, I am sure that can be accommodated, but maybe not in the current (technical) environment. I am a programmer I always look for a technical solution for everything!
Paul, I feel the same way. Regarding putting the finger on it – you might need your both hands for this as it’s not a simple problem. Some of the factors are clearly visible from my recent blog and the comments on it:
This is just top 3, there is a variety of other factors involved. Bunch of straws that break Community’s back eventually.
I'd like to contest the "move to new platform means bugs" notion that is very often acceptable norm this days.
It shouldn't be !!
New platform supposed to be better than the old. Better for the end user, not the backend operators.
Sure, few bugs are expected, but majority of them supposed to be vetted out BEFORE go life, not after.
The functionality that existed before supposed to be present or be improved, not completely missing with no replacement.
When with old product I could easily do 5 different things and in the new product I have single thing working (but hey its on mobile) - that is not an acceptable change, no matter what marketing is telling us.
When has the quality bar for new platforms dropped so much ? (it's not just SCN... its a global phenomenon)
I think the change from "get a good new product on the market" to "get a new product o the market even if it is riddled with bugs" happened over 10 years ago, and as you say, not just SAP, but the whole software market.
I first encountered it with the "SEM" New Dimension product circa 2001. Admittedly we were on ramp-up, but I was surprised how little worked. I gather Texas Instruments had the same problems with XI version 1.0
The worst thing that SAP ever shipped productively was the 7.40 GUI, which has to take the award for the most bug-ridden piece of software in history. For SAP anyway, I am sure some other vendor must have out-done them at some point.
It is rather like the focus of the stock market on quarterly results as opposed to long term results. It makes managers do silly things that improve the results for the current quarter but stuff up a company from a long term perspective. Because if they do not do the silly thing, the quarterly results looking bad will get them sacked, and so the long term becomes irrelevant to them.
Thank goodness the stock market does not evaluate Squirrels. They would be penalized for wasting time hiding acorns this summer quarter, thus making the summer quarter results look bad. So a management focused squirrel would not bother hiding any acorns, get rewarded by the stock market, and then starve to death in the winter.
When the new SAP-Community-ORG launched it looked like a 100% mobile focused user experience, which does not work on desktop/laptop. The huge amount of white space, atrocious colour scheme and minimum amount of information on a single screen doesn't work.
SAP listened and tried to remedy the fact that the majority consumes this product on a daily basis using the same tools that they use when interacting with SAP. This does not change the fact that the foundation on which this is built is still a mobile centered website.
I’m sure that regularly applying plywood and duct tape will stop this ship from sinking any further, but it won’t be the best breeding ground for cross pollonation of knowledge and personal growth.
My heartfelt suggestion would be to go all the way back to the why and for whom this SAP-Community-ORG should be intended. Assign a small focus group. Gather the requirements, prototype it, just the look and feel first, Get feedback from the community and then eventually roll out a new product.
I can assure you that this approach will be a lot cheaper with a better result and more growth potential than the current approach.
Kind regards, Rob Dielemans
There are already two focus groups available. The first, Strategic Advisory Council (SAC), has been in existence for two years or so. It has its own Jam Group with 40 or so members. About a quarter of its members are non-SAP Employees made up of long time members who are Mentors or Moderators, usually both. While I have not checked all their SCN stats, I can safely say that the least of them has over 5k points and dozens of badges accumulated over a decade or so of working with SDN, SCN and now the SAP Community. Most of the members fought hard to prevent the SAP Community from going live with all the many, many flaws and bugs identified before and during Open Beta. Their input was ignored then and continues to be ignored now. Its existence is wasted. All that experience has apparently been gathered together in order to give the appearance of providing high level guidance to this new community's features, design, and approach. It does nothing of the sort. The meetings are scheduled, agendas provided, and recorded by none other than the SAP-Community-ORG. Those meetings are to quote one member,
"I never really had a feeling of "collaboration" on a lot of stuff, more like getting the approval from the group and if it's not given, just do it anyway. Is there anything big that was changed, because the SAC said it was a bad idea?"
