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SAP Social Software

83 Posts authored by: Mika Sissonen

 

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.”

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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

If you lead a service or support team, you know that being available and responsive is a key job requirement. Your team not only has to understand and resolve the immediate needs of customers but also has to be ready to predict their future needs. A close relationship with your sales team is critical - so that you can make the customer's relationship with your organization as seamless as possible.

 

idc_service.pngYou may already be considering an enterprise social network, because you know it can:

 

  • Help you parse information and data on all interactions with customers to help resolve their issues faster
  • Allow your organization to seamlessly and transparently transfer customers from sales interactions to support interactions, and vice versa

 

But if you need to get buy-in from stakeholders before you invest in an enterprise social network, you’ll need a good business case. And a good business case needs real KPIs and use cases – especially if you have to convince multiple departments of the solution’s value.

 

To that end, IDC recently crafted a paper that establishes and validates a core set of metrics for enterprise social networks for service and support departments.

 

If your service or support team is considering the purchase of an enterprise social network – or even just curious about what the benefits could be for you – this is required reading.

 

Register now to download the report and find out how enterprise social networks can impact KPIs like customer satisfaction, handling time, and innovation – and improve cross-functional collaboration with other departments like sales, legal, and corporate communications.

 

Register and download the IDC report now:
Understanding the Business Value of Social Solutions in Service and Support

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Editor's note: This article by Carolyn Beal, Senior Director of Solution Marketing for Enterprise Social Solutions at SAP, is reproduced from the Apr-May-Jun 2014 issue of SAPinsider (SAPinsiderOnline.com) with permission from its publisher, WIS Publishing. Read the entire special report on social collaboration at SAPinsiderOnline.com.

 

 

 

carolyn_beal.pngFrom the perspective of retailers, shoppers are more empowered than ever, with a buying journey that ranges across many touch points and networks.

 

With greater shopping options available to customers through multiple channels, retailers are faced with decreased brand loyalty. In addition, these companies must connect and collaborate across a global supply chain.

 

According to Cisco, by the end of 2014, there will be more mobile devices than people on Earth.1 This mobile proliferation massively affects the way retailers interact with current and prospective customers. At the same time, retailers must reassess how to enable their employees to access key business applications anywhere, at any time.

 

In 2013, companies in the retail industry spent more than those in any other industry on advertising — roughly $16.3 billion, which accounted for more than 11% of total US advertising spend.2 Armed with large marketing budgets, it is essential that retailers execute their marketing strategies smoothly.

 

What can retailers do to address these pressing issues? Is social collaboration the secret ingredient that can provide that competitive edge?

 

How Social Collaboration Can Help

 

It takes 12 positive experiences to make up for one unresolved bad experience.3 And $83 billion is thought to be lost by US businesses due to poor customer service.4 Through a concerted, collaborative approach to customer service, however, companies can take steps toward mitigating these effects. Using SAP Jam, a retailer can address customer service issues by taking a “SWAT-team” approach, in which a team of stakeholders quickly assembles to address an issue and provide a resolution (see Figure 1). Connecting the right people to help them find the right answers not only is powerful and effective, but also extinguishes customer service issues before they can damage the business.

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Through social collaboration, retailers can work with strategic suppliers to jointly plan future innovations, perform supplier performance reviews, and conduct ongoing business. This collaboration network provides retailers greater insight into supplier behavior and capabilities, cutting down supply chain risks such as product delays, private label recalls, and disruptions.

 

Within SAP Jam, retailers’ marketing teams can create a virtual private workspace for collaboration with internal and external team members, such as advertising agencies, public relations firms, and design teams. Communication channels and structured tools help team members prioritize, vote on, and take action on important campaign decisions.

 

In retail, employees from store associates to customer service representatives are the “face” of the company. They must be empowered, engaged, and set up to succeed. Through the collaborative features of SAP Jam, retailers can motivate employees with direct and continuous engagement and transform performance management by putting people at the center of their strategy. To help retailers manage the frequent hiring of new employees, SAP Jam assists with the onboarding process through informal training videos and collaborative groups focused on training that reduce the amount of time required to become productive (see Figure 2).

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In the retail industry, a large percentage of employees do not sit in front of computers while working. Being able to access information, collaborate, and communicate via mobile devices is essential. SAP Jam can be used on mobile devices to watch and record videos, view documents, add comments, access applications, and send direct messages (see Figure 3). SAP Jam’s mobile capabilities enable retailers and their employees to be more productive.

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A Retailer’s Success with SAP Jam

 

A major US brick-and-mortar retailer is leveraging SAP Jam across its organization. In addition to connecting employees to the right experts and information, the company is using SAP Jam functionality to help increase store revenue.

 

Using the informal social learning capabilities in SAP Jam, the retailer rapidly trains store associates on the latest promotions and offers. Through interactive discussions, employees collaborate on how to promote merchandise. Additionally, the retailer uses SAP Jam to ensure that store associates are brand compliant, merchandising displays and promotions are consistent, and that top-performing employees are highlighted to help increase store revenue.

 

The retailer also uses SAP Jam to ensure that store and division managers can quickly communicate key updates to their associates regardless of shifts, locations, and schedules in a secure, confidential manner. It’s helping the retailer achieve its goal of a consistent brand experience across stores, regions, and divisions, both online and on the floor.

