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The Power of Community Comes to Life at SAP’s TechEd

marilyn and craig

Marilyn Pratt and Craig Cmehil, both SAP rock stars, embody the spirit of SAP TechEd.

Walking down one of the cavernous halls at the Palazzo hotel in Las Vegas, we approached one of my Enterprise Irregular (EI) colleagues, David Dobrin.  Dobrin looked surprised to see me and said, “What are you doing here?”  I said, “I’m here to learn!”

Yes, I attended my first SAP TechEd this week and this is where learning happens.  TechEd is in four cities around the world this year: Shanghai: March 13–14, 2014Las Vegas: October 20–24, 2014Berlin: November 11–13, 2014 and Bangalore: March 11–13, 2015.  An “elder” explained to me that TechEd is the physical manifestation of the online community that lives 24/7 around the world in SAP’s SCN community.  The earliest form of SAP’s SCN was launched in 2002.  The community has shape-shifted over the years to become the glue that ties together customers, mentors, evangelists, partners, and every member of the SAP ecosystem.

I was encouraged to attend TechEd by everyone’s favorite community host and star community advocate, Marilyn Pratt.  Between Marilyn and another one of my EI brethren, Craig Cmehil, the inimitable SAP evangelist, I knew I’d be in good hands to learn as much as possible from the community who turns out for SAP TechEd.  As a newbie to the space, my challenge for this trip was to get a better understanding of all things big data and data science.  My hosts, Mike Prosceno and Andrea Kaufmann did a fantastic job lining me up with SAP experts with whom I could share ideas and get a better understanding of how SAP was solving customer problems with big data via its HANA platform.

So what did I learn?

On Tuesday, I tagged along with Marilyn who was introducing Megan McGuire, lead for Médecins Sans Frontières/Doctors Without Borders (MSF)‘s new eHealth Unit, to various individuals and groups within the SAP community. The goal was to see team2 how SAP’s technology could further assist McGuire in her ambitious aim to provide timely, accurate information, monitoring, and accessibility for all MSF projects in 26 countries.  The challenges associated with data collection, language differences, data formats, even stable connectivity in remote regions all complicate MSF’s goals of going “digital.”  In understanding the complexity of the work MSF set out to achieve, I could see easily how this could translate to any large organization.  What was particularly interesting to me in the MSF approach was its emphasis on design thinking to frame the approach.  MSF’s strategy was designed in collaboration with ThoughtWorks which has an emphasis on disruptive technology for social good and change.  In the evening, McGuire was treated to the talents of about 75 SAP developers who formed teams and participated in a 4-hour data visualization challenge using MSF data and SAP’s Lumira data visualization tool.  Although I didn’t participate on a team, I was encouraged by how quickly the teams – many of whom had never used SAP’s Lumira – were able to start finding insights in the data.  Again, getting a real-time view into the challenges associated with data formats provided a number of teaching moments.

On Wednesday,  I met with several SAP experts and customers who were all taking advantage of the HANA platform.  One of the most interesting was Enakshi Singh, a neuroscientist, who is working with Stanford University on Genome research.  Singh told me that with SAP HANA, researchers at the Stanford School of Medicine are able to collapse the time to analyze large genome variant data from days to minutes and even seconds. The speed of the platform is accelerating learning and new discoveries around the world in the important work related to understanding the human genome.  I also met with Byron Banks, another one of SAP’s big data experts.  Banks and I discussed some of the challenges associated with what I’m aiming to do with Big Mountain Data.  He was generous with his insights and it was obvious to me how much commercial application of big data and data science can be applied directly to solving some of society’s greatest challenges.  I found the same spirit of generous giving at a luncheon hosted by Moya Watson, another SAP Mentor.  Moya gathered a number of SAP friends and fans (customers) who are interested in advancing technology for social good.  The discussion was exhilarating  and chock full of great ideas.

duke appFinally, I met with an enthusiastic team from Duke University who’ve created a real-time app to collect and present stats related to the famed Men’s Duke Basketball team.  With help from NTT Data, Duke’s athletic department was able to complete a “passion project” begun by a former Duke employee who aggregated all Men’s basketball data dating back from the early 1900s.  The project resulted in the first fan-facing data visualization and analytics tool in collegiate-level athletics. All the data is stored in the HANA cloud and presented via SAP’s Design Studio which was deployed natively on HANA.  The team’s project, which goes by the hashtag: #DukeMBBStats, will launch November 14, just in time for the new season.

