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SAP Community Network…rebooting…

There’s been a some traction in SAP-land regarding the SAP Community Network this month. And for once, it’s not necessarily negative or even ‘meh’. What happened? SAP CEO Bill McDermott re-iterated his support to strengthening the struggling SAP Community Network; announcing new leadership and focus based on his comments on Michele Crapo’s LinkedIn blog in late 2017. As a SAP Mentor and long-time SCN contributor, I was heartened to see Bill publicly put his word on the line. And frankly, I was pretty happy to see SCN moved under Bjoern Goerke’s organization and then thrilled to read that Thomas Grassl would be involved, as well. I consider Thomas a friend and know that he is truly passionate about building up a strong SAP developer ecosystem.

For those who may worry about the whole ‘development’ focus, I would take the ‘developer’ title and loosely apply it. Thomas and I have had many discussions over the years around what we each think constitutes a developer and I believe that he doesn’t really limit that distinction to just those who code ABAP, UI5, or may know what Git is. There are many, many Community members who aren’t developers in the ‘push/pull/commit’ category. Are users who write SQL to place in a Crystal Report Command Object not developing? What about folks who write BEx queries?

Those who think themselves as only ‘end users’: you should benefit from a re-invigorated SCN, too. To me, it always seemed that as when the developers were engaging, the ‘end users’ were more comfortable to speak up. At this point, you now had users helping users directly, talking about issues and how to make their lives easier. When the entire community is engaged, you now have an effective and non-trivial feedback loop to SAP.

I look forward to a re-energized and engaged SAP Mentor Program, too. While I’m honored to be a SAP Mentor and thrilled to have the Mentors recognized directly by Bill, there’s work for us to do, too. The entire community will be watching the Mentors, seeing if we lead the way. If we do not, then I feel that then it may be time to retire the initiative and start fresh. As my career progresses and I add other vendor tools to my SAP wheelhouse, I have yet to be introduced to a program as dynamic and influential as the Mentors. It would be a shame to lose the Community’s spokespeople, but if there was something new to take its place in a reborn SCN that continued the same traditions; then it should be considered. But if the Mentors lead the way and are successful, then long live the SAP Mentors!

There are a LOT of good comments on Bill’s blog- partly reminiscences of a time gone by, others requests of what a rebooted SCN portal should have. My opinion is simply this: information needs to be easier to find, relevant and TOGETHER! Long-time SCN users remember the days of ‘Spaces’ and a central ‘Start’ page that tied them together. SCN needs to feel relevant again, but without the marketing fluff and ‘Asking for a client’ nonsense. How do we get there and what does it look like? This should make for some FUN discussions, both internal and external to SAP.

I will also admit that my contributions to SCN have greatly diminished. I am one of those who have become disillusioned by the changes and had the same response as a lot of others: stop participating. I am excited by the possibility of ‘coming home’ to a revitalized and reenergized SAP Community. I would hope that others share my excitement and can use this as a call to action to bring others. Communities like SCN only grow organically. And like a garden, growth will take time and some fertilizer. But I have not been this excited about anything SCN-related in a long time…and that’s a good thing.

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  • Well said, Derek.

    I’d like to respond to this comment directly: “information needs to be easier to find, relevant and TOGETHER! Long-time SCN users remember the days of ‘Spaces’ and a central ‘Start’ page that tied them together.”

    We couldn’t agree more. These are common complaints, and improvements to usability (including the home page) are top priorities. Within these changes, you’ll see a move back toward a concept similar to Spaces.(To get a better sense of what I mean, please see “On the Topic of Tag pages,” a blog post from Oliver Kohl. )

    My colleague Jamie Cantrell and Oliver demonstrated the new SAP Community user experience at SAP TechEd, and we hope to share more within the community soon.

    With these updates coming, I hope you will indeed come home.


    P.S. I took the liberty of adding “using” as a secondary tag — as this is the tag we frequently use in posts about SAP Community.


  • Hey Derek,

    nice blog! Already when I read the title, I liked it very much: “rebooting…”

    That’s what you do when your PC behaves strange, things sometimes just don’t work, and so on. Like in our community lately…
    Often, a reboot helps! (or in German: “Reboot, tut gut!”)

    So, as many others, I too see the positive vibes around right now, and hope things turn out well. (I do my part by still regularly visiting and engaging somehow, and just lately I wrote another blog).



  • Reboot – I love it.   The common support answer to almost EVERYTHING is reboot.    I’ll be waiting for all the changes.   I hope they are celebrated, blogged about, and if they are big changes explained.   🙂

    Hoping for the best,


  • Agreed, and I agree we need not worry that under Thomas Grassl the SAP Community will have “too much” developer focus. It will have a community focus, and developers are a huge part of that, but so are those who configure, consult on, and support business functions.

    I would go on to say it’s not just about those who write SQL queries or BEX queries, either. If you spend your time mastering and managing the Payroll function (which can include some very “developer”-like activities in the time and payroll schemas!), then the Community is for you. If you’re a maestro of Procurement and all things SRM/Ariba/MM, then the Community is for you. If nobody configures a financial year-end close like you do, then you should be writing about that in the Community.

    And, while we’re on the subject, it’s not just about consultants, either! I often see it here, that many think the SAP Community is only for consultants, and nothing could be farther from the truth! Certainly there are many consultants here, and we couldn’t do without them — we’re a better Community for them — but many from customer IT organizations are here as well, and probably even some power users from “customer” business units.

    We’re all in this together, and we all need each other.

    So let’s REBOOT! And no, that doesn’t mean the application of shoe leather to the side of the computer case…. 😉

    Thank you, Derek.

  • Thanks everyone for commenting…happy to see positive discussion, forward momentum and some good, old ‘Did you try turning it off and back on’ troubleshooting!!

  • I often feel (we) inside the the SAP ecosystem take the term “Developer” too narrow and often when I mentioned developer immediately folks are thinking of the C++ coder in front of a debugger.

    For me developers are more the “creators”, who take any tool, any framework and put something together which helps someone else. Developers want to build something which helps them or others.

    In the SAP Community we have many members which consider themselves as technical (or developers) but also members who want to learn about technology and best practices in HR, Finance, Sales, …

    The main focus is to connect people and help them collaborate around common interests, questions and topics


    I’ve been in the SAP world since 2004 and much of my professional development happened through the community, learning with the questions, answers, and blogs.

    I think that one of the best parts of the community was the gamification with points and rewards. I think that lots and lots of people used these systems as a kind of portfolio of their careers, showcasing how much they were knowledgeable about any particular topics.

    Also, I think that the old badges were incredibly important for similar reasons. Because besides going to SAP TechEd, organizing and speaking at SIT events, it was really fun and kind of challenging, or self-challenging, to accumulate those badges and it was a sign of pride (in the good sense) for many people.

    So I would like to suggest that these features of the community come back! I think it will greatly increase adoption and interest amongst lots of people, especially people building their careers and reputations on the SAP world.