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SAP Social Software

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SAP Jam is the social collaboration software from SAP. While more and more customers use it, the request comes up to customize Jam to individual needs of a company. For this purpose, with the current release (1502), it´s possible to easily integrate OpenSocial applications into Jam to individualize it. During my one-week internship in the Jam team I built a simple OpenSocial gadget which expands the profile data of users by adding expertises. This document shows my first steps of developing an OpenSocial gadget and gives a short introduction of how to get started with an OpenSocial gadget.

 

 

Structure

OpenSocial apps are specified in XML. The <Module> tag indicates that the file contains a gadget. In the <ModulePrefs> information about the application like title, author or height can be defined. <Content type="html"> indicates that the content of the gadget is HTML. This content is defined in <![CDATA[ … ]]>. It can contain HTML, CSS or JavaScript. You can see a simple example of a hello world gadget below.

 

<?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8" ?>

<Module>

                <ModulePrefs title="Hello world gadget">

                </ModulePrefs>

                <Content type="html">

                               <![CDATA[

                                               Hello world!

                               ]]>

                </Content>

</Module>

 

To implement a gadget no special software is needed, a simple texteditor is sufficient. After writing the XML, the file has to be uploaded on a public web server, I used https://infotomb.com/. Later, only the URL of the gadget will be needed to include it into Jam.

 

 

Including in SAP Jam

Login into your SAP Jam instance, navigate to Admin page and open the OpenSocial gadgets page in the menu on the left.


goToGadgets.png

 

Now a list of all OpenSocial gadgets which are available can be seen. On top of the list in the right corner there is the link “Add OpenSocial Gadget”.

 

register.png

 

First, the URL of the uploaded file has to be inserted. Afterwards it can be decided whether the gadget should be enabled or not and if it should be a content or a profile gadget. Content gadgets can be added to a group's content section by anyone in the company with the appropriate privileges. Profile gadgets appear on the profile of each member of the company automatically.

Afterwards by clicking at “Refresh” we can see further information about the gadget and in the lower part a Preview of it (if the gadget is enabled).

The gadget information and preview of the ‘hello world gadget’ from above looks similar to the following picture:

 

infoAndPreview.png

 

Further expansion of the gadget

As said before, this gadget should be a profile extension to add special expertises of a user. Actually the functionality of the gadget has not been fully completed, the storage of inserted values is missing. Nonetheless, it shows how to generate a simple OpenSocial gadget and how to read out information from Jam with it.

 

First, I wanted to welcome the user with his or her name. Therefore I had to add a feature to the module preferences <Require feature="osapi"/>.  Afterwards, I needed to write some HTML code were the name should be displayed, for example the following:

 

<div id="content">

        <div id="greeting"> Hello <span id="current_user_id"> </span>

        </div>

</div>


In addition a JavaScript function to get the name and write it into the DOM has to be written. This function could for example be the following:

 

<script type="text/javascript">

        function init() {

            osapi.people.getViewer().execute(function(viewerData) {

            if (!viewerData.error) {

              var viewerDiv = document.getElementById('current_user_id');

              viewerDiv.innerHTML = viewerData.displayName;

            };

          });

        }

</script>

 

At least an onload handler has to be registered. This handler is executed when the gadget loads and calls the init function.

                gadgets.util.registerOnLoadHandler(init);

Now the code looks similar to the code below. Only the highlighted lines were edited compared to the hello world code.  By uploading it and including it into Jam, the preview should show “Hello <your name>”.

 

<?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8" ?>

<Module>

  <ModulePrefs title="Hello, world!" height="400">

    <Require feature="osapi"/>

  </ModulePrefs>

  <Content type="html">

    <![CDATA[

      <script type="text/javascript">

        function init() {

            osapi.people.getViewer().execute(function(viewerData) {

            if (!viewerData.error) {

              var viewerDiv = document.getElementById('current_user_id');

              viewerDiv.innerHTML = viewerData.displayName;

            };

          });

        }

        gadgets.util.registerOnLoadHandler(init);

      </script>

 

      <div id="content">

        <div id="greeting"> Hello <span id="current_user_id"> </span>

        </div>

      </div>

    ]]>

  </Content>

</Module>

 

After learning how to read out data, I wanted to offer a form to insert special expertises. Therefor I write the following HTML code:

 