The second group, SAP Mentors, is less visible to me though I do know many of the folks who wear the yellow bang symbol. I had a long talk with Jason Cao who is the coordinator/lead/?? of the SAP Mentors. This was in early May in Vancouver. SAP Mentors as a group include most, if not all, the non-SAP members of the SAC. I know of no efforts on the part of the SAP Mentor program to involve themselves in fixing the community. This is probably due to the existence of the SAC which includes a significant number of Mentors.
I suspect that creating another focus group would be just as doomed to failure as the SAC. I keep hoping month after month, that something will change with the SAC. Possibly Brian will be able to change things, but I consider it unlikely. So far, despite pleading repeatedly, the SAC has had little input to the "new experience" coming to a theater near you. The new user experience involves the SAP-Community-ORG, UX Strategy team, and IT. They even held a workshop recently to strategize the work coming up. Notice who was missing?
The definition of insanity: Doing the same things and expecting different outcomes.
The SAP Community failed its members because it was created without their involvement. Looks like Round 2 is heading down the same path.
I did not know that Michael.
That is, as you so rightly imply, insane.
So.. Who came up with the requirements for this? And is it safe to say that these requirements did not come from the SAC? Considering the almost 100% negative backlash by the users, to whom this product is intended for, the only smart thing to do is to start again with the requirement gathering phase.
SAP has to understand that this platform is fulfilling various needs by SAP professionals. If it fails to fulfill all needs then some smart player can create a new platform and become the new industry standard.
It would look pretty bad if people who consume your product use a third party product to discuss it.
Neither the original requirements (which I personally was promised months ago) nor the new requirements have been shared with the SAC. I posted the top ten requirements for SAP Community take 2. Generally got agreement with the list and the priorities from the non-SAP-Community-ORG members. Think any of them received any response from the SAP-Community-ORG? Was there any attempt to show how the new SAP Community (Take 2) will address those items? Take a wild guess...
Combine the concept of MVP (minimum viable product), which is also not visible to the SAC, with Bill McD's mandate that it all be fixed by TechEd. I shudder to think about the three rules of projects (Cost, Functionality, Schedule). Which one do you think will be short-changed when TechEd arrives?
If we get it wrong this time, will anyone stick around to turn off the lights?
There is also a specific "Activity Stream and Notifications Advisory Council" with a few members who are all respected Community veterans. I feel the results of our work were pretty much same as you describe for SAC. Either the input was thanked for but ignored or it was like "errr, that's not what we had in mind - haha, too bad, we are going live anyway!". I believe there was an invitation posted by Gali to another focus group for navigation. I had to politely decline because I'm no longer interested in wasting my time on such initiatives.
As far as Mentor Jam goes - it pretty much killed the Mentor community too since we moved there from the private space on SCN couple of years ago. That has been discussed among the Mentors and, you've guessed it, nothing changed. If I post on Mentor Jam, it's very similar to blogging on SCN these days - barely anyone will see it and even less people would reply for the reasons I can't blame them for personally.
Lars, you’ve asked a great question. When I visit many other sites I can understand what and whom they are for. If I go to Chowhound, I can see it’s a community of the food enthusiasts. If I go to StackOverflow, I can see it’s for the development enthusiasts. I can understand immediately what kind of content I can find there and I can find something of interest easily.
If anyone goes to SCN these days it’s rather difficult to understand what it is about and whom is it for. It looks like just another corporate website. I understand that it was probably exactly the intent of the ill-conceived 1DX initiative. And it is terribly wrong.
By the way, I’d like to point y’all to this blog posted back in November. Just take a look and see how little has really changed. And I don’t believe for a second that it’s because SAP does not have UI experts or developers. It’s exactly because there is no idea, no strategy, and no leadership (not to be confused with management) behind SCN.
P.S. And stupid disappearing paragraphs in the blog comments, arrrrrghhhh!!!! 🙁
Wow, Jelena, that blog you linked was really depressing!
