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SAP Jam Bridges Systems and Processes by Promoting Social Collaboration Among Users


Editor's note: This article by Stephen Hamrick, Senior Director of Product Management at SAP, is reproduced from the Oct-Nov-Dec 2014 issue of SAPinsider (SAPinsiderOnline.com) with permission from its publisher, WIS Publishing. Read the entire special report on social collaboration at SAPinsiderOnline.com.


steve_hamrick.pngCarl Sagan once wrote, “If you wish to make an apple pie from scratch, you must first invent the universe.”[1] Sagan alludes to the fact that even simple actions require major foundational elements to be in place. In business, many companies are at some stage of setting up a social collaboration program to help employees achieve better efficiency and meet goals. Establishing such an initiative might feel like creating an entire universe, but with SAP Jam, we’ve made it as simple as baking pie.


For any employee, completing a given business activity requires quick, real-time access to business data with the proper context. Imagine you are a salesperson preparing to talk to a long-time customer about a new opportunity. Before visiting the customer, you’d want to know key customer relationship management (CRM)-related information such as other open opportunities, service requests, and escalations. You’d also want to know more information beyond what is typically stored in a CRM application, including key conversations and presentations. You might even want to bring together everyone in the company who works on the account, regardless of their role.


Unfortunately, gathering all of this information can be time consuming or not even possible without access to certain data and systems. This is where SAP Jam comes in.


A Bridge Between Systems and Processes


SAP Jam builds a bridge to any existing business application via an open data (OData) protocol, giving companies further agility when integrating their business applications with SAP Jam. The OData format provides key information about business records that SAP Jam can natively understand, such as how records like accounts, opportunities, contacts, and service request records in SAP CRM or orders, invoices, and quotation records in SAP ERP systems relate to one another. Having direct access to the business data makes it easy for organizations to build customized line-of-business or industry-specific collaboration-driven processes, known in SAP Jam as work patterns (see Figure 1).




The recipe for creating effective work patterns is simple:


  1. Using a simple web-based admin console, configure a set of service end points to let SAP Jam know where to access the data and what kinds of data will be used in work patterns, such as a list of items from an inventory application matching a certain part number.
  2. Build work pattern templates that create user-customizable, loose structures around the data via a drag-and-drop designer.
  3. Associate the work pattern templates with specific types of business records. When users want to interact with a given business record from within the SAP Jam experience, they will be intelligently advised which collaborative process they should use. SAP Jam will allow them to start a new workspace based on that process that includes key social and collaborative capabilities, such as pro vs. con tables, surveys, or shared checklists, to make the process run faster and more consistently.


By performing these tasks, companies can transform their existing formal business processes with new collaborative tools and capabilities from SAP Jam that allow their employees to complete work faster with fewer errors and better results. Let’s take a deeper look at what companies can do with SAP Jam.


Deliver the SAP Jam Experience Anywhere


Note: To make implementing SAP Jam easier, SAP has released the SAP Jam developer program, aimed at improving IT’s ability to respond to the needs of the business by allowing an even deeper level of access and visibility to key process data within the social collaboration environment.


For more information about the developer program, visit http://scn.sap.com/docs/DOC-55050.

To ensure that collaboration is available when and where people need it, you can now port pieces of the SAP Jam experience to any application — desktop or mobile, SAP or third-party, on premise or cloud, and in any development language. This includes application programming interfaces (APIs) and JavaScript components that can be added to any business application, giving users the ability to bridge multiple business systems without forcing users from other departments or functions to use the same transactional business application. For example, a sales user working in an SAP Business Suite application, such as SAP CRM, can collaborate and problem-solve with another user in a completely different department, such as research and development or IT, who doesn’t typically use SAP CRM on a daily basis, but can provide key insight and information on how to resolve service requests or build a winning customer opportunity strategy.


Leveraging open standards supports keeping the development environment and tooling completely open and agnostic — any developer, using any platform or language, can build an OData-compatible interface with which SAP Jam can communicate. SAP Jam provides a real-time, secure connection. This ensures that a user can only see and interact with business records that he or she has access to see, even down to an individual data field level.


Browse, Explore, and Display Data Directly in SAP Jam


Another new capability in SAP Jam is the ability to browse the records that users can access. Developers do not have to bring the SAP Jam user experience into their existing application, which is useful for solutions that have a modifiable user interface.


In the SAP Jam home feed, users see updates and changes from the business records and groups that they are following. A business user might want to post and highlight several service ticket records to a single group dedicated to managing ticket escalations for a product or service, for example. This SAP Jam group could contain all the ticket data, content that was generated in response to the escalation such as diagrams and drawings, and conversations among experts trying to resolve the issue.


Organize and Focus Your Business Collaboration


While feeds and updates can help simplify certain tasks, the majority of businesspeople do not want to work solely through processes using these capabilities. Conversations and commentary around a single update or business record do not materially improve the business process, and users want more than just a news feed of what happened.


To address this challenge, company administrators can now develop group templates that include structure for important aspects such as business tools to focus on solving problems or moving through a given process, or recommendations on the placement or use of key business data on overview pages or in groups.


Group templates can be associated with specific data types from the OData-based connections that a company administrator configures. SAP Jam can recommend a specific work pattern or group template when a user encounters this particular type of business record. This recommendation can be made in the SAP Jam user experience or the user’s native business application.


Giving Users What They Need


SAP Jam helps take the stress out of everyday work by giving businesspeople the flexibility and capabilities they need to get their work done faster. By giving IT the easily extensible foundation they need, we’ve made the process of transforming your business as easy as pie. For more information, visit http://www.sap.com/jam or http://help.sap.com/sapjam.


[1] Carl Sagan, Cosmos. New York: Random House, 1980, pg. 218.


Follow SAP Social Software on Twitter: @SAPSocial

Thank you to our customers on SAP Jam's 2nd birthday!


It’s been just two action-packed years since the launch of SAP Jam.  Since then, we’ve grown to more than 15 million subscribers globally, delivered more than 7500 innovations to market in 9 quarterly releases, engaged over 80 of our customers directly in our ongoing Customer Advisory Group to help us drive our strategy, and added 16 analyst rankings as a leading collaboration vendor, including today’s announcement as a leader in The IDC MarketScape: Worldwide  Enterprise Social Networks 2014 Vendor Assessment, doc #252332, November 2014.


The SAP Jam team is honored to have been involved in this truly amazing journey with our customers and look forward to our ongoing co-innovation together in employing collaboration as a catalyst for driving change in our organizations.  We are extremely pleased and humbled to have been positioned as a leader in the IDC MarketScape for the enterprise social networking market and we believe our co-innovation approach with customers has been the foundation for achieving this.


Additionally, we’ve also had the opportunity to introduce many ‘market-first’ innovations and milestones:


  • October 2012 - First Socialized Work Processes:  SAP introduced the first social business processes to market to enable people to collaborate when and where they work with collaborative opportunity management, social onboarding, and social learning.

  • May 2013 - Fastest Growing Business Collaboration Solution: Just 7 months after launch of the product, SAP Jam became the fastest growing business collaboration platform in the market and the fastest growing solution at SAP.

  • October 2013 - First Work Patterns (With Real Time Data)SAP introduced a completely new approach to work that takes advantage of pre-built social processes that bring together everything needed to get work done – people, data, content, problem solving, and processes to enable highly repeatable work.  Work patterns take advantage of market-first technology to integrate your business data directly into where you are collaborating to help you make decisions faster.

  • May 2014 - First Fully Customizable Work Patterns and In-Application/In-Context Collaboration:  SAP introduced the SAP Jam developer program to customize existing work patterns to your specific business processes or to build your own.  Integrate with SAP applications and data or third party applications with OData and ABAP APIs.

  • 2015 - Stay tuned.  More to come!  As we move ahead, our goal is to continue to drive change and innovation in collaboration with our customers and partners to ensure that social collaboration is available when and where needed to drive real business results, both today and as work changes.