<div id="editForm">

          <br>

          <form action="#">

            <div id="sector">

              <label>sector: </label>

              <select name="sectorInput" size="1">

                <option> sector 1</option>

                <option> sector 2</option>

                <option> sector 3</option>

                <option> sector 4</option>

                <option> sector 5</option>

              </select>

              knowledge: low

              <input type="radio" name="sectorRating" value="0">

              <input type="radio" name="sectorRating" value="1">

              <input type="radio" name="sectorRating" value="2">

              <input type="radio" name="sectorRating" value="3">

              <input type="radio" name="sectorRating" value="4"> high

            </div>

            <br>

            <div id="country">

              <label>country: </label>

              <select name="countryInput" size="1">

                <option> country1</option>

                <option> country2</option>

                <option> country3</option>

                <option> country4</option>

                <option> country5</option>

              </select>

              knowledge: low

              <input type="radio" name="countryRating" value="0">

              <input type="radio" name="countryRating" value="1">

              <input type="radio" name="countryRating" value="2">

              <input type="radio" name="countryRating" value="3">

              <input type="radio" name="countryRating" value="4"> high

            </div>

            <br>

            <div id="project">

              <label>project: </label>

              <input type="text" name="projectInput" size="50">

            </div>

            <br>

            <div id="specialist knowledge">

              <label>specialist knowledge:</label>

              <input type="text" name="specKnowledgeInput" size="50">

            </div>

            <br>

            <br>

            <input type="button" value="Save" onclick="save()"/>

          </form>

 

To format the HTML I added some CSS lines:

 

    <style type="text/css">

      label { display: inline-block; width: 100px; }

      select { display: inline-block; width: 100px; }

    </style>

 

After defining the content, I wrote a further JavaScript function to handle the button click. This save function reads out the values of the form and opens a new message which indicates that the values were saved.

At first the minimessage feature has to be added to the module preferences.

 

                <Require feature="minimessage"/>

 

Afterwards the save function had to be defined. The inserted values of the form has to be selected and a message has to be generated. In future work, these values has to be stored for later use.

 

function save(){

        var sector=document.getElementsByName('sectorInput')[0].value;

        var country=document.getElementsByName('countryInput'[0]).value;

        var project=document.getElementsByName('projectInput')[0].value;

        var specKnowledge=document.getElementsByName('specKnowledgeInput')[0].value;

       // <here the values has to be stored for later usage>

        var saveMessage = new gadgets.MiniMessage(__MODULE_ID__);

        saveMessage.createDismissibleMessage("Your expertises were saved");

}

 

 

end.png

 

Finally, here you can find the whole code of the gadget:

 

<?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8" ?>

<Module>

  <ModulePrefs title=" Hello world gadget" height="400">

    <Require feature="osapi"/>

    <Require feature="minimessage"/>

  </ModulePrefs>

  <Content type="html">

    <![CDATA[

      <script type="text/javascript">

        function save(){

          var sector=document.getElementsByName('sectorInput')[0].value;

          var country=document.getElementsByName('countryInput'[0]).value;

          var project=document.getElementsByName('projectInput')[0].value;

          var specKnowledge=document.getElementsByName('specKnowledgeInput')[0].value;

          var saveMessage = new gadgets.MiniMessage(__MODULE_ID__);

          saveMessage.createDismissibleMessage("Your expertises were saved");

        }

        function init() {

          osapi.people.getViewer().execute(function(viewerData) {

            if (!viewerData.error) {

              var viewerDiv = document.getElementById('current_user_id');

              viewerDiv.innerHTML = viewerData.displayName;

            };

          });

        }

        gadgets.util.registerOnLoadHandler(init);

      </script>

     

      <style type="text/css">

        label { display: inline-block; width: 100px; }

        select { display: inline-block; width: 100px; }

      </style>

     