 

Get Connected: The Time Is Now

 

McKinsey reports that social technologies have the potential to unlock $1.3 trillion in annual value, double the value to be gained from better enterprise communication and collaboration, and to create a 40%-60% improvement in customer interactions.5 With retail being an industry that experiences fierce competition, social collaboration can provide a competitive advantage that produces bottom-line improvements.

 

Follow SAP Social Software on Twitter: @SAPSocial

 

1 Cisco, “Cisco Visual Networking Index: Global Mobile Data Traffic Forecast Update, 2013-2018” (February 2014; www.cisco.com/c/en/us/solutions/collateral/service-provider/visual-networking-index-vni/white_paper_c11-520862.html).

2 Marketing Charts, “Top Advertising Vertical in the US? Retail, Again” (March 2013; www.marketingcharts.com/wp/uncategorized/top-advertising-vertical-in-the-us-retail-again-27732).

3 Ruby Newell-Legner, “Understanding Customers.”

4 Genesys, “The Cost of Poor Customer Service: The Economic Impact of the Customer Experience and Engagement in 16 Key Economies” (2009).

5 McKinsey & Company, “The Social Economy: Unlocking Value and Productivity Through Social Technologies” (July 2012; www.mckinsey.com/insights/high_tech_telecoms_internet/the_social_economy).

Sales teams are on the front line to customers. They’re the ones involved in maintaining customer relationships and guiding customers to the support team when they encounter problems. Because of that, some would say it’s a no-brainer to deploy solutions that streamline the way salespeople can communicate not just with their customers but also with other employees, partners, suppliers – so that ultimately, the customer is served better.idc_sales.png

 

An enterprise social network seems like the answer for a few obvious reasons:

 

  • An enterprise social network can cut time and effort from the overall sales process by connecting customers, partners, and suppliers
  • An enterprise social network, with activity streams and simple ways to share information, makes it easier to develop a strong relationship with a new customers and then maintain it
  • An enterprise social network that both the sales and service teams can access makes it easy to streamline handoffs when a customer does run into a support issue

 

But if you’re the one tasked with getting buy-in from all the right stakeholders to actually get funding for – and purchase – that enterprise social network, sometimes it takes more than just saying, “It’s obvious – we need it.”

 

A good business case for a new cloud solution you want to invest in needs real KPIs and use cases – especially if you have to convince multiple departments before you get sign-off.

 

To that end, IDC recently crafted a paper that establishes and validates a core set of metrics for enterprise social networks for sales departments.

 

If your sales team is considering the purchase of an enterprise social network – or even just curious what the benefits could be for you – this is required reading.

 

Register now to download the report and find out how enterprise social networks can impact KPIs like revenue growth, opportunity qualification, and profitability – and improve cross-functional collaboration with other departments like finance, operations, and legal.

 

Register and download the IDC report now:

Understanding the Business Value of Social Solutions in Sales

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Editor's note: This article by Holly Simmons, Vice President of Marketing for Social Software at SAP, is reproduced from the Apr-May-Jun 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.pngOnly 9% of global companies over the last decade have been able to achieve sustained, profitable growth, indicating that it is more important than ever to understand how to differentiate your business.

 

Surprisingly, the key to differentiation is not to change your business model regularly or to take on more new initiatives — instead, the most successful companies build on a simple business core that takes advantage of repeatable approaches to ensure that they successfully deliver what they do well time and again.1

 

SAP Jam was designed with repeatability in mind. As the market-first solution that weaves social collaboration directly into your work via your applications, mobile devices, and business processes, SAP Jam enables rapid repeatability to help you drive closure and improve the bottom line. With its built-in work patterns based on how business leaders work, SAP Jam brings together what you need in a single place: people, data, documents, discussions, tools, and applications.2 With everything at hand, you have the power to begin work quickly, make decisions, and drive action.

 

Work Patterns Across the Business

 

SAP Jam can support any department across the organization. Whether you’re in sales, customer service, product development, or human resources (HR), you can collaborate with colleagues, partners, and customers.

 

In sales, for example, an account representative’s role involves various work patterns, including account management, relationship building, and closing deals. To successfully close a deal, account representatives often collaborate with their colleagues to be better informed. SAP Jam can help here: The opportunity deal room work pattern enables sales executives to engage sales teams with customer service, product development, or marketing to define sales strategies, discuss customer requirements, or finalize a sales proposal (see Figure 1).

deal_room.png

In human resources, HR professionals can use SAP Jam to onboard new employees, for example (see Figure 2). In this scenario, the HR professional helps a new sales representative join a group in SAP Jam and collaborate across the business to have more access to the information and contacts the new rep needs to get started quickly.

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Repeatable Does Not Equal Rigid

 

Over the past 40 years, SAP has had a great opportunity to interact with customers to understand how work gets done across many departments and industries. With SAP Jam, that experience is incorporated into the solution’s design, and customers from over 50 companies provide regular feedback into the design of every work pattern. While the concept of repeatability might seem rigid, it’s actually quite flexible, with SAP Jam delivering work patterns that can be customized further by the business person or even custom-developed by IT.

