Friday, December 30, 2011

Allow Mobile Users To Access The Full Web Version

I recently used the USPS mobile web site optimized for the iPhone. It is a well done mobile site. However, I wanted to use the full web version to access some features that are not in the mobile site and the mobile site just would not let me go to the full web site. I think this is a flaw. If I choose to go to the full version, I should be allowed to. An important design decision to keep in mind while thinking mobile first.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Collaboration at the core of document editing

I wrote my first book using the wiki PBWorks. For the book Look and Flow, which I am writing with @esdediego and @enricgili, Enric suggested that we use Google Docs. I decided to give it a try. It is very good for collaboratively editing a document.

We are using it to

  • Decide on the structure of the book
  • Get feedback from colleagues and friends
  • Have a dialog with those who gave feedback.

It feels like Google has figured out a way to put collaboration at the core of document editing. They have managed to provide the look and feel of a document while providing the user experience of editing a wiki. Remarkable work.

When a colleague or a reviewer comments on your document, you get an email update. You can reply to a comment via email and the message gets embedded in the doc in the right place.  This feature is beautiful especially when you view and reply to the comments from a mobile device away from the desk. I'll share more experiences in the coming days.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

HR Technology Predictions for 2012

I recently listened to the HR technology predictions by @jasonaverbook @InFullBloomUS and @rwang0 moderated by @billkutik. I respect the thoughts of all these experts. Their thoughts and insights have influence by work in the past and will influence my work in the future.

Based on my conversations with friends in the industry, I believe that 2012 will be the year when HR professionals will not be the focus of HR technology. People will be the focus. Focus on people does not always mean that HR software providers will be successful in their efforts to make tools that help people. But all the big players who matter are already betting on this approach. That is a good thing. Some hits and misses are to be expected.

Jason believes the following.

Ray Wang predicts that mobile will become the users first experience with enterprise software.

Jason added that 'Mobile First is going to be the only way'. Naomi added that some vendors are taking a lipstick on the pig approach for mobile. Instead software providers need to think mobile first.

Naomi's thoughts on master data clean up.

Cleaning HR master data is critical to realizing the value of new technologies. Ray Wang added that the most accurate master data now-a-days is LinkedIn. Ray also added that when employees are made responsible for their master data, the data will become more reliable. I think that there should be an incentive for employees to maintain their master data.

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Product Stories Inspired By Comic Strips

In the book 'Rework' authors Jason Fried and David Heinemeier Hansson talk about drawing to convey ideas. They said "If you need to explain something, try getting real with it. Instead of describing what something looks like, draw it. Instead of explaining what something sounds like, hum it. Do everything you can to remove layers of abstraction. The problem with abstractions (like reports and documents) is that they create illusions of agreement. A hundred people can read the same words, but in their heads, they’re imagining a hundred different things."

Product managers can learn a lot from comic strip artists about drawing and telling a story. Comic strip artists tell a story in two to four frames every day. I recently wrote about a product story where a working mother send a text message using a voice recognition app on her phone. This is a story board I created to think about why she may have to send a message with just her thumb and voice.

Drawing you story is not about illustrations. You can grab illustrations, photos and backgrounds for free from the web and use them. For example you can save the illustrations from this blog post and use them if you want to. You can also construct your story with simple stick figures or rough sketches.

It is not about pretty pictures either. It is about conveying your idea through a medium that almost everyone in the world understands - pictures.

Thinking Mobile First For Your Product Story

A smart phone paper prototype is a good way to take a story that is in your mind and put it down on paper. I would like to share an approach that worked very well for me. Get a picture of a Smartphone wire frame from the web, print out multiple copies of the same and use a marker to visualize the story in about five to six frames. You can also use prototyping software such as Balsamiq for creating your rough smartphone prototypes.

First, Let’s take a simple example to see how you can use this approach and put your story down on paper.

