Editor's note: This article by Anthony Leaper is reproduced from the Jan-Feb-Mar 2014 issue of SAPinsider (SAPinsiderOnline.com) with permission from its publisher, WIS Publishing. Read the article at SAPinsiderOnline.com.
SAP Jam delivers a fast, repeatable, flexible approach to driving business outcomes
Organizations are always seeking more effective ways of doing business, particularly around communication, problem solving, and decision making — areas in which inefficiencies often abound and the abilities of social collaboration excel. With the tantalizing promise of revolutionizing the way people work, many solutions have tried to harness the strengths of collaboration for business use.
Early enterprise social software solutions fell short, however, because they focused on being simple communication platforms rather than enabling purpose-built collaborative processes. SAP has worked closely with customers to understand where people work on a daily basis, and how to use social technologies in a way that focuses on process and business outcome. The result — SAP Jam — leverages years of expertise from SuccessFactors and SAP to deliver a system that is rich in social functionality, including group discussions, feeds, and recommendations, and is infused with a real ability to connect people and integrate securely with business systems. For example, it can blend customer relationship management (CRM) data with social capabilities to support holistic customer account management or sales strategy development for opportunities.1
But organizations today need more than just social networking capabilities. They are looking for a way to connect the dots among data, content, processes, and people to, for example, uncover the sticking points that are stalling a deal or prioritize issues that are putting an account at risk. Connecting these dots is a challenge because it requires information and expertise that is scattered across various systems, organizational units, or locations. To meet this challenge, the latest release of SAP Jam introduces the concept of work patterns.
Taking SAP Jam to the next level with work patterns
Developed in close consultation with a 50-member customer advisory team, a work pattern is a prebuilt, customizable, contextual work space that brings together the real-time business data, applications, expertise, processes, and content that are typically used to achieve business outcomes, such as managing sales opportunities and onboarding new team members. Instead of trying to collaborate across silos, everything you need is available in one meaningful place, where you can put strategies into action in a manner that matches the way you want to work.
Work patterns enable you to take advantage of best practices, expert knowledge, and prior experience to create fast, repeatable, successful approaches for commonly required tasks that are as simple to use as document templates. Instead of starting from scratch each time, you can reuse your customized work pattern and simply adjust it to meet changing needs and priorities, saving time and optimizing the chance for success by using a proven approach.
In this initial release, SAP identified 13 work patterns that span key sales, service, and HR scenarios and use real-time data from SAP CRM. (SAP plans to expand this collection in future releases.) Existing SAP Jam customers with the enterprise edition can take advantage of several work patterns immediately, including those focused on learning or mentoring. For SAP CRM customers interested in sales and service scenarios such as account management, opportunity management, “deal rooms”, or service request management, SAP Jam is pre-integrated with SAP CRM and only simple configuration is required.
Work patterns in action
Let’s look at how a work pattern helps support a collaborative process. To begin, a user simply selects a work pattern from a list in SAP Jam. The example in Figure 1 shows the deal room work pattern, which helps sales people manage the tasks, communications, and processes related to a particular sales opportunity.
Each work pattern contains placeholders for the elements that support the most common tasks associated with a particular use case. The deal room work pattern includes placeholders for elements such as:
Customer-related documents (such as spec sheets, proposals, videos, and presentation materials)
Customer contacts from SAP CRM
Details about the opportunity (such as dates, stages, and sales volumes) from SAP CRM
Team member profiles
Dynamic content that highlights all active participation in the group including new documents, newly assigned tasks, related information, and active discussions
Forums, idea boards, or question-and-answer sections for discussions related to the opportunity
The user customizes the pattern by simply filling in the placeholders — for example, by inviting people to collaborate and add content. The tight, secure integration with SAP CRM enables live data from the system, rather than copies of the data, to be used as content for the work pattern, ensuring that everyone on the team is strategizing and making decisions based on the same, up-to-date information. Content creators can also further customize the work pattern by simply editing it with the included WYSIWYG editor.
A better way to do more
With work patterns, SAP Jam helps people leverage the strengths of social technology to start connecting disparate dots into full pictures and resolve big challenges more efficiently, more thoroughly, and with more transparency. And by looking at how people actually work — within applications, using desktop content, and interacting with others — SAP Jam helps ensure that people will want to work this way going forward.