Social Networking @ SAP
In 2007, SAP announced at the Sapphire event that it was getting serious about Web 2.0 within SAP, using new technologies to help “shift from a top-down, technically rigid structure to a more fluid, informal way of thinking with a certain trust in that people can find workable solutions to their problems.”
Attendees were impressed. For example, Jerry Bowles noted a blog post called SAP to Enterprise 2.0 Community: We Get It:
“Having spent a lot of time talking with a number of SAP executives at SAPPHIRE in Atlanta earlier this week, I’m delighted to report that SAP is one of those forward-looking giants that get it. Big time.”
Shortly after Sapphire, Steve Mann, who leads Social Media Strategy for SAP, posted a document on his AbleBrains blog authored by the Social Media Today: “SAP: A Company Transforms Itself Through Social Media”, which outlined the success of SAP’s community efforts such as SDN and BPX.
Everybody in Harmony
One of the first initiatives was a self-developed internal service called “Harmony”. Designed as a “Facebook for the Enterprise”, it has been running as a pilot since April 2007. It includes user profiles and skill sets, and lets users build ad-hoc groups with discussion forums. It has more than accomplished its goals of bringing people together around a number of topics, both personal and professional.
Preparing for the Future with a Unified Approach
Harmony has been very successful, with over 7,000 members. But there are also other Web 2.0 platforms internally, such as wikis on the corporate internal portal using Confluence software. In addition, SAP has a strong partnership with Adobe and provides Adobe Connect collaboration rooms for employees. In order to be sure of getting the right platform for the future, and taking into account the explosion of enterprise social networking vendors in recent years, SAP decided to implement a formal process for choosing a unified approach for the company.
A series of internal surveys and meetings were used to create a request for proposal (RFP) to the major software vendors in the space. This was then topped up with Twitter announcements that generated another 11 other submissions.
If you’re a vendor, and haven’t already submitted, I’m afraid it’s too late. As soon as we have more public news of what platform has been chosen (and Harmony is still one of the options), I’ll let you know…