Our main characters

Mary Smith, a working mom is busy balancing work and family. She is always on the move and does not have the time to type down her messages. She wants to send text messages to her colleagues by speaking out messages. Most of the time she only has her thumb to operate the software on her phone. John Wells is Mary’s colleague. His job requires him to attend a lot of meetings and so he prefers short text messages rather than voice mails to communicate with his colleagues.

A Trailer for your story 

While telling a long story to your investors, executives, peers or team members during a short presentation, you may have to show a trailer of your story rather than the whole story. In some cases you may also need a trailer to convey the story at a high level before diving into the prototype.

Here is a template we use to compress a long story, of a user accomplishing something, in one screen. We are going to make the assumption that you are convinced about the value of story telling instead of using bullet points to get your point across. Let us look at some of the mechanics of building a trailer for your story.

Composition of the trailer
Put a big picture of the main persona in the trailer. Convey the emotion of the person using speech bubbles. In the case of our example it is a working mother busy with her child and anxious about being late for work. Put a supporting persona on the left. Make one supporting persona the narrator of the trailer.

We have tried this out in presentations to executives, customers and analysts. You can print this out and put it on the wall to generate interest during workshops. You can use this as the opening picture before you show a demo of the prototype, you will build later. This can be the slide where you capture the value propositions for each user. You get the idea. It is useful to build a trailer for your story. Use trailers to understand the essence of your story, enhance the conversation around the story, explore new ideas and convey your thoughts clearly.

Our story as a smart phone prototype

The five frames below help you visualize the story. The constraints imposed by the smartphone screen real estate and the physical limitation of the page where you are drawing this picture will force you to be very creative.

Try to keep your story to just one physical page on a notebook if possible. This approach forces you to focus on the most important aspects of the story. The limited real estate on the screen forces you to think about the most important action on every screen.

You may be forced to leave out some details when you take this approach. That is fine. The purpose is to capture your idea on paper, remove the unnecessary things, refine the idea, perfect the story in your head and tell the story to your colleagues. The final design will change. Your colleagues will build on the idea and make it better.

The smart phone prototype is great to think mobile first, visualize your stories and cut out all the unnecessary things in your story.  It is also very useful to convey the story to your colleagues in user experience design and development. However, it may not be very effective to convey your story to your customers and get your inputs and start a conversation. You may need a bit more real estate to do that. That is why we believe that an iPad prototype is the best way to do that. More on that later...

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Product Conversations Before Product Validations

When companies started producing software products many decades ago, most of them created a product and shipped the product to the customer, usually on a floppy disk or a compact disc. When they built their software, they validated their features with customers by conducting feature validation sessions. Fixing problems in software that has been shipped was costly. Once the software shipped the vendor had little control over the code. The only option they has was to add more code to address the problems. The additional code normally added more problems. So product managers were risk averse and kept their conversations about the features they produced.Things have changed in the past few decades. For many years now software is provided as a service.

Hosted software enables companies producing software to add features and  address problems quite frequently. Most enterprise software companies release software every three months. Some even release every week. Companies that product software today have the opportunity to not only add features anytime but also remove or modify features significantly even while their customers are using the software.

Yet, product managers and product designers have a product validation mind set today. They build a feature and ask customers for their approval or their feedback. One thing they do not normally ask is if that feature actually helps the customer run their business better. They do not asking the customer enough open ended questions about what their business problems are and if there is anything they can do to solve that business problem.

My colleagues @enricgili @esdediego and I have experimented with product conversations rather than product validations for a couple of years now. It works better than just asking customers to validate a particular feature.

Customers have a role to play as well. They need to sit back and ask themselves why they are asking for a particular feature. May be even ask themselves if software is the real solution to their problems.

Friday, December 23, 2011

Focus on the fish. Not the fishing rod

@sameerpatel has written one more great article on findability and collaboration in an enterprise. He has always said that every page in an enterprise application needs a 'discuss' button along with the 'Submit' and 'Cancel' buttons. The Career OnDemand team took his advice very seriously.