Video:  What's Your Work Pattern?  Transform the Way Your Work With SAP Jam



See the press release:  SAP Fuels New Era of Social Collaboration to Transform Work

Learn how customers are taking advantage of SAP Jam:  SAP Jam Customers In the News

Read more about our partners and the SAP Jam developer program

View and excerpt of the IDC MarketScape for Enterprise Social Networks, 2014

Read about the November 2014 product release of SAP Jam:  From "Good" to "Incredible" and What's New in SAP Jam

Two years after the launch of SAP Jam, its customers are showing up all over the news. With more than 15 million subscribers, it’s now being used across a wide variety of business and industries. Here’s a cross-section of recent stories about how organizations are using SAP Jam to improve collaboration within business processes like sales, service, marketing, and human resources.


TELUS Uses SAP Jam as "Glue" in Corporate Culture Transformation

In IT Business, Brian Jackson writes that TELUS, a Canadian telecommunications firm, rolled out SAP Jam to 22,000 employees. Dan Pontefract, the chief envisioner of the TELUS transformation office, says SAP Jam has become “the systemic social glue that ties the organization together.”


Is SAP Jam Where Enterprise Social is Headed?

The director of human resources at the Village of Schaumburg, Illinois, says that SAP Jam has virtually replaced email for their 650 employees – in part, because it’s easier to request feedback in SAP Jam than by email. “We wanted it to be the one place that people knew where to go for all the information they needed through their work days to be efficient.”



Incorporating Social

Texas-based Brookshire Grocery Company chose SAP Jam to complement its social learning activities. Brookshire’s VP of training and change management says the company plans to rebrand it as BGC Connect and use it for initiatives like its female manager networking forum, as well as for project teams, where it will make it easier to solicit feedback from store managers.



Making Social Media Work - At Work

The CEO of Synergium, a translation company based in Lithuania, says SAP Jam has become a tool for communication about complex projects.


SAP Jam: Ready for Enterprise Collaboration

Itaricon, a consulting company based in Germany, uses SAP Jam to facilitate collaboration around data stored in their CRM system – to make it more efficient to sell and create proposals.


Failure Must Be an Option

In a personal blog, an employee of TELUS writes that a year after consolidating their social tools into SAP Jam as the company’s single collaborative platform, 75% of the organization has accessed it, and they’ve reduced total cost of ownership and support resources needed.


How the San Jose Sharks Organization is Using SAP Jam to Improve Collaboration

In this video recorded at SAPPHIRE NOW, San Jose Sharks COO John Tortora talks about how SAP Jam has helped his organization tackle the challenge of cross-departmental communication and how it allows them to share key information and make better connections.



San Jose Sharks Win Over Employees with Social Software

Sharks Sports & Entertainment wanted a social platform that would help keep its employees updated and foster a sense of community – and that would make it easier for its marketing team to collaborate with business partners and associates.


Video: The New SAP Jam Developer Program

Martin Wanitschke from Itaricon Management Consulting explains how a social collaboration solution like SAP Jam – with work patterns that pull in opportunity details directly from their CRM – can help speed up processes in Itaricon’s sales organization.


Telecommunications Company Unites Global Workforce with SAP Jam

In this video, Darrin Whitney, CIO of GENBAND, says the company’s management team immediately saw the value of SAP Jam. “It’s a strategic enabler for us – from a business standpoint internally, and externally to our customers.”



Genband Brings in SAP Jam, Keeps Workers Connected

GENBAND, a Texas-based telecommunications company, turned to SAP Jam to help its globally distributed workforce come together and collaborate, to help experienced employees share their knowledge with newcomers, and to help it connect with channel partners and outside contractors.


Reshape Processes Today to Design for Tomorrow

Three SAP Jam partners – World Sales Solutions, T-Systems Multimedia Solutions, and EnterpriseJungle – are using the SAP Jam developer program to extend SAP Jam to support departmental and industry-specific needs.


The Born Again CIO

The CIO of Kaeser Kompressoren says that SAP’s cloud solutions help his organization integrate its partners and SAP processes, allowing them to share information and gather insight from across the business. Kaeser uses SAP Jam to improve collaboration and capture innovation inside and outside the company.



What do Treatment Plants, Leather Furniture, and Luxury Cars Have in Common?

Kaeser Compressors, a compressed air systems and services company in Germany, uses SAP Jam with SAP CRM powered by SAP HANA to scrutinize sales process lifecycles, including lead management, requirements analysis, solution planning, and solution implementation.

Welcome to the new SAP Jam – release 1411. This release of SAP Jam is probably our biggest and most ambitious ever, encompassing many new features, a new user interface, and lots of customer-requested enhancements.


This posting will cover the highlights of the following topics:

  • SAP Jam’s new user interface: fresh and modern, yet familiar
  • New integration with Microsoft Lync for real-time presence, unified communications, and instant messaging
  • New CMIS integrations for SAP Extended ECM by OpenText and OpenText Content Server
  • New stand-alone SAP Jam mobile app
  • Minor features




For more information about what's in this release, be sure to visit the SAP Jam site: SAP Jam – SAP Help Portal Page  and review our release notes and user guides.



SAP Jam’s new user interface: fresh and modern, yet familiar

With this release, SAP Jam is getting a newly refreshed user interface that was designed with the following design goals:

  • Visually more modern
  • Easier to use
  • Easier to complete common tasks and activities
  • More accessible
  • More content “above the fold”


The obvious changes

sap jam release 1411 feed sample.pngSome of the changes are more obvious: The top header is smaller and now persists as you scroll down the page, and the screen real estate that SAP Jam is designed for is now wider (39% wider), so we've made the viewport on overview pages wider, and we've also moved the recommendation tiles to the right sidebar. But don't worry, overview page layouts won’t change – they are still made of up content blocks (widgets) that can be 1 to 3 blocks per row, the blocks themselves now being wider to take advantage of the additional screen size.  If the SAP Jam window is resized, things will automatically resize down and even hide the right sidebar so that the primary content area will have sufficient space available.


The subtle changes

Some user interface changes aren’t as obvious – fonts are larger, where possible: We’ve made things easier to read and we’ve made extensive accessibility improvements to accommodate screen readers. In other cases, we’ve moved functionality so that it’s easier to find. Help is now prominently displayed at the top right of the screen, along with the notifications, messages, and task count. The “your name” name menu is now a configuration icon.



A friendlier SAP Jam makes it easy to learn how to use

New user tips, 01 (1411).png

Even though SAP Jam is already easy to use, we've made it even better for new group admins by including a new “page designer tips” that appears the first time you edit an overview page. This kind of helpful information is just the beginning - there’s also tool tips on graphic elements (which helps accessibility).


If you're a group admin and you haven’t yet discovered the power of the page designer for your overview pages, we’ve added a great way for you to give it try. Upgrade your wiki-based overview pages to a page-designer page with the upgrade converter, and SAP Jam will copy your content to a new page-designer page and will try its best to maintain the content. Look for more tips, hints, and useful instructions to come in future releases.

Prioritize how you read your feed

As far as feed functionality, we’re introducing new filtering capabilities directly within the feed to make it easier for you to prioritize what you see.  The first thing you typically do when you log into SAP Jam is see your feed, but what if you want to see the feed activity from specific people or specific group?  You can do that now with personal custom filters.


Share activities between groups

share post, 03, shared post (1411).pngWhen looking at feed posts, you can now share that activity to another group. This has been a popular request, particularly for executive communications that need to be distributed beyond the initial group they were posted to.   Rest assured, content security is still maintained – if I were to share a feed post that was referring to a document in a private group, people would only be able to read the feed post itself, and would only be able to see the content of the document if they were a member of the private group.  If you’re not a member of the private group the document lives in, you still won’t be able to view it – maintaining the security and privacy of the content itself.


New integration with Microsoft Lync for real-time presence, unified communications and instant messaging – no IT involvement required

hovercard.pngOver the past year, we’ve seen an increasing number of requests from customers about integrating with their unified communications and instant messaging system.  We’re happy to announce a great new integration with Microsoft® Lync®, which is easy for your IT departments to deploy – it requires no IT involvement or integration! As long as you have Microsoft Windows, Microsoft Lync, and Microsoft Office installed, you should be all set.


When you see a user mentioned in SAP Jam, in a group, in a feed post, or in their profile, you can mouse-over the person to display a hover card. The hover cards will now include real-time presence information from Lync. Then, if you click the presence icon (the green light in the picture), the Lync client’s quick action menu will appear, giving you one-click access to IM, calls, and email. Please refer to the release notes for compatibility and system requirements.


