Sunday, July 29, 2012

There is Wisdom In The Clouds

When thousands of companies use cloud services for talent management software, they have a wonderful opportunity to gain from the wisdom of the clouds. Apart from analyzing information generated by their own data, they can benchmark, in real time, against data available from other companies in the industry.

Here is an example of how such information, accessed in real time, can be used.

Of course they may get this information ,only if they choose to participate by providing their own information anonymously to the other cloud participants. Such bench-marking makes sense only if there is a sizable number of customers and users using the same provider.

Friday, July 27, 2012

The Classic 'Did You Know' Video Updated For 2012

The classic one is now updated for 2012. Interesting insight as always.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Transcend - Nine Steps To Living Well Forever

Today, @enricgili  told me about the book Transcend - Nine Steps To Living Well Forever, when we were talking about the level of stress a person goes through while changing a job either within a company or outside the company. He pointed out to me that the stress level a person goes through while changing a job is as much as the stress a person faces while coping with the death of a friend. It is more than the stress a person goes through while foreclosing a house. I was surprised and even a bit disturbed by this fact. In such stressful times, the one thing that can help a person cope with life is compassion and human contact. May be even conversation.

We discussed that enterprise software should be able to do something about this. We decided that we should do what we can in the upcoming releases of our products. It is a good thing we release software every three months now a days.

Meanwhile I plan to read the book that refers to these stress levels. Here is a video of the authors talking about the book.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Calibration and Succession Planning Product Manager

My colleagues in the product management team are looking for a senior product manger to manage the Calibration and Succession Planning products at SuccessFactors. You can find the job description at

You do not need to have a background in the particular area. My colleagues are looking for some one who is curious and wants to bring innovation to enterprise software. If you are interested in managing two products in the most popular and successful talent management suite in the world with over 15 million users, please let me know and I will be glad to forward your resume. The position is in San Mateo, California. Apart from the privilege of managing a great product, you will also get a ring side view of how we are building the entire HCM software suite in the cloud.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

If You Have An Image Google Can Find Its Source

If you have an image and want to find our where it came from, Google can help you. I use this tool sometimes to find the source of an image so that I can give credit. Go to

Your Product Page Is Your Store Front

While creating the HCM Exchange community using SuccessFactors Jam as the tool, I wrote a few messages to my colleagues to share with them my thoughts on a community and how I perceive their product or solution pages. This is one such mail. There was positive response for this approach from one colleague. Once he created his product page, others followed.

Your Product Page Is Your Store Front

I see the solution owner as the keeper of the product page. It is a bit like the store front of your product. You can make announcements, post key enablement assets such as presentations and demos and engage in conversions with field colleagues. The more easy it is to do business with you and the more knowledgeable the field is about your product, the better your product will sell.

Image from:
Your product page can work for you while you focus on more important things

A well maintained product page can help you be a lot more productive. You will know where your things are. Your colleagues will know where your product assets are and your internal customers will know where the product assets are. You will be doing more meaningful work and answering less emails about assets. Since we can track consumption of every asset by every internal customer, you will have unimaginable insight into how your work is being received by the field and be able to do something about it.

I also realized that some of us are busy travelling and supporting sales pursuits. So I created skeleton product pages for all the products. I posted some content where I can, so that it is not empty. You can modify it  to suit your taste and needs. If you need ideas and help see what others have done.

Here are your product pages…I hope it brings out the inner entrepreneur in you… Is A Good Source Of Mobile Design Patterns is a good source for iPhone app designers to check out design patterns. I go there for inspiration whenever I get stuck. Remember. Good artists copy. Great artists steal.

Friday, July 13, 2012

Prototyping The Swipe Feature For iPhone Using Axure RP

AxureRP, the prototyping tool, recently introduced the swipe feature. It is very useful to simulate the behavior of touch applications. The video below is from Axure showing how to do it.

While the demo above is useful, I had to build a prototype where I had to display the page indicator dots below the images, which is not covered by the video above in an elegant manner. So I built an example to show what can be done and how I did it. In the example below I am simulating a person browsing a row of pictures.

I spent a few hours building this. You can build it easily too. But if you want to save an hour of work, you can buy this AxureRP file for $ 0.99 from GumRoad. Click here to buy.

