Why do we read stories? The novelist Milan Kundera has suggested that stories can be a source of insight that open up vistas that otherwise would be hidden. Through stories, we discover a truth that we would, perhaps, have otherwise overlooked in the helter-skelter of life.
The power of stories is not limited to fiction. Biography and history – two more kinds of story – are more than an account of the past; they are a source of insight into the workings of the world. They are a kind of tool, in a sense. We read the biographies of our heros for some bit of insight into the workings of success so that we too, perhaps, can capture some of the same magic. And, in similar fashion, we are told that reading history helps us avoid some of the pitfalls and folly’s that marred the journey’s of our predecessors.
In similar fashion, many business schools make case studies the centerpiece of their curriculum. The famous Harvard Business School case method places story at the center of the educational experience How the HBS Case Method Works. The Harvard Business School’s website introduces the case method this way:
“When students are presented with a case, they place themselves in the role of the decision maker as they read through the situation and identify the problem they are faced with. The next step is to perform the necessary analysis—examining the causes and considering alternative courses of actions to come to a set of recommendations.”
This method is like a flight simulator. Through these stories, the student immerses themselves in situations similar to ones they will encounter later on, on the job, as they learn how to manage in complex, dynamic situations. Reading through the case involves analyzing the situation, assessing the options, and working out the best course of action. And like a pilot learning how to fly using a flight simulator, it’s better to make your mistakes when working through the case than out in the field where mistakes cost money, jobs, and lost opportunities.
So, while we sometimes read simply for some bit of information, for news or product specifications, at other times, we read for insight, for experience, and for guidance. We read to glean the hard won lessons of others who have traveled down similar paths before – we read in order to gain experience at a discount. We read in order to find shortcuts to the future.
By now, you may be wondering what any of this has to do the SAP Community Network?
The short answer is that I want introduce the SAP Enterprise Support Customer Experiences database! It can be found at sapsupport.info .
The Customer Experiences database enables you to find SAP Enterprise Support references for companies facing the same kinds of challenges that your company is confronting. The tool enables quick and easy searches for references based on customer demographics, region, industry, and even language. With it, it is easy to find concise stories from industry-leading companies explaining how SAP Enterprise Support helped them implement, operate, and innovate better. They outline the value that SAP Enterprise Support brings to the table as a strategic partner. And many of the stories focus on tangible, measurable results.
But its about more than documenting some past success some other company may have been able to realize - no matter how impressive those results may have been. It’s about giving your company a roadmap for successfully engaging with SAP Enterprise Support and getting the most out of the strategic partnership SAP always brings to the table. In other words, it’s a shortcut to a better future.