We also looked at findability in a very interesting way. While every 'expert finder' application focused on building a better fishing rod to catch the fish, we focused on nudging more fish to come out and thrive. We focused on encouraging people to share empirical data about themselves on their profile by promoting their brand and showing them the value of sharing. Inspired by modern profiles in the consumer world we surfaced and presented information about a person in a very compelling manner in the person's profile. Our hypothesis is that if enough empirical data is revealed by a person on his or her profile in the context of their day to day work, a regular search engine will be able to find that person and present them in context for the 'expert seeker'.

By the way, I have seen every expert finder application that tried to build just a great search engine fail. No matter how good the search, if people don't share empirical data about themselves no one can find the right expert.

You also need to build tools for the expert and the expertise seeker to engage. You need to build an incentive system for the experts as well. More about that later.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Mobile Apps Are Not Just About Efficiency

Most enterprise mobiles apps I see today focus on efficiency. They are about logging your time quickly, applying for leave, approving a request etc. The value proposition seems to be about doing the mundane things you have to do, quickly and efficiently.

How about making the mobile apps actually bring new value for the user. Product managers need to focus there. If not most use cases will revolve around performing the same old, mostly useless tasks, fast. What is teh fun in that and why would anyone pay top dollar for such apps.

My book on telling a product story with a prototype : Look and Flow

In his book ‘The Lean Startup’, Eric Ries talks about how Drew Houston, the CEO of Dropbox conveyed his idea to investors and customers by using a prototype and telling a story. Drew wanted to convince investors about the need for a new file sharing tool. He wanted to show investors how the product worked. But the technology to make it work was too complex. He could not write code to demonstrate the product in the given time frame. So he made a video that simulated how the product might work accompanied by narration and posted it on the Dropbox web site. This video drove tens of thousands of people to try his product. They liked it, understood how to use it and started using the product. Today Dropbox is a successful silicon valley company valued at over a billion dollars.

Effective entrepreneurs, product managers and product designers tell a story to sell their ideas to investors, customers and colleagues. Today, many of them tell a story with words and static pictures created in tools such as PowerPoint or Photoshop. There is a better way. They need to tell a story accompanied by a simulation of how a product might work. They need to show the look and flow. I am writing this book along with my co-authors Enric Gili Fort and Eduardo Salamanca de Diego. If you are interested in a sneak peek, please email me, tweet me at @sprabu or leave a comment here. I will send you an invite.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Add Realism To Your @AxureRP iPad Prototype With A Page Loader Animation

While building iPad prototypes using the Axure prototyping tool, you can use a simple technique to make users feel like they are seeing a real iPad app. When a page is displayed, you can deliberately display a page loading animation for a second just to give them the illusion that they are seeing a real app, even though they know very well that it is only a prototype.

It helps the audience visualize the final design of the app, and helps you convey the possibilities. This is how you can do it.

1. Create a dynamic panel by dragging and dropping a Dynamic Panel widget.
1a. Name the Dynamic Panel 'Details'
2. Add a rectangle and a  page loader animation gif  in the 'Details' panel.
3. Add a second state to the dynamic panel.
4. Edit the second state and add the content you want to display to the second state
5. Set state 1 as the default state.

Now you want the animation to display briefly when the page loads. To do this add a case to build the necessary interaction when the page loads

When the page loads the animated gif is displayed. You goal is to wait for a second and then set the state of the panel to state 2, where the content is. You can do this by adding a case to 'OnPageLoad' event under Page Interactions.

You will need an animated gif file for simulating the page loader. You can find one on the web. Search for ‘page loader animation’ and save the file to your desktop.

How to build a horizontal drag feature in an iPad Prototype

A few days back, I wrote about the structure of a basic iPad app and about building a vertical drag feature for a long list of content in an iPad prototype using Axure. This post talks about simulating a horizontal drag feature.

Building the content elements
In the structure of a basic iPad app, Level 3 is where the detailed information page is displayed. Think of the detailed information page as a piece of paper sliding horizontally inside the frame of the iPad. 

