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Recently I put myself on the line that SAP would restore SAP Community to a position of strength. After a steady stream of feedback that the community’s voice had been diminished, it was clear that we needed to act.

We asked some of the company’s up-and-coming leaders to come together and do whatever it takes. A true ONE SAP effort to once again earn the full trust and engagement from our community. Here is what they told me:
1.We made a series of changes to the SAP Community experience over the years that frustrated our community and eroded some of the participation.
2.We let the impression linger that SAP was using our community simply as another channel to promote our corporate messages.
3.We drifted from what made SAP Community such a critical success in its early days – a place for users of SAP to come together, post content and share experiences.

As I hope most would agree, these were honest mistakes made with good intentions. Especially as of late, I believe the SAP team has made substantial process to get us back on the right path for SAP Community. The many dedicated colleagues who work on this are the loudest advocates for community in the company. I’m grateful for their efforts.

Notwithstanding this progress, we wanted a major gesture to signal 2018 as a year of action for SAP Community.

SAP Community is not a marketing platform. It is a place for our community, especially our developer community, to come together. Accordingly, the team behind SAP Community will now report to our Chief Technology Officer, Bjoern Goerke and Thomas Grassl.

Our fearless SAP Mentors will also be supported by this new model. I have enormous respect for the Mentors, especially when they push SAP to make changes that are in the best interests of our customers and users.

Bjoern, Thomas, Nick Tzitzon, Alicia Tillman, and many others deserve credit for reaching this conclusion collaboratively, without any of the normal “turf talk” that hurts companies. This is best for our team, best for our Mentors and best for SAP Community.

SAP was, is and will always be a community-driven company. Bjoern is the right leader to carry this mantle forward. He has my full support.

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  1. Jarret Pazahanick

    Great to see you supporting this Bill McDermott as personally I thought the SAP Community and the SAP Mentor program were a crown jewel that set SAP apart and would recommend a similar blog every 6 months from Bjoern on the big things that have changed and what is coming. There have been a lot of promises over the past 2-3 years but not the execution.

    Getting people back will be the challenge as if you cross post this on Linkedin for example I bet you will get 20X the views and 50-100X the engagement (comments/likes).  Due to that I will be cross posting and watching before I consider coming back but wish this initiative all the best as think a strong community is great for SAP and Customers.

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    1. Gregory Misiorek

      Hi Jarret,

      while i like your first paragraph about half-year reporting, i do stay away from Linked In and i don’t want SAP blogging space to go after the quantity of responses or comments. it should probably try to find a happy medium between quantity and quality as well as marketing and development. the community is sponsored by a business that needs to show results, but it also needs to attract customers to their products and technologies – and engage developers, new and old.

      one very strong suite that is SAP unique is its openSAP training platform. it may be geared toward young blood, but a lot of grey-haired trainees like myself do use it to keep up with the latest and greatest from the company.

      why not make both more integrated with each other, with comments and training system access?

      Regards, greg

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  2. Colleen Hebbert

    Hi Bill McDermott

     

    Great to read about the organisational re-positioning of SAP community. And as a bonus, it’s awesome also to see you back in SAP Community blogging 😊

     

    We’ve had a domino effect as content consumers look elsewhere due to lack of quality content producers. This in turns discourages content produces as they struggle to find their audience. I’m hopeful we see a break in this cycle in 2018 as people decide to give community another go and become active again.

     

    So again, thanks for coming to the community with this announcement and taking the time to blog.

     

    If you want to go one better than this announcement, hearing a roadmap with timeframes to resolving identity account merge and authentication across the SAP platforms would do it. Authentication is a major problem and frustration for members and impacts community engagement as well as general user experience across SAP.

     

    @Jarret – really hope you get blogging back here. It’s always been great to read your blogs and thoughts!

     

    Regards

    Colleen

     

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  3. Martin Fischer

    What a strong and honest statement! I kind of forced myself in the last years to go regularly to SAP Community and also provided feedback because I think there need to be one place to go to share the SAP knowledge and to ask the questions you need to get answered.

    It’s a big statement that this topic got the attention of SAP’s CEO and also that SAP admits that some decisions where not good. That’s the first step to get things better.

    Finally things which belong together are together at SAP: the combination of SAP Developer Relation, the SAP Community and the SAP Mentor program. From an outside perspective it was never understandable why those programs are run by different departments with different goals and understanding of what the community (with community I mean the whole SAP community, not only the web platform) is.

    But it’s also up to us to support that journey to an improved SAP Community! Community is always also about sharing and giving not only about taking! #CommunityRockz

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  4. Former Member

    I’m thrilled to see this initiative to get the SAP Community back on track.

     

    If I have a wish (or two) … bring the SAP Community closer to the SAP Developer Program and separate it from the corp web page. It is just wrong to place a community / developer area on a webpage where solutions are positioned, marketing style.

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  5. Matthias Steiner

    BIG news and a smart move: I believe SAP Community (website), the SAP Mentors program and the community (including, but not limited to developers) belong together, hence that reorg makes a lot of sense!

    I also see value in moving the SAP Mentors program away from marketing, because that liaison caused some friction in the past. From past conversations we know that neither Björn nor Thomas mistakes the SAP Mentors program as a marketing channel (aka cheerleaders), but for what they truly are: the community’s sounding board and trusted advisors that want to see SAP succeed long-term.

    Promising start into 2018 – looking forward to seeing how this will play out!

    Cheers,
    matthias

     

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  6. KN Nampoothiry

    Great to see that someone noticed. The Old SCN (or SDN as it was called) was a great place to find content, be part of forums and participate. In an innate attempt to revitalize SDN into SCN by Facebook type features it became next to impossible to stay connected to the forums we worked on or could contribute to.

    I felt these didn’t go as expected and could be re-looked:

    1. Classifying content into the product road map – which is little off track for on ground work.
    2. FB and Social Media look and feel making appearance more relevant than content itself.
    3. Blogs – too much blogging for a myriad of topics.

    Honestly, I spent at least an hour or more a day on SDN, but now it is 15 mins max a week or two weeks to read some random blogs and then move on to – as rightly said above – Linked In.