New CMIS integrations for SAP Extended ECM by OpenText and OpenText Content Server


In addition to our previous content management and CMIS integrations, we’re happy to announce two new content management integrations – SAP Extended ECM by OpenText and OpenText Content Server.  Identical in functionality to the prior integrations, once connected to a specific SAP Jam group, users can view, comment on, and download documents from within SAP Jam – without having to be on the company network or even VPN.


These integrations join the previously released integrations, bringing the total to five:  Microsoft SharePoint, Microsoft Office 365 SharePoint Online, Alfresco One, SAP Extended ECM, and OpenText Content Server.


New SAP Jam-optimized mobile app

Mobile, 02, Feed.PNG

You can now use SAP Jam via the SuccessFactors mobile app, which includes SAP Jam in it, or our new stand-alone mobile app for iOS.


The new mobile app supports all the functionality of the existing SuccessFactors app and also adds:

  • Interactive organization chart
  • Search all content types
  • Filtering by self @ mention and 5 most recent groups
  • Full support for external (guest) users
  • Expertise


Notable minor enhancements


As always, we’re always trying to think of ways to make things even easier in SAP Jam. Here’s what we’ve come up with for this release (be sure to review our release notes for a complete list; these are just the highlights).


  • Work patterns
    • The Order to Cash work pattern can now include delivery object data from SAP ERP central component (ECC).
  • Notifications
    • Email notifications. We’ve completely rewritten how email notifications work.  Non-urgent email notifications will now be content digests.  See the release notes for details. This will also be covered in the follow-up posting on usability.
    • In-SAP Jam “bell” notifications: @@notifications will no longer say “mentioned you” unless you are actually mentioned specifically.
  • UI in general
    • Global search filter to specific content types (before you search)
    • Drag and drop content when posting status updates
    • Changes to various UI elements to better support screen readers
    • Inter-SAP Jam links to content. When making status posts about content within SAP Jam (i.e. posting a URL to content within SAP Jam), those links will now be recognized, and a correct page preview will be displayed.
  • Overview pages
    • Save as draft, version control, and reversion to a prior version
    • Announce changes to overview pages in the same way as wiki pages
    • New widgets
      • The search widget allows you to add a search box to your overview page searching within your group.
      • The tag cloud widget displays the most popular tags used within your group, making it easy for people to discover relevant content.
      • The common actions widget is similar to the common actions on the feed, but is configurable by the group admin. The admin can specify the targets of certain actions – for example, “upload a document” can be configured to put documents in a specific folder; “ask a question” can put questions in a specific forum, etc.
  • Group management
    • Demote a group to a sub-group, promote a sub-group to a “regular” group and move sub-groups between groups
    • Change group types – public, private (even if they have sub-groups)
    • Common actions box on the feed of groups. Not all SAP Jam groups have overview pages, so to help group members decide what to do, we’ve added a new common actions box to the right sidebar
  • Forums
    • Save as draft and publish options
    • Edit posts
    • Change the topic type or name
    • Version control of posts
  • Tasks
    • Assign tasks to all group members, including pending members
    • Only the task creator can edit their own tasks
    • Task assignees can only update their respective task status
    • All tasks for me view (click the task icon at the top of the screen)

"Nothing in the world is worth having or worth doing unless it means effort, pain, difficulty..."

~Teddy Roosevelt, 26th US President

Incredible product experiences aren't born overnight

Incredible product experiences are not born in a laboratory by following strict process to arrive at some final, predictable state.  Incredible product experiences are the embodiment of the enthusiasm and passion of the people that built them, and the lengths that team behind them went to in order to get the experience just right.  And incredible product experiences are a journey of many steps, sometimes into new and unfamiliar territory.  This is true of all things that possess an enviable design quality.  They are familiar, intuitive, they evoke a deeply positive emotional response, and they are truly delightful to use.  And without question, they took trial, error, retrial, re-error, and lots of sleepless nights to get just right.  But incredible product experiences build customer loyalty, trust, and end-user satisfaction.  And in the modern world of cloud software, incredible product experiences drive end-user adoption and renewal, while driving down total cost of ownership and maintenance for both customers and the company that stands behind its products.

Introducing EvoUX: evolution with a little revolution

I am truly excited to introduce, on behalf of the entire SAP Jam development, user experience, and product management team, a highly evolved user experience -- code-named "EvoUX."

What we've managed to achieve with the recent November 20th, 2014 release of SAP Jam is truly an evolutionary step in the usability and user experience -- it is something that will instantly feel familiar, yet modern.  It is more aligned to the SAP design specifications for the SAP cloud portfolio, and introduces hundreds of significant improvements that we are sure our customers will love.

SAP Jam - EvoUX - Nov 20.png

Our customers guided us on this journey

Our customers and end-users were the driving force behind all the changes we designed.  Most teams spend months, if not years, trying to study and re-study design challenges.  With a tiger team of just 4 designers and product managers, we moved at lightning speed and managed to interview a total of over 20 customers and 80 end-users, including many in deep one-on-one sessions, in just 2 months.  We interviewed everyone from line of business leaders managing large teams, IT leaders managing large software deployments, to everyday business users who used the product as direct consumers.  We could not deliver the quantity and quality of improvements to the product were it not for our SAP Jam Customer Steering Group, which now includes over 100 customers with whom we meet on a quarterly basis.  They provide insight into every aspect of how the product is helping them reach their business goals, where their challenges are in adoption and usage, and where we could innovate with new capabilities aimed at solving business process challenges.  Thank you to each customer who spent time with us during this process to provide us with their insight and feedback.

No detail was too small to overlook

The level of attention to detail that went into each improvement in EvoUX was staggering and unprecedented in the history of releases we've done with SAP Jam.  Even the smallest details were reviewed, often over many successive iterations, and many important concepts were considered along the way, including:

  • We knew from talking to customers that SAP Jam is often used in conjunction with webinars and internal meetings, where a user is sharing a screen in front of an audience.  We made sure that each of the design improvements increased visibility and fidelity of the experience on a webinar. We also made sure that the same screens looked good when being projected using an overhead projector.
  • We made sure to look at readable line lengths, and we found that some of the original lengths of key lines, like feed updates, spanned too long and made the text difficult to read easily.
  • We made each individual feed post more readable by making it a visually distinct card, making the feed much easier to consume.
  • We added touches and elements of warmth and humanity -- including small things, like rounding out the profile pictures in feed updates and posts.
  • We made sure that common actions were easily accessible and visible, such as looking at tasks or accessing notifications.
  • We increased the size and prominence of the search box to make it easier for people to locate, and we fixed the header to the top of the page so that performing a search or accessing a common action did not require scrolling back to the top of the page.
  • We improved the visibility and functionality of feed filters -- some customers commented that they had no idea some of these features even existed in the product.
  • We made the page transition effect much smoother, with a softer fade in / fade out effect.
  • We flattened the user experience, and removed unnecessary and visually distracting dropped-shadows.
  • We made sure that we were consistently using easily readable fonts and font sizes.
  • We added lots of minor improvements, such as sharing a feed post between groups and moving groups to sub-Groups.

... Plus literally hundreds of additional considerations went into the changes and improvements, all aimed at making SAP Jam more intuitive, enjoyable to use, and requiring less training and support costs for our customers.

Nothing worth doing well is easy

These changes certainly did not come without a tremendous amount of work from everyone in the SAP Jam development, user experience, and product management team.  I wanted to recognize the extraordinary team effort required to make this release a success.  Without a doubt, all change is hard.  And changing an entire user experience, overhauling it with hundreds of usability improvements, is no small effort.  Most teams would buckle and crumble under the pressure to make this happen.  But I am proud to say that I have the pleasure of working with a group of extremely talented, enthusiastic, passionate, and skilled colleagues that evolved the user experience of an entire application in a single 3-month release.  And the result clearly shows in the incredible product experience we've developed.

Want to learn more?

If you'd like to learn more about the recent November update, please visit the SAP Jam Help Portal at http://help.sap.com/sapjam.  You'll find all the release notes, administrator guide, user guide, developer documentation, and mobile guide as well.