      <div id="content">

        <div id="greeting"> Hello <span id="current_user_id"> </span>

        </div>

        <div id="editForm">

                                                                              <br>

          <form action="#">

            <div id="sector">

              <label>sector: </label>

              <select name="sectorInput" size="1">

                <option> sector 1</option>

                <option> sector 2</option>

                <option> sector 3</option>

                <option> sector 4</option>

                <option> sector 5</option>

              </select>

              knowledge: low

              <input type="radio" name="sectorRating" value="0">

              <input type="radio" name="sectorRating" value="1">

              <input type="radio" name="sectorRating" value="2">

              <input type="radio" name="sectorRating" value="3">

              <input type="radio" name="sectorRating" value="4"> high

            </div>

            <br>

            <div id="country">

              <label>country: </label>

              <select name="countryInput" size="1">

                <option> country1</option>

                <option> country2</option>

                <option> country3</option>

                <option> country4</option>

                <option> country5</option>

              </select>

              knowledge: low

              <input type="radio" name="countryRating" value="0">

              <input type="radio" name="countryRating" value="1">

              <input type="radio" name="countryRating" value="2">

              <input type="radio" name="countryRating" value="3">

              <input type="radio" name="countryRating" value="4"> high

            </div>

            <br>

            <div id="project">

              <label>project: </label>

              <input type="text" name="projectInput" size="50">

            </div>

            <br>

            <div id="specialist knowledge">

              <label>specialist knowledge:</label>

              <input type="text" name="specKnowledgeInput" size="50">

            </div>

            <br>

            <br>

            <input type="button" value="Save" onclick="save()"/>

          </form>

                                               </div>

      </div>

    ]]>

  </Content>

</Module>

 

That’s the current status of my first gadget after only a few days of studying and testing. Maybe it can help some of you to reduce fear of contact with Open Social gadgets. I think with basic knowledge of XML, HTML, CSS and JavaScript it is not very difficult to build also more complex gadgets. Further information can be found at http://help.sap.com/download/documentation/sapjam/developer/index.html#opensocial/concepts/intro.html

Join us for a live demonstration of SAP Jam and ask our product expert questions in a live, interactive webcast. In this demo, we’ll explore how to:

 

  • Connect your customers, partners, and employees with information and processes to drive results
  • Improve employee engagement, boost productivity, and lower training costs
  • Accelerate the sales cycle and keep key stakeholders informed of progress and opportunities
  • Deliver a single, secure social collaboration foundation across your business

 

Sign up now to see how you can accelerate business and drive results with SAP Jam.

 

Thursday, February 26, 2015

10 a.m. Pacific

60 minutes

Register now

Watch this video to see how you can use SAP Cloud for Sales to accelerate sales cycles by collaborating with your sales team, internal experts, customers, and partners — all in the context of your accounts and opportunities – with built-in integration to SAP Jam.

 

 

Here’s how SAP Cloud for Sales can give a salesperson the insights he needs to prepare for his day. With a complete view on accounts and opportunities – and the ability to collaborate with the right people on his sales team – he can sell smarter.

 

To get started, he sees a full view into one of his opportunities – from the latest account information to any open service tickets. With native integration to SAP ERP, he no longer has to hunt for back-office information like sales orders or invoices. It’s all there.

 

He can have relevant conversations with the customer – anytime, anywhere – so there are no surprises. He can easily create a customer fact sheet to prepare for a meeting – all with the tap of a button.

 

Next, he looks at all the other opportunities he’s working on for the account. He gets a complete list and can drill down to get the specifics. He can decide what opportunities get published to the sales forecast and decides to add this one.

 

He also needs to prepare for his meeting. A decision-maker named Paula will be there with her team. He sees a list of people who Paula has worked with before and recognizes Eric in logistics. He decides to get Eric in the loop and add him to the sales team. With SAP HANA, he can use predictive analytics to find top deal influencers and connect with them.

 

Now that he’s assembled his sales team, he sets up a deal room where they can collaborate and close the opportunity. With integration between SAP Jam and SAP Cloud for Sales, he can invite anyone to his team – even those outside sales like legal and logistics.

 

To his deal room, he adds all the relevant information like opportunity details, customer-related documents, RFPs, and presentations. He’s able to collaborate and build the best sales strategy by creating polls and discussions. He can involve other teams selling into the same industry – or against similar competitors – so they can learn from each other.

 

Based on the team’s input, he can choose the best products and solutions to propose to the customer. He can also get immediate feedback from his manager, allowing him to work on the proposal immediately.

 

He’s now ready to set up a meeting with the customer, so he creates create an appointment. He gets an email from his customer confirming that they’re ready to meet. With integration into productivity apps like Microsoft Outlook, Google Gmail, and Lotus Notes, SAP Cloud for Sales allows him to link all email conversations to specific opportunities, or even create a new opportunity – and all relevant conversations stay in one place.

 

Follow SAP Social Software on Twitter: @SAPSocial

A colleague of mine told me of frustrations with the IT department at a small organization. The IT department consisted of one lone individual tasked with helping several dozen employees at the office. His job ran the gamut from minor troubleshooting to small projects like recoding websites and databases.

