Implementing a corporate weblog for SAP by Justus Bross

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After web 2.0 technologies experienced a phenomenal expansion and high acceptances among private users, considerations are now intensified to assess whether they can be equally applicable, …

After web 2.0 technologies experienced a phenomenal expansion and high acceptances among private users, considerations are now intensified to assess whether they can be equally applicable, beneficially employed and meaningfully implemented in an entrepreneurial context. It could be observed that companies with geographically dispersed sites and markets employ social software more intensely than those with a single national headquarter. The particular choice of the platform or technology to be implemented is however strongly dependent on its future business case and field of deployment and should therefore be carefully considered beforehand as the following paper strongly suggests. The
fast-paced rise of social software like weblogs or wikis and the resulting new form of communication via the Internet is however observed ambiguously in the corporate environment. The traditional form of a controllable mass medial and uni-directional communication is increasingly replaced by a highly participative and bi-directional communication in the virtual world, which proves to be essentially harder to direct or control. For a considerable share of companies this turns out to be hard to tolerate.
The use-case of a highly configured standard version of an open source multi-user weblog system for
SAP – the market- and technology-leader in enterprise software – will form the basis for the presentation outlined here. SAP requested the Hasso-Plattner-Institute (HPI) to realize such a weblog to support its global internal communications activities. In the current economic environment and with the changes in the SAP leadership, an open and direct exchange between employees and executive board was perceived as being critical to provide utmost transparency into the decisions taken and guidance for the
way forward. Recent discussions about fundamental and structural changes within SAP have clearly shown that need for direct interaction. SAP and HPI therefore agreed to share research, implementation and configuration investments necessary for this project – hereafter referred to as “Point of View”. The platform went online in June 2009, and is at this moment beginning to gain first acceptance among all SAP employees worldwide.

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  • 1.
  • 2. Implementing a corporate weblog for SAP
    Presented by Justus Broß
    Paper written byJ. Broß, M. Quasthoff, J. Zimmermann, S. Mac Niven and C. Meinel
    presented at BlogTalk’09 | Jeju, Korea | September 16th
  • 3. The next 20 minutes...
    Introduction: Social software & weblogs
    Corporate weblogs – capabilities and challenges
    Forms of deployment
    Success factors, risks and best-practice
    Case study: Point of View
    Scope, motivation and vision
    Configuration of the standardized
    Design issues
    Fact sheet
    Suggestions for further research
    Conclusion
    "Implementing a corporate weblog for SAP" presented by Justus Bross (HPI) at BlogTalk'09, Korea
    Introduction|Corporate-weblogs|Case-study|Research-suggestions|Conclusion
    3
  • 4. Social Software & Weblogs
    Weblogs belong to the group of “social software”: simple, easy-to-use and flexible applications that not just enable but facilitate cooperative gathering of content
    Consent among all existing social software tools next to weblogs (e.g. Instant Messaging, Wikis, Forums or multimedia-sharing-platforms) is that the surplus value is generated out of collaborative (social) activity.
    Social software therefore enables affiliation to (social) networks as well as structuring and channeling of attention towards a certain field of interest.
    "Implementing a corporate weblog for SAP" presented by Justus Bross (HPI) at BlogTalk'09, Korea
    Introduction|Corporate-weblogs|Case-study|Research-suggestions|Conclusion
    4
  • 5. Numerous areas of application
    Individual weblogs (diaries)
    Educational blogs
    Political blogs
    More …
    Corporate blogs:
    CEO blog
    PR blog
    Internal communications tool
    Crisis blog
    Branding blogs