4 Critical Questions to Ask Before Beginning Your Journey


Editor's note: This article by Sameer Patel, Senior Vice President and General Manager for Enterprise Social Software at SAP, is reproduced from the Oct-Nov-Dec 2014 issue of SAPinsider (SAPinsiderOnline.com) with permission from its publisher, WIS Publishing. Read the entire special report on social collaboration at SAPinsiderOnline.com.


sameer_patel.pngWith more than 40 years of experience and investment in ERP- and e-commerce-enabled operational efficiency at their companies, business leaders have now entered a time in which entire industries are being digitally transformed.


Uber and Airbnb are fundamentally changing the definition of products in transportation and hospitality, for example, by creating a more efficient networked economy of sellers and buyers.


Digital businesses that have effectively built strong bonds with customers are now encroaching on the established market share in adjacent industries. Chinese internet retailer Alibaba, for instance, is repurposing its trusted digital relationships with millions of consumers to create Yu’e Bao, the second largest mutual fund in China, disrupting traditional banks’ revenue sources.


Digital transformation differs from previous innovation spurts. At its core are three elements:


1. Purpose-built networks of employees, customers, and partners collaborating to build and sell meaningful products

2. Real-time analytics that provide rapid optimization to improve the customer experience and drive margins

3. Radically more engaging experiences for customers enabled by sophisticated data analysis and micro-segmenting


How can established companies seize these digital transformation opportunities to lead their industries through today’s changes — and keep upstarts from threatening their business?


4 Critical Questions


"It’s not as simple as selecting siloed, cookie-cutter applications"

Organizations can look to technology to help foster change and improve efficiency. Technology platforms provide a plethora of functionality that enables companies to transform their businesses — but it’s not as simple as selecting siloed, cookie-cutter applications.


Rather, leaders should be asking four imperative questions before implementing any solution:


  1. How can I assemble the right people, data, processes, and content around each discrete task to drive customer, employee, and partner performance?
  2. What networks do I need to create or be a part of?
  3. Can my technology and vendor choices help me respond to shifting market needs over the next several years?
  4. In the face of emerging one-size-fits-all cloud solutions, how do I leverage the speed of the cloud but still differentiate my company from the competition?


SAP kept these questions in mind when thinking of ways to help our customers not only defend their turf, but take a leadership position as this new footprint for doing business emerges. In 2012, SAP began this journey by introducing SAP Jam — our flagship collaboration platform that creates networks for employees, partners, and customers to collaborate and co-innovate around core business processes. The platform also removes significant latency in how information and knowledge flow across demand and supply chains. Fifteen million subscribers later, SAP Jam is helping leading organizations create the needed network effects that accelerate performance across diverse channels.


Moving Forward


This year we commenced the next phase of helping organizations digitally transform by announcing the SAP Jam developer program. The developer platform is designed to help customers drive competitive differentiation and win in their markets. Integrated with SAP HANA Cloud Platform, SAP Jam now provides our customers with the agility and flexibility to customize and continually optimize how they bring together people, data, content, and processes to get work done and to transform how they operate and engage with customers and partners.


With the broadest set of cloud applications in the industry, a powerful foundation to extend these applications and build new ones on SAP HANA Cloud Platform, and leading networks such as Ariba and SAP Jam, SAP is in a unique position to help customers not only defend but lead in the coming age of transformation.


Follow SAP Social Software on Twitter: @SAPSocial


Editor's note: This article appeared in the Oct-Nov-Dec 2014 issue of insiderPROFILES (insiderPROFILESonline.com) and appears here with permission from WIS PUBLISHING.


Sameer Patel serves as Senior Vice President for SAP’s Enterprise Social and Collaborative Software business at SAP Cloud/SuccessFactors. With SAP Jam, he oversees products and go to market for one of the fastest-growing cloud products in SAP’s portfolio, now with more than 15 million subscribers. Patel, who joined SAP in early 2012, has more than 15 years of technology product leadership experience and has worked on collaboration and application technology with some of the largest organizations in the world.



sameer_patel.jpgQ: What is the direction of enterprise collaboration, and how does your experience help shape what SAP is doing in this space?


Enterprise collaboration is at a crossroads today. Customers are well aware of the adoption challenges with new social tools in the enterprise and so, the bar has been raised: for any collaboration technology to be considered a critical part of an organization’s business execution machinery, it must directly solve real business problems. Given what I’ve worked on throughout my career and what SAP has set out to do as it re-entered this category in 2012, this evolution in thinking about the value of collaboration makes it an especially exciting time for me. Looking back to when I researched the promise of collaboration and knowledge management for my master’s thesis, the expectation for collaboration was largely limited to moving files around between aging experts and new recruits as a way to retain organizational knowledge. Many of the theories were extremely uninspiring to me, and starting back then, I began to advocate that networks or clustering of experts would ultimately be much more powerful than features in a file-sharing application. And I’ve continued to do so today as you can see on my blog.


Thanks to consumer social media, today, organization leaders now see that collaboration is not about moving files around. Rather, they innately understand the power of network effects that come when human beings are connected around a topic or purpose, and are looking to understand how this applies to their employees, customers, and partners.


"Collaboration technology is finally headed swiftly toward solving for very purpose-built outcomes by bringing networks of experts, data, processes, and content together."

I feel that my 15 years of work in this area is coming full circle. As far as product strategy goes, if I sum up the primary role I’ve played over the last decade, it’s been to help organizational leaders strip out the complexity in how their employees, partners, and customers connect. Horizontal platforms such as collaboration and messaging are a white canvas. That’s mostly good because you can imagine your own use cases, but it also gives organizations the license to run amok and waste money building capabilities that don’t get used or require significant behavioral changes. My career, spent mostly with line-of-business leaders in the areas of sales, marketing, service, and the supply chain, as well as some very forward-thinking CIOs, trained me very early on to stay focused on operational trends and transformation opportunities versus trying to find problems to solve with shiny new technologies.


Collaboration technology is finally headed swiftly toward solving for very purpose-built outcomes by bringing networks of experts, data, processes, and content together. At SAP, we saw this over two years ago and have built for it, with SAP Jam. Today, we are lucky to be trusted by hundreds of customers and have a substantial offering that’s globally subscribed to by 15 million users.


Successful horizontal products and platforms will demand such business proficiency, and I am proud to say that we, as a team, live by this ethos. I’m also truly fortunate that the leadership at SAP, starting with our CEO, has been extremely supportive from the get-go. And other leaders, such as our CTO and founder of SuccessFactors, have played a big role in shaping this culture.


Q: How does innovation in collaboration technology relate to the big market trends that are on the minds of leaders today?


As far as market trends, the last few years have brought about rapid innovation in how organizations are using social and mobile technologies to build out networks of buyers and sellers in very unconventional ways. A CEO of a large global bank told me that his worry isn’t another global bank, but rather, he is concerned that new competitors will capture the mindshare and mobile screentime of millions of customers, such as Alibaba in China, which controls a majority of ecommerce transactions, or even Apple, which owns 40% of the world’s smartphone users.


Companies such as these have very agile methods to connect with their customers and create powerful networks amongst them. And just as importantly, employees of these organizations are highly networked internally so that they can keep up with their customers.


"Building well-networked organizations is at the center of this new way of doing business."

The potential and threat are well understood by incumbent businesses, but the technical barrier has been high-latency IT systems that were never designed to meet this need for networked capability and collaboration or easy exchange of information about products, solutions, and services. Today’s customers are informed consumers, often with fickle tastes. Organizations must deliver information about what they build or sell with the same speed and agility that customers have come to expect in the public realm. This means collaborating with customers with much more context, having the agility to learn and adjust business strategies as market conditions change, and being able to act and make decisions as fast as your customers and faster than your competitors.


This is the challenge and opportunity in front of our customers, and building well-networked organizations is at the center of this new way of doing business. I couldn’t be more excited and privileged to have this opportunity to help our customers, and we have everything in place here at SAP to help our customers win in this new economy.


Q: How do you see SAP advancing the enterprise collaboration space in the months ahead?


