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After many years of Idea Place and Customer Influence being two separate places to influence SAP, they are now coming together under a new Customer Influence program.

As of September 18th, the existing Idea Place Product Idea Sessions will be migrated to Customer Influence. The Idea Place site will remain and continue to host innovation contests and other innovation programs but it will no longer focus on programs where customers (and partners) influence SAP products.

The Customer Influence program and site will now be the single channel for customers to influence SAP products.

A few things are changing. First some terminology:

  • Product Idea Session (Idea Place) => Continuous Influencing Sessions (Customer Influence)
  • Idea (Idea Place) => Improvement Request or IR for short (Customer Influence)

There will also be some improvements made to the influencing process as well as a platform change that comes with migrating to the Customer Influence site.

 

The new ‘Continuous Influencing Session’ process

We are again enhancing the engagement as part of the migration and have introduced a new status called Acknowledged, which is for the Product Managers to simply touch a newly submitted improvement request. They won’t do a feasibility analysis — that is still for the review period — but at this point they can quickly confirm that the improvement request is possible, is within scope and is clear and easy to understand. Another improvement to the process, is that any SAP team wanting to run a Continuous Influencing Session must commit a minimum of developer days per review period and per year. The number of developer days is an internal number and can vary but I did want to mention, if an SAP team requests a session but does not commit enough resources, we simply suggest other options. All this is part of ensuring that as a customer, when you submit an improvement request, you 1) know it will be looked at (and Acknowledged if valid) by the product team shortly after submission, 2) if it is above the voting minimum, then SAP is committed to review and provide feedback during the formal review process and 3) there is commitment from SAP to implement the top voted and feasible improvement requests.

A feature that has been taken from the success of the Customer Connection program on Customer Influence, is the use of milestones and webinars/blogs. Each session will have milestones set for when a review is to be done, when it is complete and when communications will come out.  The process requires that at the end of a review period, the improvement request statuses, including the number of improvement requests reviewed, rejected and accepted are communicated via a blog or webinar. As well, when improvement requests are delivered subsequent communications need to be done. We believe adding these features to the continuous process will help provide more transparency to your improvement requests and the efforts behind them.

 

The new Customer Influence site

Outside of the process improvements, I am happy to say that customers now have a single central place for all Improvement Request related activities. No more will customers have to go two sites with two different experiences. For me personally, this has been a driving desire for years now and I am very happy that we have been able to bring this to you.

From a technical perspective the platform is changing too. Customer Influence now uses SAP’s own SAP Innovation Management product. It is a different look and feel and offers more functionality than Idea Place could ever offer before. You will still be able to browse projects, browse improvement requests, see your stats, submit improvement requests, comment, vote, receive updates and browse who has voted but there are also many other smaller features and a few larger ones.

New Customer Influence platform features for Continuous Influencing Sessions:

  • Milestones widget so you can see the next review schedule, length and planned communications
  • A personal cockpit which provides users a central place to see all their improvement requests across all sessions
  • History tab that shows all changes with dates to an Improvement Request (I know, I know, “it’s about time”)
  • Export to Excel for a set or all improvement requests (Yes another – “it’s about time”)
  • We’ve also added new statuses to provide more clarity, including Under Review for Portfolio and Accepted for Portfolio. These are for Improvement Requests that are longer term in nature (+9 months) — so you know when an improvement request is going to be a while. (Ok, not so much a technical feature but it’s new.)
  • And finally much better mobile access

 

What’s Migrating?

Some Product Idea Sessions are migrating straight across, some are being combined and some are transitioning to other programs. Given that some products are more mature or that the continuous model simply did not work well for them, they will transition to other programs for feedback like the Customer Connection Focus Topic.

Most Product Idea Sessions will have messages this week about whether they are being migrated or transitioned. Please check out the landing page of your favourite Product Idea Sessions to find out more. (For example, the SAP Community Idea Session is migrating and the SAP Community Experience team will provide more information specifically about this session.)

 

Some final notes:

  • The migration is scheduled to start September 15th (site frozen) and be live September 18th.
  • All browser bookmarks for an Idea Place Product Idea Session or idea that is being migrated will be maintained and will redirect to the new site and the respective Continuous Influencing Session or Improvement  Request.
  • All sessions not being migrated are now closed or closing down soon and will be removed October 13th

If you want to check out the new Customer Influence site, please do poke around at https://influence.sap.com.