To simulate the horizontal drag feature, place the level 3 panel on top of the iPad frame. Then place the right part of the iPad frame on top the level 3 panel. Align the iPad frame parts with the main iPad frame. Place a white rectangle on the right side of the iPad frame to hide the Details panel when it is dragged to the right.

Let us take a look at how we can construct the items in level 3 and built the navigation and simulate the interactivity required for the Drag gesture.

Create the screen elements
1. Make a copy of Page you created in for the vertical drag feature and rename it Page 3.
2. Create the content details screen by dragging and dropping a rectangle on top of the existing screen
3. Place the necessary content in the rectangle.
4. Create a copy of the right portion of the iPad frame and place it on the right side of the iPad frame.
4a. Align the top portion of the iPad frame with the main iPad frame
6. Place a white rectangle on the right side of the iPad frame.

Build the necessary navigation from page 2 to page 3
When a user taps on the first tweet in page 2 that you built as part of the vertical drag feature , you want the user to navigate to page 3. Go ahead and build that navigation first.

Build the horizontal drag simulation
When a user flicks the details page to the right we want the details panel to move to the right. Let us see how we can build it into the prototype.

1. Group all elements inside the details area.
2. Turn the details rectangle and all the elements inside the details rectangle into a Dynamic Panel named 'Details'.
3. Click on the 'Details' Dynamic Panel.
4. Right click on 'OnDrag' in the Widget Properties area and add a Case.
5. Move the details panel on the x axis by 500 pixels. Follow the diagram below to see how it is done.

Generate the HTML prototype and test the drag feature by clicking dragging the panel to the right and releasing the mouse.

Tip  on demonstrating this part of the prototype
While demonstrating this part of the prototype to customers, colleagues, developers or investors, you can drag the Details panel to the right and pull it back again to convey how the drag feature could work in the final product.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Social Learning Platforms Can Be To Training What Yelp Is To Restaurants

All standalone social learning platforms I have seen so far focus on what I consider generic collaboration features such as a profile and discussion forums, and simple content creation tools such as a wiki, blog, and comments. I wonder what these tools have to do with learning. These tools can help a project get done for sure or serve as a team space. But how are these platforms enabling learning? To the best of my knowledge, standalone social learning platforms have not been received well by customers who buy them and users who are expected to use them.

I think one area where a learner's social network can help is to pick formal training programs. Many organizations have hundreds of courses listed in a formal learning management system, where those courses languish without anyone looking at them. Those course lists can be selectively surfaced in an appropriate place where learners can see who took the course and what they said about the course. That, I think, is a meaningful way to provide value to learners using their social network. Social learning platforms should be to formal training catalogs, what Yelp is to restaurants.

What do you think?

Informal Learning Tools Will Also Promote Formal Learning

When I started working closely with some young product management professionals and product management interns, I focused on teaching them on the job because there was no degree program for product management. My favorite method was  to ask them to join a project that I was doing and help them learn on the job. They watched me do things such as visit customers, conduct co-innovation sessions, present to analysts, organize information, train the sales force, handle a release, manage partners, take decisions and prepare a business case. We also had sessions where we spoke about specific topics where I shared my experiences with them and answered their questions.

However, not everything was informal. I also recommended that they should attend certain formal product management training programs. I also took them along to attend certain conferences where they could listen to formal classroom lectures.

Some of them took the recommendation so seriously that they traveled from abroad to attend these training programs, conducted in the bay area and travel to conferences with me. They said that they wanted to attend the classroom training programs that I attended and wanted to go to the conferences that I went to. I realized that informal collaboration, on the job learning and learning by conversation does not eliminate the need for or diminish the importance of formal, structured learning. It helps people identify the formal training programs that are effective and avoid the ones that are not useful.

It is best when the recommendation for a formal training program comes from a colleague or friend the learner trusts and respects. It is not good for the business when the recommendation comes as a solicitation from a training group because they have a quota to achieve. Nor does it help when it comes from the human resources team because they need to count the number of hours of training delivered.

