There’s been a some traction in SAP-land regarding the SAP Community Network this month. And for once, it’s not necessarily negative or even ‘meh’. What happened? SAP CEO Bill McDermott re-iterated his support to strengthening the struggling SAP Community Network; announcing new leadership and focus based on his comments on Michele Crapo’s LinkedIn blog in late 2017. As a SAP Mentor and long-time SCN contributor, I was heartened to see Bill publicly put his word on the line. And frankly, I was pretty happy to see SCN moved under Bjoern Goerke’s organization and then thrilled to read that Thomas Grassl would be involved, as well. I consider Thomas a friend and know that he is truly passionate about building up a strong SAP developer ecosystem.
For those who may worry about the whole ‘development’ focus, I would take the ‘developer’ title and loosely apply it. Thomas and I have had many discussions over the years around what we each think constitutes a developer and I believe that he doesn’t really limit that distinction to just those who code ABAP, UI5, or may know what Git is. There are many, many Community members who aren’t developers in the ‘push/pull/commit’ category. Are users who write SQL to place in a Crystal Report Command Object not developing? What about folks who write BEx queries?
Those who think themselves as only ‘end users’: you should benefit from a re-invigorated SCN, too. To me, it always seemed that as when the developers were engaging, the ‘end users’ were more comfortable to speak up. At this point, you now had users helping users directly, talking about issues and how to make their lives easier. When the entire community is engaged, you now have an effective and non-trivial feedback loop to SAP.
I look forward to a re-energized and engaged SAP Mentor Program, too. While I’m honored to be a SAP Mentor and thrilled to have the Mentors recognized directly by Bill, there’s work for us to do, too. The entire community will be watching the Mentors, seeing if we lead the way. If we do not, then I feel that then it may be time to retire the initiative and start fresh. As my career progresses and I add other vendor tools to my SAP wheelhouse, I have yet to be introduced to a program as dynamic and influential as the Mentors. It would be a shame to lose the Community’s spokespeople, but if there was something new to take its place in a reborn SCN that continued the same traditions; then it should be considered. But if the Mentors lead the way and are successful, then long live the SAP Mentors!
There are a LOT of good comments on Bill’s blog- partly reminiscences of a time gone by, others requests of what a rebooted SCN portal should have. My opinion is simply this: information needs to be easier to find, relevant and TOGETHER! Long-time SCN users remember the days of ‘Spaces’ and a central ‘Start’ page that tied them together. SCN needs to feel relevant again, but without the marketing fluff and ‘Asking for a client’ nonsense. How do we get there and what does it look like? This should make for some FUN discussions, both internal and external to SAP.
I will also admit that my contributions to SCN have greatly diminished. I am one of those who have become disillusioned by the changes and had the same response as a lot of others: stop participating. I am excited by the possibility of ‘coming home’ to a revitalized and reenergized SAP Community. I would hope that others share my excitement and can use this as a call to action to bring others. Communities like SCN only grow organically. And like a garden, growth will take time and some fertilizer. But I have not been this excited about anything SCN-related in a long time…and that’s a good thing.