Sunday, February 24, 2013

Private Folders Feature In SAP Jam Reduces Clutter and Increases Adoption

The February release of SAP Jam has a private folders feature. While it serves the purpose that the name implies, it also serves something that we usually do not think about.

Reduced Clutter
Because group members can take their conversations and collaboration into a private work space inside a Jam group, the feeds page of the group is not cluttered with conversations that are relevant only for a subset of people in a group.

It also reduces clutter in the Jam Groups page. Since members do not have to create separate groups for every confidential conversation, the number of groups they have to keep track of comes down drastically.

Increased Adoption
It is now possible to have private conversations, like the ones normally reserved for email, and share confidential documents, with a select group of people. This feature addresses the concerns of those who are not comfortable sharing thoughts with and content with a very wide audience.

Employees who want to ask questions privately to an instructor, a mentee who wants to share some content with a mentor privately and a team member who wants to collaborate on a confidential document with colleagues, have a place to do.

This is sure to increase Jam adoption by those who normally rely on email for such conversations.

A Place For Work-In-Progress Content and Seeking Feedback
While some people are comfortable doing their work in public and getting unsolicited feedback, some people are uncomfortable with unsolicited feedback. Such people can now start their work in a private work space inside a Jam group and move the content to a public area once they are comfortable sharing their work with a broader audience. This feature takes Jam one step closer to becoming an everyday content collaboration tool.

The name private folder does not do justice to the functionality. It is much more than a private folder. It is a private work space where conversations and sharing can take place just like in other places in a Jam group.

Saturday, February 16, 2013

HR Insider 2013 Sessions For SAP SuccessFactors Hybrid HCM Customers

SAP SuccessFactors Hybrid HCM customers are those customers who use SAP for core HR and SuccessFactors for one or more of the talent management, social collaboration, planning and analytics applications.

SAP SuccessFactors Hybrid HCM model

If you are such a customer, there are 7 sessions that will be very valuable for you at HR Insider 2013 at Las Vegas. The sessions are delivered or moderated by experts in each area. The sessions that I recommend for you are..

1. An introduction to SuccessFactors solutions for HR and their integration with SAP ERP HCM
Dennis Villahermosa, SuccessFactors and Margit Bauer, SAP AG
Monday, February 25, 2013 9:00 am - 12:00 pm

2. An introduction to the integration between SAP and SuccessFactors
Margit Bauer, SAP AG Tuesday, February 26, 2013 3:00 pm - 4:15 pm

3. Cloud or on-premise? A learning management system perspective
Sharon Wolf Newton, hyperCision Wednesday, February 27, 2013 1:00 pm - 2:15 pm

4. Attract, engage, and select with recruiting functionality from SuccessFactors and SAP
Parvathy Sankar, SAP AG Wednesday, February 27, 2013 2:45 pm - 4:00 pm

5. Compensation management: Cloud and on-premise
Paul Hopkins, SAP AG Wednesday, February 27, 2013 10:15 am - 11:30 am

6. Panel discussion: Leading experts share insights for successfully integrating SAP and SuccessFactors
Margit Bauer, SAP AG; Panelists: Praveen Kaushik, Infosys Limited; Michelle Bliffen, University of Kentucky; Vivek Mahajan, hyperCision Wednesday, February 27, 2013 4:15 pm - 5:30 pm

7. Customer discussion forum: Coca-Cola shares lessons from its hybrid deployment of SAP ERP HCM and SuccessFactors
Bob Shank, Coca-Cola Refreshments Wednesday, February 27, 2013 2:45 pm - 4:00 pm
I will join Bob at this Panel discussion and share my experience working with many Hybrid customers last year.

SAP SuccessFactors Hybrid HCM Integration Experts

Connect with these experts if you are an SAP SuccessFactors Hybrid HCM customer. I have linked their names to their twitter handles. Tweet them to let them know you will be there and want to meet them.

Paul Hopkins
Paul is my colleague and is the solution owner for the compensation integration. Connect with him if you are a SuccessFactors compensation customers using SAP HCM.

Paru is my colleague and is the solution owner for recruiting. Connect with her if you are a SuccessFactors recruiting customer using SAP HCM.

