SAP® Community Network Increases Business Value to Customers

October 12, 2010 by SAP News 0

Evolution of SAP® EcoHub and Code Exchange Program Provide Easy Access to Ecosystem Offerings and Enable Rapid Innovation for Developers and Users

BERLINUnderscoring the ever greater business value that customers gain via developments in the company’s thriving ecosystem, SAP AG (NYSE: SAP) today announced new enhancements in SAP® Community Network. Comprising the SAP® Developer Network (SDN), Business Process Expert (BPX), SAP® BusinessObjects™ and SAP® University Alliances communities and SAP® EcoHub solution marketplace, SAP Community Network is the go-to destination for more than two million SAP customers, partners, employees and experts to engage together in making their experience with SAP products even better. In addition to the community network’s growing popularity – as evidenced by a record 36 million visits over the past year and by the 20,000 new members joining each month – significant developments to SAP EcoHub solution marketplace and the introduction of the code exchange program on SAP Community Network demonstrate how the diverse community of SAP users collaborates on a global scale. The announcement was made at SAP® TechEd 2010, the company’s largest ecosystem education event, being held October 12-14 in Berlin, Germany.

Cited as illustrating perhaps the most extensive use of social media by a corporation (see Aspen Institute Report Cites SAP Community Network as Social Media Forerunner), SAP Community Network spans 200 countries and territories, bringing a diverse range of perspectives from business and IT professionals, customers, independent software vendors, systems integrators, consulting firms and SAP employees. Much like consumer social networks, the community encourages frequent use, with more than 70 percent repeat visitors among the one million unique visitors per month. Upon logging on, members do more than search for information. Of the 200,000 community members who contribute solutions and best practices, more than 6,000 also write and publish individual blogs. Those posting to the more than 350 forums create 4,000 notes each day, culminating in seven million messages within the community. Categorized clearly to provide ease of use and the fastest, most comprehensive answers to questions, this abundance of insight is available to all SAP customers and partners as a means to derive the most value from their investments in SAP solutions.

SAP EcoHub Opens New Stores for Business
SAP EcoHub is the premiere online marketplace for customers to discover, evaluate and buy partner solutions to complement their SAP installations. In 2009, service partner offerings were introduced in a limited format (see SAP EcoHub Expands to Include Service Partner Offerings). With the latest expansion of the online solution marketplace, partners gain more functionality to introduce their broad service portfolios to the SAP ecosystem, allowing them to showcase their offerings and solutions in a way that best matches their terminology, data model and sales concept. SAP customers searching for solutions now find a wider and richer set of offerings, including links to relevant service providers that can support them with consulting, implementation, planning and other services that relate to the SAP software lifecycle. For SAP customers, SAP EcoHub provides the easiest means possible to learn about augmentations to their SAP systems. For partners, a presence in SAP EcoHub helps bring a wider potential customer audience.

To inspire the process of connecting partners to customers, SAP has created a focused, service partner storefront offering on SAP EcoHub that allows service partners to create a branded home storefront to promote their offerings. A service partner can create more definition and branding around its company by choosing to display the size of the company in terms of revenue, number of SAP projects currently engaged in and specifics to the segment of the ecosystem it participates in, along with a list of locations and geographies in which it provides services. Accolades and awards bestowed on the service partner are highlighted, along with the number of certified SAP consultants and partner status.

Service storefronts on SAP EcoHub provide tools and capabilities to define a service. These are then linked to partner storefronts for those partners offering the specific service. This can involve a single service or a service matrix across industries and different SAP solutions, and can be a tailored service, customized at the customer site to fit the business process, or a productized service, with a fixed price and scope. SAP EcoHub also has the flexibility to display simple services as well as complex services like SAP® Rapid Deployment solutions (see SAP Launches SAP Rapid Deployment Solutions to Deliver Value to Customers as Fast as Within 12 Weeks), which combine services, software offerings and support. Customers can search throughout the service storefronts by attributes such as line of business, service lifecycle stage and method of delivery, to find a service that meets their specific business need. The search results include demo capabilities to showcase actual delivered services or proof of concept. A “Related Solutions Area” tab further links services to solutions or software that provides customers with a choice of solutions that can be bundled with this service, which enhances the user experience.