 

Figure 3 highlights a work pattern that helps field and customer service professionals swarm around specific customers’ issues to enable fast closure and improve customer satisfaction. While this work pattern is provided out of the box with SAP Jam, any business person can change the look and feel or capabilities, such as adding a timeline of key events, a question-and-answer section, or group tasks. If an organization has a specific methodology, it can custom-develop work patterns.

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Achieve Sustained Success

 

Work patterns can help differentiate your business, aiding in the training and productivity of your users. SAP Jam’s rapid repeatability can ensure that your success is sustained over the long term.

 

For more information, visit www.sap.com/jam.

 

1. Chris Zook and James Allen, “Repeatability: Build Enduring Businesses for a World of Constant Change” (repeatability.com).

2. To learn more about work patterns in SAP Jam, see the article “Transform the Way People Work with Work Patterns from SAP: SAP Jam Delivers a Fast, Repeatable, Flexible Approach to Driving Business Outcomes” by Anthony Leaper in the January-March 2014 issue of SAPinsider (SAPinsiderOnline.com).

 

Follow SAP Social Software on Twitter: @SAPSocial

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


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For the last 40 years in enterprise computing, innovations have focused on automating processes, digitizing connections to people, and outsourcing demand and supply chains to strengthen core competencies (see Figure 1). Many of the most recent innovations have been around social and cloud computing. These technologies give business professionals tremendous access to their employees, partners, and customers, but also to transactions and data in the cloud.

 

In light of these developments, the fundamental question is whether work has changed — whether sales processes, customer service operations, capacity for learning, and supply chain methodologies were transformed — or if the analog world was simply digitized. If there has been such monumental change, then why do the following inefficiencies persist?

 

  • The average worker still spends 28% of his or her time managing email and 20% looking for internal information or colleagues.1
  • Sales representatives spend 65% of their time hunting for information and expertise rather than selling.2
  • Only 7% of consumers say that customer service experiences exceed their expectations.3
  • It costs $1,398 to create one hour of learning content.4
  • 43% of companies still do not have complete information about suppliers.5

 

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The Reality for End Users

 

Digital transformation has occurred in specific business areas, but end users still face this reality:

 

  • Ad hoc processes and fragmented systems are centered on point functionality instead of conforming to how users want to work.
  • An avalanche of data is being generated across applications that are not aware of end users’ specific roles and what information is important to them.
  • Silos of collaboration have resulted from stand-alone social software applications that cannot leverage the power of customer, employee, and supplier networks and have limited or no connection to meaningful data, processes, or content.

 

Meanwhile, users are witnessing incredible digital transformation in the consumer world around them. For example, in the last two decades, businesses such as Travelocity and Expedia changed how hotel rooms were sold; now AirBNB wants to sidestep the hotel altogether. Several taxi-locating mobile apps emerged soon after the iPhone was invented; now Uber is trying to eliminate the traditional taxi. Customers are experiencing digital transformation in their lives from 5pm to 9am, so their expectations of how effective the technology in their lives must be from 9am to 5pm have also risen.

 

Essential Components to Accelerate Performance

 

Today’s systems are fragmented, with ad hoc data generated by multiple systems that don’t understand the insights users need to get work done. Networks of customers, partners, and employees are completely disconnected from business applications.

 

To solve this problem, we at SAP looked to our 50-member customer steering committee to understand the two or three work patterns that command how the majority of employees — from support professionals, to product managers, to knowledge workers — work and engage with customers. In sales, for example, the work patterns include prospecting, managing accounts and opportunities, building customer relationships, collaborating on preparing the sale, and learning about products.

 

work_patterns.png

 

When you look away from the rigid lens of transaction-based applications and the loose design of stand-alone social apps and put the end user in the center of the experience, you can start to identify how people, processes, data, and content need to come together to drive each work pattern. Each work pattern is designed around best practices and the specific needs of your own business, leveraging four specific characteristics (see Figure 2):

 

  1. Designed for you: Instead of having to go to multiple systems, data from multiple systems must come to you in one experience — in your application, social network, or device of choice, combining your data with your access to experts.
  2. Repeatable: Empower people to harness successful business processes and provide a way to templatize and repeat these best practices across your workforce.
  3. Flexible: To gain a competitive advantage from technology, you should be able to build new applications or extend existing ones to differentiate and win in your market.
  4. Network-aware: The best minds among your customers, employees, and partners must wrap around problems and opportunities to give you the best information possible.

 

This is the essence of work patterns in SAP Jam. We have co-innovated with over 50 SAP customers to transform the process of engaging and delighting customers; how to build, market, and sell products; and how to procure materials. SAP Jam is designed to connect to all your SAP on-premise, cloud, and third-party applications, and avoid disruptions while helping you reimagine how you work. Our line-of-business customers see work patterns deliver on established business key performance indicators (KPIs), and IT leaders can leverage work patterns to discuss transformation with their functional counterparts. This is how we think about the future of work at SAP — and it’s here now.

 

To learn more, read the other articles in this report and visit www.sap.com/jam.

