Can you have too much of a good thing? Take a look at the myriad blogs and wikis on the SAP Community Network (SCN) and you’ll see an example of a good thing that has gotten a little out of hand. “There’s just too much good information coming at me so fast that I can’t possibly pick out what’s most important and give it my attention,” writes Mark Yolton, Senior Vice President of SCN, of the current state of the community.
Since it started in 2003, SCN (then called the SAP Developer Network) has grown to over two million members, including SAP experts as well as customers, partners, students, and professors. Today, around 8,000 bloggers contribute to the community, which also houses how-to guides, moderated forums, white papers, and virtual events.
Earlier this year, SCN optimized its content for smartphones. Check out this SAP.info article on mobile SCN, “Pocket-Size SCN.”
If information is the needle, SCN is the haystack
As SCN has evolved, so too have users’ needs changed. The increase in traffic and content has made sorting through all the available information and locating the right blog or wiki anything but easy. The question is no longer if the information exists, but rather where?
In addition, online communities themselves have matured significantly since 2003. To put things in perspective: Facebook launched in 2004 and Twitter in 2006. Today, social networks let people tag, like, and comment on content they find relevant and follow other users who are interested in the same topics. Web sites like Amazon and even some online newspapers personalize their pages to reflect readers’ specific interests.
Thus, it was not so much surprising as inevitable when Yolton announced plans for a massive upgrade from the current SCN platform to Jive 5, the latest version of Jive Social Business System. Since Yolton’s original post in June, more details have been released about the new platform and the various features and social media tools that it will support.
Why Jive 5?
Jive is the leading provider of social networking software for enterprises, and in fact, SAP and Jive have a history of collaboration. In 2009, SAP BusinessObjects BI OnDemand software integrated with Jive to enable social-networking functions (like sharing reports with colleagues), and some of SAP’s internal communities use Jive 4.
According to Yolton, migration of the core of the current SCN platform to Jive 5 is already underway. In the near future, blogs, discussion forums, activity streams, ratings, article cover pages and documents, user profiles, business cards, and the points database and recognition program will all run on Jive 5.
Yolton writes, however, that some current aspects of SCN will not migrate to Jive, “We will retain our SAP NetWeaver Portal as an über front-end […], our LDAP, federated search across multiple SAP online properties, single sign-on, [knowledge management] for our article library, e-learning, videos, event pages, and an intact wiki.”
Find out “What Matters”
Notably, the Jive platform will deliver several social media tools and features that were not previously available on SCN. For example, you’ll be able to like and rate content, see trending people and topics, view enhanced member profiles, and follow people and topics you care about.
In addition, Jive 5 promises to streamline the process of publishing blog posts. Chris Kim, Director of Marketing for SCN, showed SCN members just how simple that process will be in this video, part of his “Tip in a Minute” video series. With Jive 5, you will be able to easily add and resize photos and videos and apply suggested tags. After your post is published, you’ll also have access to statistics, such as the number of views and likes, the number of comments on your post, and the number of people who have bookmarked your post.
Another exciting feature that Jive 5 delivers is something called “What Matters.” This is a space that customizes content for each user in the form of an activity stream. The idea is similar to Facebook’s Newsfeed. You’ll be able to see all the latest questions, comments, and blog posts from the people and topics that you are following. Here is a video of how “What Matters” works in Jive. This is not an indication of how the space will look in SCN, but the basic functions will remain the same.