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Thought Leaders in Mobile and Social: Sameer Patel, Senior VP and GM – Enterprise Social and Collaborative Software, SAP (Part 4)

Posted on Tuesday, Jan 21st 2014

Sramana Mitra: If I were looking at the multi-vision and the psychology of what’s happening, if there’s an incentive to create content and knowledge, and then you get credit in your appraisals and promotions. Those are the more direct psychological incentives, I think.

Sameer Patel: I agree. Again, we haven’t spent enough time looking at the value of these technologies in the context of what’s in it for the employee. Outside of the soft benefits and maybe the bragging rights of the stars and badges, they only go so far. You should use it in a way where it can actually drive both employee productivity, which is natural for them to understand, and also be cognizant about what the companies are trying to drive.

So in the support case, every time these one-off questions come that are new and not in the knowledge base, we can incentivize a support rep to put it into the knowledge base and even into the customer community if customers can benefit from that particular question. It will improve call center efficiency as well.

One of the fundamental problems with a lot of the technologies, at least around Enterprise Social technology, is that standard business KPIs are not taken into account. When I gave you those examples of CRM and HCM, we’re not trying to solve some social KPI problem like productivity. What we’re trying to solve here is the deal cycle throughput. We are trying to solve the ability to find experts to improve your deal cycles.

On the learning side, every company will probably agree with you that the experience that is in the heads of the most knowledgeable people is just not getting federated enough and when these people leave the organization, it’s lost forever. These are real business KPIs that organizations are measured by.

To your question of how’s SAP thinking about social, we truly believe that the market is now at a point where they are looking to get value out of these technologies. However, the association should be with direct operational and financial metrics versus imaginary social metrics that just don’t become a boardroom conversation.

Sramana Mitra: I have a couple of questions based on that. One is I’d like to learn a bit more about how SAP has implemented this philosophical premise that you just talked about. Not internally, more in the product lines. If you’re selling CRM, what have you done to the CRM feature sets to be able to work in this kind of social premises to optimize deal cycles, for example. What have you done architecturally, product feature wise. Number two, I’d like to hear about some of your customers who have implemented that in their organizations and what have they seen.

Sameer Patel: I’ll answer both those questions. Let me try from a customer point of view and see if that works. I’d like to talk about three customers. The first one is Telus. I think they do over $10 million in business. They are one of the larger telecommunication companies in Canada. Telus is looking at this, across the board, as a way for the organization to do exactly what I said. The characteristics of this organization are that they are highly distributed. They’re in telecommunications, have retail stores, and have fuel service support who are fixing stuff day-in and day-out, supporting customers, and solving enterprise and consumer problems. The idea here is the people who are out there in the front dealing with customers every day, be that from a sales standpoint or from a support standpoint, the distance is gigantic. Day to day knowledge of lessons learned and unique problems solved was actually captured, collected, and leveraged. So that when I’m on the job with a customer, I am actually leveraging this kind of information that may have been learned by another Support Rep who might be 4,000 miles away.

The second thing is in many cases is that generally, the folks in the field tend to trust other people in the field more than anybody else. Meaning, if you’re on the job and you’ve tried to solve this problem, it is more likely that I’m going to listen to you than some kind of dressed-up version of this in a document. I want to know what you did, how you did it, where you did it. Your reputation is on the line. Your life may be on the line if you’re climbing up a pole fixing something.

Telus has effectively used SuccessFactors learning to make sure that all of the certification and instructional training that needs to be offered top-down is always offered to these folks. Where Jam comes in is it allows them to build a very tight network across the field service organization. The individuals in those parts of the organization who are looking at incidence coming in on a day-to-day basis, they need to associate those incidences with a) knowledge that they have in their head because they’ve solved this kind of thing five times, b) they may need to solve it with a training that they took and c), “You know, I’ve never seen this but I’ve never received any training. It seems unique. How can I figure out who are the other 10 people across the 4,500 field service reps who are using this?” Those are extremely powerful use cases where when you have that trifecta of, a) “I know it,” b) It’s in the structure training document or in the LMS system,” or c) “I have my network of the most clever people on the subject right at a click.” This is not a social collaboration story; this is true employee enabling and an informal learning network across a user base.

Sramana Mitra: In this case, you’ve basically superimposed Jam on top of SuccessFactors learning and enhance the capabilities of SuccessFactors learning.

Sameer Patel: Absolutely and this is where the power of informal learning starts to directly impact the KPI that the learning organization does have and are measured by, not social collaboration, but learning. Jam has in-built capabilities around annotation of video and documents where you have these smart capabilities to be able to capture video, annotate them, make them useful, tag them and it shows up in the right place within the larger search environment. That search environment could have been SuccessFactors learning or it could have even been SharePoint. We make sure that content is federated everywhere. They don’t have to be just on Jam, but we make sure it’s available by hook or crook.

This segment is part 4 in the series : Thought Leaders in Mobile and Social: Sameer Patel, Senior VP and GM – Enterprise Social and Collaborative Software, SAP
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