 

1. McKinsey & Company, “The Social Economy: Unlocking Value and Productivity Through Social Technologies” (July 2012).

2. Jeff Ernst, “New Rules of Sales Enablement” (2009).

3. Echo Research Group, “2012 Global Customer Service Barometer” (2012).

4. ASTD, “State of the Industry Report” (2010).

5. Aberdeen Group, “Supplier Lifecycle Management: Measuring Performance While Mitigating Risk” (August 2012).

 

Follow SAP Social Software on Twitter: @SAPSocial

Last month, the SAP Social Software team announced that SAP Jam reached 15 million subscribers and launched a developer program.

 

At SAPPHIRE NOW 2014 in Orlando, ASUG News reporter Craig Powers caught up with Sameer Patel, SVP and GM of Enterprise Social Software at SAP, to talk about the announcements.

 

With Sameer were Ulf Kossol from T-Systems Multimedia Solutions, an SAP Jam partner, and Martin Wanitschke from Itaricon Management Consulting, an SAP Jam customer, who are taking advantage of the developer program.

 

Watch the video or read the edited transcript below to learn more about how Itaricon is embedding social collaboration into their sales process using SAP Jam.

 


Craig Powers: Today I'm joined by Sameer Patel of SAP, Ulf Kossol of T-Systems, and Martin Wanitschke from Itaricon. We're going to be talking about SAP Jam and all the latest developments. If I could start with you, Sameer – tell us what you do at SAP.

 

Sameer Patel: Sure. Thank you for having us. My name is Sameer Patel, and I run our collaboration business at SAP. I'm the SAP general manager for products and go-to-market which includes SAP Jam.

 

Craig Powers: Right. I think Sameer, I think collaboration. Ulf and Martin, if you could also introduce yourselves.

 

Ulf Jost Kossol: Thank you. My name is Ulf Kossol, I'm from T-Systems Multimedia Solutions from Germany. I'm responsible for a team of social businesses consultants covering all things for customers who want to build up social collaboration systems in their enterprises.

 

Martin Wanitschke: Hi, I'm Martin Wanitschke. I’m head of sales at Itaricon Management Consulting. Together with T-Systems, we've integrated Jam with our CRM, which we'll talk about later.

 

Craig Powers: Sameer, Jam had some news last week, if you can get into that for us.

 

Sameer Patel: Sure. First, I’d just like to say thank you to a partner and a customer for joining us here today. There’s two things that we really wanted to share today. One is that, in the last eight quarters, we have surpassed 15 million subscribers on the platform. The second piece of news is the launch of a developer platform and program for Jam. What this means is that our customers and our partners can do three things:

 

First is that they can extend and customize work patterns – to help manage deals, to manage accounts, to manage customers, learning, on boarding across the organization. The second thing is – because our customers live in heterogeneous environments with SAP technology and non-SAP technology – we've allowed Jam to be able to use live data and content from back end systems that are both SAP and non-SAP. Third, they can now build net new apps that are collaboration-first, using the HANA Cloud Platform and Jam. So that's the news.

 

Craig Powers: Ulf, talk about, from partner's perspective, how you're approaching this new ability to develop on SAP Jam.

 

Ulf Jost Kossol: Let me say first that our approach is to be a consulting partner for our customer. It’s a multi-vendor approach. We deal with a lot of leading social software companies from all over the world. With Jam, we are partnering with one you know. We've been very excited about the invitation to join the early development program before the launch.

 

The reason why it’s a good opportunity for us is that with the new release of Jam, it's different to the approaches of other social collaboration technologies. What’s important is that social collaboration will take place not next to a process but within a process. Some vendors also have integrations, but only in the activity stream, for example: You have an activity, and you can share the activity.

 

But in combination with work pattern methodology from Jam, we can combine it in one community. That was the reason we recommended this solution to our customer Itaricon. Because our recommendations are always based on use cases, we bring the best technology for the specific customer’s case.

 

Craig Powers: Martin, obviously Ulf and T-Systems made the recommendation, but you still had to make the decision. Why did you choose SAP Jam and what was the purpose that you wanted to fulfill with it?

 

Martin Wanitschke: Before I explain the technology decision, I should probably explain why we chose social collaboration at all.

 

When I joined Itaricon, my task was to find processes within the sales organization that could be speeded up. What I found was that when any employee for Itaricon had a sales opportunity, he had to put it into the CRM. Then he’d send an email with a link to the CRM to all the people that he thought might help win that deal. But then collaboration stopped. They all worked in silos on their own laptops. They had a couple of meetings or telephone conferences to make the deal happen. It worked, but there were things that could make it better.

 

After putting the opportunity into the CRM, there was kind of a black box. No one really knew what happened – even the person who initially found the opportunity didn't know what happened with the opportunity. It was quite clear that we needed a tool or a technology that made this black box a little bit more transparent. Social collaboration can help make processes transparent. That's what Ulf just said: You don't put a collaboration suite next to a process; you put it onto the process.

 

Our process trigger is the opportunity. We work together within the sales organization – and within our whole organization – on the opportunity in Jam.

 

Why did we choose Jam? It was a pretty easy decision. SAP is one of the core technologies that Itaricon provides technology services, professional services, and consulting services for.

 

We have several technologies of course, but Jam is just easy to use – easy to integrate. That's what they promised, and that's what we’ve realized.