    Again, full respect to the hard work put in to make SCN another happening place, but the change management really didn’t get through at least for me. These are my views – but I am very happy to see action on SCN and hope to be part of SCN where I would stay connected and updated.

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  7. Vivek Hegde

    Great to see the current state of SCN affairs being noticed by CEO himself. As someone who started career in SAP world & built my career by reading and answering queries exactly decade ago in those SDN days, the new format and content of SCN in last few years totally drove me away from it to be honest.

    At some point in time, the community lost it’s appeal of a ‘community’ and became a place to read the marketing & publishing content. Then there was this new ‘tag’ concept which was totally not serving it’s purpose according to me.

    Look forward to the future days of SCN in true Community sense – a space to mentor, communicate our thoughts, nurture young professionals & most importantly, a place to give constructive feedback.

     

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  8. Former Member

    While this makes me toot my horn 🙂 We really could use an outline on what will be fixed when and how it will be done.  I do agree with @Jarret I would be nice to have an on going quarterly blog to tell us of the progress.  I’d also like some feedback as to why this took so long, there have been complaints since day one, it never got better. I still can’t find things or even use my old account.  I had to start new and while this account always makes me smile I’d love to be able to get back to where we were.

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    1. Jürgen L

      Only quarterly information about the progress? We already got 18 updates from the community team since the launch beside of their answers to all the rants posted in the community.

      This means there is already progress and a lot work done already, even we all wished it would be much quicker. And the big bang with the new UI is still to come, but looked promising to me.

      Can we agree to say the bigger the company, then longer the decision making process,  the slower the progress?

       

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        1. Dave Cucura

          I’m saddened by our refusal to return to a prior platform which worked organically and very very well.

           

          Trying to save a ship listing this badly this close to port is something even Boaty McBoatface would be ashamed of.

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      1. Nathan Genez

        But they’re tweaking a flawed site, not addressing the root issue.

        Step 1:  They must get off of SAP.com.  Anything less and this will still be a part of the product-pushing Goliath site.

         

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  9. Michelle Crapo

    Already some positive success.   Why?   This blog has comments on it.  Moving in the right direction – but there aren’t as many comments as I would expect. Perhaps they feel this blog says it all.  Perhaps they are “waiting to see” if the changes are implemented, how, when, will they be positive changes?   Oh boy, I think I just typed what was going through my head.   That’s OK, I can wait and see.   My boss once said, “The proof is in the pudding”.   It’s an older statement, and some might not appreciate the full meaning.

    I’m whispering “Some might just be intimidated by the writer“.   HA!   I don’t have any problems with the comments.

    I, with everyone else who commented,  am glad to be seeing this addressed.    I look forward to changes.  I do understanding that everything can’t change at once.  I hope they are “advertised” and “celebrated”.  I like the celebrated part.   Each small step will help.

    It’s hard to say that people will be willing to come back.   I think cross-posting some of the interesting blogs will help.   I’ve been telling everyone I can that they need to come back.  (Of course, some of them just laugh at me.)   I agree with @Jarret it will be a challenge to bring back our SCN community.

    I’ve been playing on SDN / SCN for a long time.   By playing I mean:

    • getting valuable knowledge
    • sharing knowledge
    • Just plain interacting with people with the same interests

    I miss the pure interaction.   The comments that disagree with what I wrote.   I loved those.   They made me think in a different way.   It doesn’t mean I always agreed with them.   It just meant I could interact with them.   (And someone read my blog)

    MMmmmm…. Some of this I could make into a blog as I am getting VERY wordy.   Again, thank you.

    With all that said, I am jumping up and down and doing my Snoopy dance.   Changes are good.  Thought out changes are better.   Less marketing – amazing.

    Michelle

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    1. Former Member

      I read your comment and agree with much of it. When I was preparing to join SAP, SCN was one of the places I spent a lot of time learning about the array of topics. Internally, as Bill himself wrote, there’s strong confidence in Bjoern and Thomas to stand behind the team and lead a new era. The one thing I want to say is that we shouldn’t paint all “marketing” colleagues with a broad brush. The vast majority of those individuals who worked on community were passionate advocates themselves. To the extent that community suffered while it was organized in marketing, of course there is no denying this. I just don’t believe it was a “people” issue. Really great SAP colleagues poured a lot into this. Many of them now work for Bjoern and Thomas, where they can be free of any commercial metrics that may have inhibited the right steps for community. I want to personally thank you, Michelle, for the fair and thoughtful comments you always post on this topic. Those were a big influence on this decision.

       

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      1. Michelle Crapo

        Thank you for the kind comment.  I really love this community.   I want it to succeed.  and success is measured differently from person to person.   I think this blog captures the most import issues.

        Oops.  The people who wrote up the blogs they were very good.   AND some of the marketing blogs were informative.  They probably were in the right tag as well.   I just tend to look at all the blogs

        Sorry guys – not all marketing.   Just not the large amount.

        Michelle

         

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      2. Jarret Pazahanick

        Good point Former Member regarding marketing and feel this Timo Elliott blog is a must read for everyone

        https://blogs.sap.com/2017/06/29/hey-scn-whats-wrong-with-marketing-no-really…/

        Customers will gravitate towards authentic and honest voices that tell them the good, bad and ugly.  It is one area that SAP has done well at the past few Sapphire as getting large customers on stage telling their journey warts at all (thought WalMart CIO was excellent a few year back). Customers realize everything isn’t going to be easy and simple (nor should it be).

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    2. Robin van het Hof

      Already some positive success. Why? This blog has comments on it.

      In the past, I would have drawn to this blog via the SDN/SCN landing page. Currently, I only read this blog since I saw someone mention it on Twitter.

      I would love to have a proper SCN landing page again, one that utilises every available pixel on desktops (as did the “old” site) as well as on mobile. I definitely don’t want to go back to how it was, but from a content-consuming perspective some things were way better implemented back then than it is now.

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      1. Michelle Crapo

        I totally agree.   Pick the best of both worlds.    My fingers and toes are crossed.   I just realize as I think everyone does that this platform is huge.   Changing it is going to take some time.    See the comment from Jürgen L above.   There have been improvements.

