Crowdsourcing for SAP Solutions

When it comes to existing SAP software and products, the SAP Community Network (SCN) is one of the most comprehensive resources available, allowing SAP customers, partners, and employees to ask questions, share knowledge, and give feedback. In 2011, SAP launched another community for the SAP ecosystem; this time with the purpose of generating ideas for not-yet-developed software improvements and innovation. It’s called the Idea Place, and it’s based on the concept of crowdsourcing.

Crowdsourcing is essentially an open call to a group of people or the public to develop a technology, design an object, or, in the case of SAP, generate ideas for new software and innovation. Because crowdsourcing involves a large number of participants who usually have a direct connection with the end product, it has the potential to deliver more relevant and fresh ideas than conventional R&D. After all, no one knows where there is room for improvement in a given SAP solution better than the partners and customers who work with the software on a daily basis.

Simply sign-up and submit

Any person can view the content in the Idea Place, but in order to submit an idea and to comment or vote on a topic, you have to log in with an active SCN account. If you don’t have an SCN account, you can register here either as an SAP customer or partner, SAP employee, or public user.

Once you enter the Idea Place, you’ll find that it is organized into numerous Sessions, or categories, under which the ideas are organized. Sessions range from specific solutions like SAP NetWeaver, to particular markets like Brazil, to larger solution areas like Mobility and OnDemand. You also have the possibility to request a new Session if you want to submit an idea that doesn’t fall under any existing Sessions.

Idea status and categories

The next step, posting an idea, is easy: simply choose the “Submit an Idea” button and fill out the form with a title, text, and appropriate keyword tags. Once the idea is published, other users can vote on it and add comments. At this point, the idea has the status of Submitted, but over its lifetime in the Idea Place, the idea might also have the status of Under Review, Accepted, Delivered, or Not Planned by SAP. The status updates allow you to follow particular ideas as they progress through the Idea Place. You can also search for ideas according to these categories: Recent Ideas, Most Popular (ideas with the most votes, both for and against), Most Discussed (ideas with the most comments), or Most Points (ideas with the top votes).

Every idea is reviewed by a team of experts made up of engineers, product managers, and community managers who evaluate the potential for implementation. The ideas with the most votes will receive a higher level of attention, as this indicates a large number of SAP customers and partners see a need for that particular feature or product. In this way, SAP is able to develop offerings that are even more closely based on what the end-user really wants and needs.

As of December 2011, there were 6,690 submitted ideas; 4,908 comments; 27,017 votes; and 178 completed ideas. To experience the Idea Place for yourself, click here.