Sharon Wolf Newton
Sharon is the CEO of hyperCision. She and her colleagues are helping companies move from SAP Training and Event Management and SAP Enteprise Learning to SuccessFactors Learning. Her session will help you decide on the route you can take and how she can help you with the migration of both content and technology. She co-authored the book SAP Enterprise Learning along with me and is an authority on Learning Management and Qualifications. Sharon and her team are also building custom integrations for customers to suit their unique needs. 

Praveen is a Principal at Infosys, an SAP partner and customer. He and his team are piloting SuccessFactors Compensation integration with SAP HCM. Ask him about his experience implementing the integration and how he can help you with your implementation.

Margit Bauer
Margit is my colleague and is the solution owner for performance management and learning management. If you have questions or inputs about roadmaps, contact her.

Clementine Wong 
Clementine is with Presence of IT, an SAP and SuccessFactors partner. Clementine and her colleagues are implementing a Hybrid solution for customers in Australia. Reach out to her if you are from the area to find out what she is doing and how she can help you.

Prashanth Padmanabhan
I am responsible for SAP SuccessFactors Hybrid HCM solution for the Americas. I will be there at the Ask The Expert session on Tuesday, February 26th evening and will answer questions about how you can move your talent management applications to the cloud while keeping your Core HR applications OnPremise on SAP.

Am I missing an important session or an integration expert who might be there at HR Insider 2013? Let me know. Please leave a comment.

Friday, February 15, 2013

Enterprise Illustrator

At work, I am trying to mix illustration with story-telling, product marketing communication, training material and social media. Illustrations cut through the clutter and help my audience focus on what I want them to see. Illustrations also help me communicate with an audience that is multilingual and has a limited attention span. I also use illustrations to turn mundane subjects into visually interesting material.

As  products become increasingly digital and interconnected, it is becoming harder and harder to explain them with words. Drawing you idea or concept is probably easier than writing an email about your idea.

Today, there are several tools, such as tablets and phone cameras that make it practical for enterprise software professionals to draw and capture their ideas rather than write. I believe that business professionals overestimate their ability to write and underestimate their ability to draw. Consider drawing. It makes your job, any job, more interesting.

I sometimes do illustrations unrelated to work to take my mind of designing and marketing enterprise software. You can see some of my drawings here

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Design Thinking For Training Content

When my colleagues and I design enterprise software products we take a design thinking approach and put the person in the middle. We design for the end user rather than just automate the process. That approach has been working very well for us.

But one thing did not change. Our training material remained boring and loaded with tens of PowerPoint slides. It almost always put the audience to sleep. Some colleagues even complained that the content we deal with is so boring that it is impossible to make it un-boring.

It occurred to me earlier this year that we should be able to apply design thinking to training material as well. I wondered if we can rethink the content from the audience's point of view and provide information scenario by scenario as they would face in real life.

Since I was required to train about 100 SuccessFactors solution consultants on the SAP SuccessFactors Hybrid Integration strategy and road map, I decided to try this approach out. I took the standard presentation content and redesigned it to tell the story from the solution consultant's point of view.

Here is a video where I explained this approach to my colleagues.
They loved the approach and we decided to go down this path.

The training session was well received and the presentation was viewed more than 200 times in the HCM Exchange Jam group.

These are the things I did.

1. Introduced a Character to make the content personal
I introduced a solution consultant character called Lisa Morton. I made that character more tangible and less abstract. I described what she does, who she works with and what her situation is. I did this based on my understanding of what a solution consultant does. I also called some solution consultants I know and asked them to help me with this.  I could see the eyes of the audience light up when I introduced the character. They identified with her and were grateful that someone understands their situation and acknowledges it.

2. I took a scenario based approach rather than just present a series of facts.
For example Scene 1 was the solution consultant meeting the customer for the first time when they are anxious about their investments and have a lot of questions.

3. Introduced the real problem she needs to address via pictures
Since a solution consultant will meet a customer team almost all the time, I explained the real problem that she needs to address; the anxieties and concerns of a customer. Facts are important. But people and their feelings and more important than facts. I created this picture based on my experience talking to tens of customers and listening to their thoughts. These are genuine concerns of customers and I wanted our solution consultants to empathize with our customers.

When I presented this picture I could see heads nodding and eyes lighting up.

4. I put the resources and experts available to help in context rather than in the appendix

Rather than give them a list of 10 documents that they can read, I provided the name of the document in context and explained why and when they should use the document and who can help if they do not get their answers from the document.