        “We” (the SAP team that supports the SAP community and the community itself) just need to get the big things done first.   I don’t think that’s going to be easy.

        At least someone mentioned it on Twitter.  That is a plus.   Really you have written more than a few blogs last year, so you are one of the many mentors that haven’t completely left our community.  So you never really completely left.

        Michelle

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  10. Uladzislau Pralat

    What was great about old SCN is a spirit of competition. Participants where willing to contribute in order to get points, archive certain level and build reputation. It was a great incentive and excellent way to stimulate people to contribute into SCN.

    No need to reinvent a wheel, just return what proved to be working

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  11. Nathan Genez

    Intent?  Check.  Executive Ownership?  Check.  Any change?  Not yet.

    My recommendation:  SAP needs to move quickly on this.  I don’t have access to the numbers (SAP stopped sharing them a few years ago) but I suspect that this site is bleeding users/engagement/posts/etc every month.  This has lingered for over 2 years now and there is still no plan in place on how to fix it.  Suggestions have been made, angst has been communicated and SAP is still losing ground.

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  12. Yogesh Patel

    Good comments and bad comments are always flowing through community since changes made.

    As per my opinion there are 3 types of community members….

    First – Happy with change and willing to make this place better – Not giving up
    Second – Not happy with change and keep complain about not liking change – 50/50
    Third – They don’t care unless and until they get the knowledge from community – Can’t decide what to do!

    Since beginning I am trying to share with community that – Good change is coming but don’t know when! it will come for sure…(Look its already coming) We need to put faith in team. Everyone is working hard to get everything back to track. SAP is always listening. They are trying to get it better…as Jürgen L Mentioned in his comment.

    This blog will help lots of community members to put second thought about coming back since its directly coming from top. First and Third types of members will return at some point but, this blog will bring attention of Second type of member.

    Finally – You can not make everyone happy no matter what you do!!!

    Be the change you want to see in the world – Mahatma Gandhi

    Yogesh Patel

     

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  13. Jamie Cantrell

    As a member of the Community team and one of those super vocal advocates within the business, I am personally very excited about the new opportunities that this move opens for this team and for the future of the Community. Thanks for taking action in this situation, Bill McDermott.

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  14. Martin Fischer

    One thing to add: I’m convinced that this a good move for the whole SAP community (and I don’t mean the web platform now).

    I’m also not a fan of the current SAP community web platform and I think it was not a good a idea to set it live in the state it had at this time.

    But also see that the SAP Community team is listening to us since then and is working hard on the improvements. I saw a preview on the new UX at SAP TechEd and this looks really like a big step into the right direction. Stay tuned!

    Björn and Thomas will not fix the SAP Community Platform personally! But it’s very good that the topics gets now bigger attention within SAP. I assume the already very hard working SAP Community team gets now also more internal support and maybe the SAP Community gets also more visibility within SAP. I still have the feeling, not to many SAP employees know about the community activities like the community platform, CodeJams, the SAP Mentors or SAP Inside Tracks, just to name a few.

     

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  15. Sarhan Polatates

    Good old days. Almost all of senior community members are missing SDN and SCN days, because there were spaces, in the home page we can find everything we want to see, recent blogs, most liked ones, latest Q&A, leaders and featured valuable contents.

    To be honest I hated new one at first and I did quit for a while, however, it was the easiest way, then I have changed my mind and try to like community portal.

    What I like:

    First and most liked feature is mobile first UI tech. I can easily read blogs and Q&As. Former one was a nightmare, I can not read from my mobile devices.

    Second one is google friendly approach, I can easily find community content by google search. To be honest I do not use community page’s search 🙂

    Third and last one is profile Linking (not yet implemented but very good to have)

    I am missing tens of SCN feature, however I will not give up and try to increase the list of what I like in new one.

    Also I am missing my childhood, days in college as well 🙂

    Cheers,

    Sarhan

     

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  16. Christopher Solomon

    Keeping it short…..words and support from Bill himself to kick off 2018? Stoked! ….a return to the good ol’ days of SDN/SCN? Ain’t nostalgia grand? The “old” SCN had it’s own “warts” too…let’s not ignore it….”new” SCN? While I appreciate the effort and long hours of sooo many people that really did want to make it the next great evolution of the community, it definitely led to the 3 points (and more) Bill mentioned….the new NEW direction, new leadship steering it, new chance to get it all right? I am all for it….

     

          SCN IS DEAD, LONG LIVE SCN!!!!

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  17. Former Member

    Thanks for all of the supportive comments and also to the acknowledgement of the hard work that the teams have invested in the site and the programs.  I know the outcomes haven’t (yet) been what we want and to that end Bill’s announced changes are key and an indication of SAP’s “all in” commitment.

    I’m excited to see the change in stewardship for the SAP Community (and yes, SCN/SDN if you like!) and Mentor programs – it’s absolutely the right thing to do for SAP and more importantly, for the members of the SAP Community and Mentor programs.  While my role with the program was brief, in that time I met amazing and committed people – within and beyond SAP – with strong voices and the skills and commitment the program needs.  Stay the course, there’s a great future ahead.

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  18. Former Member

    1000% agree, I’ve stopped going to the community when they started bringing in 2nd and 3rd rate Mentors who had 1/10 the experience in a subject that I did.  If I wanted a mentor I’d look in the mirror not towards the community… I will look in from time to time to see how the progress is coming.

     

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    1. Matt Fraser

      To be clear, Christopher, the SAP Community and the SAP Mentors are two separate programs. They overlap in the sense that many SAP Mentors are active within the SAP Community, but the Mentors do not run the Community, and the Community leadership does not select the Mentors. Likewise, many Mentors add value in ways not reflected or not directly visible within the Community.

      It’s not just a matter of deep experience in a particular subject that qualifies one as a Mentor. It is also about how one goes about sharing and applying that experience, and applying qualities of leadership that help to uplift all of us. There are Mentors who spend much of their time with student programs, helping to inspire the next generation of leaders. There are Mentors who spend their time, as Bill said in his post here, pushing SAP to do better, to be better. And, yes, there are Mentors who spend their time answering questions and blogging in the SAP Community. In that sense, they are users of the Community much the same as anyone else. Some Mentors are also Community Moderators, but not all Mentors are Moderators, and not all Moderators are Mentors.

