Johannesburg — Recently named one of the top 10 “most engaged brands on the Web” for its engagement with customers and partners through its social media channel, the SAP community network, as well as through social media channels such as Facebook, Twitter, wikis and blogs, SAP (NYSE: SAP) continues to add new services and features to its own SAP community network social media channel to enhance the user experience for its more than 1.7 million global members.
Wetpaint/Altimeter Group’s ENGAGEMENT report ranks SAP as the only business-to-business company in the top 10 of 100 global brands in terms of social media engagement, noting the company’s robust strategy, dedicated team and strong presence in social media.
The report uncovers how the world’s most valuable brands are experiencing a direct correlation between financial performance and deep social media engagement.
Sunil Geness, Corporate Affairs Executive at SAP Africa, says: “Social media forms the integral part of our strategy to communicate with the SAP ecosystem across the vast geographical terrain of Africa and the world. This enables us to provide real-time content and thought leadership to our most important stakeholders.”
Continuing to invest and expand its involvement in social media, SAP announced the launch of new community network offerings, such as additional Business Process Expert (BPX) communities dedicated to understanding International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS), implementing SAP Business Suite 7 software and supporting the recently announced PlaNet Finance partnership (see “SAP and PlaNet Finance Join Forces to Create Sustainable Business Models Through Access to Microfinance and Technology”).
SAP will now serve as an OpenID provider, which will enable easier access to the large network of partners and other resources offered by the SAP community network. Additional collaboration platform enhancements improve overall performance and collaboration through the addition of ratings and improved search capabilities providing members increased value from the community network.
“SAP’s innovative ‘community’ programmes help it to engage deeply and build long-term loyalty with both customers and partners, while enlisting their feedback on industry-specific needs and solution requirements,” Ovum analysts Warren Wilson and Nishant Singh wrote in a recent report. The community programmes “tend to foster stability in challenging economic times and growth opportunities as the economy rebounds”.
Technology enhancements improve experience of community users
Technology enhancements have improved the user experience for community network members by making searches and access to content easier. In response to members’ feedback, an improved user interface and search application was delivered, making information searches easier and allowing editors to identify content that is important and relevant to the entire community, increasing accessibility of resources to a larger audience.
Additionally, partners will find their content, promotional materials and links can be found more easily with the enhanced search services applications.
With the introduction of the SAP community network’s OpenID, members can use Single Identity managed by OpenID foundation to access multiple Web sites with one sign-on. Members will have the convenience of using the same identity to log onto different sites, which simplifies the overall experience by eliminating the need to remember multiple passwords and user names.
OpenID will enable faster and more personalised service and greater access to information from the wide network of SAP partners. Members using OpenID will no longer need to register for new accounts as the service will automatically log users into participating Web sites, as well as authenticate and confirm that the sites are trusted.
The success of the SAP community network can be directly attributed to the openness and the ability of members to provide feedback on the content others contribute. The rating and ranking features allow direct feedback from community members to help other members navigate through the large amount of content available in the community network virtual library. Members can now provide feedback on additional resources, such as whitepapers, Webinars, blogs and e-learnings. Expanding the opportunity to provide feedback will help content owners understand the relevance of their materials to other users and adhere to the quality standards expected by the community.
New Business Process Expert communities added
The Business Process Expert (BPX) community is an online network that connects SAP customers, partners and community members by offering a unique forum and repository for knowledge that focuses on a wide variety of SAP-related topics.
New additions include the International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS) and SAP Business Suite 7 user communities, where members can post and respond to inquiries, share articles and documents, and contribute to blogs about their experiences relevant to IFRS and SAP Business Suite 7.
SAP believes that IFRS represents a major change in the way many companies currently present their financial results. The new community will focus on the impact that IFRS will have on business and how SAP solutions make the transition easier. As solutions from SAP are already IFRS capable, the community offers a knowledge centre containing information on how to get started with IFRS projects, blogs by experts and a forum where members can ask questions about implementation. The SAP EcoHub site will also contain information about SAP partners and the services they offer to help implement IFRS.
The new SAP Business Suite 7 community offers a forum for users of the next-generation software suite that helps businesses optimise their performance and reduce IT costs. It provides a resource for members to engage openly and learn from each other, offering materials and information about the software and industry-rich value scenarios end-to-end business processes that focus on industry-specific outcomes that span organisational boundaries and application silos.
In support of the long-term strategic collaboration between SAP and PlaNet Finance, a leading international non-profit organisation that provides support services to microfinance institutions in some of the poorest regions of the world, SAP launched a new community initiative to encourage active contribution by the community and help under-served markets. Upon reaching the goal of 3 000 active contributors (over 250 points) for 2009, SAP will contribute EUR 200 000 toward programmes managed through its partner PlaNet Finance.
“SAP’s communities of innovation harness the collective knowledge and power of developers, partners, customers, business process experts and others to help customers maximise their technology investments,” said Mark Yolton, senior vice-president, SAP Community Network, SAP. “The SAP community network provides a trusted and validated environment to exchange ideas, discuss needs and identify solutions for co-innovation that leads to more revenue, growth and value for customers.”
The SAP community network is an active and vibrant community of customers, partners, employees and other thought leaders from around the world that share knowledge and experience on numerous SAP-related topics. It provides an open environment for experts to collaborate openly through interactive blogs, wikis and forums, giving members access to information and trusted resources so they can truly co-innovate to solve problems and obtain fast, high-quality responses to questions.
SAP is the world’s leading provider of business software (*), offering applications and services that enable companies of all sizes and in more than 25 industries to become best-run businesses. With more than 89 000 customers in over 120 countries, the company is listed on several exchanges, including the Frankfurt stock exchange and NYSE, under the symbol “SAP”. For more information, visit http://www.sap.com.