The market has moved beyond trying to build a social enterprise; that’s not the business SAP is in and frankly not what is keeping customers up at night. Now, we are looking at holistic digital transformation as the next wave that organizations are embracing. If one looks at the dotcom era as internet commerce changing the way we purchased goods and services, digital transformation extends this to actually transforming the very definition of a product and ultimately an industry, much like Uber fundamentally changed the idea of a taxi, and Airbnb changed the idea of a hotel room. These new upstarts are leveraging analytics to optimize the product and network effects to connect employees, buyers, and suppliers. Suddenly, social collaboration and networking with your customers and partners at every touch point must become an integral part of this transformation that you undertake in order to compete.


And so customers will expect that collaboration will be woven into the very fabric of their work canvas — their applications, networks, and devices. And given that SAP has the broadest set of business applications — and with Ariba, SAP Jam, and FieldGlass, three extremely high velocity networks — we are uniquely positioned to deliver a platform that drives transformation for our customers.


This is precisely why we developed and launched work patterns by SAP Jam that create personalized work experiences that bring the best of applications data, process, content, and people together in one contextual workspace. The idea is to help organizations adapt to this digital transformation with three fundamental types of capabilities:


  • Operational transformation work patterns to drive efficiency between employees
  • Ecosystem transformation work patterns to create new ways to connect with partners, customers, and suppliers
  • Industry transformation work patterns to differentiate and drive competitive advantage


Q: Can you provide an example of an organization you have worked with that is breaking out of the transactional mindset and beginning this transformation?


Let’s look at an example of operational transformation: One SAP customer is moving from selling air compression systems to selling compressed air to drive margins. Think about what needs to happen in order to transition from selling a machine to becoming a service provider where renewals and customer satisfaction are now more important than ever. Work patterns by SAP Jam enable the agility to do this by giving everyone who engages with the customer — sales, service, and marketing — a holistic view of all customer activity. So all of the sales data, customer information, service tickets, active marketing campaigns, and your network of experts, etc., it’s all consumed from your collaboration environment, instead of sitting in different siloes.


The work experience centers on truly satisfying and delighting the customer in every interaction as opposed to closing out transactions. This is a clear example of digitally transforming how sales, service, and marketing collaborate with each other and with the customer, but with minimal disruption to the existing technology landscape.


We have similar examples of customers looking at ecosystem transformation where most of their distributors or suppliers are not full-time employees, but they know more about the end customers or each component of the product than the customer. Our ecosystem transformation work patterns can be applied to more cohesively involve outsourced talent pools as if they were full-time employees, thereby significantly broadening the expertise base of the customer.


Q: What is the competitive differentiator in creating a contextual work experience?


"The domain expertise that customers bring to the table should not have to take a back seat just because they adopted cloud."

That question brings us to work patterns for industry transformation in SAP Jam, which is the biggest thing we’ve done since launching SAP Jam two years ago. The central idea here is that for an application to be transformative, a customer must be able to derive truly differentiated competitive advantage from it. Everyone understands the benefits of the cloud, but one of the central truths is that when all technology is deployed in the cloud, there will be little that differentiates one organization from another. SAP Jam, along with SAP HANA Cloud Platform, now allows customers to extend what we have done out of the box or to completely re-design their own work pattern to reflect either a unique way in which they work or to represent the process transformation they seek. Also, live data from any application, SAP or third-party, can now come into SAP Jam for a true 360-degree view of everything that an employee, customer, or partner needs to know.


The domain expertise that customers bring to the table should not have to take a back seat just because they adopted cloud. You can now have it both ways — benefit from cloud consumption but still apply your secret sauce that will let you win in your markets.


Q: What will the enterprise collaboration environment look like in the future?


One of the transformations on the horizon will likely be the very nature of business applications themselves. Applications will be network-first, and they will be about finding the right use case to engage your network, with processes or transactions serving to bolster this relationship as needed.


We’re already seeing this in consumer applications. If you look at Amazon, the catalog, the reviewer network, and the marketplace are what is front and center. The shopping cart button is hidden in a corner of the website. Our Ariba network powers many transactional capabilities, and SAP Jam along with SAP learning management systems bring the best of network-based peer-to-peer learning combined with formal training.


We will continue to look at the usefulness of business applications to complete transactions, but the network where your employees work, your customers engage, and you collaborate with suppliers will become the primary canvas where work gets done.


Q: Can you draw any parallels between your personal and professional interests?


I have been cooking for 18 years, ever since I left Mumbai. My time in the kitchen and on my workbench complement each other. To me, cooking, much like the pursuit of building and selling products that drive organizational performance, is more of a craft than an art. You always look for patterns, but no canned recipe ever produces the same results twice. No two ounces of coriander or legs of lamb are the same. Likewise, no two customer environments, opportunities, and appetites for transformation are the same.


On one hand, our customers need to embrace and feed off of inbuilt characteristics of good ingredients and so we ensure that our products are simple yet sophisticated and fast to deploy. And on the other hand, they need to know how to use additional flavors to enhance the experience to outdo the competition, and that’s where our platform lets them make the solution their own.

3 Examples of How the SAP Jam Developer Program Enables Business Transformation


Editor's note: This article by Holly Simmons, Vice President of Marketing for Social Software at SAP, is reproduced from the Oct-Nov-Dec 2014 issue of SAPinsider (SAPinsiderOnline.com) with permission from its publisher, WIS Publishing. Read the entire special report on social collaboration at SAPinsiderOnline.com.


holly_simmons.pngTransforming your business requires you to transform the way you work. That’s never easy — but it’s necessary for your business to remain relevant, agile, and competitive. SAP Jam provides a social collaboration platform to reshape processes today while helping you to design for tomorrow.


Every business has unique challenges and opportunities, and no solution is going to solve every problem on its own. This is where the SAP Jam developer program comes in. It’s designed to deliver the flexibility needed to customize work patterns, which are collaborative processes that bring together people, content, data, and applications; to integrate with other data and systems; and to extend SAP Jam to support departmental or industry-specific needs (see sidebar below). The SAP Jam developer program, available to customers and partners, provides the tools, approaches, and support needed to extend existing investments and to drive new revenue for customers, developers, and partners. See how three partners are delivering new business value through SAP Jam in this program.


World Sales Solutions: Building Partner Networks with SAP Jam

Launching new products such as automobiles is both exciting and challenging, especially when you consider the complexity of connecting a manufacturer with its dealer network. Launch success depends on full visibility; timely training and certification; as well as clear sales, marketing, and go-to-market execution (see Figure 1). World Sales Solutions (WSS) understands the manufacturer-to-dealer complexity as this services organization is regularly called on to assist manufacturing and service companies in making these necessary connections.


WSS relies on the SAP Jam developer program to provide its customers with a social collaboration platform that bridges the gap between manufacturers and dealers with a central hub that:


  • Brings together a company’s marketing, sales, service, and cross-team staff with external parties such as advertising agencies and key suppliers
  • Provides formal learning and certification using SuccessFactors Learning Management System (LMS) or SAP Learning Solution
  • Delivers informal learning (via SAP Jam) such as sales best practices among dealers or quick access to experts
  • Onboards new partners and employees expediently to ensure the shortest time to revenue by optimizing SAP Jam
  • Supports strategizing and decision making among the entire network for product innovation, including integration with SAP Customer Relationship Management (SAP CRM), SAP Cloud for Customer, or third-party innovation management systems
  • Enables coordination among the entire network for product or new service launches, including large-scale activities requiring visibility into events, tasks, and deliverables


The SAP Jam Developer Program:
Extend Existing Investments and Drive New Revenue



  • Develop work patterns (custom processes)
  • Add pre-built third-party apps


  • Bring SAP and third-party app data into SAP Jam with OData
  • Collaborate with documents from content management systems
  • Embed SAP Jam in your business apps


  • Build collaborative customer apps on SAP HANA Cloud Platform
  • Add capabilities with OpenSocial
  • Incorporate third-party capabilities (gamification, for example)

SAP Jam helps align companies with their partner networks to drive efficiencies that save time and money based on the volume and scalability of their network, boosting return on investment (ROI). To use auto manufacturing as an example, each dealer has the opportunity to access SAP Jam to engage with its local sales and service staff for receiving training, learning best practices, finding experts, keeping up with regulations, managing rollout of sales and marketing plans, and sharing feedback from customers.