      Mentors share their expertise openly, but more importantly they share an attitude of “can do” and “you can do, too.” In that sense, they are all about “community,” but that’s “small-c” community, and not specifically, or not only, the “SAP Community” platform.

      I invite you to have a look at https://www.sap.com/community/about/mentors-program.html for a quick overview of the SAP Mentor program, and that qualities that make one a Mentor.

      Cheers,
      Matt

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  19. Bjoern Goerke

    Thanks for the kind words, Bill.

    As you already stated, the community has always been vital to SAP’s customer-focused approach, and we are thankful for what the community has added to our customers’, our partners’ and with that also SAP’s success over the years.

    Thomas and I are committed to working with the community – and our Mentors in particular – to not only get SAP Community back to being the thriving enterprise community it was not too long ago but also carry it to new heights for the future.

    We will put the power back into the hands of those who made the SAP community so valuable and great in the first place: the community itself. We will fix the currently known and much complained about issues with the Community platform, and we will also work with the community to figure out how to do things better going forward. So we’ll observe, learn, improve – and repeat.

    Thomas Grassl and his developer relations team have been very active in driving engagement with the technology community to date. I am delighted Thomas and team will expand their focus to SAP Community as a whole.

    “The greatness of a community is most accurately measured by the compassionate actions of its members.” [Coretta Scott King]

    Björn

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    1. Former Member

      Good to see a change in a direction.

      What had made the community great was that there was something for every SAP community member. Techie stuff is great, but there are more species in the community than “just” developers.

      Would be also nice to see a return to the sub-communities. Tags are cool, and search is wonderful, nevertheless if there would be the option (again :)) to be able to focus on a subset of information rather than sorting thru all material, I would take that option any time.

      eric

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    2. Teuku Faruq

      Hello Björn,

      My honest feedback:

      1. There is no way to change my email once you sign up. Is this policy or technical issue?
      2. Your UX has so many useless white space and sometimes the blogs arent printer friendly. Perhaps https://lawsofux.com ?
      3. Offline engagement. It is good to have good online platform, but dont forget the “offline” part. There are lots of meetup in my city related to programming, big data, poem etc. But none on SAP. Is there anyway SCN help this?

      I might be wrong and looking forward for the improvement!! All the best 🙂

       

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      1. Jelena Perfiljeva

        I’m not Björn but let me fill in some info on this:

        1. There is no way to change my email once you sign up. Is this policy or technical issue?

        This is a stupidity that I very much hope (or rather expect at this point) to be fixed eventually. As Colleen Hebbert already commented here, resolving login and authentication issues should be a priority. For more info, you might want to start with this blog and search SCN for many other posts on the subject.

             3. Offline engagement. […]

        It depends on a scope. As a global website, I feel it’s just not the best platform to organize a local event, for example. Other social media, personal contacts and designated websites like, well, Meetup would be more suitable for that. I looked up meetups where I live and was also surprised there was no SAP activity whatsoever. But you know what it means? We just need to organize something. Ourselves. Not wait for SAP or SCN or someone else. As a matter of fact, I’m trying to get something started in our area (now that ASUG dropped the ball with our annual meeting). I’ll see how it goes and maybe post a blog about my experience. Or maybe you’ll beat me to it and post first about your event? Let’s make it a contest. 🙂

         

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  20. Matt Pollicove

    Very happy to see that SAP Management is actively involved with supporting the SCN platform.

    I can’t say that I love all of the changes, but cannot fault the community and it’s management for their unflagging efforts spent in making the community everything it can be! I’m grateful for the opportunity to help as a moderator not only for the space that I moderate but for all of SAP.

    Looking forward to the next chapters!

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  21. Ivan Femia

    This blog post is really great, after the #sitwdf interview between Thomas Grassl and Malin Linden, we can see a real commitment to the community reborn.

    So excited, I slowed down my contributions on SCN since few years, but I feel a new passion to return active on SCN (or should I say SDN)

     

     

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  22. Jarret Pazahanick

    One thing to note, is 7 months ago the community heard that Former Member was going to start fixing things

     

    https://blogs.sap.com/2017/07/05/my-next-challenge-head-of-sap-community/

    and before that Malin Liden and many others.

    Now that there is leadership comittment (guess there wasn’t before or budget) lets all bookmark this blog and see what major things have changed in the next 6,9,12 months as that will determine if the “crown jewel” can be resuscitated. If there is not massive improvements to usability, user experience, consolidated ID’s, detailed analytics for contributors and several other things (not coming to mind) than my guess is no.

    Will be curious if there will continue to be a SuccessFactors community as my take is that one community makes sense especially given the breadth of offerings that most SAP customers have.

    On a side, I added a few quotes to this article where I talk about execution being the key.

    https://www.theregister.co.uk/2018/01/17/sap_boss_promises_more_love_for_community_network_after_pressure_from_users/

     

     

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    1. Michelle Crapo

      That blog would have been really cool on the SCN platform.    Sending more people back this way.   I think that will help along with the changes.     🙂

      Thanks for the mention.

      Michelle

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  23. Paul Hardy

    I owe a great deal to the SCN as it was before (and there were two iterations before the current one)

    Posting blogs on the SCN brought me to the attention of SAP Press, hence enabling me to publish books on SAP, and also most likely greatly helped in getting me nominated as an SAP mentor. In addition there was something i could use at work being published almost every week. I like to think i was giving as good as i got in that regard.

    That said, when the current version of the SCN went live it was, as Jelana said, like an extinction event that destroyed all the people and left the buildings intact. The lack of email notifications for the first year was a killer, amongst other things.

    Things have got better, very slowly but surely. Things have not yet recovered to before the change, but they will get there. As mentioned above things were not perfect before either.