 

Sameer Patel: That's why we're here, and we appreciate that. Thank you. Because this is a developer program, we paid attention to two specific things as we rolled it out. The first was that large partners like T-Systems, with 60,000 plus employees, can use this platform to develop these social solutions.

 

The second thing is we also wanted to make it available to individual developers. Individual developers who bring deep domain expertise in certain lines of business can now build deep solutions that enhance business processes and then sell them as products in the HANA Cloud Marketplace.

 

Craig Powers: Great. I'd like to go back to you, Martin. You were talking about siloed emailing and collaboration. Talk briefly about what SAP Jam looks like and how that leads to collaboration.

 

Martin Wanitschke: First of all, let me briefly explain what we did with Jam. As Ulf said, it’s not only SAP technology that needs to be integrated with it. At Itaricon, we use SugarCRM for our CRM system, and we've integrated SugarCRM with Jam – bidirectional, by the way. When the opportunity comes into CRM, it also appears in the list of opportunities within Jam. That's where the collaboration really starts.

 

You have the list of opportunities and everybody who can see that list can create a group from one of the opportunities. You open up a group because you think you have the best expertise and you have the time to make that deal happen. You open up the group and you get into a very familiar design. Social collaboration within business might be kind of new, but social collaboration – Facebook and stuff like that – is really familiar to everyone now.

 

If you get into one of these groups in Jam, if you have ever seen Facebook before, you will be able to deal with the group. There are group templates that are already predefined that we can also change.

 

Sameer Patel: The work patterns.

 

Martin Wanitschke: Yes, work patterns. We can design the work patterns. You open up a group and there's already a template for the details of the opportunity coming right from the CRM. You have a list of the members of the group. You have an activity stream, which is the most important part at Itaricon, at least. It’s just easy to handle, it’s really easy to handle. Whoever has a chance to look at it should do so.

 

Craig Powers: To wrap it up, I'll go back to you, Ulf. For other developers, are there tips on how to get started with this program?

 

Ulf Jost Kossol: Not just for the developers. My most important tip is to not only to look at the technology. When we look at a project with customers who are running social collaboration initiatives, there's more and more emphasis on qualification training and change management. And it's really important to think about these things not only from the technology side but also the developer side. My advice for developers is to go deep into the developer tool kit. SAP did a brilliant job with many best practices. Test – do it. Test and go your way.

 

We created the integration together with Itaricon in three weeks. So it is simple. SAP is simple.

Editor's note: This article is a guest blog post by Rich Caballero, first published on the SAP Business Innovation blog.

 

Are you struggling to drive an important cross-company initiative? You have an innovative idea and a sound game plan, but every day feels like pushing a boulder up Mount Kilimanjaro. The key to keeping your sanity is to get an executive sponsor and supporter. They can single-handedly open the floodgates to provide the awareness, resources and budget you need to surf to success.

 

Dream it. Say it. Do it.

 

Here is a simple three-step process to attract the attention and secure a commitment to action from management.

 

1. Dream it: Get your executive excited about a vision

 

The secret to step one is to package your compelling vision in a way that will resonate with your target executive. To do that effectively, you must understand what makes your manager tick. David Merrill & Roger Reid have defined four social styles that define the way that people interact with each other:

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Merrill-Reid Social Styles

 

This matrix can help you position and communicate your vision and plan with maximum impact. Let’s take a real problem many business professionals are tackling: how to convince management the value of enterprise social networking. It turns out that getting management engaged in social networks has a huge impact on user adoption. According to Community Roundtable, C-level participation in a community drives 2-3 times more collaboration. This should make sense since a connection with our leadership drives employee engagement, motivation and satisfaction. A recent Deloitte Core Beliefs and Culture Survey found that access to management and leadership was one of employees’ top requests. Therefore, convincing management to become a good social citizen is a critical component to any social network’s success. You may have defined several goals, use cases and value propositions for your project. However, we want to be selective and highlight only those components of the vision and plan that are most interesting to our audience.

 

For example, once you have identified your manager’s social style, you can position your plan as outlined below:

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Social Network Positioning Aligned with Social Style

 

2. Say it: Get them to articulate this vision publicly

 

Once management is on board with a vision and plan, we want to encourage them to communicate this plan as far and wide as possible. Think about all the potential communication channels available to your champion: board meetings, executive staff, all hands meetings, employee newsletters etc. This is an important step because communicating the vision will (1) bring awareness to your solution (2) engender a sense of ownership and commitment by the executive and (3) therefore, create motivation for them to see the vision executed.

 

3. Do it: Make it as simple as possible for them to execute

 

In the context of our example, the last step is to make participation and contribution to the social network as low maintenance and stress free as possible for the executive. Some practical ideas include:

 

  • Align the communication channel with the manager’s preferences. Do they like to write or talk? Do they prefer video, images or audio? Propose that they communicate via the media which allows them to shine.

  • Enlist one of their trusted advisors to create content on their behalf or actively look for threads where they should be commenting.

  • Managers are frequently on the move, make sure there is a mobile app installed and working on their phone and tablet.

  • Provide a dedicated technical resource that will initially make sure their account is active with single sign on and on an ongoing basis, solve or answer any technical issues or questions they may have.