Outside of compliance driven training, I have not seen the approach of attaching training programs to job positions in organizational charts be effective. I believe that the best way for identifying formal training programs for people is to enable them to learn from others and help them find out about the training programs other successful people in the organization or role models outside the organization have done.

We First

I am listening to the Book We First by Simon Mainwaring. Simon argues that technology driven information exchange and self organization has rendered the current model of business obsolete. Empowered customers, slowly but steadily, are forcing companies to put purpose ahead of profits. Simon argues that companies that focus only on profits will lag behind and go out of business soon. He compares the scenario to advances in printing technology leading to the demise of kingdoms.

This is happening at work too. Employees are empowered with so many powerful tools to share information and self-organize, the traditional tools and approaches to manage and motivate people look like a joke. I met  human resource professionals from more than hundred organizations in the last year. I don't think human resource management teams realize the magnitude of this change.

The same way customers, empowered with information and tools, are forcing companies to change, employees armed with tools and information are going to force organizations to change the way people are managed. I believe that the human resource professionals who are prepared and take some risks, will lead the way. Those who resist change and stick to the old ways will fail and take their companies down with them.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Simulating Flipboard User Experience in an AxureRP iPad Prototype

The Flipboard application for iPad has some very interesting navigation patterns that might be relevant for enterprise applications. I tried to recreate then in Axure. Here is a video of how you can simulate Flipboard like behavior in Axure.

The video below simulates an interesting navigation pattern in Axure. It is for people who are familiar with the AxureRP prototyping tool.

Streamwork For Coordinating Urgent Critical Communication

@Chirag_Mehta woke me up a recent Saturday morning with the news. SAP has announced its intention to acquire SuccessFactors. While I was talking to him three more colleagues texted me. One more colleague left a voice mail. I opened twitter and saw a few analysts and friends, who also happened to be customers, started asking me what this all means for SAP Career OnDemand and SAP HCM Talent Management Suite.  Some SAP customers currently using SuccessFactors also started contacting us.

The next Monday morning  @esdediego  and I decided that we will personally inform the tens of co-innovation customers in the US about the news and give them an update. @hkolar, @jf04 and colleagues in Germany decided the same for  customers in Europe. @esdediego came up with the list of customers. @SDenecken put together the emergency communication.

We created a Streamwork activity to keep track of all the customers we were talking to and documented their thoughts and concerns if any. Every person who contacted a customer updated the status in Streamwork right after the call. Every other team member got automatic updates of what everyone was hearing from customers. Decisions were taken in real time with information provided in context by the right person at the right time. We did all this without a single conference call and minimal email.

The response of customers and their faith in us is humbling and energizing.

The SAP OnDemand team that invented the phrase 'collaboration at the core' knows how to collaborate in-context around the globe, across multiple time zones and with remarkable efficiency. You can count on us to put collaboration at the core of every people management application we design and deliver.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

SAP Travel OnDemand Is Launching Tomorrow In Boston

My colleagues are launching the SAP Travel OnDemand solution in Boston tomorrow. The Travel OnDemand solution team has taken a people centric approach and made things easy for the traveler. The mobile apps of Travel OnDemand are an easy way to capture pictures of receipts and keep track of them in Travel OnDemand.

Follow Shruti Yadav @yadav2010,  product manager of SAP Travel OnDemand, for updates on the launch tomorrow

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Simulating The Drag Gesture In An iPad Prototype Built Using Axure

This post is for product managers and product designers who want to simulate a vertical drag functionality in their iPad prototypes built using @AxureRP. Please check the structure of a basic iPad application if you are not familiar with it.

The list of items the high level menu of an iPad application points to could be seen as a roll of paper stretching across the window of the iPad. A user can touch and drag the list up or down to view more content. Normally there are a large number of items in level 2. Tapping an item will take the user to a detailed page in level 3.

Construct the items in level 2

First, let us take a look at how we can construct the items in level 2. Then we shall build the required navigation and simulate the interactivity required for the Drag gesture. Since the purpose of the prototype is to convey the interactivity and not to be technically perfect, we shall follow a quick and dirty way to accomplish this.