    The most important point, mentioned many times in the comments, was the linking of the community and the commercial sites of SAP, under the 1DX initiative, was an unmitigated disaster. It was always an insane idea, concocted by Jock McMad, the Mad Scotsman, winner of the all Scotland Madness competition 2016, who puts sandwiches in letter boxes without first putting a stamp on them.

    Now you have two bad things – the abstract problem of having to get into the community via a site that is really meant for marketing, and the technical problem that the SAP identity management cannot differentiate the two concepts, and so tries to log you into the SAP Support Portal (work) using your SCN “P” number (social) and naturally this fails. To make matters worse the box that appears when i log into the SAP Support Portal asks for your S number and password (twice). I then enter my S number and password (twice) and it says all good and then tries to log me in using my P number which naturally fails.

    The way around this is to use one browser for SCN and one for your daily work, but the whole thing is crazy, and derives directly from the idea of tightly linking two disparate things.

    In any event, if something is wrong with a ballroom, too many gorillas for example, you have to go to the top man to sort things out, and this is what is happening here, so this is an unqualified Good Thing.

    Cheersy Cheers

    Paul

     

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    1. Jerry Janda

      Don’t be so hard on poor Mad Jack McMad, Paul. He was a contender for January’s Member of the Month, but Jeremy Good was more deserving. (And, yes, I’m a huge Blackadder fan, although the only film references you’ll find in Jeremy’s interview are from “Wayne’s World” and “The Postman.” Go figure.)

      Speaking of the Member of the Month program, I’m so very happy to see many past recipients active here. (That includes you, Paul.) I’m also happy to read comments acknowledging how the SAP Community team has worked to make improvements and to keep members informed every step of the way. I think the spirit and drive have always been there on our side, but the new setup will help step things up.

      I’ve noticed the criticism here too, and despite how it may seem, we do listen and have listened. This change certainly demonstrates action. Now it’s time for results, and that is a common message throughout this thread. One of the nice things about the Member of the Month interviews — they recognize valuable contributors, who are never shy about providing feedback about the new platform. If you read Jeremy’s interview, you’ll see he is no exception. And that’s a good thing. The pervasive theme in those conversations — and in the comments here — isn’t just some cynical “this is bad!” dismissal. It’s more of a “this is bad, now let’s fix it!” sentiment. It makes me feel that SAP colleagues and community members alike will work toward the right SAP Community experience. I believe that’s been the case for many months, but this reorg puts us in a far better position.

      I’m sure members will continue to keep us honest, letting us know the good and the bad. Those are precisely the type of members the community needs…and the ones who tend to get recognized through Member of the Month. There’s never a shortage of candidates, even if, in retrospect, I should have vetted Mad Jack McMad more closely.

      I think 2018 is gonna be a good year for SAP Community.

      –Jerry

       

      (7) 
      1. Bartosz Jarkowski

        I think if there were a requirement that MoM doesn’t publish negative feedback about the platform, the MoM program would finish already due to lack of candidates 🙂

        The problem is that SAP doesn’t make the things easier for us. Every few months there is a blog about reinforcement and how SAP Community is important, but then we get small corrections where everyone expects something BIG!

        When things are going OK and we can see progress in the development suddenly the idea place was replaced – and the new one is almost impossible to use.

        We all can see yours (and the entire team!) hard work and we really appreciate it. I’m happy with every single improvement. But it’s difficult to enjoy @mentions, if you have to keep two browsers open 🙂

         

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  24. Former Member

    Nice to see a re-invigorating post about the role the community plays. In my more than a decade long SAP career, the community has been a place to learn, to get over a tricky issue with a piece of ABAP and to find out how other colleagues across the globe have solved problems using this technology and with this technology..

    With the pace of changes at SAP, there is now more a need to learn and the avalanche of blogs and posts from experts, enthusiasts and novices have kept us engaged as well as dis-engaged – disengaged at times, because not all topics were available for us to put into practice – for eg: a blog on Blockchain is good – but will be practically useful if I am working on the subject.  If the needle tilts the other way, the member may get more and more disengaged.. A personalized experience like Linkedin or an FB probably will be good idea as well to help us follow our topics of interest..

    I would like to see the earlier rigour of problem solving come back and wish we continue to be guided by the great mentors and the insightful blogs the community posts.

    (1) 
    1. Loren Schmidt

      As a long-time SAP configurator, business process integrator, and now internal ‘innovation’ researcher, my main use of SDN/SCN has been mainly as you’ve described. I use it to research or collaborate on specific issues or problems.  The blogs and entry screen to SCN are ok; but, I tend to skip over items there. My entry point to SCN is typically directly to a specific topic that is a result of a google or OSS search.  I’d like to see a navigation route from the entry page to specific interest areas instead of just seeing the most recent or most popular blogs.

      This would be similar to my other main  community type of resource is the ASUG community, where you can subscribe or join specific interest areas.  Interestingly, one of my few uses of LinkedIn for collaboration is for a specific SAP community in my area of interest. It would seem to make sense for that community to be housed on SCN instead of LinkedIn.

      As others have mentioned, I’m curious how the new SCN will provide increased value to my ongoing SAP

      (1) 
  25. Minh Tri Nguyen

     

    Whilst Google, IBM or Microsoft have been connecting and promoting their technology platform to the universities world wide by Google for Education, IBM Watson University Program or Mocrosoft Student Partner Program, I have been missing the cooperation between SAP community and SAP University Alliance.

    Technical University of Munich has been hosting the SAP systems for SAP University Alliance since decades, however the majority of students in computer science faculty just know SAP by name.

    I am wondering, why SAP is generally not able to attract young people anymore and how SAP is going to change the situation actually.

    It might be the time to open SAP community for both techies and non-techies, and cooperate with SAP University Alliance to sponsor NGOs such as CodeDojo, and meetup groups in terms of IoT, AI etc. in order to win more young members, especially females for community in the future.

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  26. Former Member

    As I tentatively apply digital pen to digital paper I am reminded of the Led Zeppelin song Rock and Roll:

    It’s been a long time since I rock and rolled
    It’s been a long time since I did the Stroll
    Oh let me get it back let me get it back
    Let me get it back baby where I come from

    OK – let’s not get too dewy-eyed.

