Skip to Content

I guess I need to start off with a little about myself before I go into why I am taking the time to say hello. My name is Craig Cmehil (shhh-may-hill), I know tough last name and although many of you know me I can only imagine many of you do not. So who am I?

I’ve applied a lot of labels to myself over the years and wore many hats around the SAP and technology worlds. Recently I had a chance to take a deep hard look at myself though and make some determinations, some decisions about what part of me, made me who I am…

In 2003 I stepped into the SAP world and by pure serendipity SAP at the time was venturing into the world of online communities. For me the community changed my world, if not for the community at the time and my ability to get the help I needed to understand exactly what this “SAP” thing was I probably would have gone back to my web application world. As the fates would have it though I truly found my home in the SAP community (SAP Developer Network – SDN) and was able to sink my teeth into SAP tech.

I made many friends, and was enabled to showcase my abilities time and time again through opportunities that the community provided. From speaking at a “community day” in Walldorf to taking part in BoF (Birds of a Feather) sessions at SAP TechEd. For me, coming from a background in the web and former BBS world this was home. This was a chance to get involved and to make a mark.

I like to think that I made a solid mark, or at least Mark thought so and with that – my contributions, my passion and enthusiasm lead to my joining SAP as a “Community Evangelist” focusing on the developer community. From there I dove head first into the community world looking to find those folks with the same passion I considered myself having and more importantly hoping to enable them as I had been enabled.

I had several great opportunities presented to me such as managing and running the SDN Clubhouse at SAP TechEd to the Hacker Night and the first ever Innovation Weekend (later to be known as the SAP InnoJam) or the first Cluetrain! Not to mention the DemoJam itself or who could forget Nanomonk with RedMonk and Adobe!

From there I moved into the world of Technology Strategy, then global communications with the world famous SAP Blogger Relations program. This was followed by a short stint in the outside world to better understand the startup communities then back to SAP to work on my passion once again with SAP Developer Relations where I created the SAP CodeJam program. It was a chance for me to work once again with Thomas and it’s been an amazing ride these past 6 years as we’ve brought developers to a focal point at SAP.

At the beginning of this year Thomas took on both the SAP Community and SAP Mentor programs. Which brings me to why I are taking the time to tell you a little about myself and my background. I’ve been an active user of the various SAP community areas since the start and now have 765 blog posts, 10 archived documents, 83 archived discussions and 11 answers. 

My roots being in the community and the SAP Mentors led to a unique opportunity.

 

As of just a week ago I agreed to take on the challenge of Community & Influencers with the SAP Developer & Community Relations organisation. It is both my pleasure and my honour to now lead the newly reconnected teams focused on enabling those wishing to explore SAP technologies and share their experiences and knowledge as well as those SAP recognises to help offer us guidance and feedback on our technologies and strategies.

I have no intention of making a list of “these are the wonderful great things we are planning or going to do”, instead I want to make you a promise. That is, I will do everything in my ability to bring opportunities to the community to participate, contribute and engage. I will work with our product teams to increase engagement and to get answers to you faster and I will work with our partners to encourage participation and engagement. Together we can make amazing things happen and only together will be successful.

I am open and available via Twitter (@ccmehil) or email and I want to hear ideas and suggestions. To be honest though I am less interested in feature and functionality ideas – we have a list already, your feedback has not been ignored nor forgotten. What I really want to know though is what does our community want in terms of opportunities made available to them?

I will be holding sessions going forward for open discussions and feedback; these will happen both virtually and physically and as I am in Palo Alto this week if there is an interest I will hold a physical session here at the Labs office to talk about both the Community and Influencer programs — transparency is a key element to a successful community, one that requires balance. So if the desire is there then let me know with your comments below and we can make the first session happen already this week.

I look forward to hearing your thoughts and sharing with you as we start to make new opportunities available, join us on the next chapter in our community and influencer journey!

To report this post you need to login first.

40 Comments

You must be Logged on to comment or reply to a post.