 

Whenever an employee needed help with a project, however, he was notorious for refusing to commit to a timeline. When asked why, he would explain, "When you look under a rock, you never know what you'll find. Sometimes there's nothing. Sometimes there's all kinds of bugs."

 

Being a team of one, his outlook may have been justified. If he ran into an issue he didn't know how to solve, there was no one else in the organization that he could ask.

 

If you work in a larger organization, that's less of an excuse - chances are that someone has an idea for how to help. For customer service teams especially - or anyone in a customer-facing role - knowing how to best marshal the experts and knowledge at hand to solve a customer's problem quickly is key to keeping that customer relationship healthy. The more people that you call on, the more likely you are to find someone who can fix the issue.

 

Effective collaboration is just one key to good customer service. There’s also a big difference between customers who are simply satisfied and those who become loyal. Shep Hyken, a leading customer service and experience expert, says in a recently published ebook, Engage Customers With Service Excellence, that one study at Vanderbilt University found that about 25% to 40% of customers didn’t come back to a place of business even if they’d felt satisfied.

 

But how do you create a customer experience that does make customers loyal? To view all 8 lessons from Shep Hyken, register now to read the ebook.

 

Engage Customers With Service Excellence

Lessons on ways to create an amazing customer experience by Shep Hyken, customer service experience expert, New York Times and Wall Street Journal bestselling author.

 

shep_hyken_ebook.png

 

Follow SAP Social Software on Twitter: @SAPSocial

Village.PNGLearn how a small city government experienced rapid growth and the need for social collaboration to resolve its communication flow issue challenges using a single cloud solution.


Read the latest Success in the Cloud blog with SAP JAM customer, Village of Schaumburg:

http://blogs.sap.com/innovation/cloud-computing/the-village-of-schaumburg-cloud-technology-brings-efficiency-021873021


With SAP JAM and SAP JAM Mobile, they achieved "Progress Through Thoughtful Planning"  – they now Run Simple.

On February 11, 2015, we’ll be hosting a live webcast, Driving Workforce Change with Social Collaboration, which features Irwin Lazar, vice president and service director at Nemertes Research. Irwin is a prolific author, blogger, and frequent speaker at industry events, and heads up a Nemertes research team that helps enterprises quantify the value of emerging technologies.

 

PILOTHOUSE_TOP_PROVIDER_LOGO.jpgIrwin and his team recently published a Nemertes PilotHouse Top Provider report that ranked enterprise social collaboration vendors for their technology, value, and customer service. Leading up to the webcast, we sat down with Irwin to hear his thoughts on the evolution of social technology – who the buyers are, why they buy it, and what buyers should be looking for.

 

In Part 1, find out who buys enterprise social collaboration tools and why they buy them. Part 2 continues below.

 

What should a company look for in an ideal social collaboration solution?

 

headshot_irwinlazar.jpgIrwin Lazar: As you think about buying a solution for your own organization, the first things that usually come into play are what are your retention requirements, what are your security requirements, and can you have sensitive corporate conversations in a system that lives on a cloud provider? For some companies, especially in highly regulated industries, that might be a factor.

 

Integration with the rest of the environment is another factor. As I mentioned earlier, the most successful social software deployments are those that are tied into business processes and business process applications. If you just throw a social platform out there and say, “Okay everybody, start collaborating,” it generally doesn’t work.

 

It’s also important to get support for things like developing custom applications and developing hooks into desktop and business process applications.

 

"The most successful social software deployments are those that are tied into business processes and business process applications"

I just had a conversation with a large financial services firm. They invested in one of your competitors but they’re finding no one’s using it. We talked about how they deployed it and they said, “We just put it out there and we identified some folks who we thought would be good candidates to start using it, but nobody joined in.”

 

We asked, “Have you tied it into your ERP or your CRM or your other enterprise software?” They said no. Well, there’s the problem right there. The single biggest success factor and the single biggest thing to look for is the ability to integrate with the applications that drive your business.

 

Another area we looked into in the report was the ability to support mobile work. We’re seeing massive growth in people relying on their smartphones and tablets. It’s the primary means of work for roughly 20% of typical employees now. They’re primarily using their tablet and then going to their desktop when they have to. So a social tool should support the mobile user as well as the desktop user.