Despite all the Release Notes of fixes, not much has really changed and even that which has changed is not done well (Navigation, Email Notifications as simple examples).
See this list (7 Deadly Sins) which your leadership comment triggered a memory.
Excellent blog, thanks Lars!
Hm, was expecting to see more comments here by now. Badly need Tammy to tweet about this. 🙂
Yep, you're right.
Either the blog turned most readers mute (don't think so...) or the "hide-interesting-stuff-in-a-pile-of-noise"-activity stream feature of this platform is minimizing the window in which anything potentially gets noticed to a nonsensical degree. Ironically, the more activity there is, the smaller this window gets. Thinking about it, this really is a small self-regulating system of shutting activity to content down by pushing attention to other stuff that is going on.
See, no AI, ML or HANA needed for effective innovation use cases...
Thanks to Jelena shout out in CC, i landed here.
And i was just wondering how much jealous will be my wife if i’ll ask Lars to marry me….
This blog is just.. well, perfect, pointing out the issues we are having and the spirit many of the “SCNsaurus” have when they come here.
My fear is that we are speaking to ourselves, despite all the promises, all the words, all the threads from Jerry Janda and the SAP-Community-ORG team.
i pointed out already a couple of times (well, about once every month…): we do not need announcement, changes in the organization (how many in the last year?) and focus groups if nothing, at the end, changes.
Micheal’s words brought me back by a whole year, at the Open Beta time: many of us pointed out problems and issues, lacks of functionalities and so on.. and a good 90% of those remarks were (and still are!) ignored.
And when you grumble out a bit in the forums, receiving sarcastic answers or bored one or offended ones too… well, it doesn’t help to make this place a community.
So, i sit here, on the river bank, and wait for the next corpse to pass.
i try to get back and become active but… the little time i have is wasted in scrolling and scrolling between the noise, making me to loose any interest soon.
Ha! Glad you liked the blog but let's not get overboard with the affection here 🙂
Anyway, I agree with you on that there is a chilling silence from the usual SAP-Community-ORG communicators when it comes to this blog post and the questions in it.
This specific blog aside the problems with technology, processes, governance and communication have been pointed out many times and solution approaches were supported by time and effort from the community members.
At this point, it is time to ask (coming back to your breaking marriage theme...): hey, SAP-Community-ORG, do you still want all this? And if so, what exactly is it you want?
It's a question i made on CC post some months ago: what is the new community? Can we still say we have a community? i doubt.
Hi, Simone (and Lars):
My silence was never meant to come across as ignoring…and certainly not as chilling! I had been out of the office awhile, and I’m still working to get caught up. This work includes preparing communications and new sections that I hope will address some of the issues mentioned here. (As for the rest of the ORG, they are incredibly busy moving us toward the bigger changes, etc., meant to improve the overall experience.)
At the same time, there are threads here and elsewhere I need time to digest and respond to. In some cases, I may have answers — and may even be able to point to some announcements that address concerns.
There have been big shifts in strategic thinking and a new level of executive sponsorship. All of these changes (including new leadership) come because SAP /is/ listening. If the company didn’t care about complaints, we’d be back at status quo.
I ask for your patience so that I may have time to review everything more thoroughly, get myself up to speed, and provide a more detailed response to all of the points raised. Also, please be on the look out for more posts next week to complement Oliver’s recent blog: https://blogs.sap.com/2017/07/26/on-the-topic-of-tag-pages
Sorry Jerry, but it's clearly a discussion betweet deaf people.
i spent a whole hour reading your answers (here, in CC and so on) and Oliver's blog but it seems to me the SAP-Community-ORG is totally missing the point.
You act (with the best intention, never doubt it) but the results are zero.
If as consultant i worked this way, i doubt i survived a single week.
As Micheal clearly stated: we are the customers and we are having a bad service.