 

So if you are struggling with how to enlist an executive to champion your initiative, follow the “Dream It, Say It, Do It” methodology. Please share your thoughts and experiences. Have you had success influencing an executive to commit and take action? How did you do it?

 

Follow SAP Social Software on Twitter: @SAPSocial

In this video recorded at SAPPHIRE NOW 2014 in Orlando, San Jose Sharks COO John Tortora talks about how his organization uses SAP to run their business.

 

Tortora explains how SAP Jam helped them tackle the challenge of cross-departmental communication, and how it allows them to share key information and make better connections.

 

During his presentation, Tortora said that SAP Jam has taken collaboration at his organization to the next level. He said that it’s been especially helpful in the marketing department, which supports every department in the company and works with external agencies and vendors. Because of the number of staff and the variety of projects in progress, it had become harder to collaborate using only meetings, email, and phone calls.

 

With SAP Jam, the San Jose Sharks now have a single platform that anyone can access from anywhere. They can now share dynamic timelines and documents with the entire company, edit and review commercials with outside agencies, and create special project groups to enhance brainstorming and improve the execution of projects.

 

Three months after going live with SAP Jam, 90% of employees in the San Jose Sharks organization are now using it.

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Find out how social collaboration can transform the way you work. Listen as Sameer Patel, SVP and GM of Enterprise Social Software at SAP, moderates a discussion with SAP Jam customers Cargill and Grundfos. Jennifer Cupp from Cargill describes how social collaboration is transforming employee learning programs, and Thomas Asger Hansen from Grundfos talks about how social tools can help his organization collaborate effectively across borders.

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Recorded live in Orlando at SAPPHIRE NOW in June 2014.

The overview page is the face of your SAP Jam group – it’s the first thing people see when they join your group. Its job is to communicate what your group is about and to point people quickly to the things that matter most to them.

 

Because building an effective overview page is so important, we’ve created a new overview page designer that's even easier to use. The new designer makes creating and maintaining overview pages a snap – and gets you up and running faster than ever.

 

What’s in the new designer?

 

The new designer features a grid-like layout of content blocks that you can rearrange easily to add and remove columns and rows, change the width of blocks, and then easily add content by dragging and dropping it from your desktop. It includes many of the features from the previous editor and adds new features.

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Grid layout. When you create your overview page, you can now select a grid that’s up to three columns wide, with as many rows as you need. For each row, you can select one, two, or three columns. If you select a row to have two columns, they can be of equal size or one can be larger than the other. You can resize the columns dragging the divider between the cells left or right – and it won’t affect any of the other rows. If you select a row to have three columns, the columns are automatically set to an equal size. If you wish, you can choose a premade layout when you create the page.

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Easier content placement. There’s now a widget for everything: text, images, and videos. That’s in addition to the special dynamic content widgets that we’d already added for people, events, tasks, feed, related groups, content, and forums. Any content you add will automatically align to the top of the content block it’s in and resize to fill the entire width of the block.

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Easier images. You can now drag and drop images directly from your desktop or choose an image from the content in your group.  SAP Jam will automatically resize the image to make it as big as the content block it’s in. You can crop the image and even zoom in to a specific area. Use the “Edit Image” dialog to link the image to a URL and add text overlay captions.

 

No need to use HTML. To make it simpler for people who aren’t familiar with HTML, we’ve removed the ability to add HTML when creating an overview page.  If you’re a power user and are comfortable with HTML and CSS, you can still use the old wiki editor, but you won’t have access to the new designer’s functionality.

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Customize group templates and work patterns to business processes. You can now design a group template that matches your company’s unique business needs. After you build your overview page the way you want it, ask your company’s SAP Jam administrator to go to your group and create a template based on your group. The administrator can manage customized templates and turn off pre-built templates that your company doesn’t use.

With the May 2014 release, SAP Jam continues to deliver social collaboration when and where people work – building on the work patterns concept that we introduced just six months ago.

 

Work patterns help you make it easy to repeat successful work processes. They combine expertise finding, content, problem-solving tools, and templates with real-time data from business systems – so that you can make informed decisions quickly and act on them to deliver results.

 

In this release, we’ve added even more new capabilities, like the ability to customize work patterns and include the right business data.

 

Here’s a summary of what’s available now in the 1405 release of SAP Jam.  For more information, please refer to the detailed release notes.

 

 

For departments and lines of business

 

Customizable work patterns. If your department often needs to create a certain kind of group, you can now ask your IT or company admin to create a work pattern template for it – saving you time every time you need to recreate it. For example, if your sales team follows a specific sales methodology, you can create customized account and opportunity work patterns for it. If you’re the admin for a group that you want to create a work pattern template from, start by customizing your overview page and including relevant content like polls, documents, and agendas. Then, when you’re ready, ask a company admin to create a work pattern from the group with a single click.

 

Custom business object filters for data widgets. Company admins can now customize the filters in data widgets. For example, if your organization considers a high-probability sales opportunity to be one that has a 75% chance of closing, you can specify 75% in your filter.

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SAP ECC integration. To help you collaborate around orders and invoices – for instance, when you need to resolve an issue with an account before processing an order – SAP Jam now integrates with SAP ECC ERP out of the box when you’re also using SAP CRM.