Create the screen elements

1. Drag and drop the iPad frame from iPad Widgets library.
2. Create a long list of items using the rectangle and text widgets in the Axure Library.
3. Place the long list on top of the ipad frame.
4. Create a copy of the top portion of the iPad frame and place it on top of the long list.
4a. Align the top portion of the iPad frame with the main iPad frame
5. Create a copy of the bottom portion of the iPad frame and place in above the long list.
5a. Align the bottom portion of the iPad frame with the main iPad frame.
6. Cover the top and bottom portions of the long list with white rectangles to hide the list above and below the iPad frame

Create a Dynamic Panel

1. Group all items in the long list into a single group
2. Right click on the long list and choose 'Convert' and then 'Convert To Dynamic Panel'

Build on-screen interactivity

1. Click on the Level2List Dynamic Panel to choose it
2. Under the Interactions Tab in Widget Properties on the right side double click on 'OnDrag'
3. The Case Editor window will open.

4. Click on 'Move Panel' under 'Dynamic Panels' in the left column.
5. Configure the 'Move' action by choosing 'with drag y'.
6. Click on OK.

This will accomplish the simulation of the drag up and down feature. Build the prototype, generate the html files and run it to test the simulation.

Update on 14 December

John Vann @yngv27 created an iPad prototype that mimics the drag gesture, and honors the iOS snap-back

Structure Of Basic iPad Applications

Most basic iPad applications that present information have three levels.

a. A high level menu of items that are always available for the user.
b. A second level list of items that the high level menu items point to
c. A detailed information page that each second level item reveals.

An Example iPad application 

Let's take the example of Twitter for iPad, a widely used and popular application. In the twitter application, the timeline, @mentions, messages, lists, profile and search are the items that are always available. These are level 1 items in the twitter app. The list of tweets are the second level elements. A detailed page revealed by a tweet is the level 3 screen element. An example of Level 1 and Level 2 screen elements

An example of level 3 screen elements When an item in level 2 is tapped a detailed page is normally displayed. We shall refer to this detailed page as level 3 for the sake of our prototype. You will notice that there are several icons on level 3 using which the user can perform various actions. These actions are normally for creating, sharing or organizing information.

On each details page, a person will be able to consume information and perform certain actions. 

Monday, December 12, 2011

Spoke To Prof. Peter Cappelli of Wharton

I had a chance to show Career OnDemand to Prof. Peter Cappelli today. Peter is a thought leader and is the author of the book 'Talent OnDemand'. Peter gave us some good advice. Here is Peter talking about his ideas.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Telling Your Story To a Distributed Audience Using Video

Video is an effective and inexpensive way to convey your story to a large audience. Video conveys much more than a written email accompanies by a static presentation. Video can convey a story and the emotion attached to it. Unlike a presentation, a video can show real world objects and convey high fidelity

You do not need a professional production. Just hold a video camera in your hand and point the camera at the prototype on a screen and tell the story as you would to an audience in a room. You do not need to write an elaborate video script for the story. The total time you spend on recording a story in video format and sharing should not exceed 30 minutes.

Making a video and listening to your own story narrated is a good way to experience the story yourself. If you are not convinced by your own story, you will get an opportunity to refine it. Based on our experience and feedback from colleagues we found out that Seven minutes or less is the optimum duration for a video distributed to a large audience.

A well made video can replace a one hour meeting and save hours for you and your colleagues. There are several technologies available for sharing your video privately with a select group of people. YouTube is a free and easy. Vimeo is another service that is very good for such sharing. Vimeo charges a fee for password protected videos.

Here is a sample video I made some time back to convey a concept. It is not really a story. But it will give you an idea of the tone and style of production.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Basic Touch Interface Gestures

Interacting with screen elements on an iPad is like shuffling paper around on a desktop in the real world. When we shuffle paper in the real world, we touch the paper directly and move one sheet of paper over the other.  To simulate such an experience in a prototype, you need to understand certain core gestures. Let us have a look at them.


