While it may not have been among the earliest to the social collaboration party, since its launch of SAP Jam in late 2012 – based on technology it gained through its acquisition of SuccessFactors in February 2012 – SAP has been carefully carving out a niche for itself in this intensely competitive marketplace. As I wrote in my analysis of the company late last year, SAP has been very targeted in its strategy, focusing on its areas of strength first, notably through integration with the SAP SuccessFactors HR solutions to support employee collaboration.
However, of course there’s much more to the SAP portfolio than just HR applications, and in October the company announced a new offering, SAP Jam Communities, which applies the core collaborative capabilities of Jam to the external use case of customer communities. In a twist from the usual approach, however, SAP has integrated SAP Jam Communities with its Hybris Commerce Suite, allowing the community interaction to take place not in a separate community area, but in the context of the online transaction environment itself. This means that the community discussion becomes an integral part of the customer’s purchasing process, and – crucially – should make it easier to demonstrate the link between the improved relationship and support of the customer (as provided by the community platform), and actual sales revenue.
As we enter 2016, I’m going to be focusing much more on the external community use case for social collaboration, and I’m looking forward to digging into the details around SAP’s new offering, as well as various others within this space. I’m particularly looking for great case studies showing how powerful these types of initiatives can be, so if you are able to share any – or indeed you have experience of one yourself – please do get in touch!