    "Implementing a corporate weblog for SAP" presented by Justus Bross (HPI) at BlogTalk'09, Korea
    5
    Introduction|Corporate-weblogs|Case-study|Research-suggestions|Conclusion
  • 6. Hype Cycle (2009)for Emerging Technologies
    "Implementing a corporate weblog for SAP" presented by Justus Bross (HPI) at BlogTalk'09, Korea
    Source: Gartner (July 2009)
    Introduction|Corporate-weblogs|Case-study|Research-suggestions|Conclusion
    6
  • 7. Corporate weblogsuccess factors
    Know what you doing, be honest, be prepared, understand the medium (Long-term monitoring, test & try, media-conformity, back-up and emergency plan)
    Involvement, topicality, institutional backup, good resource planning (Moderation, content-generation)
    Fitting company values and culture => blogging policies ( IBM Blogging Policy, Sun Policy on public discourses, Weblogs at Harvard: Terms of use)
    Who, why and for what or to whom? What are the objectives, goals, milestones, target-group, etc.?
    Overall fit=> social software strategies
    Technology: security, scalability, etc.
    "Implementing a corporate weblog for SAP" presented by Justus Bross (HPI) at BlogTalk'09, Korea
    Introduction|Corporate-weblogs|Case-study|Research-suggestions|Conclusion
    7
  • 8. What’s wrong here?
    "Implementing a corporate weblog for SAP" presented by Justus Bross (HPI) at BlogTalk'09, Korea
    8
    Introduction|Corporate-weblogs|Case-study|Research-suggestions|Conclusion
  • 9. Deployment possibilitiesfor corporate weblogs
    "Implementing a corporate weblog for SAP" presented by Justus Bross (HPI) at BlogTalk'09, Korea
    Introduction|Corporate-weblogs|Case-study|Research-suggestions|Conclusion
    9
    Sources: Zerfaß (2005), DB Research
  • 10. Best practice examples
    "Implementing a corporate weblog for SAP" presented by Justus Bross (HPI) at BlogTalk'09, Korea
    10
    • IBM’s “Innovations Jam” (Collaborations blog)
    • 11. “Frostablog” (Product blog)
    • 12. “Openblog” (CEO blog by Xing), similar to ones of:
    • 13. Sun
    • 14. Intel
    • 15. Adobe
    • 16. GM “Fastlane” … and thousands more…
    • 17. Daimler blog (Customer relationship blog)
    Introduction|Corporate-weblogs|Case-study|Research-suggestions|Conclusion
  • 18. Scope, motivation and vision for SAP blog “Point of view”
    Especially in a time of crisis, generating open dialogue is paramount to managing fear and wild speculation
    Triggers that had generated an atmosphere of uncertainty:
    The transition of a new CEO
    the global economic and financial crisis
    the first lay-offs in the history of the company
    “Point of View” shall be
    the first step toward ubiquitous dialogue throughout the company
    an approach to facilitating open, transparent dialogue is arguably the single most pivotal enabler of internal cultural transformation at SAP.
    "Implementing a corporate weblog for SAP" presented by Justus Bross (HPI) at BlogTalk'09, Korea
    11
    Introduction|Corporate-weblogs|Case-study|Research-suggestions|Conclusion
  • 19. Deployment
    "Implementing a corporate weblog for SAP" presented by Justus Bross (HPI) at BlogTalk'09, Korea
    12
    Point of View
    Introduction|Corporate-weblogs|Case-study|Research-suggestions|Conclusion
  • 20. Basic requirements
    Basic (and requested) blogging functionalities have already been provided by WordPress MU:
    Ready-to-use, open-source (cheap) and easy to handle CMS
    Post & comment authoring and moderation
    Permission and role management
    Handling of multimedia files within postings
    Generation of permanent URI (so-called permalinks) for posts and comments
    Generation of separate statistics for readers and moderators.
    Bi-lingual support (WPMU)
    "Implementing a corporate weblog for SAP" presented by Justus Bross (HPI) at BlogTalk'09, Korea
    13
    Introduction|Corporate-weblogs|Case-study|Research-suggestions|Conclusion
  • 21. Configuration of the standardized
    benefit of using a popular blog-system like WordPress MU is that some customization requirements can be achieved by using systems-extensions such as freely available plug-ins or add-ons.
    A considerable part of the system and its extensions needed to be configured and adapted to fit SAPs functionality-requirements:
    Display nested ("threaded") view of comments
    Highlighting selected comments, e.g. in a dedicated area of the Web site
    Anonymous voting and ranking (requirement by work council)
    Enhanced search and browsing functionality for postings, comments, and tag keywords – including portal search
    Authentication issues (SSO, HTTPS, LDAP)
    Design issues – fitting Ci/CD requirements of SAP, browser compatibilities, barrier-free-programming, etc.
    "Implementing a corporate weblog for SAP" presented by Justus Bross (HPI) at BlogTalk'09, Korea
    14
    Introduction|Corporate-weblogs|Case-study|Research-suggestions|Conclusion
  • 22. Case study: „Point of View“
    "Implementing a corporate weblog for SAP" presented by Justus Bross (HPI) at BlogTalk'09, Korea
    Barrier-free-programming
    Single-Sign-On (SSO)
    Bilingual (MU)
    Anonymous rating functionality
    „Highlighted comments“: moderation (back-end) highly customized
    Introduction|Corporate-weblogs|Case-study|Research-suggestions|Conclusion
    Design Issues (CI/CD):e.g. Browser compatibility
    Commenting order: Wok council first, employees, „highlighted comments“
    SAP-portal integration
    15
  • 23. Initially, participation was slow, and employees waited to see how the channel developed.
    Following critical statements, people felt encouraged to participate.
    Platform has begun to take on a life of its own with 128 comments for 1st post alone, even 2 months after it was posted.
    Around 19,000 employees have visited the platform, and it has clocked up 55000 page views.
    This far exceeds the initial expectations and shows the need for feedback was indeed very present.
    An increase in access to the blog via tags has also been identified, a trend expected to grow as more content becomes available.
    Fact sheet
    "Implementing a corporate weblog for SAP" presented by Justus Bross (HPI) at BlogTalk'09, Korea
    16
    Introduction|Corporate-weblogs|Case-study|Research-suggestions|Conclusion
  • 24. Research suggestions
    Https-support of Wordpress (e.g. embedment of external video players, authentication issues)
    Standardized option (plugin) for linking corporate authentication system to Wordpress backend.
    Language issues (switching, some plugins only in one language)
    MU vs. SU: Most plugins are developed only focussing on SU. WPMU is constantly behind.
    "Implementing a corporate weblog for SAP" presented by Justus Bross (HPI) at BlogTalk'09, Korea
    17
    Introduction|Corporate-weblogs|Case-study|Research-suggestions|Conclusion
  • 25. Contact us
    Justus Bross, MSc. Int. Business & MBE
    Scientific Assistant & Doctoral Candidate
    Hasso-Plattner-Institut | IT Systems Engineering
    University of Potsdam
    Campus Griebnitzsee
    14482 Potsdam, Germany
    Tel: +49 (0)331 5509-524
    Fax: +49 (0)331 5509-325
    Email:  Justus.Bross@hpi.uni-potsdam.de
    Web: www.hpi.uni-potsdam.de
    Introduction|Corporate-weblogs|Case-study|Research-suggestions|Conclusion
    "Implementing a corporate weblog for SAP" presented by Justus Bross (HPI) at BlogTalk'09, Korea
    18
  • 26. The End
    Thank You
    "Implementing a corporate weblog for SAP" presented by Justus Bross (HPI) at BlogTalk'09, Korea
    19