    BIll’s stake in the ground is remarkable. I cannot recall a tech CEO who has so clearly listened to people and topics to the point where the detail of this post resonates so well and reflects the many things that back-channel conversations have surfaced over time.

    The SAP community being what it is, it will look to Bill to deliver – or at least be the front man a la Robert Plant, with Bjoern providing the song sheet a la Jimmy Page…do I see Thomas as John Bonham…??

    But all sad 70’s rocker metaphors aside, I want to address one thing – marketing…or rather the business user.

    I’m pretty sure most here will know that the way apps are bought and used has changed and that the business user has a much more prominent role than in the past. That’s OK. In fact we have an entire site dedicated to that fact.

    But then SAP is the home of the ‘kingmakers,’ the devs who serve the princes, kings and queens.

    How can those communities come together in an inclusive manner?

    It’s not easy but it is do-able. Heck, Craig Cmehil got me to a hack back in the day that became part of my personal journey to get alongside (some) developer types and many of the Mentors. It changed my thinking.

    My view is that just like SAP creates technical roadmaps which are shared (among other places) in SCN, business users need a similar thing.

    That could be the start of solving for everyone in the never-ending geek v suit story that Marilyn Pratt was so keen to overcome.

    To the marketing thing, in particular, I’d say this: everyone buys and uses differently. While in the U.S. I discovered that business people LIKE to be sold to. Not so much elsewhere. But equally, there is a marketing inevitability in presenting content on new or fresh topics. That should be recognized as a good thing when done well.

    There is so much going on (I won’t drop all the buzzwords – you all known them) SAP would be crazy NOT to throw ‘stuff’ out to the community. But execution quality is always the challenge. Here, I think Timo is on point.

    To the topic of customers – I’ve advocated for walking, talking customer stories since 1995 and today, about 15% of our content are customer stories. I like to surface at least one such every day for our email readers.

    But…the marketing people will understand this –

    1. Getting customers to speak in anything other than glowing terms is hard – they have careers too.
    2. Getting customers to speak authentically is an art form – not everyone can extract that voice in a non-harmful way.
    3. Explaining challenges in a way that points to upside requires skill. Few people have that.
    4. Talking in the language of the industry really works – but how many times do we match expertise and knowledge?

    That’ll do for the moment. There is much more of course and I need to get back to the day job…

    I wish the team well – this is a pivotal moment.

    (4) 
  27. Julian Phillips

    Over the years with each new redesign, its seemed harder and harder to find what I’m looking for (I work as a development architect for an SAP Customer). I was discussing this with a colleague only a few weeks ago, and he used to be a regular blogger back in the Heyday of SDN. There have been some good changes, but it really seems the community postings have been hidden behind the marketing message, and I think its a really positive thing to see SAP recognising this at a senior level. Also ABAP has been consistently down prioritized – both on Teched and on SDN, and I think that will cost participation, as the vast bulk of SDN developers are ABAPers!

     

    (1) 
    1. Christopher Solomon

      TWO things it seems it became……as you said, marketing noise avalanche……and “first level support” for some pretty sleazy outfits out there…forums became flooded with new users that NEVER contribute (or signed up that day) with names like “SAP PAYROLL” or “PORTAL TEAM” and would just ask “question on behalf of client” things over and over. *IF* they got an answer…..no “thanks”….no “correct answered” rewarded….nothing….just gone. After seeing that over and over and over ……AND OVER….. I just lost the motivation to help any of them….I don’t even respond now unless the user looks legit. Really hope the NEW SCN will get rid of the noise at both ends!

       

      (2) 
  28. Roland Bouman

    Well, it’s good news, but the proof of the pudding, and all that.

    With regard to pudding: is there any chance this change of direction will also make TechEd more open to community speakers? It has been a pretty frustrating experience to see invitations and Cfs for TechEd, only to see it result in a very low level of pretty marginal, low key sessions.

    Opening up TechEd to more and longer community speakers would make TechEd a much more valuable event.

    Thanks in advance,

    Roland Bouman

    (2) 
      1. Roland Bouman

        Hi Christopher,

        I’m sorry – I didn’t realize “SAP Community” is literally only the platform. If that is indeed the case, then indeed my comment is not appropriate. But at the same time, it highlights a situation I find problematic and which I do not recognize with other vendors and products: to me, community is literally the people that are loosely united by their interest and practitioning of a certain domain or field. When I think of “community” I think of meetups, conferences, forums, blogs, hackathons, code sharing; all that. A broad range of things. How would one have to call that in a SAP context when “SAP Community” is a label that only refers to a blog/forum site?

        (3) 
        1. Christopher Solomon

          ahhh there in lies the problem!!!!…..trying to direct people to all these “little” SAP communities is as hard as getting everyone together on SCN……Aside from just understanding all the many SAP products/solutions (and those groups trying to stay on the same page), you have the SAP learning/education folks, events team (ie. TechEd and SAPphire and more), SCN folks (the ones that keep the platform going), SuccessFactors community (and partner portal), university alliance, and many MANY more. It is quite overwhelming when you look at ALL the groups they have….and groups within groups and such. It reminds me of when I see or hear people say “I want to learn SAP” hahahaha

           

          (2) 
          1. Roland Bouman

            Ok.

            Now we’re passed this, I’m confused:

            The SAP Community team, do they or don’t they have a stake in the community (as in, people: developers, consultants – usually from non-SAP companies that work with SAP) that visits TechEd, or is the SAP Community team only about the website (blogs/forums)?

            The way I see it, managing the community (as in, the developers/consultants) involves activities that include the community website, but also conferences where the community attends and participates. Is that not one team?

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        2. Jelena Perfiljeva

          That’s why SCN should’ve never been renamed as “SAP Community”. It’s ambiguous and confusing.

          Regarding TechEd speakers: not sure what are the specific expectations but we can take this discussion offline with the Mentors. Feel free to reach out to me directly (email in the profile).

          Thank you.

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  29. Mark Wagener

    Nice to see that this topic made it to the top. Saw the announcement at #sitWDF a week ago. Check out the recording

    I hope that there will be more Events like #sit and #CodeJam…and I really appreciate the SCN as a source of knowledge and place for exchange.

