Saturday, February 18, 2012

SuccessFactors Jam and SAP Streamwork

Yesterday, I wrote a post about my manager following me on SuccessFactors Jam. It caught the attention of a few experts, whom I respect a lot, from the area of enterprise social collaboration. I thought I will put down my thoughts on this topic as a user of both products. I suspect this is going to be a very hot topic for discussion inside and outside SAP.

SAP Mentor Richard Hirsch asked me why I used Jam instead of Streamwork. I really don't know. I am a big fan of both Streamwork and Jam. Perhaps we found Jam to be more suitable for this type of collaboration. May be it was a gesture of openness towards our new colleagues from SuccessFactors.

Ethan Jewett said that Jam is more like Yammer. Yes. Jam does feel a lot like Yammer. One key difference is that Jam is integrated with Plateau Learning Management System already. A company that uses Jam, slowly and steadily gathers a catalog of crowd sourced learning content that can be searched from the learning management system. Jam is starting to address the 80% of learning which was never supported or tracked in an organization.

Jam also has rich content creation tools built in. I  believe it democratizes the creation of rich content within an enterprise by lowering the barrier for adoption. I experienced this first hand when product teams from both sides used Jam's rich content creation tools to improve efficiency and speed up learning. Product managers from both sides demonstrated the respective products to each other via web conferencing tools. Since time zones and schedule did not allow everyone around the globe to join, product managers recorded the sessions using inbuilt recording and sharing tools. I was able to watch the recordings even on my iPhone with remarkable clarity, because the video content was optimized for delivery on mobile devices.

It is reasonable to expect more integration with other human capital management and other enterprise applications. I suspect such integration will get investment because Jam is a significant additional revenue source and provides excellent value for customers who use them.

Yammer has four million users. I believe that, with the right attention and investment, it won't be difficult for Jam to reach the 15 million users who use SuccessFactors today.

Jarret Pazahanick and Sameer Patel said that this kind of collaboration could be the future, if used properly. I agree wholeheartedly. I already see a clear determination to bring context to collaboration among my product management colleagues. That 'Discuss Button' that Sameer Patel always talks about is going to show up in many places in Enterprise software. I suspect the button will be named 'Comment' rather than discuss.

A product tends to reflect the product team's philosophy. It is worth looking at how both the products are promoted.

Note: I want to point out that I am not a part of either product teams. My observation is merely as a user of both products and as a person interested in collaboration in the enterprise.

This is how SuccessFactors Jam is positioned

This is how SAP Streamwork is positioned

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