When thinking about the SAP TechEd experience, it occurred to me how valuable an asset the SAP SCN community is to SAP’s business.  In the cacophony of over 7,000 visitors to the show, the attendees seemed to all “know each other”  in that way only a strong community can bond individuals.  The community creates an experience with the SAP brand that enriches professional development, loyalty, and spurs innovation.  Where SAPPHIRE, which I have attended many times, focuses on new SAP announcements and a concerted effort to connect with customers, SAP TechEd is an event by the SAP community for the SAP community. It was difficult to tell who was an SAP employee, a partner, or a customer.  It was just a blur of passionate people sharing and learning from their friends and colleagues.

The best lesson I learned in Las Vegas?  This will not be my last TechEd.

 

 

 

 

Social Business: Pining for the Fjords!

“I’ll tell you what’s wrong with it…  It’s dead!”

So, which is it dead or not dead?   There is so much confusion in the market about what “Social Business” is, it might as well be a dead parrot (too).  And there is no shortage of people who come at this conversation with a perspective that simply adds more confusion based on their orientation or specific economic agenda.

No one knows this struggle better than I.  I had lost the battle to preserve “Social Business” for its original owner, Muhammad Yunus, who by-the-way is trying to solve global poverty and a Nobel Peace Prize winner, sometime in 2009 in discussions with the social cognoscenti.  My former employer and friends at the Dachis Group had settled on repurposing Social Business to describe the evolving phenomenon, and after I was acquired, I too fell in line eventually rebranding the Council I had created for early adopters of Enterprise 2.0 to become “The Social Business Council.”*   I think the goal had always been to create a singular view for the market, and I supported the direction.  But, even as I was leaving Dachis Group in the summer of 2012, we took a pulse to see how many of the early adopters had fully integrated their internal social collaboration initiatives (collaboration and learning) with their external social media marketing initiatives (sales and marketing), and wished we hadn’t asked.  I knew the number would not be high, but I was literally shocked to see the response was nearly zero.  The actual number was 4%.   The number was so startling that when I presented it at a Jive user’s group meeting here in Texas, people were somewhat alarmed.  So, I repurposed the figure in the report to reflect how many people said they had plans to do it, but currently had not done it.

planets

The reality that surrounds this issue is we are really talking about two different planets that share the same language based on the principles of the early web 2.0 phenomenon and open web.  But, anyone who’s played in both these camps will readily acknowledge that a digital strategist or VP of Consumer Strategy has no idea what social collaboration is inside the enterprise and most likely spends his/her entire day in email, teleconferences, meetings, and ppt.  And, someone who’s running an internal enterprise social network has no idea who the top players are in SMMS (or what that acronym even means).  The problem is becoming somewhat unwieldy, however, because people who do not know better can easily confuse expertise in one area with the other.  Some of the senior enterprise folks in our network are facing career track issues with this right now.  Further, there’s now evidence of attempts at rationalization taking place, trying to shoe-horn the whole shebang into a singular phenomenon.  Nice try, and if it leads to changing the world, we’re for it.

One of our Change Agents, Richard Martin, pointed out that Nilofer Merchant side-stepped the issue quite neatly in her book 11 Rules for Creating Value in the Social Era: “You might wonder why I’m not using Enterprise 2.0 (E2.0) or social business (#socbiz) terminology. Enterprise 2.0 primarily focused on the tools necessary to create information flow, based on the idea that we can do better if we share information freely. Social business (#socbiz) was a term first created by Muhammed Yunus, but more recently has been a popular way to describe the way companies function and generate value for all the constituents (stakeholders, employees, customers, partners, suppliers)—the idea being that we add a social overlay to the existing structural framework. Here, I pose a new question with the notion of Social Era: in what ways can we structure things entirely differently to create more value in the context of our times, to be fast to market, to be fluid in mind-set, to be flexible in how we organize, deliver, and create value?”

She nails it in that “new” question.

We’ll be talking about some of those answers in an upcoming webinar we are doing next week in cooperation with our sponsor partner, Socialcast by VMware. The webinar will provide a reality check on where social is today, but more importantly, will talk about the underlying trends that are driving enterprise-sized businesses to become more network-based and adaptable.  You’ll have the pleasure of listening to thought leaders Simon Terry and Harold Jarche share their insights on why social matters now more than ever before.   Simon will explain how we got here, what the problem is in the market, and Harold will explain ways we can begin to address these problems today.  We’ll cover a few case studies and have lots of time to do Q&A with webinar participants, so please sign up and join us.  We look forward to your participation.