    @Bill McDermott Sometimes I have made the experience that you get better help and advice here rather than at SAP support. For smaller and medium sized companies who are not part of Hypercare and EarlyAdopter programms this is sometimes the only way to get help with new products and their “theeting problem”.

    I wish that SAP listens more to what people have to say at SCN… as you are also a part of the community!

    (2) 
  30. Michael Eaton

    I am pleased to hear this.

    I was once a very active member of the SAP Community forums, discussing and answering questions on BI, Data Services, analytics and HANA, but when the new platform was rolled out, it ended my participation.  I think Bill McDermott ‘s comment of “eroded some of the participation” is an understatement.  Many knowledgeable community members stopped participating, and I don’t think it  was intentional, the platform just didn’t support the community.

    I hope to participate again.

    (4) 
    1. Yogesh Patel

      Hello Michael Eaton,

      It’s great sadness to see that you ended your participation with new rollout of SAP Community website. New rollout intention was not to not make community members leave.

      I have question for you that – Why to give-up easily on something which you like to do? You could give feedbacks to Community team to make it great.

      Let me count you in to make this platform great and better again.

      Cheers,

      Yogesh

       

      (2) 
  31. Andy Silvey

     

    Dear Bill McDermott

    SCN should have private forums for all of the layers of the SAP organization in Customer companies.

    Historically and today, SCN is mostly dominated by techies, developers and administrators.

    We need to get all layers of the SAP organization at Customer companies to be active on the SCN.
    The higher we go in the Customer organisations the less people will be inclined to publicly discuss their subjects, but we can follow Gartner’s example, they have a private forum for CIO’s and CTO’s by invitation only….  http://www.gartner.com/researchboard/
    At SAP Customers, there are many layers of Roles involved in the ERP/SAP area, from the CIO down to the Developer or Basis Admin.
    There are ERP/SAP Directors, All kinds of Functional, Business, Technical Managers and Team Managers, Architects across the three domains and leads and these people are not active on the SCN.
    Imagine if SAP could get these people, and the peers from the layers at other SAP customers to be active on the SCN in their own private forums.
    Imagine mapping typical Customer’s ERP organization Org Charts to the SAP Org Charts and then
    creating private (Jam perhaps) forums for all layers of the Customers and Partners organisations to
    interact with SAP organization.
    How cool would that be for SAP ? Have would all of the right people in the right place, from a sales targeting perspective it would be like shooting fish in a barrel, instead of SAP being at Sapphire and hoping to hook leads from customers, instead in the SCN SAP would have silo’s of leads and their peers from the other customers.
    SAP could then match these different layers from the Customer organisations to SAP’s own employees who have corresponding responsibility, hierarchy
    Everybody would benefit
    Andy.
    (3) 
  32. Tim Chang

     

    I think no one bothered to ask what users liked in the old SCN when they re-designed it.  A lot of frequent contributors had to “approved”, and the whole gamefication of contributions was very nice in the old system.

    I used to be a Silver SCN contributor and all that status did not carry over into the new system.  Contributors had to start all over from scratch.  I can imagine the pain for all those in the higher Gold SCN contributors above me. I remain optimistic and hope to resume contributions if  positive changes are made.

    (2) 
    1. Caroleigh Deneen

      HI Tim, Thank you for your input on gamification. We’re still committed to the community gamification and reputation program and will be rolling out its new remaining elements as the foundational situation improves.

      The changes to the planned program were made with user input and will offer a more sophisticated approach that I think address some of the negative issues that went along with the former PBL (points, badges and leaderboard) approach. We do offer each member’s legacy reputation points, levels and badges in their profile to help, but unfortunately, the longer than expected gap has made it harder to transition the program.

      This was published before the launch, but gives an overview what is planned, and highlights some of the members of our reputation advisory board who helped shape the program: https://blogs.sap.com/2016/05/10/reputation-program-reloaded/

      I can’t wait!

      (1) 
      1. Mark Wagener

        Hi Caroleigh,

        I also wish that the gamification process will be improved and updated. It seems like there are a lot of status / badges which cannot be reached anymore.

        Moreover I received a notification saying:

        Congratulations! Your blogging level was upgraded from blog contributor to blog author.

        …but I am not able to see this anywhere…kind of disappointing!

        Best regards,

        Mark

        (0) 
        1. Caroleigh Deneen

          Hi Mark, Thanks for sharing you input, I am glad you are looking forward to the return of missions, I am too!

          When you say you don’t see the Congratulations notice anymore, can you clarify? That’s a one time notification triggered when you have two blogs successfully reviewed and published by moderators (congratulations!) Do you mean you wish you had it recognized with a badge as well?

          (1) 
          1. Mark Wagener

            To be honest, that’s what I I thought it will be  (recognition as a badge).

            This made me just browse the badge overview again. This time I also noticed the word “retired” in it 😉 which made me have a look at what’s coming soon! While writing the answer to you I browsed some links to get deeper into the topic.

            I had to laugh when I saw “What’s coming next” and “What’s coming soon”. Finally I (found and) read your blog Missions – Timeout, Not Game Over. Since it was written almost 1 year ago (or 10+month) I would answer your final question (“We invite you to share your opinions here and check in as you start to see signs that play should resume.”) with “NOW IT IS THE TIME!!!!!!” 😉

            To sum it all up it’s lots of different sites, information and systems at this time. I am really looking forward to change!

            Thanks for your very fast answer. It’s much appreciated!

            Best regards from Dusseldorf, Germany!

            Mark

            (0) 
            1. Caroleigh Deneen

              Thank you for your enthusiasm! As you read, the prioritization of gamification, missions and recognition shifted after launch for the reasons outlined in the blog. Stay tuned for an update in the context of overall 2018 plans.

              (1) 
  33. Damir Majer

    Hi Bill McDermott,

    I think it’s good, that the community theme is discussed in SAP management. A big round of applause!

    It was a pity that this medium actually turned away from its target group. Even though many from SAP and their users were active during this dry period, I believe it is very important to look ahead.