Take our place for a moment: more than 12 months (i consider the Open Beta period too) of notes, tests, efforts and availabilty for something we never wanted and still we are repeating ourselves, with none listening us.
And SAP-Community-ORG asks for more and more time, more and more availability.
Really, if this would be a project and you'd be the customer, how long would it take to throw the consultants off the ship?
Again, i'm not upset with you or anyone else putting his face (and a less noble part) here to get slapped.
Just the frustration grows and grows and grows, even more when some member from SAP-Community-ORG sounds even bothered by the complains and the remarks we make.
Lars question it's my question (we talked in my CC thread about community if you remember) and it borns from this lack of trust in your customers (we know what we need, trust us!) and totally uncertainity of the tool: i wonder if we are talking about 2 different visions about what is the Community because it's the only reason i see for this kind of situation (our expectation vs SAP-Community-ORG idea)
Thank you for all of your thoughtful commentary. Your post, as well as comments from you and other members here and elsewhere, all deserve equally detailed responses.
As I mentioned above (in my reply to Simone), I have every intention of providing these responses.
Please give me another day or so to jump into the conversation.
After reading your post very carefully (and multiple times), I find myself in a conversation that feels much more philosophical than the typical discussions I’ve had here.
I’m glad you pointed out that you didn’t want “quick and easy answers.” I certainly don’t have them, and I hope that this response reflects the serious thought I put into addressing your well-articulated points about the root cause of our current situation.
If I understand some of your comments, you’re noting the issues here are far beyond the technical — and, instead, are the symptoms of a community that has lost its values. Put another way, I guess you’re questioning our identity. You could say that we are in the midst of a clearly visible existential crisis — as we’ve done nothing as of late to explain why we even exist.
I’m not so sure that we are talking about mutually exclusive problems, however — that technical issues and identity aren’t tied together somewhat. In many posts, people seem to long for the days of SCN. (I certainly read it in comments here.) This tells me that the technical limitations of the new platform rob members of the experience to which they were accustomed. Ergo, tech issues and value issues are intertwined to a great degree.
This is why in her blog months ago, Gali boiled down our challenges to important categories: content discovery and community feel. In both cases, missing features are the culprits damaging these important items.
Yet to point the finger at features alone is naïve — and perhaps we suffered from such naivety in the past. The problems are far more fundamental, and Oliver admitted how far off the mark we are in his recent blog post. It’s not enough to add features a, b, c — to take the “duct tape” approach that Veselina and I discussed in the Coffee Corner conversation promoting this post — when the whole platform is busted. That would be like putting lipstick on a pig or trying to polish a tu…
Well. You get the idea.
But if SCN had the right values, and SAP Community doesn’t, then surely missing features are still to blame — and actually do hurt active participation and turn people away (which is where I think you and I may have some contrary opinions).
If the move from spaces to tags made content discovery difficult (and hurt the community feel that comes from content engagement…such as answering a question or sharing an idea, for example), then the shift to topics (as described by Oliver) would bring us closer to the SCN experience…and, therefore, closer to the missing values. Add to that new features to improve member interaction (@mentions, anybody?) and we get closer still to a true community.
I still haven’t directly addressed this comment, however: Why do we want to host the community platform?
Is there any reason to think that the motivations that led to SCN have at all changed? You can argue that the transition to SAP Community did membership a grave disservice (an argument you would win), but I would chalk that move up to a misguided decision — not to any conscious effort to jettison existing members, move away from a community mission dedicated to networking and sharing information, and introduce an entirely new purpose for the platform.
While we may not state our values explicitly in the About the Community section, I don’t think that means we find values…um…invaluable. I also don’t think that they’ve changed. I agree, however, that we need a “this is who we are, this is what we do, this is what we provide ” section. Not just some sort of boilerplate mission statement — something far more meaningful. And we are working on developing just that. (Not that it doesn’t exist. But it needs to exist in the right words.)
