Facebook meets SAP

From the business world to leisure: Facebook data displayed as graphics (image: grasundsterne)

Facebook now has more than 500 million registered users, so it’s no wonder that a large number of apps are available for the site. Virtual pets can be adopted, farms can be run, and other social networks – such as Twitter – can be integrated. Another app – the Friend Network Optimizer from SAP – provides information about your network of friends and your own user behavior. You find out how active you and your contacts on Facebook are compared with the Facebook community in general.

To do this, the app works in a similar way to SAP Crystal Presentation Design, which is part of SAP Crystal solutions for business intelligence and can be downloaded free of charge from SAP.info until the end of the year. As the dashboard generator, its task is to extract information from raw data and to visualize it so that it looks good and is easy to understand.

The Friend Network Optimizer works in a similar way by gathering profile information through a Facebook interface and presenting it to users in the style of SAP Crystal Presentation Design. To become familiar with business intelligence software away from the office, you just need to integrate the app into your own Facebook profile.

Easy to install

Every Facebook app needs information about the user’s profile so that it can work properly. For data protection reasons, an app can only be installed if the user expressly allows it to access information. If you open the application from the search function, through a recommendation from a friend, or a direct link, you will therefore need to click the “Accept” button. The app will then be added to your profile.

The Friend Network Optimizer needs various information about the user and his or her friends. These include name, photos, groups, status, lists of friends, and the wall on which entries are made, commented on, and discussed.

Next Page: Profile Analysis and What-if Scenarios

Friends List "Friend Network Optimizer" (Screenshot: grasundsterne)
Friends List "Friend Network Optimizer" (Screenshot: grasundsterne)
Dashboard-Design "Friend Network Optimizer" (Screenshot: grasundsterne)
Dashboard-Design "Friend Network Optimizer" (Screenshot: grasundsterne)

Straightforward analysis of Facebook profile

So, what does the Friend Network Optimizer actually do with your data? First, the app creates a list of your friends. Up to 50 of them can be chosen for an analysis or can be selected at random. Activity in your network is then displayed using graphics. For example, a diagram shows your number of activities in the past five days and those of your busiest friends. It also shows which friends were most active on a certain day.

Furthermore, your activities are divided into four categories: social activity, status updates, wall posts, and photo uploads. A number of points – described as “network reach” – states how active your friends are as a whole. The core information, however, is contained in your profile points, which are calculated using all the data. The profile points of all the app users are compared and ranked in order. A worldwide top ten is displayed under the “Leaderboard” tab.

From occasional user to Facebook star – using fictitious scenarios

But the app can do more than that. By altering various parameters, what-if scenarios can be created, which are then immediately displayed on the dashboard. With just a few clicks, your network can be completely reshaped.

You can change your network reach by removing existing friends or adding pretend “new friends” – even if you don’t actually know them. You can also adjust other controls to create fictitious Facebook activity for the past five days, for example with fewer status updates or more photo uploads. The results are displayed dynamically and included in the calculation of your profile points. In such a way, users can find out what changed Facebook activity would look like.

Next page: Why install the app?

Leaderboard (Screenshot: grasundsterne)
Leaderboard for most active Users (Screenshot: grasundsterne)
What-if scenario (Screenshot: grasundsterne)
What-if scenario (Screenshot: grasundsterne)

Discover Facebook and SAP at the same time

People with a Facebook profile may be interested in the Friend Network Optimizer for two reasons. First, you can find out how active your own Facebook friends are and how much more active you would have to be to catch up with the most diligent users. Second, you can see for yourself what SAP software can do. The app reaches out to potential customers beyond a business environment, who can get to know SAP software on a private basis.

SAP is taking a similar approach with the Work/Life Balance Dashboard, which is also free of charge. Here, you can analyze the time you spend on various leisure and work activities. The actual time spent can also be compared with fictitious scenarios, such as the desired work-life balance. For those who want more, we still have Crystal Presentation Design available to download free of charge. You are then free to analyze data and create appealing presentations from your own spreadsheets.