While simulating an iPad application using a prototyping tool such as Axure,  focus on simulating the tap, drag and flick gestures. Even though there are many other gestures for the touch interface, these three basic gestures will cover most of your needs. Prototyping tools have not evolved at this time to cover all possible gestures in a touch device such as the iPad.

You can find a comprehensive guide for the touch interface at

Some Sunrise Pictures At Santa Cruz

Photographer snapping the morning sky. Many of them were there to photograph the lunar eclipse.

Santa Cruz light house on the left.
Surfers riding the waves as the sun comes up.

 Santa Cruz pier and harbor.
Waves crashing against the rocks near the light house. A very dangerous place to surf and yet, I found more than 20 of them at surfing six in the morning.
Walkers  pause to watch the sunrise
Surfer's bike on the right.

I took all the pictures with an iPhone and processed them using Instagram.

Bill Talking To Jim Cramer About Human Capital Management

Bill McDermott spoke to Jim Cramer of Mad Money about the importance of Human Capital Management software among other things. Announcement of the SuccessFactors acquisitions certainly has put the spot light on people management software.

Wednesday, December 07, 2011

A Conversation About Competencies

I have spoken to tens of customers in the past years about competencies. I must admit that I was not very clear about what customers wanted when they ask for competencies. When I tried to study what customers have done successfully, I could not find a many success stories. Most customers said that they are not happy with the way they are building a competency catalog or a competency tool. Some customers have been trying for years without success. I was curious to understand if there are fundamental problems in implementing a competency catalog and a tool to use them effectively.

Recently how ever, I met a customer who said that all they want is to enable managers to have a meaningful conversation with employees about the strengths of an employee and the areas where a employee needs to improve. They wanted a tool that enables this conversation between an employee and his manager. I really like this definition

I wonder if there are other good requirements definitions of a competency tool. If you think I am missing something, could you please point me in the right direction or the right person?

My Performance Review For 2011 : LIKE

I received an interesting performance review for 2011 from my colleagues who built the SAP Career OnDemand profile module. My performance rating is LIKE. I received my rating in the form of a stuffed trophy carried all the way from Budapest to the US and hand delivered by the product owner Gabor Mittweg. Here is a picture of it.

I have received many performance ratings in the past and I think this beats them all. My colleagues told me that I am receiving this special LIKE trophy for putting them through a lot of pain during the design and development process of the profile module and making them do things that are almost impossible to do.

A bit more about the talent profile that the Career OnDemand team has built. In my opinion, it is going to be the best profile in the industry for a long long time. Based on inputs from tens of co-innovation customers, the team has built career history, goals, activities, mentoring, feedback and conversation into the profile in a very elegant manner. They have tied it together with enterprise search, which can be as sophisticated or as as simple as the user wants it to be. This profile is searchable by anyone in the company from a laptop or a mobile device. I am confident that this beats any profile, any expert finder system or any internal job candidate search system that is available.

I am very proud of this world class team. Expect great things from this team.

Saturday, December 03, 2011

Answers To Questions About Products And Technology

Since the SuccessFactors acquisition announcement by SAP today morning, many friends, partners and customers have started asking me about the future of OnPremise SAP Talent Management Suite and the technology platform for OnDemand Talent Management suite. I cannot talk about them at this time.

However, all questions were answered by Bill, Jim and Vishal Sikka during the investor relations call today morning. I listened to the call and our executives answered every product question and every technology question quite clearly. If you have some background about SAP HCM software you will get your answers from that call.

Bill, Jim and Vishal lay out the reason for the acquisition, the immediate market potential, the total addressable market, the focus of ByDesign technology platform, the focus of ByDesign Applications, the technology platform choice for Line Of Business OnDemand applications and the technology platform choice for Core applications. Vishal clearly articulated the vision for technology integration between SuccessFactors and SAP Platforms.

Click here to listen to listen to the webcast. Free registration is required. Runs on IE or Firefox browsers.

I suggest you listen to it even if you are an SAP employee.

SAP Acquires SuccessFactors

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