And maybe that will answer that age-old question…
You do an excellent job of explaining the “why?” yourself when you share what you expect in a community. Why do you personally bother with a community? If I may paraphrase your answer: Because it’s a place where you can exchange knowledge. Where you can learn and share — and, in answering questions, strengthen communication skills and gain an even deeper understanding of topics.
I say that is our why. Always has been.
I have the privilege of interviewing the Members of the Month. Many of them are members who spend time each and every day addressing questions — to the point that they have answered hundreds. Their motivations for making the effort may vary, but they never stray from your own criteria for community participation. That tells me the “why” is still there — and that members can do the things (and gain the benefits) you mentioned.
But we sure as heck made it a lot harder to do those things with the current community experience, haven’t we? That’s one of the most important observations in Oliver’s blog post: finding unanswered questions, pinpointing valuable blog posts…it ain’t easy. And until we simplify that experience, the why of the community (which I believe hasn’t changed) won’t be evident.
We must quiet the noise you so rightfully criticize. Doing so requires the radical changes that Oliver outlined.
With the noise gone, I think the values will be heard. Which I suppose is just another way of agreeing with your statement above: the values may be “hidden behind too much noise, but the effect is the same as if the values are not there in the first place.” Well said. I wouldn’t, however, describe that as “technical noise.” I would describe that as technical issues and poor content organization that, in turn, leads to the noise that drowns out the values. Fix that and we make the values unmistakably clear (or perhaps just clearly reaffirm that the values were always there…but became less apparent).
In closing, you and I both work at SAP, which makes it easy for us to talk. I’d welcome the opportunity. I might not have the answers you want, but I want your observations. This blog post has triggered an entirely new type of conversation, and I’m glad it got me thinking about the meaning of everything.
The answer is still 42, isn’t it?
ARGGGGGHHH. I give up!!! I just spent 20 minutes writing a comment and i got a webpage error and it tossed me out!!!
I give up!!! Why bother anymore!!!
Oh Craig I am so sorry -- happens to me too. Nothing sadder than a lost voice.
If you get the heart to try again (and I understand why you wouldn't want to), write up your comments in a text file first so you've saved them (while the SAP Community absolutely needs to get this fixed!). Then expand your comment into your own blog.
There are many who want to listen!
<copying text before pressing 'Submit'>
I responded via blog:
PS>Thanks for the encouragement.
Thank you for your thoughtful post and - to the rest of you - for your responses.
My feelings after almost exactly 30 days in my role are that I would agree with you Lars; there is a nucleus missing here. Call it culture, identity, mission, strategy... Something in our gut that makes all the decisions flow easily because you know what to expect from SAP-Community-ORG, and we know what - and at least as importantly HOW - to deliver.
A community’s identity shouldn’t be something you have to read, it should be something you experience; you know this. If you can’t gain knowledge easily here, then you won’t believe knowledge sharing is a goal of this place. If your input is ignored, you won’t believe the community is about the needs of it’s members. If SAP Community has a small table at TechEd, you won’t believe that the program is important to SAP.
I think Jerry did a great job of capturing our efforts and approach and much of our DNA - thank you Jerry. And in his comments and may own you’re seeing lots of acknowledgements and apologies and I’m sure they are starting to ring hollow without signs of progress. While I’m sure you’d debate if we’re doing all the right things the right way, I think we’re taking some important steps. Oliver has shared our approach for returning core missing experiences in the platform. Our operating processes with the SAC are being revisited. And we are auditing the varied "community" exercises across SAP including those of our cloud acquisitions to understand where our future community experience(s) need to go. And yes, we’ll have more than a small table at TechEd Las Vegas (I hope you all come by and visit us).
I don’t have more to say about our strategy or identity yet. As you suggested, Lars, we shouldn’t rush for answers. Let’s get this right. We need a critical mass of SAP behind this. We need a critical mass of you behind this. But our values, our identity, is a key ingredient to our success and I don’t see that we’ve nailed that yet.
Thanks, Brian and Jerry, for taking the time and writing up your replies.