 

The features that social tools support are also important. One of the popular use cases we’re seeing around social is innovation and idea management – being able to collect ideas, vote on them, discuss them, move them up and down, and then being able to share them or collect them from across business units. That’s a pretty powerful use for a social tool and one that’s pretty much impossible to do with email.

 

Another feature we see companies looking at are the analytics: What can I learn from how the social network is used within my organization? Who are the key connectors in my organization? What are the things being discussed?

 

One last one I’ll mention is that the tool should easily point me towards discussions that are of interest to me. LinkedIn, for instance, tell you a discussion might be of interest to you if people you worked with are in the discussion.

 

So all of those taken together are critical buying factors: The features, the ability to integrate with business process applications, the support for mobility, and the ability to support varying deployment models.

 

How should organizations respond to the growing number of millennials in the workplace and the popularity of social technology?

 

Irwin Lazar: I think the successful companies will invest in the kinds of tools that people are used to using in their personal lives.

 

"Successful companies will invest in the kinds of tools that people are used to using in their personal lives"

The kind of informal, chat-based quick communications that are available on mobile devices as well as desktop devices – those are the kinds of ways that people expect to collaborate. They expect to be able to capture videos, comment on stuff, share stuff that’s interesting.

 

Those kinds of social features are what the younger generation is living in. And that’s what they expect when they walk into the office. If you give somebody an email inbox or a telephone and say here’s how you collaborate, they’re going to go back and start using those consumer services for work – and it’ll get out of your control.

 

That’s how we see it time and time again with companies that we consult for. Everything under the sun is being used for work and it’s out of the control of the folks that are responsible for security, document retention, discoverability, and so on.

 

 

Follow SAP Social Software on Twitter: @SAPSocial

On February 11, 2015, we’ll be hosting a live webcast, Driving Workforce Change with Social Collaboration, which features Irwin Lazar, vice president and service director at Nemertes Research. Irwin is a prolific author, blogger, and frequent speaker at industry events, and heads up a Nemertes research team that helps enterprises quantify the value of emerging technologies.

 

PILOTHOUSE_TOP_PROVIDER_LOGO.jpgIrwin and his team recently published a Nemertes PilotHouse Top Provider report that ranked enterprise social collaboration vendors for their technology, value, and customer service. Leading up to the webcast, we sat down with Irwin to hear his thoughts on the evolution of social technology – who the buyers are, why they buy it, and what buyers should be looking for.

 

Who buys social collaboration tools in the enterprise? Is it a specific line of business or is it IT?

 

headshot_irwinlazar.jpgIrwin Lazar: In addition to the PilotHouse report, we do an annual benchmark where we gather data from about 200 companies year over year. One of the areas that we look at is social collaboration and adoption.

 

It’s still kind of all over the map. Very few companies have a group whose charge is to develop an internal social collaboration strategy, to deploy a social platform, to manage it, to grow the community, and so on.  It’s only about 6% of companies that have that kind of structure.

 

"In about 30% of companies, lines of business go out and buy something tied to specific applications"

In the rest, you see a little bit of everything. Sometimes it falls under the domain of folks responsible for other collaboration applications like SharePoint, email, document collaboration, etc. Sometimes it falls under the telecom group because they’re the ones that handle unified communications, and because people see social as part of collaboration, they get ownership of that, too.  Often, it could just be a dedicated application group running within IT. That’s about 22% of organizations.

 

In about 30% of companies, lines of business go out and buy something tied to specific applications that they’re using for operational processes – companies that are SAP shops buy SAP Jam, or companies that use Salesforce get Chatter, for example. Or individuals buy a couple of licenses or they download a freemium version for their team. They start playing with it because somebody thought it would be really cool to try. Those are probably the least successful deployments. They tend to start pretty quickly but fizzle out if you haven’t tied your social tools into your business processes or other applications. There’s no one actively helping grow that community, no executive buy-in, and so on.

 

We talked to one company that started using Yammer and very quickly had a lot of people using it – it was a great way to exchange information. But within a few months, it was “Where we are going for happy hour?” and “Who shall I start this Sunday on my fantasy football team?”

 

Why are enterprises buying social collaboration tools?

 

Irwin Lazar: The biggest reason is simply because they are looking for better ways to collaborate – they’re looking for ways to collaborate in context.