 

Order-to-cash work pattern for orders and invoices. Speed the processing of orders by using this new work pattern that pulls in business data from orders and invoices via the SAP ECC integration. In the account management work pattern, an “Orders” tab is now also available so that you can see orders from that account.

 

For users, group admins and content owners

 

Business object browser. If you’ve integrated a system like SAP CRM with SAP Jam, users can now browse business data in that system and create new SAP Jam groups to collaborate around it. SAP Jam respects the security model of the integrated system – so for example, users in SAP Jam can only see those accounts, opportunities, and service requests that they would normally have access to in SAP CRM.

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Overview page designer. The new overview page designer makes it easy to customize the layout of group overview pages by dragging and dropping content.

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SAP Jam add-in for Microsoft® Office Outlook®. With the new add-in for Microsoft Office Outlook, you can continue collaborating regardless of whether you’re online or offline. As you view an email message, you’ll be able to post a status update directly from inside the email – or create a blog post, discussion forum entry or a wiki page.

 

Expertise actions in the feed. When your feed notifies you that colleagues have been endorsed for their expertise, you can easily do “me too” endorsements directly from your feed, and the recipients can quickly choose to show the endorsements directly from their own feed. Your colleagues can initiate endorsements by recommending expertise tags on your profile. Search results in SAP Jam now include expertise. For example, if you search for “government,” the search results will include users with expertise tags for “government.”

 

For IT and company admins

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Customizable work patterns. When a department or line of business at your organization customizes a work pattern to suit its business needs, an IT or company admin can preview it, edit it, copy it, and choose to enable or disable it. If pre-built SAP Jam work patterns aren’t used at your company, they can be disabled.

 

SAP Jam profile customization. Company admins can now customize SAP Jam user profiles by hiding certain sections or fields, modifying the order of fields, and adding custom, SAP Jam-only fields.

 

Preloading of expertise and other tags. To align tags with another system like an HR skills database – and make it easier for users to choose them – a company admin can now preload expertise and other tags into SAP Jam.

 

Embedding of SAP Jam feeds into company portal. To help you promote the use of SAP Jam in your organization, we’ve created SAP Jam widgets for feeds and recommendations that you can embed in systems that your employees use often – like your company portal.

 

Real-time SuccessFactors Foundation profile sync. When new employees are added to SuccessFactors Foundation in Employee Central – or if a user’s basic profile is changed manually – those changes will be seen almost immediately in SAP Jam.

 

System-managed member list API. With this new API, you can create and manage member lists using your company’s system of record – for example, LDAP or Microsoft® Active Directory®. This capability requires custom development by a partner or developer.

 

Usability enhancements

 

We’ve listened to requests from our customers and have made the following enhancements to make SAP Jam even easier to use.

 

Anonymized activity reporting. To comply with local requirements, organizations that operate in the European Union have asked to be able to anonymize user activity details. When you enable this option, user detail reports will no longer include personally identifiable information.

 

Anonymous polling. It’s now possible to create anonymous polls.  When you vote in an anonymous poll, your vote won’t appear in feed notifications, and the person who created the poll won’t be able to the names or details of people that voted.

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Gallery view of sub-groups. To make it easier for users to see what sub-groups are available and join them, the sub-groups page now shows a graphical, tiled layout by default – and includes more information about each sub-group.

 

Overview page renaming and reordering of tabs. Managing tabs on your overview page is easier: You can rearrange them and even rename your overview page, if you like – for instance, you could change it from “Overview” to “Home.”

 

Group template preview and work pattern recommendations. Before creating a group, you can now preview it to see what it will look like. If you create a group based on data from an integrated system, SAP Jam will only recommend work patterns appropriate for that type of data. For example, if you create a group based on SAP CRM account data, SAP Jam will show you work patterns for account data but not for opportunity data.

 

Widget changes. To make widgets more legible and easier to use, we’ve removed their borders and adjusted their fonts, colors, and titles.

 

Deprecated and disabled features

 

As we work to make SAP Jam even easier to use, it sometimes makes the most sense to remove certain features. For this release, here’s a summary of changes.

 

Newly deprecated feature: Status nudge has been deprecated, but will still be available until at least August 2014.


Disabled features: Company quiz and personal information in user profiles have been disabled.


Discontinued support: Microsoft® Internet Explorer® version 7 is no longer supported, following Microsoft's discontinuation of support for that version.

In the May 2014 release of SAP Jam, we’ve made it easier for partners and developers to customize, extend, embed, and integrate SAP Jam – so that they can support their customers with innovations specific to their department, company, or industry.

 

  • Customize. Tailor work patterns to address the unique needs of a business and enable repeatable work.
  • Embed. Add SAP Jam capabilities to SAP and third-party applications to facilitate collaboration.
  • Extend. Add in-context business data to SAP Jam from SAP and third-party systems, using OData-based APIs.
  • Integrate. Incorporate SAP Jam into enterprise landscapes using APIs and prebuilt integrations.

 

To support you and ensure your success, we’ve also created an SAP Jam developer community, where you’ll find the tools and documentation you need. Along with API reference documentation and sample code to help you get started, you’ll also get access to a special developer sandbox where you can create and test your new work patterns and integrations – and even submit support tickets for any bugs you find.

