Tuesday, August 13, 2013

SAP Jam Can Enable Management Innovation In an Organization

Earlier in my career at LearningByte, I created and sold elearning content for a living. The business of learning content creation and administration was very lucrative. Our revenue was about $14MM and we were valued at about $60MM when we sold the company. I am glad that there was no SAP Jam at that time. Our company would not have been viable had Jam been around.

Multimedia content creation was expensive.
Content creation was expensive, time consuming and beyond the reach of mere mortals. In those days only the high priests in the training department could have access to content creation tools. If a subject matter expert wants to create content, she needs to rely on the training content development team or pay a vendor over $ 30,000 to create an hour of learning content. The process took months and cost a lot of money.

Sharing content with a large audience to influence their thinking was near impossible.
The high lords of the learning management team need to approve your content and then another team needs to enroll users and market the content. By the time the content reached the audience, the content was stale, irrelevant and brought little value for the consumers of that content. Learning roll out was so difficult, that roll out of a good learning program got people promoted in an organization.

While emailing content to a specific audience was possible, the nature of the technology did not encourage people to share content widely and frequently. Email was also sees as an intrusive tool.

Such barriers ensured that learning and information sharing in an organization was hierarchical and top down. If you are not a cost center owner with a lot of money to spare, spreading ideas and influencing others was near impossible. With SAP Jam, these barriers are eliminated. Content creation tools, such as video creation tools, that used to cost hundreds of dollars per user per year are now available to every employee in an organization for practically no cost.

Content sharing and tracking technologies that used to cost hundreds of dollars per user per year are now a standard part of SAP Jam. You might think that SAP Jam is a good cost saving tool. That is true. SAP Jam provides the same value provided by a collection of tools that used to cost tens of millions of dollars per year.

Image courtesy fusionmgt.com
However, I believe that the true benefit is not cost savings. The true benefit is the way SAP Jam democratizes content creation and establishes a meritocracy within any organization that uses Jam. It breaks down barriers between teams and enables connections that were otherwise unthinkable. Any organization that uses Jam will see its organization model move from a hierarchy to a lattice. Such a change can bring about management innovation that fits your organization and help create a competitive advantage that is hard for competitors to replicate.

This management innovation is not going to be without friction. Any innovation will cause friction. This will disrupt entire departments, management structures, information flow and ultimately the way the entire organization functions. 
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