 

When you talk to folks about what’s attracting them to social tools, they say, “I use Facebook in my personal life to collaborate with my friends and plan events and activities. Why can’t I do that when I get to the office? Why do I get an inbox? There’s got to be a better way.” People are looking to leverage the kinds of things they do in their personal lives within the corporate environment.

 

"They’re looking for ways to collaborate in context"

The amount of time people spend searching their emails for discussions that are relevant to a particular project, product, or process they’re working on is not a great way to use their time – that’s the single biggest reason.

 

We asked folks what their primary driver was for purchasing social tools and 76% said “We want to improve the ability of our folks to collaborate both internally and externally.”

 

Only about 14% had a measurable business case where they said, hey, if we deploy social it will lead to X percent increase in revenues, X percent decrease in cost. That’s very difficult to measure for any collaboration application – not just social tools but others as well, like unified communication, video conferencing, etc.

 

 

Follow SAP Social Software on Twitter: @SAPSocial

10 a.m. Pacific, February 11, 2015 - Register today

 

HR is moving beyond its traditional role of managing internal employee processes. More and more companies are turning to HR professionals for strategies to address critical challenges like workforce diversity and the chronic skills gap. Social collaboration is emerging as a key enabler for these efforts.

 

Discover how and why—attend this informative webinar and hear industry analyst, author, and expert Irwin Lazar explain:

 

  • How HR specialists are becoming drivers of change
  • Why short-term training is evolving into continuous learning
  • How the synergy of social, mobile, and cloud is changing employee workstyles
  • What to look for in a provider of social collaboration tools

 

Register today

 

headshot_irwinlazar.jpgFeatured speaker:

Irwin Lazar, Vice President and Service Director, Nemertes Research

A prolific author, blogger, and frequent speaker at industry events, Irwin Lazar heads up a Nemertes research team that helps enterprises quantify the value of emerging technologies.

 

Related blog post: What should companies look for in a social collaboration solution? An interview with Irwin Lazar

 

 

 

Follow SAP Social Software on Twitter: @SAPSocial

Just before the holiday break in December 2014, we released a brand-new SAP Jam mobile application on the App Store - a stand-alone app for iPhone and iPad. This was the culmination of a journey that began at the start of 2014. As the product manager responsible for SAP Jam’s mobile experience, I’d like to share with you some of the key design concepts we employed and the exciting features they led to.

 

Consumer-style experience

 

We wanted to create an initial sign-in experience that is familiar to users, leveraging their experience with consumer applications. For example, a user can trigger a configuration email to be sent to him or her directly from SAP Jam containing a configuration link that when opened on the mobile device will open the new application and fill in the necessary configuration information. This feature drew inspiration from email validation common to a lot of commerce mobile apps.

 

Of course, we understand that in an enterprise environment, authentication/authorization technologies are diverse and security is a key consideration; therefore in upcoming releases, we will continue to enhance the application, adding new features such as single sign-on (SSO) and mobile device management (MDM) solutions support.

 

Optimized for quick multitasking

 

Another design concept we embraced is quick consumption and easy sharing of information when interacting with a mobile application. A key observation we made while working with our mobile customers is that users typically interact with mobile enterprise social applications in between appointments or in response to a notification which demands the ability to quickly navigate to the right information, share content with the right people, or respond to updates.

 

Since groups are the primary collaboration unit in SAP Jam, we wanted to make it easy for users to monitor groups they care about for updates and allow them to share content with those groups quickly. To achieve this, we introduced a feature in the main feed screen that allows users to quickly navigate to the feed of the last five groups accessed on the device.

 

Once a group is selected, users can also post updates, photos, and videos to that group simply by tapping on the post button on the upper left of the screen, dramatically reducing the number of taps needed to share content with a group. Start up the SAP Jam mobile app and tap on the “All” text near the top middle of the screen and a drop down menu will appear, allowing you to quickly navigate to the feed of the last accessed groups.

all.png

Note that the menu will be empty if you haven’t visited any groups from that device. If that is the case, tap on “Groups” at the bottom of the screen and look at a few of your favorite groups to have them automatically be added to your quick navigation menu. Once you have your favorite group selected on the main feed screen, try sharing a photo with the group!

empty.png

 

Next time, I will cover other interesting design concepts and features of the new SAP Jam mobile app. In the meantime, head over the App Store and try out the new mobile app on your iPhone or your iPad!

 

Follow SAP Social Software on Twitter: @SAPSocial

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

SPI-Logo.png

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).

 

figure_1.png

 

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

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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

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