You will get a zip file of the AxureRP project file. You will need AxureRP software to open it. A 30 day free trial of AxureRP can be downloaded from 

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Payroll Assets Are Among the Most Popular Downloads in HCM Exchange

When my colleagues and I set up the SAP HCM Exchange community we spent a lot of time collecting sales assets on SAP SuccessFactors Integration, Talent Management and so on. But I found out that the most sought after assets are SAP Payroll and HCM Personnel Administration, Processes and Forms. It is not surprising. There are thousands of customers who use these products.

Here is one of our customers talking about SAP Payroll, SAP Enterprise Learning and how they are planning to integrate with SuccessFactors.

Concur on SalesForce

I have great respect for Concur. I have used it.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

The Social Organization

These are interesting times at SAP. We have product releases every four months on tens of products. An army of account executives are meeting tens of customers every week and funneling their desire, business problems and specific requirements to the product teams. We realized that traditional methods of enablement alone is not going to cut it. So apart from the regular enablement sessions, we decided to build a peer to peer learning model where any one in the team can learn from anyone else in real time.

One of my jobs now-a-days at SAP is to build a community for SAP HCM product teams, marketing teams and sales teams with the specific purpose of rapidly and continuously enabling all colleagues with the product knowledge that is generated within the product teams and customer knowledge that is generated by our pursuit teams.

One of the account executives while talking to a Fortune 500 customer spoke very proudly about this rapid and peer-to-peer learning model. He made my day.

I watch and learn by looking at what my SuccessFactors colleagues have been doing to enable their field colleagues and solution consultants with knowledge about new releases and competition.

I also look for guidance from other practitioners and from analysts who have observed other practitioners. I recently referred to the book  The Social Organization by Anthony J. Bradley, Mark P. McDonald. It comes highly rated.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Content, Consumption and Conversation

SAP HCM Exchange is a community powered by SuccessFactors Jam. This is the community of products and sales colleagues where all sales assets are shared, consumed and discussed. It has been working well for us so far. My colleague Michael Sven Kandziora, tracks three things in the HCM Exchange every week. The content created, the level of consumption and the number of conversations. SuccessFactors Jam gives community administrators detailed data about content, consumption and conversation. Michael and Enric Gili Fort designed the reports that give us clear insight into the week that was in the community. These reports then determine our action plan for the following week. 

Thanks to the reports provided by SuccessFactors Jam, at any given time, we can determine the exact impact our work is having on the capabilities of our HCM Field colleagues.

Michael, Enric and I also wanted a single number to determine the capability of the community. So we came up with an index called the Community Capability Index which is a product of Content, Consumption and Conversations in the community. We believe that this single index will help us track the overall value generated by the contributors and participants.

Here is a sample Impact report that Michael sends out every week. This is in effect, tracking the informal learning that happens in the community on a weekly basis. SuccessFactors Jam has been a phenomenal success to promote informal learning within SAP teams. I believe that this is going to impact HCM revenue this year to the tune to tens of millions of dollars. What I like about it is the precision with which we can take action based on the data we get.

We also get data at about every participant in the community. Such data gives us insight into the participation of every product and field colleague in every topic area. We can target content creation or focus attention on a particular topic area on a weekly basis, based on the real time data we get. This is some of the best insight I have derived from a system in a long long time.

Michael is going back to Germany in a month after completing his stint here in Palo Alto. If you are an SAP hiring manager in Europe, you should give him a call. He is going to be hot property.

Sunday, July 08, 2012

Social Media Admirals

In his book, "The Next Decade", author George Friedman talks about the rising power of China in the Pacific ocean. He makes an interesting observation about China's ability to build a strong navy in the Pacific. He notes that technology and resources are not the bottleneck for China. The bottleneck to building a great navy is experienced admirals who can conduct a naval battle with aircraft carriers and destroyers. This is not something that China can import, from another country or develop overnight. Creating such admirals requires long term policy decisions, investment and execution direction from the highest levels of leadership.

Building strong online communities inside large corporations has some parallels to building a blue water navy.  Today, most large organizations  have the resources to buy community software for the entire workforce, because online community or social networking software costs only a few dollars per user per month. 

However, developing social media admirals who can guide communities of experts to execute towards a business goal is key to the success of community software inside any organization. Such leaders cannot be bought for a few dollars. Developing such leaders requires long term talent management investments and policy decisions. For this reason, employee social media implementation projects implemented by IT teams will have very little chance of success. From what I have seen so far, employee social media projects led by business teams assisted by talent management professionals have a higher degree of success. I suggest that you make your social media initiatives part of your business and talent management initiatives, where you have a better chance to identify social media admirals who can lead communities of experts to accomplish business goals.

Original image from 
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...