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Welcome to SAP Jam Collaboration, release 1602!

With this quarter’s release, we’re happy to announce some exciting new capabilities to address specific customer requests to help them extend their usage of SAP Jam throughout the enterprise.  The topics today are the highlights of this release:

  • Administrative areas
  • Company home page: multi-level navigation menu
  • Area home pages
  • Simple content approval workflows
  • Customizable Content templates for blogs and wikis

but there’s many more great capabilities so be sure to see the release 1602 release notes for info on the following as well as details of the topics we’re covering here today:

  • Application extensibility
  • Area dashboards and printer-friendly view for dashboards
  • Area home page headers inherited from the company home page
  • Blogs and wiki mirroring plus changes to how mirroring works
  • Download count for content
  • Editing poll questions
  • Group invitation simplification
  • Redesign of the company admin console
  • Resetting group email notifications
  • SuccessFactors Foundation notification of SAP Jam away alerts
  • Updates to the SAP Jam mobile app for iOS and Android

Administrative areas for delegated administration

Administrative areas introduce an entirely new way for IT to manage the SAP Jam service – by letting specific groups of customers manage themselves with non-IT staff.   The key enabling capability with administrative areas is the ability for the company administrator to delegate responsibility of managing the area to area administrators.

Area administrators can specify the following types of capabilities available to users in their respective areas:

  • Restricting access to functionality: being able to create groups for organizations that have limited deployments, for example, if the usage of SAP Jam is limited to learning and training usage
  • Restricting access to real-time data integrations:  only people in the Learning administrator area can create groups based on the SuccessFactors Learning integration
  • Restricting access to third-party extensions: only people in the HR group can use the SurveyMonkey extension
  • Restricting access to custom OpenSocial gadgets: only people in the Marketing area can use a custom map gadget
  • Restricting access to templates: only people in the sales area have access to account, opportunity templates

The last item is of particular interest to many organizations as companies have discovered when you create a custom template for one group, another group wants to have their own version.  This eventually leads to the list of available templates to potentially be quite large.  Administrative areas resolves this by allowing only specific groups (areas) of employees to even have visibility to group templates and use them, as well as the integrations they may use.

A good example of this is the following: Say, for example, you have a large sales organization and the sales reps have access to the following templates and associated integrations:

  • Account management template with integrated data from SAP CRM (or C4C) with account details plus views into opportunities for the account
  • Opportunity deal room template with data from SAP CRM with opportunity details
  • Customer engagement template for interacting with customers

These templates don’t make any sense for someone to use in the engineering organization because the employee doesn’t even have access to the integration data - access and security is determined by the data provider.

So how do you setup areas? Easy – via groups.  Since SAP Jam already has groups, we decided to leverage the same mechanism to control areas.  When the company administrator creates an area, they also choose an SAP Jam group to bind the area to.  The control group itself is in every respect, the same group you can be using today. For example, if your sales organization already has a group called “Worldwide sales” that they do all their communication in, that can be used to control the new sales area.

Choosing the right type of control group determines access to your area and how much (if any) effort is required for the employee to be in the area:

  • Public: People can self-join the group, and be part of the area.    This would be a good way to restrict access to specific functionality such as sales templates.  Maybe not everyone in the sales organization needs or wants access to a customer engagement template, so let employees choose if they want this.
  • Private with manual assignment: People need to be invited to this group, so access to the area is restricted to specific people.
  • Private with autogroup assignment:  Because membership to the group is automatically assigned by autogroup rules (based on employee profile fields), this is would be a way to have organizational-structure-based groups for easy handling of membership. Using the examples above, everyone that part of the sales organization in the HR system would automatically be part of this group, and the area it controls.

What’s the right type of control group?  That depends on how you want people to gain access to it and is entirely up to how your organization works.

Custom home pages for areas

An additional capability that is based on administrative areas is an extension of the previously announced custom company home page – custom area home pages.

Area home pages work just like the company home page except that the area home page is only visible to employees in the area and is designed to give all people in the area access to relevant information. When an employee is added to an area, their “home” page becomes the custom home page for that area.  An example of this would service and support employees.  The area home page for service and support employees could include high priority service tickets and escalations.

Content in an area home page is only visible by people in that area, so it’s safe to expose content that would otherwise not be appropriate for everyone in the company. Because of this, there’s interesting new ways to share information – just like in the service ticket example above, a sales area could have the top opportunities in the CRM system so that reps can get recognition for their hard work on a big deal.

Company home page multi-level menus

Since the last topic was about custom home pages, that’s a good segue to the next topic, multi-level menus for the company home page.  When we introduced the company home page, customers became excited and asked us to extend that notion so they could expand upon their usage of SAP Jam as their company intranet.  But to do that, they needed a way to have a hierarchical menu to make navigation quick and easy. Company admins can now add sub-levels of navigation to the company tabs. A good example of this would be to make it easy to find important company information – training, news and events.  Then, under ‘events’ have a page for North America, and then one specific to Asia that way people can just view the events in their region.

Content approval workflows

The next capability that our customers asked us to create is to handle content approval with some simple workflows on a per-group basis.  When you have a group that is locked down to limit access to whom can publish, what happens is then the group administrator becomes a bottleneck in the publishing of content because they went on vacation. Another example would be when the group administrator isn’t a subject matter expert – they need someone else to make the decision if the content is suitable.  Content approval workflows address both of these cases with the following types:

  • One member from a list specified must approve
  • All members (as many as specified) from a list specified must approve
  • Any (one) group admin must approve

And can be applied with one of the following two options per group:

  • Apply the same approval policy to all blog posts, wikis, documents (uploaded files, photos, videos), feed posts, and forum posts before they become visible
  • Apply a specific approval policy to specific content types (listed above) – each content type is optionally selectable

When a piece of content is uploaded or created in a group that has an approval workflow specified, the content goes into a pending-approval state and is waiting for the approver(s) to deal with.  The approvers get notified there is a piece of content needing approval via a notification. When approved, the content goes live immediately unless there is a scheduled future publishing date specified by the content author – if so, the content follows the scheduled publishing date as requested.

Customizable content templates for blogs and wikis

The next capability specifically addresses two different customer requests with one proverbial stone:

  • Ability to make a template for company communications announcements (via blogs)
  • Ability to make a template for service/support/IT knowledgebase articles (via wikis)

While the capability to make templates for blogs and wikis aren’t limited to the above examples, they are good examples and show the breadth of possibility – one is marketing/HR/IT the other is service/support/IT.

That's the highlights for release 1602. Be sure to see the release notes for lots of smaller topics as well!