Tuesday, May 04, 2010

How I am mobilizing minds across companies and building a trusted network

I was required to train a partner on the requirements of a key component in my product, SAP Enterprise Learning. They are developing an add-on solution for my product and it is critical that they develop it within the framework of the core architecture of the product.

It was a perfect opportunity to innovate.
Knowledge about this key component resided in the heads of 4 very busy experts working for multiple companies across the globe. I was transitioning to another project and could only spend 10 percent of my time on this activity. I had very little time, no budget allocated and a huge challenge in front of me. It was a perfect opportunity to innovate.

I invited partners to register for an informal learning activity on the subject
Rather than conduct this learning activity via multiple emails or expensive workshops, I created a learning activity in SAP Streamwork, and invited the partner to 'register' for the learning activity by accepting my invitation.

I encouraged the partner to invite their service providers as well
Since the tool I am using is in the cloud, there are no technical restrictions on who they can invite. So the registration to this learning activity was viral. Consultants who work for the partner and external service providers, who need to understand the detailed requirements joined the activity as well.

I have complete administrative control over the activity
Yet, I have complete control over the participants and can remove any participant any time.

I invited the experts from around the globe
I invited product management colleagues, architects and experienced consultants from another partner to share their knowledge

I shared my views to set the stage
I seeded the activity with some thoughts and views based on my own research. The moment I did that multiple experts chimed in with their views and fine tuned my inputs. All participants get daily or immediate automatic updates of all activities.

The partner is pleased and very motivated to build the add-on solution that will provide value for customers, make then successful and drive revenue of SAP Enterprise Learning.

It is not just a learning community. It is a trusted network
Even without realizing it, all these experts, who have not seen each other face-to-face are turning into a trusted network of professionals with common goals. I am sure their relationships will extend beyond this learning activity.

I use SAP Streamwork to create this informal Learning activity. If you like what I am doing, you can give it a try too. Streamwork is on the cloud and it is free for up to five activities. The home page of SAP Streamwork will say that it is a collaborative decision making tool. Yes. It helps you do that. But it can do much more than just help you take a decision. Please leave a comment here with your thoughts and ideas.

Go ahead. Be the CEO of your product. Take charge of the ongoing education of your partners and your ecosystem.
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