It does feel like you got the main point of my thoughts, so that part of the conversation works. Now, even though I agree that usually, one doesn’t learn the values of a group by reading the group charter but by “experiencing” the group, I would propose the exercise to make those values explicit – especially for when SAP-Community-ORG has to take decisions about what to do next.
To me, it seems that without running the decisions about what features get developed and how those features get developed, through those values nothing much would change.
Yes, the technology platform used for SAP Community needs to serve many purposes – mainly to provide SAP customers, partners and users with the product related content in a seemingly consistent manner. Very simplified that’s push communication to a known (because registered and logged in) user base.
SAP Community should, in a way, be orthogonal to this: communication between known and (partly) unknown users, about SAP topics and other stuff. Especially the last bit (SAP topics and other stuff) clearly has been a hard-to-grasp concept so far, as it had been mapped to “SAP Products”. The inadequacy of this mapping is clear to everyone who considers about the community values for a moment.
Oliver Kohl has provided an outlook on some new development, actually called “topics” – this sounds like it could work much better than the tags. I keep the fingers crossed.
As for the other community activities like TechEd I will have to rely on the reports of those who attend the event. (Downunder, where I live, is a long way to each of the TechEd locations and joining such events not exactly part of my daytime role nowadays.)
Looking forward to hearing all about it (and expecting nothing short of spectacular improvements ;-)).
Lars, thanks again for adding more ideas to this thread. I didn't mean to imply that our mission should be implied vs. stated. We absolutely need to do that and in words that humans can understand (I despise the typical corporate mission statements that are lengthy, all inclusive and in the end impossible to decipher). And this mission needs to flow from you in the community. I'm on a bit of a listening tour right now and getting some great input and soundbites - these blogs help too. Stay tuned, more on this soon.
As for Oliver's blog about "topics", we're convinced this will not just organize content but also give community members a sense of "place" where peer conversations are more easy to find and participate in. There are many other things needed and coming, but this is core in my mind.
Spectacular improvements: +1
Wow you folks are still here? I gave up on this and had just assumed SAP must have wanted SCN dead for some reason. I seriously thought there must be some financial incentive for wanting to kill the forums. Like increasing max attention support or increasing the amount of users paying for official SAP courses or increasing consultant revenue or something like that. The only reason I'm here now is because a young grasshopper on my team was looking for answers and found one of my old posts from 2013. (The youngsters here seem to get a kick out of it when they find my posts from years ago in the pioneering days.) They are like 'wow you had hair back in the dinosaur days'. Anyway it made me remember that I loved SCN and the connections I had with experts such as Lars. I just decided to search for Lars today, whom I remember saying he was leaving for Mars or Uranus or something like that when SCN died, and so I was surprised to see some fairly recent posts from him. Glad to see you're alive Lars! Anyhow why can't we just turn this off and bring back the old SCN then everybody is happy? Seems simple to me. Unless of course my theories... ahh, nah never mind. Miss you all. 🙂
The missing is mutual!
And yes, I stuck around and got myself involved into meta-community-discussions like this one here. I don’t think that much has actually improved since these discussions.
Well, maybe some thoughts had been made more precise and tangible and maybe there’s is a clearer thinking about what all this should be for and how it should be. Not sure about that.
By now I found new places to publish my blogs and to answer technical questions, so this platform is not the necessary choice anymore.
What do you do nowadays? Where do you find answers to your questions and where do you share your experiences? Would be a shame if you stopped sharing altogether.
My very sober view of this SAP platform is contrasted by a couple of blog authors who recently increased their efforts and output. I really enjoy reading their material (some pointers here).
So, I decided to stay around a bit longer for now and look for other ways of community interaction in parallel. I recently went to my first SIT events in Melbourne and found it very interesting.
Anyhow, I really wouldn’t mind to see your name popping up here more often again.
In the context of "By now I found new places to publish my blogs and to answer technical questions", which new platforms are you using as an alternative?