  1. Christopher Solomon

    WHOA!!!! Big and GREAT news!!! I can say I have known you pretty much all along the journey, so I know you will excel once more. With SAP putting you in this role, THIS is  what really solidifies it for me that SAP is truly “all in” in getting the community back! Looking forward to watching you do your thang! =)

     

    (3) 
  2. Mark Finnern

    Congratulations! So happy for you!

    Your post is quite the walk down memory lane. I have always admired your passion and relentless drive around all things SAP community. Can’t wait to see what you make with this new opportunity. Looks like you do the right first step and truly listen to the many wise voices of the community even the soft ones.

    Really happy that you will make it to the Bay Area Stammtisch tonight too 🙂

    (4) 
  3. Denis Konovalov

    If “feature and functionality” is not allowing users to see the content being shared or be able to reply – then all other “things” are irrelevant since users will simply stop using such platform/place.

    (3) 
  4. Henrique Pinto

    Right man for the job! It’s not an easy one, though, so good luck!

    I hope to see the community back on its track, maybe it will respark the contribution flame in me (and others who have stopped contributing in SCN along the way).

    (2) 
  5. Bjoern Goerke

    Hello, my name is Björn and I am really pleased to read this blog. You have my full backing Craig. Participate – Contribute – Engage – I like it!

    (10) 
  6. Nigel James

    The first time I emailed you it bounced because I spelled your last name incorrectly.

    Congratulations and all the best in your new role.

    (3) 
  7. Colleen Hebbert

    Hi Craig

     

    To be honest though I am less interested in feature and functionality ideas – we have a list already, your feedback has not been ignored nor forgotten. What I really want to know though is what does our community want in terms of opportunities made available to them?

     

    I can only answer what I want but hope others within community feel the same way:

     

    I want the opportunity to connect with other SAP professionals: be it to learn something new; intellectual debate of best approach; share a global private joke; empathise and commiserate with the challenges of our day; and anything else.

     

    I want the opportunity to identify expertise when evaluating solutions: to trust the content will not cause negative consequences in my customers systems or create a career limiting move for me. I worry GDPR legislation is going to create a headache when quite a few blog authors become previous members.

     

    I want the opportunity to discover: identify new people; different products; alternative solution to better myself.

     

    I want the opportunity to be inspired: see what SAP technology can do (without it being a sales pitch); understand the people who make it all happen; be wowed with that whisper-how-cool-is-that-not-realising-people-can-actually-hear-me; and want to be part of it and make it better.

     

    I tend to share random thoughts without filter. A few regular community members know what can happen and before you know it a bunch of people are at a conference with a stuffed toy. When the ‘new community’ was first launched I recall writing a bunch of “what-if” and “wouldn’t it be cool if”. And yes, they were mostly functionality, but gee wouldn’t it be nice if this platform delivered us better content discovery and recommendations; that allowed us to personalise the front page for our needs instead of top x topics that will in some way mention HANA.

     

    But alas, I’m happy if I get a reasonable response time when I try to load a community site ☹

     

    Looking forward to seeing what comes next for the Community site and community as a whole

     

    Regards

    Colleen

     

    (12) 
  8. Florian Henninger

    Hi Craig,

    thank you for not promising anything. That is the right way to go. As I can see above Björn also joined the conversation. So it should be possible to make progress.

    First question: At Teched we saw the “newly” structure and the promise it will be “soon” available. What happened to the “soon”.

    ~Florian

    (3) 
  9. Jose Erickson

    Congratulations teacher / professor Craig. A real mentor. I really enjoyed the privilege to have Mr. Craig here in Germany in one of those hands on workshop he used to do around the world.

     

    (1) 
  10. Frank Koehntopp

    Hi Craig,

    you now have people thanking you for not promising anything – I think that’s the very definition of “made it!” 😉

     

    Seriously – the right person for the right job – congrats!

    (3) 
  11. Mark Wagener

    Hi Craig,

    wish you a lot of success in your new job! I would be happy to see much more community events. I have already attended an SAP Inside Track session in Walldorf. I did not make it to a CodeJam, yet. They could be more frequently and closer to my location (Düsseldorf, NRW, Germany).

