How SAP is handling the social media explosion
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Saying it's creating a "system of record" for social media, SAP AG rolled out a new social media platform it says combines elements of collaborative social media software from both SAP and SuccessFactors, a maker of online human capital management software it acquired early this year.
Whereas both SuccessFactors Jam and SAP StreamWork were largely standalone applications loosely tied to some of SAP's enterprise applications, the new on-demand product, SAP Jam, can be integrated with such SAP ERP modules as those for finance and human capital management (HCM) to bring social collaboration to individual departments.
"SuccessFactors Jam and SAP StreamWork were built around social networking and unstructured collaboration. [It was for those who] wanted to do work in a public way -- they wanted to connect," said Sameer Patel, global vice president for enterprise social and collaborative software at SAP. The problem was that the information in each system was often created for specific projects and left in "silos" without any lasting benefit to the entire enterprise, according to Patel.
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In addition to being integrated with specific processes and applications, the new SAP Jam will serve as a single focal point for all the social and collaborative work of each employee, leading Patel to characterize it as a system of record for internal social collaboration.
According to SAP, the new SAP Jam can be integrated with the SAP SuccessFactors BizX on-demand HCM portfolio, the on-premises SAP Customer Relationship Management application, and the SAP Financials OnDemand and SAP Sales OnDemand applications to enable collaborative business processes. For example, SAP Jam could help sales teams manage accounts in coordination with other team members, given the integration with SAP Sales OnDemand, the company said, and with HCM integration, it could also be used to coordinate training and other "onboarding" processes for new employees.
The decision to go with the Jam platform made sense to Jarret Pazahanick, an SAP HCM consultant with EIC Experts, a Houston-based IT consulting firm. "It was no surprise that the foundation of the new SAP Social is going to be SuccessFactors Jam, given its existing popularity in the marketplace versus StreamWork. I was surprised to hear SAP has approximately eight million users -- 3.8 million paid -- across both offerings, as that was larger than I thought," he said.
Still, Pazahanick noted that customers have to be using the SAP SuccessFactors software to be able to use SAP Jam for HCM processes like onboarding. There's no way to integrate Jam with the SAP on-premises HCM suite, and he said he was hoping SAP would first look at HR Renewal, a recent refresh of the suite's user interface, when it was considering which on-premises HR software to integrate first.
Details on pricing will be available in the coming days, according to Holly Simmons, senior director for social software marketing at SAP.