I started to use wordpress at LBREDDEMANN.ORG for blogs and continue to look into interesting questions on stackoverflow, a SAP internal JAM community and of course in the Q&A area here in SAP Community.
To answer your question I don't actually find answers and share knowledge since SDN died. Now I've moved on from HANA Tech Lead to IT Architect and focus more on strategic level however developers on my team will approach me with modeling questions and sometimes they are amazed that I have the answer and other times I send them away to ask Al Gore's internet for the answers and all they will find are old posts with my name on them from circa 2013. (Haha) Then they will come to me and say funny things like "script based calculation views are deprecated so we should stop creating them" and I will reply that no this can not be true it's ludicrous you silly grasshopper you are so young and naive... I highly doubt this... and they will insist it is true that their friend Google told them this. Then I will sigh and feel old and wish that I had SCN so I can ask for more information on the subject and how will we do all these complex rocket scientist type things moving forward etc. Anyhow I'm about to embark on a 3 week vacation so no more thinking this year but next year I will look for your blogs. Enjoy the holidays!
I'm late to this discussion. I was pointed here by a friend.
Yes, the platform is an issue. No it is not the only issue. There is a time when an organization finds that they have so many more customers and then they need improvement. The values change. The drive behind the organization changes.So they lose. They lose internal people, they lose customers. Still they may grow other ones.
I think you are 100% on target when you ask for "vision and the values".
Now my take on it. No matter the vision and values of the SAP Community. We can push our own content. In doing that we start a change. That change may move all the way the top. It may not. But we have to try to keep adding the content. Building a place we would like to come to.
Sound big? Yes this site is expanding. So what is the objective for us, the users? Same as always. Read what you want. Skip the rest. Answer when you can. Write a blog if something comes to mind. Ignore the marketing.
I think no matter what the objective is for the community. We the community can influence. That's the only reason I came back. To do what I used to love to do. Write blogs, have someone read them, have good discussions, get answers, and give answers when I can. AND read blogs. That's so much fun. The discussions are always interesting.
So after a long answer - I would like to know the objective of SCN. Then if I don't like it, I want to help get it changed! Gather people who care, the silent masses, and make a difference. (However, small that might be) 🙂
Nice to see you here!
And no worries about being late to the party. Even though I published this blog post in July last year, to me it still feels that it covers a very much current topic.
Meanwhile, the SAP leadership for SCP has been swapped again, our CEO chimed in promising change and new platform beta versions have been demo-ed.
Yet, the question for SAP's goal, objective, interest in SCP remains undeclared.
Maybe one important aspect is to think about this the following way:
if we take away discussions, Q&A and blog posts - would there still be an SAP Community?
(and I don't mean "Community" in the sense of "everyone somehow involved with the SAP eco-system")
Sure there would. Scattered in many different channels (Twitter, LinkedIn groups, personal blogs, conventions, SITs, "Stammtische", User Group meetings, ...) the community would still be there. Maybe less convenient and harder to join but definitively alive and kicking.
As a matter of fact, I doubt that anyone today would work with any piece of IT without access to some form of network to provide insight, experience and opinion beyond vendor documentation and marketing. It's just the prudent thing to "chat around" about what works and what doesn't.
So, there have to be reasons for SAP to invest in a platform for this community. It's not securing the sheer existence of the community as written above; it has to be something else and only finding these other reasons, making them explicit and understanding them will inform future tries to make the platform "work again".
I'm sure your involvement can help with this process. Good luck, to all of us!
You are completely right! There would still be a community. I find it in other places, too. I was sent to your blog by a person I know. It was from outside the SAP community. 🙂 So that just means that the community itself is strong - even if they are somewhere else.
I hope I can help. I'm trying the best I can.
"Yet, the question for SAP’s goal, objective, interest in SCP remains undeclared."
So who do we ask? This platform is large. I know some of the people making changes. I know some of the ownership of the platform. But who actually knows the answer?
All we can do is hope for answers from blogs, questions, coffee corner, or somewhere...
Thank you for responding to an "old" blog!