    If it would not come with the necessity of using an airplane, I would come to your meeting this week! I wish there were also Community Meetings for e.g. Ariba. Also, it would be nice, if the Ariba Team engages themselves here more frequently!

    Michelle Crapo curious on your opinion and ideas!

    Cheers,

    Mark

    (2) 
  12. Michelle Crapo

    First congratulations!  I’m practically jumping up and down!  This is such great news!  I hope more people congratulate you – you deserve it.  I also hope they add their wish list.

    I believe more than one person would say honestly that you are their personal inspiration.  Me – I’m one of those people.  Their is more technical information in your head than mine could handle without exploding.

    I haven’t been keeping track of the community very well lately.  (Thank you Mark)   I’m really excited, and looking forward to the:

    “It is both my pleasure and my honor to now lead the newly reconnected teams focused on enabling those wishing to explore SAP technologies and share their experiences and knowledge as well as those SAP recognizes to help offer us guidance and feedback on our technologies and strategies.”

    Oh boy that’s a big paragraph….

    So I’ll add my wish list:

    • Ability to rant again…  (Still do it – just not with the right tags)
    • New technology without the marketing – just honest opinions
    • Old technology – S/4 and R/3 are both still here.   We can’t forget about R/3 friends.  There is some “new” technology that will help with old issues.  I’ve actually have seen more people start to participate and share the old things.
    • On-premise as well as on the cloud – sometimes there is a cross over.
    • MORE! More fun things.  SIT are amazing.  It’s just getting the time and people together to make it happen.  Perhaps completely virtual SIT?  It could be interesting.  This is more towards others too.
    • Ha! Now I’m laughing.  Technical only.   How about technical focus. It’s pretty cool to play with new toys. But we do have to think about where/how they could help.  I know, I know, lately we haven’t gotten enough development stuff.  And I’m pretty exited to hear it is coming back.
    • I want blogs back with a bunch of comments.  Already a success there. A lot of comments here.
    • I want people to answer more questions.  Yes, technical ones. It would be a plus if they can answer without making the person feeling bad about asking it. But I’ve done that before too.  It’s a balance to achieve.
    • I want more technical people back.
    • MMMmm…  I want to know what I want.   You know – you don’t know what you want until you hear/see it.
    • I want…  Well I want a lot…

    I hope more people congratulate you and add what they want.  I’m guessing you’ll find a lot of the same things.

    No pressure – nope no pressure at all,

    Michelle

    (4) 
  13. Moya Watson

    Great to see you 🙂

    Given your retrospective I just had a nice think back to the days of eventtrack! You have always been a pioneer, Craig — glad you are pioneering around this neighborhood again!

     

    all the best!

    (1) 
  14. Fausto Motter

    Hi! Well, you asked for ideas. Here we go: SCN Quest.

    And If…
    we provide the opportunity for members work in some research and innovation projects?

    I believe that we can increase the collaborative and “community” concepts, bringing new users and incentive the participation in community when we give an opportunity to our members be close to a group of colleagues that are working and researching in a similar topic. Maybe something like be a part an collaborative design thinking session…

    How it works? For example:

    1. Publish the research challenges to the community.
    2. Open the call to the participants with the scope of each team member
    3. Recruit volunteers, and make a great communication action to value people and engage participants
    4. Begin the proof-of-concept stage. So that people are motivated, and the challenges are brief, weekly updates of the activities and tasks that are being performed, nominally, by each member of the group.
    5. Publish the result, both in demos and in community blogs.
    6. Eventually, reward once a year the best project, or best work group.

    Why do this?

