SAP forms closer link with LinkedIn

Following up on an investment in the professional networking community by its venture capital arm, SAP is forming closer ties between its community sites and LinkedIn.

SAP is forging closer ties between its online communities for customers, partners and professionals and LinkedIn.

SAP, which invested in the professional networking online community in October via SAP Ventures, is now deepening the relationship, allowing attributes displayed on the SAP Community Network to also display on an individual's LinkedIn profile. A new SAP Community Bio application on LinkedIn will show credentials and participation in the SAP Community Network. The dual-community connection will allow LinkedIn members to automatically have their profiles updated to reflect SAP Community Network credentials, including the SAP mentors.

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"We have a point system that has become an important source of pride and information for individuals," said Zia Yusuf, head of SAP's Global Ecosystem and Partner Group. "We're allowing for your LinkedIn profile to display and incorporate those points."

LinkedIn, Yusuf said, can reach people in ways that SAP's own communities cannot.

"Why does an individual create a profile on LinkedIn? They describe themselves, connect to others, many of whom have nothing to do with SAP or with customers not directly related to

SAP environments," he said. "As you link that individual to our communities, you can reach out to his or her friends or networks."

SAP currently has almost 2 million members in its communities.

"I don't know whether that 2 million is 40% or 60% or 100% of the people who can or should benefit from our communities," Yusuf said.

In August, SAP and LinkedIn teamed up on a recruiting service to help SAP partners find and recruit talent.

SAP and LinkedIn will be creating more integrations and programs in the future, but this is not the limit of SAP's commitment to social networking, Yusuf said. SAP developers interact with customers and one another on SAP's sites as well as social networks like Facebook and Twitter.

"The main thing we're finding is, as these whole ecosystems and communities emerge, those efforts in particular are becoming part and parcel of how we're doing business," Yusuf said. "We haven't scratched the surface of what we can do going forward. We are genuinely excited."

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