    Everyone can contribute here and I can only hope that this will also be used by many SAP users.

    Personally I will continue to host and promote SAP Community Events, such as the SAP Inside Tracks or the ABAP CodeRetreat format.

    Greetings,

    Damir

    (1) 
  34. Simone Milesi

    i’m just a little cog here around, many heavy weights i reckon and follow already voiced and pointed out my own feelings, but the poor Jerry Janda and Caroleigh Deneen  (to name two) knows i’m one of the most… noisy one.

    i really hope the community will be back soon, i miss it.

    i miss “loosing” time reading blogs and answers, gaining a bit more knowledge each time.

    i miss trying to help for the little i can here.

    i miss the challenge to find a solution for a problem someone is facing.

    At the moment, i’m just frustrated into searching something interesting (and i found this blog almost 20 days later it has been posted!).
    It’s demotivating.
    But, like an hopeless lover betrayed over and over, i give another chance to the SAP Community.

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  35. Former Member

     

    First of all , a big round of applause for the TEAM who migrate SAP community from SCN to SDN & then to SAP.com.

    I don’t fully agree that the SAP community voice had been diminished but want to tell you that the way this community grows has been changed. In this regards my points are below:-

    SAP Learning Hub(SLH):- Now SLH is a growing community with almost all SAP material available online, learning rooms, Live access to sessions and many more. Earlier SAP community members put the same in discussion forum if they have any doubt. Now they just login and get the details from SLH. So this decreased the number of discussions on sap community forum.

    Fast Service Support from SAP for Product bugs :- In recent time the response time for any OSS raised has been fast* compared to 8-9 years back. Previously whenever I have any issue I raised an incident in Service Market Place (SMP) as well as at the same time raised an incident in SCN/SDN discussion forum. Believe me I got first response from SCN/SDN & many scenario resolve the issue before SAP replied in OSS. FYI, recently SAP introduce “Expert chat” option, I see a lot of potential on that feature as well. So this improvement or new SAP features decreased at-least some discussion topics from community.

    Growing SAP Community: – SAP team in YouTube in different groups like SAP Channel, SAP HANA academy, SAP Technology, SAPTV provides lots of details about new technology which helps a lot to the community. Numbers of WhatsApp groups within SAP Consultants having healthy discussions. Even SAP sent informative information about new technology, important SAP Note details in your WhatsApp number if you register your number with them.

    Twitter & SIT effect: – You can’t ignore the twitter discussions within SAP Mentors, Questions Answer sessions, Tweets from Mentors and the success of local grassroots community like SAP Inside Track (SIT). These two have a big community now .

    To summaries, in last 10 years, we see that SAP is no longer a product based ERP company. It jumps into RDBMS sector with HANA & then acquisitions of BOBJ, SuccessFactors etc. which has different community. My point here is that previously in scn/sdn we have found mostly** related to hardcore ERP minds. Now we have mix of minds with ERP, DB, Reporting, BI etc. I am sure the migration process is going on to merge those mix minds within this sap.com community.

    (0) 
    1. Jelena Perfiljeva

      Rafikul, “SAP Community” in that context was only the former SDN/SCN website/platform. It was not about the whole SAP ecosphere. It seems you’re using “community” in a broad sense in this comment since none of those places are part of former SCN. They are part of sap.com or SAP community (lowercase) in general but they are not the same as “SAP Community” here.

      Once again, this highlights that ambiguous “SAP Community” is a very poor name choice as SDN/SCN successor. But maybe we can have yet another reboot and change the name as well. After all, changing names every few years is soooo SAP. 🙂

      (1) 
      1. Former Member

        Thanks for Reply Jelena.

        SAP Inside track (SIT), SAP Learning Hub, SAP YouTube channel, Twitter SAP Chat Q&A session, SAP Facebook groups, WhatsApp SAP groups, SAP JAM, SAP partner-edge, these all are very recent developed platform where SAP community ( at least some ) gather and share knowledge, discuss SAP technology topic. I hardly remember that when SDN was in place I used any one of these platforms. In that context I just say that now a days apart from so called SDN or SCN or sap.com there are many other platform where SAP community member participate. So responsible team should take some steps so that all discussions take place in one platform that is sap.com.

        Changing name will help if we have some features to attract more community members to this platform.

        Thank You.

        Regards

         

         

        (0) 
  36. Former Member

    Dear Mr. McDermott,

    Thanks for the Blog Sharing and to all Comments.

     

    As a SAP_SCM Expert, I have found topics on WM And / Or EWM a little misleading on SAP SDN and/or SAP Community. Please try to KEEP the re-organization as Simple as possible, with Short data or topics which are needed. (Based on K.I.S.S.)

     

    As for SAP One Shop, there are advantages & Disadvantage’s. For example, we as an ECO Partners may enjoy the Platform, to market for our Services. But on the same time, most SAP One Customers will prefer to collaborate, with big SAP Partners that later on will find for them the Sub-Contract like us. Here is the current model:

    (Customer needs Consulting Services –> Global/Gold SAP-Partner –> ECO Partner Or Freelance SAP-Contract –> Service Provided on Customer Site –> Payment in +30 Days!! –> Payment Received in Minos 15-35% from original Customer Payment !!! )

     

    The Model above is not efficient in my perspective as an Expert SAP Consultant. We all would like to keep it Simple like direct contracting, without being 3P Service Providers of other Bigger SAP Global/Gold Partner !!

     

    David Lev-Ari,

    Executive Director – DMLA GES GmbH, Berlin_DE

    DMLA Global Enterprise Services in SCM & Logistics Execution

    SAP Logistics Consultant | SAP WM & EWM Expert | Executive Management

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  37. Former Member

    I really appreciate the enthusiasm for the community that Bill stated above. But case in point, after a hundred well thought out comments by community members here responding directly to Bill for over a month, why has he not responded to any of them?

    (1) 
      1. Shai Sinai

        For the matter of fact, I did miss the update regarding New blogs/questions in tags I follow.

        However, I’m still missing notifications of new comments in blogs I follow (or, even better, in blogs with tags I follow).

         

        (0) 

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