Jamming to the tune of Social with SAP; #e20s talks with @ottenic

SAP is one of the main sponsors of the Summit, this shows that the Summit is an event which hits the mark when it comes to Enterprise 2.0 and Digital Transformation.

nicI had a conversation with Niclas Otte (@ottenic), a ten year veteran at SAP and directly involved with the Cloud solutions since 2008. 2.5 years ago he started working with SAP Jam and moved to social collaboration. He now drives the business development for the SAP Jam solution.

My first question was related to (the possible misconception of) SAP solutions being complex and difficult to work with. I was wondering how they managed to lower the usability threshold for SAP Jam.
According to Niclas, SAP systems, and mainly the CRM solutions, can become complex. Combining customisation and not updating to the latest versions can cause problems. But, this is not a standard. This happens when you only hear stories about when it goes wrong, and never when it goes right.

The steep learning curve associated with (older) SAP systems does not appear in SAP Jam, it therefore lowers the threshold for Digital Transformation, which is good to know.

It’s not really complex, rather sophisticated. You need to understand the different functions.

Moving With The Times

A flat line does not exist in business. Either you go up, or you go down. The past decade this has become more and more dramatic as the time scales on which change occurs shorten continuously. Today you can be fine, tomorrow you can be in a heap of trouble.

Social Business (or Enterprise 2.0) is the leading philosophy of maintaining the upper hand. It provides you with a mindset and the tools to sustain your business for a long(er) time. The various companies who provide us with the collaboration platforms know this. SAP knows this.

The above applies to all businesses, including (or particularly) those in the Social Business sphere. SAP invests heavily in their services (not just the software), which provides advisory and help, but they also leverage their existing ecosystem, which is significant.

We put a lot of effort into making sure we have the right expertise within our network, within our ecosystem that can help companies to achieve success with their social business initiatives.

A smart company keeps peaking over the fence. See what others are up to. This can be either within, or outside your network. The Enterprise 2.0 Summit is an excellent place to be if you want to connect to the pulse of Digital Transformation.

From the Why to the How

Despite the fact that the E2.0 community has a thorough understand of the Why, the message still needs to be conveyed, hence the need for a conference like the Enterprise 2.0 Summit. On the other hand, the community, as well as the Summit, is moving forward with the How. This is also interesting for SAP.

Niclas: “We can certainly see an evolution of how the E2.0 community as well as bigger professional services address the Digital Transformation, Enterprise 2.0 and ESN. It really makes sense to keep an eye no this.

“I think it’s fair to say that digitalisation is the central force of our time. And this is where we see the Digital Revolution having an impact on our consumer behaviour, but it’s also pretty dramatic in the workplace. A lot of industries are changing their business models, and our workplaces, and maybe even society at large.

“There is a lot of dynamics which has a huge impact on how we currently address digitalisation in our lives, professionally and privately.”

Upgrades All Around

sapjam2Governmental institutions, non-profits, NGO’s, literally every industry can have some benefit, if not very significant benefits from this Digital Transformation. Because of industry disruptors like Uber, AirBnB or Tesla, many companies are waking up fast and becoming more and more aware of this transformation.

Niclas; “And it’s exactly that; transformation, and with transformation comes threat and opportunity, and I think this is where we, as E2.0 community, and also SAP, drive and support the evolution of the Social Business landscape.”

SAP positions itself like this in the market in general and in the collaboration sphere with SAP Jam in particular. And, understandable, this resonates well within their ecosystem, their customers and partners.

It’s bringing together means, motive and opportunity. The technological ability in the form of SAP Jam, the Social Business philosophy and the current times, new social and online elements which have a profound impact on our daily life.

Having the right mentality is crucial for any initiative to be successful, whether it’s re-introducing the suggestion box or marketing one of the most successful social collaboration tools out there.

Social shouldn’t be a silo, it’s for communication and collaboration purposes.

The Going is Good

SAP Jam has crossed the 15 million subscribers, that’s a huge amount and puts it solidly among the market leaders.

Niclas; “This shows the momentum we have, also when it comes to our customer base. This is where it’s pretty clear that Digital Transformation and Social Collaboration has a very unique design. We have introduced a true social collaboration platform, not just a social network. Jam allows real-time data to be accessed, and we also introduced work patterns. The momentum around work patterns is also a part of our success. It is a natural evolution of what we’ve seen with ESN.

“Work patterns is a preconfigured work experience, either company wide or specific to a function or role. This in part helped us to surpass 15 million subscribers, which is certainly among the leading numbers in the market.

“And it helps our customers and partners to drive their Social Business initiatives and bring them in line with what they have in mind.”

The Summit

As mentioned, having SAP as a main sponsor for the event is a positive sign, not just for the event, but also for the industry. It certainly helps to have a certain attitude when you work (or sell) this type of software. You need to understand social in order to have long term benefits, as opposed to a quick win (or quick sell).

This mutual interest shows all involved are on the right track. We, as a community, need vendors, the makers of software to support our philosophies, theories and practices. The vendors need us for innovation, adoption and progression.

The last words are for Niclas;

“I’d love to see many stakeholders and companies [at the Summit] who are trying to build momentum with their Social Business initiatives. That’s part of the success, we are part of the community, and as peers we can exchange thoughts and new ideas.

“Everything is about using Social Business to leverage your ideas as much as possible. And I think this is where, at the Summit, we need to be open for new ideas, this will help with the How. There are best-practices and fantastic results that some drivers have established at their respective companies.

“The open mindset will help our community, and the Summit will help drive this business outcome and focus on the future.”


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Rogier Noort
I'm a Social Business addict coming from the technical depths of IT and rising from these dark ages, through web and social, to the enlightened field of Social Business. Also blogger, podcaster, talker and listener.