    • For our customers
      • Be aware about the newest solutions and possibilities
      • Why not, they can participate the challenge briefing process
    • For our ecosystem
      • Reinforce the belonging feeling for Community members.
      • Reinforce the collaborative innovation process (this is a jewel that is hidden in our community)
      • Reinforce the training and solution knowledge
      • Reinforce the SCN message that it is reference for innovation and technical content
      • Reinforce the community members as a protagonist and evangelist of new tech and features

    This is only an “idea” and should be lapidated if the community believe that make sense. But I think that our community, as a team and a big orchestra, could do a magic if we create a scalable and collaborative research projects.

    On time, thank you for your openness. And, have fun in your new job.
    FM

    (5) 
  15. Douglas Cezar Kuchler

     

    Hi Craig,

     

    Congratulations on your new role!

    The SAP Community is a key part of the success of lots of SAP customers, partners and also individual people.

    Because there are lots of great people in the Community who are interested and willing in sharing knowledge, many others have the chance to onboard themselves to the SAP world simply by coming here and learning from others. I’ve made it myself lots of times and it helped my career a lot. Now I want to give back and I think this must be a never-ending process so the Community will perpetuate itself.

     

    I have written a comment on another blog post where you had been interviewed for the Coffee Corner Radio podcast and I share some really nice experiences I had with the community in the last few months. Please, take a look if you can: https://blogs.sap.com/2018/05/31/third-episode-of-the-coffee-corner-radio-the-unofficial-sap-community-podcast-is-out/comment-page-1/#comment-426161

     

    Regards,

    Douglas

    (1) 
  16. Joachim Rees

    Hi Craig,

    there is no general excitement from my side, I’ll just see what happens (and – like I have in the past – do my part when I see fit).

    I hope SAP Community leader-type positions aren’t poisoned apples nowadays?

    But of course all the best for your new role!

    (I want to express low/no expectations but honest good wishes – sorry in case this sound otherwise!)

     

    best

    Joachim

    (1) 
  17. Craig Cmehil
    Post author

    As a follow up, https://blogs.sap.com/2018/06/29/whose-who-who-can-help/ thank you so far for the conversations! I appreciate the interactions.

    (0) 
  18. Fred Verheul

    Belated congratulations Craig Cmehil and good luck in the new role.

    When you asked about what we’d want as community members, I couldn’t think of anything specific, but I just had a thought: wouldn’t it be great if SAPTechEd would again become more of the real-life equivalent of the community instead of ‘only’ (or mostly) a learning opportunity?

    Aka: please bring back the community Clubhouse and pretty please: make a serious effort this year, as opposed to last year, when the community booth (and Mentor booth etc) were at the very end of the showfloor, hidden behind all SAP and partner stands. That didn’t really work IMO.

    Thanks in advance, Fred

    (1) 
    1. Craig Cmehil
      Post author

      Hey Fred Verheul thank you! I can’t share too many details yet but I can assure you that there are several new items in the works for SAP TechEd this year. In fact I just did some videos this past week in Walldorf for some of the things and we are getting the details sorted now to be able to make some announcements. One or two may even make some folks do a “what? they did what?” 😉

      (1) 
    2. Gregory Misiorek

      Hi Fred and Craig,

      Good suggestion about the community and let me append my 2 cents to the bottom of this thread. I would expand on that and have more of a learning or hands-on community event like a Code Jam (thanks John for bringing it up). It may also be known outside of SAP world as a hackathon. Anybody can join (and walk-ins a welcome) and have them throw silly ideas into the mix and work and play in a less of a classroom-like way. I still remember my first one in Berlin in 2010 and that was ‘a lot of fun’, esp with one fellow jumping in with his twitter in ABAP ‘silly idea’.

      Going into a room with assigned workstations and have an instructor take you through a series of steps feels a bit regimented, especially when working with experimental (beta?) technologies and not those already in support.

      Good luck with re-kindling the SAP ecosystem community spirit!

      thx, greg

       

       

      (1) 
  19. Rob Dielemans

    Tardy congratulations  Craig, somehow this news passed my radar. Best of luck and I hope SAP also gave you some executive power with the job cause I think you’ll gonna need it.

    Cheers, Rob Dielemans.

    (1) 

Leave a Reply