“As a partner, the SAP Jam developer program presents market-first options for solving complex business problems such as enabling more successful automotive product launches,” says Richard Blumberg, President and CEO of WSS. “We can now create new work patterns or bring business data directly into SAP Jam from our customers’ existing SAP or third-party systems to support customer-specific processes. This has helped us position unique social collaboration services to our customers with a strong ROI.”


T-Systems Multimedia Solutions: Transforming Sales at Itaricon Management

Sometimes being a leader in technology means you spend a lot of time educating others. That’s what Ulf-Jost Kossol, Head of Social Business Technology at T-Systems Multimedia Solutions, has been doing in evangelizing how social collaboration can transform business. One of his customers, Martin Wanitschke, Head of Sales at Itaricon Management, shares the same passion and immediately embraced how social collaboration and work patterns from SAP Jam could help him quickly ramp up a new sales organization.


Wanitschke was interested in speeding up sales team assembly, driving faster decision making and turnaround on sales proposals, and improving visibility and access to the latest updates across the team. While Wanitschke was well acquainted with SAP applications and the SAP Jam work patterns for sales that integrate with SAP CRM and SAP Cloud for Customer out of the box, his company uses SugarCRM. Was it possible to take advantage of the existing sales work patterns with SugarCRM to address the goals for a more modern sales organization’s working experience?


SAP Jam is designed to integrate with any SAP or third-party business application using open standards such as OData. Kossol and Wanitschke were able to quickly implement the sales work patterns, bringing SugarCRM data directly into SAP Jam in real time (see Figure 2). Because SAP Jam knows the context of the business data, it can recommend work patterns to the sales executive based on where he or she is in the sales process.


“The SAP Jam developer program brings together all of the necessary elements to ensure that T-Systems Multimedia Solutions can transform any process across extremely diverse technology landscapes,” says Kossol.


Additionally, Wanitschke wanted sales users to be able to collaborate directly in SugarCRM so they could initiate deal rooms — functionality that allows salespeople to collaborate with external and internal participants — when entering a new opportunity. With SAP Jam widgets directly embedded into SugarCRM, his sales executives could collaborate whenever and wherever needed (see Figure 3). Lastly, Wanitschke’s team took advantage of the business object browser in SAP Jam to explore account, opportunity, or service ticket data for problem solving or updates.


EnterpriseJungle: Transforming Knowledge Sourcing and Team Building

Today an employee’s information resides in many places inside and outside of the organization, making it difficult to find the right people and expertise needed for project engagement, mentoring, informal learning, problem solving, or decision making.


EnterpriseJungle, an SAP partner and fast-growing startup focused on helping companies drive employee engagement to improve retention and business performance, believes that bringing social collaboration together with data and applications is necessary for driving the right kind of engagement that produces results.


The company’s debut extension, EnterpriseJungle for SuccessFactors solutions on SAP HANA Cloud Platform, works with the SuccessFactors solutions with integrations into other internal and external data sets. This team saw a great opportunity with the SAP Jam developer program to incorporate social and collaborative capabilities into extension applications to enable social discovery and knowledge extension. EnterpriseJungle developed its profiling and recommendation extension application to:


  • Allow users to push proactive content recommendations from across the enterprise with a way to act on them via the SuccessFactors homepage (see Figure 4)
  • Bring together data from LinkedIn, the SuccessFactors profile, SAP Jam, and other internal and external data sources into SAP HANA Cloud Platform
  • Include the “Who Can Help Me?” intelligent search option, allowing users to find in-house experts or potential project team collaborators within SuccessFactors solutions via SAP HANA Cloud Platform (see Figure 5)
  • Expand upon social profiles and improve communication in SAP Jam directly from the application with the data from SAP HANA Cloud Platform


EnterpriseJungle’s application uses SAP Jam feeds and groups as the communications backbone, allowing users to take advantage of exclusive next-generation search and discovery functionality across their workforce and for information to find them intelligently. Additionally, the introduction and connection actions that users can start within the SuccessFactors extension take advantage of the new SAP Jam work patterns by triggering the workflows in SAP Jam to fulfill. It transforms the latent power of any organization’s key assets — its people — into the equivalent of a supercharged, effortlessly connected, expertise-based peer-to-peer network.


“The SAP Jam developer program, combined with the power of SAP HANA Cloud Platform, enables partners to rapidly develop social extension applications that can transform any business process,” says James Sinclair, Principal at EnterpriseJungle. “The program heralds the arrival of dynamic future power for the social business with accelerated collaboration at its core. Its simplicity and ease of use makes collaboration implicit and easy, rather than challenging.”


Learn More

To learn more about the SAP Jam developer program, please visit http://scn.sap.com/docs/DOC-55050 or http://help.sap.com/download/documentation/sapjam/developer/index.html#intguide/concepts/intro.html.


Follow SAP Social Software on Twitter: @SAPSocial

When everyone is on the same page, campaigns come together and ideas flow. Watch this video to see how organizations can use SAP Cloud for Marketing and SAP Jam to collaborate on a marketing campaign – whether they’re mobile or in the office.


In it, a marketing manager for a consumer coffee brand is on her commute to work. On her walk to the train station, she sees a weather report on a video billboard showing that a cold winter is expected – and it sparks an idea for a marketing campaign. She takes a picture of the billboard with her smartphone. While she’s waiting for her train, she opens SAP Jam on her smartphone and shares the picture with her team, asking them to come up with ideas related to it.


Her team sees the photo and responds with suggestions for a campaign. They’ve even suggested a name for it: “Cold winter. Hot coffee. Warm heart.” The team discusses ideas for visuals, offers, and what customer segments to target.  Before the marketing manager reaches her office, she’s got a full plate of ideas and information to talk to her team about further.


Watch all of the videos in this “Sweet Spot” series:



Follow SAP Social Software on Twitter: @SAPSocial

I attended a presentation from Roland Hameeteman few days ago. He explained how he summarized his experience about running companies in his book titled Yellow & Blue (in Dutch). He describes the two aspects each organization has. Yellow is the human creativity. It is about listening and understanding the customer and coming up with new ideas. Blue is the process. It introduces structure and efficiency. As he put it “Yellow stands for creating and Blue stands for producing. Yellow & Blue are two 'cultural systems' with their own characteristics. Yellow needs trust and Blue needs control.”




Successful organizations find a good balance between the two. The management literature has nice words to describe such organizations as “Enterprise 2.0” or most recently “Social Enterprise”. For example Bosch has a well-known success story regarding their transformation. They call it “Social Organization”. They say “A “social” organization is like a brain. Networked. Intelligent. Adaptable. Fast.”




This Social Enterprise has roots in good old Knowledge Management. When I started to look at KM more seriously more than 10 years ago, when I started my PhD about it, KM was a hot topic (even though less hot as in the 1990s) and SAP itself had a solution called KM (in the portal). In the meantime a lot has changed in SAP’s strategy and I would like to ask the question:


How far is SAP with supporting the Social Enterprise?


We have seen many customers using the SAP Enterprise Portal and its KM feature. It has never been best of breed, but many customers used it for some extent, mostly for document and content management. SAP has stopped further developing it and now it is recommended only for smaller scenarios and SAP tells its customers to use the integrated partner offering from OpenText for more complex scenarios.


We have seen the “rise and fall” of SAP Streamworks and of course the main product in this space now is SAP Jam, which originates from SuccessFactors Jam (SAP acquired SuccessFactors in February 2012) with some features from Streamworks. Since this acquisition SAP has been executing its strategy, which is to combine social features into business processes and SAP applications.


SAP Jam has reached 15 million subscribers in May 2014 and Gartner puts SAP among the Visionaries in its Magic Quadrant (Sept 2014). A relatively new and very powerful feature of SAP Jam is the work patterns. Thanks to integration with the SAP HANA Cloud Platform, it can now be extended, even non-SAP data can be integrated, etc.


Despite the obviously great improvements in SAP Jam and the impressive milestone of 15 million users, in my personal experience (among mostly non-SuccessFactors users from the Benelux) many SAP customers use SAP software to make their organization more Blue. What is your experience? Do you see many customers getting more Yellow thanks to SAP solutions?