 

Customize

Create custom work patterns. Tailor work patterns to address the specific business needs and processes of your customers. Include built-in SAP Jam content such as forums, content, widgets, tools for structured collaboration, and third-party data. For example, you can now customize the account management and opportunity deal room work patterns that include SAP CRM data to fit the unique needs of your customer’s sales team.

 

Link a work pattern to a business object. Connect a work pattern to a specific business object, such as an account, opportunity, or service request within SAP CRM.


Facilitate work pattern recommendations. When someone creates a new group, SAP Jam will automatically recommend a work pattern for them to use, based on the appropriate data or business object. For example, when someone creates a group related to an SAP CRM account, SAP Jam will show work patterns recommended for accounts. When someone creates a group related to an SAP CRM opportunity, SAP Jam will show work patterns recommended for opportunities.

 

Create custom business object filters. When you add data from third-party systems to SAP Jam, you can filter that data when you expose it in a widgets. For example, if you’re integrating data from a CRM system into SAP Jam, you can create a “high probability of closing” widget that only shows deals that have a 75% chance of closing – or whatever percentage your customer defines as high probability.

 

Customize the group overview page. Use the new overview page designer to redesign the layout and content to address the things your customer needs to do most often. You’ll be able to create a template out of the customized overview page, allowing others in the organization to use it to create overview pages for new groups.

 

Embed

Embed SAP Jam feeds into third-party systems and custom-built apps. Use the widget builder directly within the SAP Jam admin user interface to create JavaScript® code that allows you to embed an SAP Jam group feed and recommendations into another application.

 

Embed SAP Jam feeds into company portals. If your customer’s company portal permits use of JavaScript, use the widget builder to create code to embed feeds and recommendations into the portal.

 

Extend

Add SAP on-premises application data to SAP Jam. Use a connector for SAP NetWeaver to add data from SAP applications into an SAP Jam work pattern – in the same way that we’ve added data from SAP CRM and SAP ECC to existing work patterns.

 

Add SAP HANA Cloud Platform data to SAP Jam. Use an OData Connector to include data from applications created on the SAP Hana Cloud Platform inside work patterns.

 

Expose data from third-party systems within SAP Jam. Use SAP Jam’s built-in “business object list” and “business object detail” widgets to expose third-party-system data in a way that matches the look and feel of SAP Jam – allowing users to collaborate around the data and business records important to them.

 

Integrate

OData-based API. We’ve already used this new API for SAP Jam to create the new SAP Jam add-in for Microsoft Office Outlook. This add-in allows users to collaborate from their favorite email client and even while on the go with offline collaboration capabilities.

 

Third-party application integration. Using the SAP HANA Cloud Platform, you can write custom code applications that act as the OData middleware between SAP Jam and third-party applications such as SugarCRM.

 

SAP CRM and SAP ECC (ERP) integrations. Use these two integrations, built using the OData-based API, to add collaboration to SAP CRM and SAP ERP business processes.

 

CMIS integrations. Use these previously announced integrations out of the box to connect SAP Jam to Microsoft SharePoint and Alfresco One.

 

System-managed member list API. Using the member list feature that we previously introduced, you can invite multiple people to a group using a system that’s as easy to use as an email distribution list. Instead of inviting 100 people individually, simply choose a member list to invite them all.  With the new system-managed member list API, we’ve made it even better. Now, you can manage member lists automatically, using a system of record within your organization like an LDAP server or Active Directory.

The new SAP Jam developer community

If you’re a partner or developer and you’ve wanted to customize SAP Jam or build integrations for your own customers, now you can.

 

For the May 2014 release of SAP Jam, we’ve created a new OData-based API that allows you to create innovations that support the company, departmental, or industry-specific needs that matter to your clients. They’ll be able to get social collaboration right where they work – including customized work patterns and in-context business data.

 

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To support you and ensure your success, we’ve also created an SAP Jam developer community, where you’ll find the tools and documentation you need. Along with API reference documentation and sample code to help you get started, you’ll also get access to a special developer sandbox where you can create and test your new work patterns and integrations – and even submit support tickets for any bugs you find. You’ll also get access to a community of developers – and the SAP Jam team – and be able to provide feedback for future additions to our API.

 

For more information about the developer community, visit the SAP Jam developer community page.

 

The new SAP Jam OData API

In creating the API, we’ve considered requests we’ve received and also spoken to leading partners to ask what they need to do to address the needs of their customers. Taking that feedback into consideration, we’ve built the API to offer the following functionality.

 

  • Group manipulation
    • Create groups, read groups, update groups and delete groups
    • Copy groups
  • Group membership
    • Manipulate group membership (by adding or removing members), group admin data, or the group picture
  • Group content
    • Create, read, update, and delete group content like wikis and blogs
    • Create, read, update, and delete forums, questions, discussions, and ideas
    • Add or feature complex business objects to a group
  • Get notifications and accept or dismiss them


Non-OData-based APIs

 

We also provide REST endpoints to:

 

  • Create, read, update, delete kudos
  • Trigger and get usage reports
  • Create and delete bookmarks
  • Search SAP Jam

 

For more information about the OData API, visit the SAP Jam developer community page.

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