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If you aren’t already familiar with who I am, my name is Justin and I am the SMB Community Advocate. Over the past 9 months or so, I’ve taken over responsibility for the SMB community. Whether that is publishing blog posts, editing the SMB community page, or helping others get involved and showing them how they can use the community as a platform to share their own thoughts. However, I don’t think I’ve ever spoken about how me and my colleagues want to shape the community and how we envision the community evolving moving forward.

Before we get into that, I think it would be first beneficial to pose the question: Why are business driven communities important anyway?

  1. Enable potential customers to interact with the business in a more personal way

  2. The creation of a “content depository” where customers and potential customers can find information about things related to their business

  3. A place where people can ask question and receive unbiased answers on business related topics

  4. Give internal employees the opportunity to showcase their work and humanize a somewhat normally mechanical process

  5. Give partners the space to showcase what they excel at and interact with customers in a direct manner

Imagine it like this, an owner of a small to midsize manufacturer needs to learn more about carbon tax and the new regulations which will soon affect their business. After a quick search through the community, they come across an article written by an SAP employee which talks about the new regulations and how SAP can help with something like that. Looking for further clarification, they ask a question in response to the post which is swiftly answered by an SAP partner which has expertise in that area. I’ll openly admit that this is quite the dream scenario. However, I hope you can gain some perspective on how exactly we want the community to develop. Business communities should exist to bridge the gap between the website and the end buying experience. They should be places that generate value for the people who use them and help give the brand credibility and build trust.

The Role of Partners

Partners of course play an extremely significant role in our vision for the SMB community. Like mentioned in the example above, partners can offer their specific industry expertise to visitors in the community. Ideally, this gives partners the opportunity to build trust with potential customers and offer value without the need for hard selling. It also gives them a platform to share what exactly they do, how they help their current customers, and share industry specific/ solution-based insights.

A great example of this already would be Itegrity AG. They are consistently interacting in the community, sharing their success stories, and providing free information within the digitalization space. I’d recommend checking out one of their posts here. Our vision is that other Partners will follow their lead and also take active roles within the SMB community.

 The Role of SAP Employees

When it comes to explaining what exactly SAP does and which products are ideal for which customers, the people involved with creating and updating those products are a clear choice. The SMB community is a place where SAP employees can showcase what exactly they are working on and even share roadmaps for specific products. Not only that, they can also receive direct and interactable feedback from current users without the need to create extensive surveys. They can answer questions surrounding the very product that they helped create and assist users in having the best experience. It’s also a way to humanize a somewhat mechanical process. The community gives SAP employees the chance to put a human face to the technology.

I’d like to highlight a great example of this. simona.marincei is an active member of the community and consistently gives updates and insights on Intelligent Automation for Business ByDesign. The SMB community allows her to share what she is doing and even answer questions that people have about the technology and it’s features. I’d recommend checking out this blog post here where she explains best practices for Intelligent Automation for Business ByDesign.

 How Can I get Involved?

If the SMB Community is something that you want to get involved with, then drop a comment below. I’ll make sure to respond and get you the help you need to begin contributing! The community is of course not limited to the things I’ve mentioned above. It’d be great to hear any creative ideas and as mentioned before, as the SMB Community Advocate, I’ll support you in any way I can. Thanks for reading this post and hopefully we can continue to build the SMB Community into the place we all envision!

As always, make sure to follow the small to midsize business tag here to stay up to date with everything SMB!
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