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After many years of Idea Place and Customer Influence being two separate places to influence SAP, they are now coming together under a new Customer Influence program.

As of September 18th, the existing Idea Place Product Idea Sessions will be migrated to Customer Influence. The Idea Place site will remain and continue to host innovation contests and other innovation programs but it will no longer focus on programs where customers (and partners) influence SAP products.

The Customer Influence program and site will now be the single channel for customers to influence SAP products.

A few things are changing. First some terminology:

  • Product Idea Session (Idea Place) => Continuous Influencing Sessions (Customer Influence)

  • Idea (Idea Place) => Improvement Request or IR for short (Customer Influence)

There will also be some improvements made to the influencing process as well as a platform change that comes with migrating to the Customer Influence site.


The new 'Continuous Influencing Session' process

We are again enhancing the engagement as part of the migration and have introduced a new status called Acknowledged, which is for the Product Managers to simply touch a newly submitted improvement request. They won't do a feasibility analysis -- that is still for the review period -- but at this point they can quickly confirm that the improvement request is possible, is within scope and is clear and easy to understand. Another improvement to the process, is that any SAP team wanting to run a Continuous Influencing Session must commit a minimum of developer days per review period and per year. The number of developer days is an internal number and can vary but I did want to mention, if an SAP team requests a session but does not commit enough resources, we simply suggest other options. All this is part of ensuring that as a customer, when you submit an improvement request, you 1) know it will be looked at (and Acknowledged if valid) by the product team shortly after submission, 2) if it is above the voting minimum, then SAP is committed to review and provide feedback during the formal review process and 3) there is commitment from SAP to implement the top voted and feasible improvement requests.

A feature that has been taken from the success of the Customer Connection program on Customer Influence, is the use of milestones and webinars/blogs. Each session will have milestones set for when a review is to be done, when it is complete and when communications will come out.  The process requires that at the end of a review period, the improvement request statuses, including the number of improvement requests reviewed, rejected and accepted are communicated via a blog or webinar. As well, when improvement requests are delivered subsequent communications need to be done. We believe adding these features to the continuous process will help provide more transparency to your improvement requests and the efforts behind them.


The new Customer Influence site

Outside of the process improvements, I am happy to say that customers now have a single central place for all Improvement Request related activities. No more will customers have to go two sites with two different experiences. For me personally, this has been a driving desire for years now and I am very happy that we have been able to bring this to you.

From a technical perspective the platform is changing too. Customer Influence now uses SAP's own SAP Innovation Management product. It is a different look and feel and offers more functionality than Idea Place could ever offer before. You will still be able to browse projects, browse improvement requests, see your stats, submit improvement requests, comment, vote, receive updates and browse who has voted but there are also many other smaller features and a few larger ones.

New Customer Influence platform features for Continuous Influencing Sessions:

  • Milestones widget so you can see the next review schedule, length and planned communications

  • A personal cockpit which provides users a central place to see all their improvement requests across all sessions

  • History tab that shows all changes with dates to an Improvement Request (I know, I know, "it's about time")

  • Export to Excel for a set or all improvement requests (Yes another - "it's about time")

  • We've also added new statuses to provide more clarity, including Under Review for Portfolio and Accepted for Portfolio. These are for Improvement Requests that are longer term in nature (+9 months) --- so you know when an improvement request is going to be a while. (Ok, not so much a technical feature but it's new.)

  • And finally much better mobile access


What's Migrating?

Some Product Idea Sessions are migrating straight across, some are being combined and some are transitioning to other programs. Given that some products are more mature or that the continuous model simply did not work well for them, they will transition to other programs for feedback like the Customer Connection Focus Topic.

Most Product Idea Sessions will have messages this week about whether they are being migrated or transitioned. Please check out the landing page of your favourite Product Idea Sessions to find out more. (For example, the SAP Community Idea Session is migrating and the SAP Community Experience team will provide more information specifically about this session.)


Some final notes:

  • The migration is scheduled to start September 15th (site frozen) and be live September 18th.

  • All browser bookmarks for an Idea Place Product Idea Session or idea that is being migrated will be maintained and will redirect to the new site and the respective Continuous Influencing Session or Improvement  Request.

  • All sessions not being migrated are now closed or closing down soon and will be removed October 13th

If you want to check out the new Customer Influence site, please do poke around at https://influence.sap.com.


Kuhan (Head of Idea Place)