For SAP service partner Wipro, SAP EcoHub is a core component in the company’s go-to-market approach.
“As an SAP global services partner, we have been working closely with SAP to deliver solutions that enable seamless and efficient business for our customers,” said Amitava Sharma, vice president, SAP, EAS Practice, Wipro Technologies. “We needed a platform that could provide a dynamic storefront to showcase our solutions to the right audience and help us expand our applications-based services practice worldwide. SAP EcoHub has helped us create a buzz around our service offerings across the enterprise landscape. I’m thankful for the excellent collaboration platform SAP has invested in for their partners and customers.”

Code Exchange Innovates the Innovation Process
Code exchange is a platform on which certain SAP Community Network members can share non commercial add-ons around SAP products. Co-defined and co-developed with SAP Community Network, it augments the current community features by complementing them with support for source code management and other collaborative capabilities. Launched in beta form at SAP TechEd 2009 (see SAP Delivers Co-Innovation Directly to Its Ecosystem Community Members), code exchange is now broadly available and enables participants to exchange code on an open platform and collaborate on software projects with other developers while they solicit recognition, feedback and contributions from the community. This takes place via group management, online discussions and blogs, as well as document management and issue tracking. Code exchange offers various benefits along the entire SAP product innovation lifecycle. Use cases include:

  • Supporting the introduction of new SAP products
  • Addressing long-tail challenges
  • Enabling cross-industry scenarios

Code exchange is completely free of charge to registered community members and is accessible via a tab on the SAP Community Network site as well as from the most common development devices, and can be used with standard development environments. It is governed by specific terms of use that community members have to accept before they can fully use the platform.

“The record-level adoption rates and continuous improvements to SAP Community Network are of great importance to SAP, as the communities have proven to be one of our most effective means of connecting and delivering value to our global customer base,” said S. Singh Mecker, senior vice president and head of the Global Ecosystem and Partner Group for SAP AG. “The newest enhancements such as code exchange and SAP EcoHub demonstrate SAP’s commitment to open innovation and customer lifetime value. Together with our communities, we continue to forge ahead to enhance the customer, partner and developer experience.”

To register or read more about SAP TechEd 2010, visit www.sapteched.com. To learn more about the communities of innovation at SAP, visit “SAP Communities” on YouTube or the SAP Developer Network site. For further interaction with event participants, become a fan on Facebook and visit the SAP TechEd forums and blogs. For announcements, blog posts, videos and other coverage during the event series, visit the SAP TechEd newsroom at www.sapteched.com/news.

SAP® TechEd 2010 in Berlin, Las Vegas, Bangalore, and Shanghai

More than 14,000 SAP customers, partners and technical experts are expected to convene at SAP® TechEd 2010, the company’s largest ecosystem education event series. The conference brings IT managers, software developers, administrators, and business process experts together to see, hear, and share how they and their peers can stay one step ahead of business change. Choosing from hundreds of hours of expert-led sessions and hands-on training, attendees can gain the inspiration and skills they need to maximize impact on their organizations. In its 14th year, SAP TechEd 2010 is being held in Berlin, Germany, October 12-14; Las Vegas, Nevada, October 18-22; Bangalore, India, December 1-3; and Shanghai, China, December 1-2. Follow SAP TechEd on Twitter at @sapteched and join the conversation at #SAPTechEd.

Note to editors:
Announcements, blog posts, videos and other coverage from SAP TechEd 2010 will be available in the event’s newsroom at sapteched.news-sap.com. To preview and download broadcast-standard stock footage and press photos digitally, please visit www.sap.com/photos. On this platform, you can find high resolution material for your media channels. To view video stories on diverse topics, visit www.sap-tv.com. From this site, you can embed videos into your own Web pages, share video via e-mail links and subscribe to RSS feeds from SAP TV.

About SAP
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 102,500 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 www.sap.com.

(*) SAP defines business software as comprising enterprise resource planning, business intelligence, and related applications.

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