Webinar: Moving Forward with Social Collaboration
Date:  December 12, 2013
Time: 11:00 a.m. EST

 

This webinar kicks off a series of projects we’ll be doing with Socialcast to educate the market.   We have a lot more in store as we roll into 2014 too.  As always, thanks for your support for the great work we’re doing at Change Agents Worldwide.  You can support us by tweeting (@chagww and #caww) about us, liking us on Facebook, following on on G+, joining our public community on G+, and following our updates on LinkedIn.  Of course, don’t be shy about joining us as well.  Things are going to change in 2014 for new members, so if you’ve been considering joining, now would be a good time.

Last thing –  Deloitte and MIT Sloan Management Review are running a fairly good survey on trying to get to the bottom of some of these issues and to mitigate some confusion in the market.  I highly recommend you complete the questionnaire.   We’re also very excited about Change Agent Jane McConnell’s Digital Workplace results which will be out in early 2014, as well.

See you next Thursday!  And, as always, interested in your comments.

 

*Sadly, one thing is deader than a dead parrot: The Social Business Council.  Dachis Group shut it down this month.  It was a great resource for many early adopters and fans, and its legend lives on in the halls of Wikipedia if you’d like to update the page.

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WIIFM on Working Socially?

Let’s be honest: change bites!  Most people do not like change.  Change brings uncertainty, a loss of security and control, a fleeting feeling of helplessness, and even panic.  Helping large organizations embrace disruptive change is a tall order.  What’s needed are roadmaps, play books, guidance, intelligence, patience, and a little inspiration.  But, change can be positive.  And, guess what?  If done correctly, it can be painless and enjoyable especially when you’re working with social software.

To that end, Change Agents Worldwide offers a variety of services to help companies make this transition.  We do it in a unique, network-based, new economy model.  Today, we’re announcing our first group project.  We partnered to help Salesforce’s Chatter team explain the “WIIFM” (What’s In It For Me?) of working socially on an enterprise social network.  So many of us are used to the benefits of working socially, but it’s still a foreign concept to much of the working world.  Part of our charter is to enlighten employees on the benefits of working in a new way.  Adoption is still an issue for most social collaboration vendors, and as Change Agents, we want to fix that.  We are experts in this, and we believe an understanding of social networks is core to the future of business.

Take a look at the creative tools we helped create for the Chatter team under the tutelage of the fabulous Maria Ogneva.  Maria is one of the most knowledgeable social collaboration professionals in the business.  We worked very closely with Maria and our amazing creative and brilliant friends at The Tremendousness Collective to create this animated video and accompanying infographic.  Also, a hat tip to our Change Agent Bryce Williams who coined, “Work out Loud.”

Enjoy!

 

 

Download the infographic here:


 

Stop ‘Yer Sobbin’ – Texas Remix

So, I feel compelled to blog a little this weekend addressing the angst that is circulating around the social web on the death of e20/social business/etc.  I’m not going to dazzle you with brilliant insights on what’s happening, why things are difficult, why change has been hard to do.  I’ve chronicled a lot of these details on this blog over the years.  Having really been at the epicenter of some of the largest organizations who have been working on social transformation, I’ve been able to bear witness to all the challenges in doing this important work.

The recent negativity that occasionally pops up on the landscape does not deter me in the least.  It  just makes me feel bad for those who are giving up or moving on to more interesting or perhaps financially rewarding pastures in the technology landscape.  It shows me they weren’t in it for the long game.

More importantly, I’d like to to stop grousing about what hasn’t worked, and start thinking again about what can be.  How powerful this idea of social renovation and renewal can be to fix so many things that are broken in today’s enterprise.  I ran into an old friend recently and couldn’t help myself, but get preachy.  I told him to think about what he wants in life.  Think about the opportunity, the voice he has in the market and how he could make a real difference on systemic change if he wanted to. You really can’t change the world if you’re only a little interested.  Some people are just not interested at all.  And that’s okay.

But, if you’re one of those people who are in it for the long game, in it for the reasons that web 2.0/social drew you in originally, I urge you not to get discouraged.  Stop listening to the haters and the bitter “social change deniers.”  There are many, many, many people around the world who have a positive outlook and are inspired to deliver on the promises of how new thinking, organizational reboots, and liberating technology can truly move the axis and deliver stellar results.  It’s still early in this game.  Be part of the solution.

How Do Enterprise Buyers Research New Software?