Cheers

Kuhan (Head of Idea Place)

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20 Comments

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  1. Johan Hakkesteegt

    Very good blog, but there are several things that make me wonder:

    • Why is Idea Site, which is widely used by SAP employees, developers and customers alike, migrated to Customer influence, that pretty much only SAP employees have ever heard of? Why not the other way around?
    • …The Idea Place site will remain…“. Why? That is once again very not 1 dx. An innovation contest is just as much about influencing SAP as an idea about improving a product. Why not combine those functions under the same site?
    • Some of the improvements you mentioned were already available in Idea Place, so they apparently pertain to the Influence site. Why not make the other improvements to Idea Place instead, and not need a migration?
    • …they will transition to other programs for feedback like the Customer Connection Focus Topic….“. So a third site? Very self-explanatory name, very 1dx, and does not add to the convolutedness of sap.com at all.

    But all that asked, will there be a topic(?) where we can influence the influence site?

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    1. Kuhan Milroy Post author

      RE: Why is Idea Place migrating to Customer Influence vs the other way around. The Customer Influence site and team is dedicated to customer enhancement while Idea Place is divided on many innovation use-cases. As well, the Customer Influence team resides under the SAP Product team and it’s their focus to manage customer enhancement channels.

      The Customer Influence site is quite large with over 20,000 improvement requests processed. It has been most popular with SAP User Groups while Idea Place was most popular on the SAP Community including the SAP BusinessObjects Analytics customers.

      “Idea Place site will remain” – The types of innovation contests will be noticeably different. Check out some of the existing non-customer enhancement programs.

      https://ideas.sap.com/googlecloud

      https://ideas.sap.com/SAPHANAInnovationAward2017

      https://ideas.sap.com/innotakeoffStartupsQ12016

      https://ideas.sap.com/DataGenius

      Why not improve Idea Place instead and migrate there? As mentioned above the Customer Influence team is the best team to own customer enhancements channels at SAP. Technically, Idea Place would’ve eventually migrated to the same new platform technology anyway, thus another reason to bring them together.

      …they will transition to other programs for feedback like the Customer Connection Focus Topic….

      Focus Topics are part of Customer Influence and have been in use for +5 years. Focus Topics are more of a single use fixed time (6 months) session. There are more details, but having Continuous Sessions and Focus Topics beside each other will make customers lives easier as they won’t need to browse 2 sites, then two areas on those sites to determine whether one of them is accepting feedback for a product. They will simply navigate to one place on one site and know whether SAP is accepting feedback for a product or not. Also, if the product is not there, they have an option to request a channel for feedback. Idea Place never had this.

      I’ve had a few questions on the above topic and thinking that a Customer Connection Focus Topics might be another worthy blog to have.

       

       

       

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      1. Jelena Perfiljeva

        Kuhan, I believe the last (but not least) question in Johan’s comment remains answered and I actually came here to ask the same:

        “Will there be a topic(?) where we can influence the influence site?”

        How can the customers submit their feedback regarding the website itself? I tried to do some exploration there and saw some bugs (I think) and some functionality that I don’t think is very good. But I did not see any option to submit a feedback. There is such option in the Support Launchpad, for example.

        We already have an informal discussion going on this in the Coffee Corner and, of course, we can just complain here or in “Using SAP.com” but neither seems very efficient to me. Maybe we need an Idea on how to enter ideas for the new Idea site? 🙂

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  2. Steffi Warnecke

     

    “Business Trends”? Interesting tag, but I would have expected this under the “Using sap.com” tag, because that is what people check to inform themselves about the platform.

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  3. Joe Peters

    Thank you for the update, Kuhan, I’m looking forward to the new site.

    With this change, will ideas that are marked “Not Planned” include an explanation?

    You mentioned two new statuses, but I’m seeing many of my submissions in the current site being marked as “Planned for Portfolio”.  Can you tell me what that means?

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    1. Kuhan Milroy Post author

      Hi Joe,

      For sessions that are migrating ideas (or improvement requests now) marked as *Not Planned* should receive an explanation, however we have asked the session owners to clean-up their sessions and close any improvements requests older than 1-2 years, especially if they have low votes. So start with this as the general reason.

      If you would like more details, you can post a comment on a specific improvement requesting clarity.

      For sessions that are not migrating then all improvement requests are simply being closed out, which is typically changed to a status of Not Planned. In this case, you may want to capture your ideas and if and when a Customer Connection Focus Topic opens up then submit your improvement requests there. You could also request clarity here too.

      As an aside, in the new site (and process), a *status decision* reason is required when an improvement request is changed to ‘Not Planned’. The current set is as follows:

      • Violates design rules
      • Lack of votes and being too old (Older than 1-2 years)
      • Out of scope for this product
      • Partner solution exists and is seen as a viable alternative
      • Prioritization – it may have enough votes but has never been in the top set chosen to be implemented, after a while (1-2 years) it will be closed.
      • Product Strategy – the improvement request doesn’t align with the product strategy.

      As for the ‘Under Review for Portfolio and Planned for Portfolio’ type statuses. These are meant for improvement requests that could be implemented in +9 months (in general). The statuses compliment the ‘Under Review’ and ‘Accepted’ statuses which are meant for the next backlog or two (generally less than 9 months).