GENBAND is a telecommunications provider based in Frisco, Texas, that delivers its solutions to more than 700 customers in 80 countries. It has a global employee base, with staff in more than 50 countries.


Darrin Whitney, GENBAND’s chief information officer, recently spoke to SAP in a video about how his organization has implemented SAP Jam to ensure that its employees can collaborate and exchange ideas freely, regardless of where they may be.


In the video, Whitney says the impetus was to enable innovation. “We have a global workforce, and we had no single place for those people to come together and collaborate. If you had software developers in Turkey and U.S.-based resources trying to work together, there was really nowhere to share, and it took a long time.”


With SAP Jam, GENBAND found a solution that eliminated the need to develop an in-house tool. “We were looking for a strategic partner,” Whitney says, “where we would have the ability and the content to bring it all together as a single solution.”


GENBAND is using SAP Jam to improve knowledge management, Whitney says. One benefit is that veteran employees around the world can now easily share their knowledge with new hires. “We have a lot of people that have 25 or 30 years in the telecom business.  When we bring in new people, it gives us the ability to have that 25 years of experience spread across a larger user base.”


The solution enables GENBAND employees to create forums for faster, better communication. “The thing users like the most about SAP Jam is the ability to make our large company intimate,” Whitney says.


It also provides channel partners and service contractors with a single repository for asking questions and finding technical information. “It’s actually allowed us to bring a lot of stuff that was happening outside of our organization back into our organization.”


The management team at GENBAND immediately saw the value of SAP Jam. “It’s a collaboration suite that we’re actually using,” Whitney says. “From an IT standpoint, the flexibility and scalability that the cloud provides is instrumental for our success. It’s a strategic enabler for us – from a business standpoint internally, and externally to our customers.”


Follow SAP Social Software on Twitter: @SAPSocial

Understanding the Financial Value 

Introducing the WSS ROI Calculator for SAP Jam


biker.path.1.pngMany SAP Jam initiatives require a solid business justification before senior management will commit time, money, and resources.  The business case can address one or more of the following:

  • Revenues – Aligning strategic and tactical sales, profits, and margins with account plans
  • Customers – Engaging customers to provide value-add, collaboration, and communications
  • Employees – Providing an environment to maximize productivity, performance, learning, onboarding, and cross-team collaboration
  • Partners – Leveraging the channel to extend revenues, delivery, learning, and customer reach
  • Operations – Identifying and quantifying process improvements and simplification
  • Financial – Reducing costs and/or showing a realistic Return on Investment (ROI)

The assessment of SAP Jam begins with the value and importance of SAP and SuccessFactors.  SAP is the market leader for business software with over 253,000 customers.  SAP Jam has over 15 million subscribers. One only needs to look at the SAP Solution Explorer value maps, with a breadth of products and solutions, to realize that the current and upcoming investments (& alignment) with SAP Jam are part of the overall strategy to fuel organizational simplification, cloud and “digital transformation.”

Number.5.image.pngFive ROI Essentials

  1. Quantify – Understanding a project’s economic impact and business drivers can turn uncertain support into an endorsement to move forward.
  2. Stakeholders – Connecting ROI to a project can build confidence amongst key colleagues, cross-team members and influencers that a project is worthwhile.
  3. Benefits – Socializing a SAP Jam project can lead to finding additional benefits that were initially not recognized.
  4. Prioritization – Ensuring accountability. Once the decision is made to invest in a SAP Jam project the ROI can help management and stakeholders prioritize their time as participants.
  5. Change – Recognizing that an important business initiative needs help (i.e. by way of change management) and that SAP Jam can enable important outcomes.


Understanding the Financial Value

Measuring financial value can be complex.  Breaking it down into known components helps simplify:

  • Time – Accelerating productivity and reducing wasted time
  • Money – Aligning value around salaries (and cost savings) as well as supporting revenue initiatives
  • Volume – The quantity of people including employees, customers, partners, and other stakeholders


Providing a base level framework around these values provides a business model and perspective.


How do we know it works?

In addition to World Sales Solutions (WSS) best practices and hundreds of SAP Jam and related community work experiences, consider an industry analyst’s perspective:

“According to an IDC White Paper sponsored by Adobe, “Bridging the Information Worker Productivity Gap: New Challenges and Opportunities for IT,” September 2012, reporting on a global survey of information workers and IT professionals, information workers waste a significant amount of time each week dealing with a variety of challenges related to working with documents. This wasted time costs the average organization $19,732 per information worker per year, amounting to a loss of 21.3% in the organization's total productivity.”


Now assess the impact
to your organization!

Based on a breath of data points, customer feedback, and findings, World Sales Solutions has built the first WSS ROI Calculator for SAP Jam (www.wssroi.com).

This tool provides an internal/external "customer-centric" framework (see diagram on right) for measuring the economic impact of Time, Money, and Volume when addressing:

  • Finding the right information
  • Searching for but not finding information
  • Realizing information is in disparate locations vs. a central hub
  • Receiving unfiltered information (including spam)
  • Finding the wrong information
  • Reworking unfound or wrong information
  • And many other “Business Driver” considerations

How do these examples affect your business goals & objectives? Consider the impact of each!


Paths.Vectors.1.pngThere are many paths!

In summary, there are many paths to realizing value from SAP Jam projects and initiatives. Using a combination of “ROI” and identifying “business drivers” (see WSS ROI Calculator for examples) these strategies and tactics can be centralized and guided by executive sponsors, business owners, and content (or community) managers along with end user contributions and collaboration.


Organizations that implement and adopt SAP Jam can gain higher productivity, performance, and a competitive advantage.


The use of SAP Jam allows organizations to invest in core competencies, achieve a solid ROI, and addresses important business drivers which form the foundation for success.

RDB.jpgAbout the Author
Richard D. Blumberg, President, World Sales Solutions, LLC, (WSS) (www.WorldSalesSolutions.com) provides 25+ years of thought leadership on a variety of "View from the Top" strategies including: Enterprise Social Business, Go-to-Market Strategies, Business Development, Talent Development, and Community Building. 

WSS is a SAP Service Partner for SAP Jam and long-time supporter of the SAP Community Network and the SAP Ecosystem.

Prior Blogs:
- View from the Top: Bill McDermott shares his success secrets at a #fireside chat!
- SAP Jam Work Patterns:  The Big $ or € &/or ¥ Game Changer for a New Product Launch!
- SAP Jam: The ROI Impacting Sales Productivity

- Split Second Selling with SAP Jam - 7 Use Cases!

- The Customer Go-to-Market Imperative - Transforming Silos to Social Business and Community Building

sc-logo-new.pngFor 60% of companies, the top challenge is retaining and rewarding the best employees*. Additionally, did you know that there is a $1,772 cost per hour and 20% increase since 2009 to create learning content?** Attend SuccessConnect in Las Vegas on September 10-11 to learn how social collaboration can help to address these pressing issues. Hear directly from SAP Jam customers on the value that they derive from the solution.


SAP Jam Customers Share their Stories

Don’t miss SAP Jam customers such as Brookshire Grocery, Sun Communities, and Jo-Ann Stores, who are sharing their success leveraging SAP Jam with SuccessFactors solutions. An overview of the relevant sessions is below:


Wednesday, September 10

Thursday, September 11


Please also visit our demo pod to meet SAP Jam experts and witness the solution first-hand.  Get social, in-person or virtually. Follow the conversation using the hashtag, #SConnect. We look forward to seeing you in Las Vegas!


* SHRM, 2012

**  ASTD Research 2013

In the latest release of SAP Jam, we’ve continued to focus on making it easier for you to incorporate social collaboration within your business processes. We want you to get real work done faster and more effectively – so we’ve added new work patterns for sales teams, new integrations, and additional flexibility to help drive user engagement.



Work patterns designed for sales teams


In this release, we’re introducing four new work patterns for sales teams. The new work patterns take advantage of new integrations of SAP Jam with SAP ERP central component (ECC) and SAP Cloud for Customer, SAP’s cloud-based CRM.