A few weeks ago, I wanted to know what role “social” plays in researching enterprise software.  Every one of the billion dollar companies that responded to my inquiry said that blogs, social networks (from Twitter to LinkedIn), and online forums weighed heavily in their initial research and opinion formulation process.  Of course, the traditional research houses (Gartner, Forrester, IDC)  are still the strongest sources of unbiased insights and strategic guidance on large enterprise software.  But, the emphasis on searching social sources for initial inquiries confirmed what I believe strongly –  if you’re selling enterprise software, you need to be a part of the conversation online.

After a very long-threaded discussion, we came up with this mapping to indicate where sources fit in the context of a very nuanced process to research new software players. See if it resonates with you.

This map courtesy of Joachim Stroh.

research

In related research news, I have had the pleasure this year to work with Jane McConnell on developing input to her annual Digital Workplace Trends report.  I suggested she develop a customized Digital Workplace Scorecard for this year’s report.  It will be very handy to track these scorecards over time as enterprises mature.  It can become a benchmark to demonstrate the material returns on transformation initiatives.  The research will be done in February,  and I’m looking forward to presenting it here in the U.S.  You have until October 28 to contribute to the survey.  Learn more here.

As you should know, we are working hard on Change Agents Worldwide.  We are currently testing our models in the market with customers.  Once we’ve moved a few customers through our unique approach to delivering on the business of world-changing, we will be making a formal announcement that explains our goals for the company.  As always, feel free to reach out to me with any questions.

Come Shake your Cosmic Thing in Atlanta this Fall

Gandhi-quotes-In-a-gentle-way-you-can-shake-the-world.-300x300In my new role as social mercenary while I work on the startup, I’ve been doing some work for my good friend, Robin Carey, founder of Social Media Today (SMT).  Robin is one of the key influentials who served as an early catalyst to introduce the social phenomenon to the business world. SMT is a disruptive publishing and community hybrid that has delivered the right mix of thought leadership, exposure, brand value, and community engagement to thousands of early adopters worldwide.   SMT launched in 2007 and as chiefly a new media online enterprise, Robin has always avoided the temptation to get into the conference game.  That changed last fall when Blogworld approached her about doing a conference.  Blogworld’s New Media expo draws thousands to its flagship event in Las Vegas.

What I love about Robin is that she sees the whole market – the macro market – for social’s total potential for impact on a 21st-Century business.  Where she could easily be content to stay sequestered in the profitable social media marketing large chunk of the social pie, she has never lost sight of what social can do internally for an enterprise.  Robin credits her heroes as the inspiration for the conference, but she is a hero to many of us who are thankful she has never let go of that vision.

Robin chose another one of my good friends, Maggie Fox, to serve as MC and content producer for the event.  Maggie too has always been a champion for seeing the larger possibilities in the market beyond social media marketing and serves as a strategic advisor to large companies trying to navigate the social possibilities of a changing world.  She is focusing the conference agenda around issues that demonstrate how social is developing new models and changing traditional roles for individuals and brands.

So, when is this fabulous conference?  The Social Shake-up Conference will be held September 15-17 in Atlanta, GA.  The tracks are already established, and the sessions are getting filled in quickly.  Although you’ll see a lot of familiar faces in the speaker list for Shake-up, you’re going to be introduced to some new, dynamic speakers too.  The star opening keynote will be Porter Gale, who recently published, “Your Network is your Net Worth.”  I’ve heard she is a fantastic speaker.

In the back channels on the social web, I’ve been hearing a lot of grousing about how there is a hole in the market for a great conference. So many of us who’ve been at this for a while recall the magic that happened when people who knew each other really well online met for the first time in person at an industry conference.   It has always served as a good lesson behind the hoopla that powers the social web that real relationships are forged and forever grounded in the chemistry and bonding of a face-to-face encounter.  I’m looking forward to attending this conference and helping Maggie and Robin in every way I can.  BTW, this is not a conference where you will see a pathetic dearth of women speakers.  Women have been strong voices in the social revolution.  Come celebrate with us in Atlanta.

Early bird registration ends this week, July 5.  There are blogger press passes for influentials too, so just reach out, and I’ll make sure to hook you up.

Bonus question: who can identify the obscure B-52s reference in this post?  

 

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About Me

Susan  Scrupski

Susan Scrupski

Working on Social Change

Using wits and guts to make change happen in the most difficult places.

Susan Scrupski founded the The 2.0 Adoption Council and Change Agents Worldwide. She is currently incubating Big Mountain Data in her mind.

Connect to me if you're a change agent too.