      And the reason you see these statuses being used on Idea Place is because we wanted to have everything cleaned and ready after the migration launch. So we are giving session owners time now to clean-up and get improvement requests in the proper statuses.

      Apologies on the confusion. I know we haven’t technically rolled out the new statuses to Idea Place. We’ll get an introduction/changes guide to explain these items soon.

      Cheers

      Kuhan

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      1. Johan Hakkesteegt

        Hi Kuhan,

        “…we have asked the session owners to clean-up their sessions and close any improvements requests older than 1-2 years, especially if they have low votes…”

        In the Idea Session for SAP Business One there are many very good ideas more than 5 years old that are under review or any status really. Can we expect that such ideas will be deleted? The challenge I see here is that the development team for the SAP Business One product have taken several years before they even knew there was an Idea Place, and after that follow up has been sporadic.As such, I am not convinced that such ideas will make it to the influence site, even though they should, or they should have their status changed to not planned or something.

        In my opinion, asking teams to just delete anything older than 2 years, is particularly unnuanced, and will come back to bite you in the behind.

        On the other hand I see how the influence site may improve things for SAP Business One at least.

        That said, will you provide a mechanism for users (the people who came up with the ideas), to save their ideas, or will you provide access to ideas that are not migrated?

        Regards,

        Johan

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  4. Joe Peters

    That’s great info – thanks.  I’m glad to hear that Status Decision will be mandatory; that’s really what I was asking about.

    But just to clarify – “Planned for Portfolio” does mean that the submission is accepted, just not expected to be completed within nine months?  So we should not see any submissions go from “Planned for Portfolio” to “For Future Consideration” or “Not Planned”?

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  5. Kuhan Milroy Post author

    Yes ‘Planned for Portfolio’ means the improvement request is accepted…as much as SAP can commit to an improvement request that is +9 month off, but it would be very odd to see an improvement request go from Planned for Portfolio to Not Planned.

    ‘For Future Consideration’ has been removed.

     

     

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  6. Kuhan Milroy Post author

    Heads up: The recording of the webinar is now here with slides, see ‘Idea Place Product Session Migration’.

    https://blogs.sap.com/2016/12/13/sap-community-calls-list-2017/

    Also, there are now two ways to influence the new Customer Influence site and the Continuous Influencing Process itself:

    Continuous Influencing Process https://influence.sap.com/sap/ino/#/campaign/13

    Customer Influence site https://influence.sap.com/sap/ino/#/campaign/11

    Cheers

    Kuhan

     

     

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    1. Johan Hakkesteegt

      Finding an object / project / idea / session is pretty much impossible to begin with, so creating two for the same subject, and expecting people to know the difference is not in my list of Top 10 Greatest Ideas Of The Week.

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      1. Kuhan Milroy Post author

        Are you asking for what is the difference between Continuous Influencing Process and the Customer Influence site sessions?

        If you want to suggest ideas on the UI/design of the site then all that can go in the CI site one.

        If you want to comment on the non UX elements of the continuous influencing process then that is for the other one.

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        1. Johan Hakkesteegt

          I understand the idea of two sites, but what I mean is, that you should be prepared to get a lot of ideas added on the wrong site, and thus a lot of doubles, simply because when you manage to enter the correct search term to find anything at all, the search results do not show the last word, i.e. “process“. That is, if the search even shows both, which it doesn’t (just search for “customer influence“).

          And as there are “categories” to be chosen when posting improvement requests, it seems that those are supposed to do what you are now trying to accomplish with two separate sessions.

          How about ideas that cross over?

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    1. Kuhan Milroy Post author

      We’ve recently added the tags for each sessions so If you browse under ‘Analytics’ you will find the corresponding sessions. Will address your other feedback on the other question.

      (1) 
  7. Kiran Shenvi

    I agree the new customer influence website navigation is very confusing. Plus then change in the naming conventions adds more furry. “Idea” was much cleaner and easy to remember word than “Improvement Requests” 

    1. UI : Fiori based UI makes it all blue and less of white space making it difficult to read.
    2. Search 

    Early, in Idea place when I used to search for a particular tool “SAP BusinessObjects Web Intelligence” the search results used to get classified in an excellent way. The new UI doesn’t have such provision.

    3. Notifications :

    The list of notifications which I had on my idea Place are no longer visible on CI site. Now it is very difficult to find the thread of previous conversations.

    4. Follow Pages

    If I wish to see my followed “Campaign” (early a dedicate Product page) called as “SAP BusinessObjects Web Intelligence” , It now where shows in the the Areas of Interest and I have to search again.

     

     

    I hope to see improvements in near future.

    Regards,

    Kiran Shenvi

     

     

     

     

     

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