  • For SAP ERP central component (ECC)
    • Sales and distribution quote management
  • For SAP Cloud for Customer
    • SAP Cloud for Sales: Account management; opportunity deal room
    • SAP Cloud for Service: Service ticket resolution


SAP ERP central component (ECC) sales and distribution quote management


The new quote management work pattern takes advantage of SAP Jam’s new stand-alone integration with ECC. Organizations that use ECC in a stand-alone scenario – with a third-party CRM, or without a CRM at all – can bring ECC quotes into an SAP Jam work pattern to facilitate the quote process. A sales person can make sure the quote approval proceeds smoothly by keeping the order management, finance management, and sales management teams in the loop.


SAP Cloud for Customer


The three new work patterns for SAP Cloud for Customer join the similar work patterns for the existing SAP CRM integration. However, they’ve been tailored to take advantage of SAP Jam’s new integration with SAP Cloud for Customer.


The account management work pattern is designed to make the jobs of sales people easier. It not only helps them keep an eye on their accounts but also keeps their entire account teams up to date on the status of customer interactions. From within one SAP Jam group, an account team can see the current status of the account, active opportunities, and open service requests.


The opportunity deal room is designed to be used by sales teams to pitch to a customer. Sales can create a workgroup of subject matter experts who can address customer issues that come up and answer questions to facilitate the deal.


The service ticket resolution group is designed to be used by sales to expedite the resolution of service issues with customers. It brings together subject matter experts, engineers, and support teams together in one place.


Collaboration where you work


Collaborative learning programs with SuccessFactors Learning


In conjunction with this SAP Jam release, we’re happy to announce a joint development with SucessFactors Learning. To support multi-day learning sessions, the new “learning programs” feature in SuccessFactors Learning now includes SAP Jam. Within a learning program, the instructor can create SAP Jam groups and manage access to the groups directly from the learning program.


Microsoft® Office 365™ SharePoint® Online


In this release, we’ve  expanded our support for enterprise content management via our new integration with Microsoft Office 365 SharePoint Online. If your organization uses SharePoint Online to store documents in the cloud, you can now link document folders to SAP Jam groups. After your company administrator configures SharePoint to provide access to SAP Jam, the SAP Jam company administrator can easily select which folders and repositories to make accessible to users within SAP Jam. Group administrators can then choose which folders to expose within their respective groups.


When a SharePoint folder is linked to an SAP Jam group, group members can browse the folder and its contents directly within SAP Jam – and view, comment on, and download documents – without having to log in to SharePoint.


Flexibility to drive engagement


New layouts for the content widget


If you’re a group admin and you manage a lot of content, it’s now easier to promote it. New layout options in the content widget allow you to automatically display thumbnail images for documents, images, and videos. To display a linked thumbnail to a document, you don’t need to make a screenshot of your document and then manually add a link – instead, SAP Jam will do it all for you in one of three new graphical layouts.


  • Thumbnail. The thumbnail layout displays a thumbnail of the first page of the document next to the file name.
  • Gallery. The gallery layout displays multiple thumbnails – a minimum of 2 and a maximum of 9. This comes in handy if you want to showcase newly updated documents. Simply point the content widget to a particular folder and SAP Jam will automatically display the most recently updated documents.
  • Carousel. The carousel layout displays one thumbnail at a time in a loop that cycles through the thumbnails automatically.


New expertise filter for people widget


After we released the expertise and endorsements feature in a previous release, customers told us they wanted to showcase people within a group that have specific expertise. You can now use the new expertise filter in the people widget to do exactly that. For instance, if you’ve created an SAP Jam group focused on internal support for your CRM system, you can now showcase CRM experts by using the filter in the people widget to show only people with the expertise tag “CRMExpert” – so that other group members can easily discover who they are and ask them for help.


Minor updates


For more information on many other minor updates in this release, please refer to our release notes.


Follow SAP Social Software on Twitter: @SAPSocial

Update 2014-11-27: Screenshots reflect SAP Jam EvoUX

Status Quo

Most learning management system already have a solid set of features that help employees find the right course. By accessing the Learning Portal, SAP Learning Solution allows learners to use the following mechanisms to find the appropriate training:


  • Search
  • Browse Catalog
  • Training Calendar


The different ways can be described as “pull”-mechanisms which means that the employee is proactively looking to improve his or her skills by taking a course. If the course is rather compliance-related than covering personal development other mechanisms can be used by the training department to “push” specific training offerings to the corresponding target group:


  • Assignment of mandatory training
  • Profile Matchup 


As the learning portal is personalized to the learning activities and needs of the user, it spots a notification area where mandatory trainings, missing qualifications and expiring qualifications can be found. If a qualification is missing from the employees profile but is required based on their position, job, job family and so on the system will recommend certain course types which impart this qualification.

Solid - but not state of the art

So what’s wrong with the options that are available for SAP Learning Solution users today? Why do we need another way to find the right courses?

The issue with these options is that the employee needs to hit a dedicated website (learning portal) in the first place in order to choose one of these routes. Formal training should not be hidden from the day to day work. Instead courses should appear where employees are already digging for information on certain subjects or collaborate with their peers – enterprise social networks.

Discover formal trainings on SAP Jam

Keeping these circumstances in mind we developed a concept on how formal trainings could show up in the context of SAP Jam groups. This integration to SAP Learning Solution can be used by course administrators to promote their training offerings where employees already communicate with colleagues on a certain subject. The following video shows the functionality in action:

As one might expect the promotion makes the most sense with SAP Jam groups that already built an active community. Therefore it was critical that course types can be featured into existing groups very easily.

Let’s have a look at how this works in detail: The course administrator or any other SAP Jam user has access to the “Business Objects” browser from the homepage. Here they can find objects from integrated 3rd party systems. If SAP Learning Solution has been configured by the company administrator to be one of those sources all classroom trainings and E-Learnings can be browsed within SAP Jam except for the ones marked as “no intranet”. The search box and the drop-down filter can be used to narrow the results. All data is pulled from the SAP Learning Solution system in real-time and is therefore always up to date.

Featuring course types has been moved to the SAP Jam interface so it’s not required to access the Administrator Portal or the SAP GUI at all. A course type can be featured to a group via the hover card:

LSO Jam wave3 - business objects browser - hover card evoUX 2.png

Once this step has been completed a dedicated “Learning” tab will automatically appear in the group menu which lists the course types by their delivery method group:

LSO Jam wave3 - delivery methods EvoUX 2.png

After accessing one of these delivery method groups all featured course types will be listed. There is also a drop-down menu which allows for further filtering.

LSO Jam wave3 - featured course type in jam group EvoUX 2.png

If it’s desired to increase the visibility of the formal trainings even more, the group administrator can adjust the overview pages and implement specific external business object list widgets. Once added all group members can view and access the featured course types right from the overview page:

LSO Jam wave3 - overview page EvoUX 3.png

The user can view more details like course type ID, delivery method, provider, person responsible and fee without leaving the SAP Jam user interface. For classroom trainings even the course dates are visible including location, language and the number of available seats.

LSO Jam wave3 - thing inspector view - hover card E EvoUX 2.png

On the thing inspector view the user can choose to “like” the course or place a comment. Group members can leverage the built in functionality to further promote the course by tagging other jam users or feature the course to another group of choice. Instead of strictly controlling and maintaining the structure of your course offering, formal training can now go “viral”.

LSO Jam wave3 - feed events home EvoUX 2.png

This is a break with the past in a way where the course administrator has less control on where the courses will finally show up. However this is by design and does not create a conflict with the existing system as we keep the well-organized catalog structure alive within the learning portal.


In order to book the course or consume the content of the E-Learning the employee needs to follow the deep-link “View in Learning” which points to the corresponding course type within the learning portal. This step is necessary as the prerequisite checks and approval workflows remain in the on-premise learning system and have not been replicated in SAP Jam.


Prerequisites and implementation

If customers want to leverage this integration scenario it requires the following system setup:

LSO Jam wave3 - landscape.png

In case any assistance is required to implement the scenario SAP Consulting can offer the support needed.


The first two integration scenarios between SAP Jam and SAP Learning Solution have been focusing on recommending groups to employees based on their booking behavior or providing dedicated learning groups per event respectively. Instead the third integration is about to combine formal and informal learning even further. SAP Jam groups will not only connect employees and help them share information in an informal way they will be the platform to promote formal trainings as well and let them go viral throughout the entire social network.


Kind regards,

Martin Mueller



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