The approach was received so well, that I repeated it for training the 300 plus professional services team members and partners today. For that training, I told the same story from the point of view of a professional services consultant. I worked with their managers to understand their pain points and took their help to prioritize the scenarios faced by the consultants.

Based on this experience, I conclude that design thinking and people-centric design works for training material too. Enric, Eduardo and I talk about this approach for product design in our book "Look and Flow". Check it out if this approach interest you. Although the book is about story telling and product design, the concepts apply to presentations and training material as well.

Monday, February 11, 2013

Your Classroom Training Programs Can Have Movie Style Trailers

I visited a customer from the mining industry last week and the training manager there told me that he would love to have trailers of classroom training programs available for students so that students can understand the nature of the content and the personality of the instructors before the class starts and even make decisions about locations and instructors.

I mentioned to him that he can do that with SuccessFactors Learning and SAP Jam. When a classroom course is assigned to an employee by his or her manager, the employee gets immediate access to the Jam group associated with that training program. In that Jam group, the employee can watch trailer videos about the classroom course and access training material to prepare for the course. While the employee is in the Jam group he or she can ask for feedback about suitable course locations and get other questions related to course logistics answered.

Before the start of a course, Instructors can share course reading material via the Jam group so that students can access the content. Instructors can track who is accessing the content and seek feedback about the content or ask questions about the direction he or she needs to take in the classroom.

By associating social collaboration with traditional classroom courses, organizations can significantly reduce training administration costs while significantly enhancing the learning experience of an employee. Social collaboration can significantly enhance the quality of classroom training programs. Even if you are big on classroom instruction, SAP Jam can help enhance the quality of that instruction while reducing administration costs.

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Downtown Calgary

Downtown Calgary is dominated by Oil and Gas, Financial, Transportation, and Telcom companies. Many of them are SAP SuccessFactors Hybrid HCM customers.  I met several of them last week to understand their needs and help them plan their 2013 road map.

I also took some time to draw the Sheraton hotel building. The roads are still icy and the trees are still without leaves. But the day was warm enough to walk outside.

Monday, February 04, 2013

Recruitment Marketing With Jobs2Web

I have been in presentations where customers made a decision to buy Jobs2Web recruitment marketing in 15 minutes. It has saved customers millions of dollars in recruitment marketing expenses. Hands down the most impressive and innovative product in the Recruitment execution suite.

SAP Jam Can Help Retain Talent In Your Organization

When my colleagues and I were designing Career OnDemand we spoke to close to hundred recruiters around the world. We asked them about the places they go to for talent. Most of them said that they go outside the company to professional networking sites such as LinkedIn and other interest specific professional networking sites such as Stack Overflow for engineers or Behance for designers. Not a single one of them said that they look internally. I asked them why and they said that there are places and tools to look outside while there are no places or tools to look for a people inside a company.

I realized that in almost all companies internal candidates were being overlooked, partly because they could not be found. Most internal candidates in such organizations either look for a job outside or become disengaged. This is not only unfair to internal candidates but also a huge drain on the recruiting dollars and talent management investment in a company.

I am pleased to say that SAP Jam has taken steady and significant steps to address the root cause of that problem. First, SAP Jam creates auto groups for employees based on the organizational chart and enables teams to collaborate and be found with a simple search. Second, employees can create topic specific groups to exchange information and knowledge about specific topics to get work done, which surfaces experts on the topic.  Third, administrators can identify experts in every group and make them featured members, even if they are not very active in internal social networks. By making useful tools for people to get their work done, Jam enables internal employees become find-able.

The video above talks about employees finding experts. However, what is not obvious is that this rich pool of information is a great place for a recruiter or hiring manager to look for talent. 

There are three ways a recruiter might go about finding the right internal candidate for a job.

1. Recruiters can do a simple people search using key words and identify people based on their titles, the work they have done and the conversations they have had. They can filter the results by date range and sort the results by relevance. Recruiters already do this in LinkedIn and know the value of search.

2. Recruiters can join the top groups focusing on the topic and notify everyone in that group about new jobs in that area. Even in a large company such as SAP the popular groups for every topic can be easily identified with a simple search. This is significantly better than email blasts to the entire company or location, which is what most companies do to find internal candidates.

3. Proactive recruiters can join groups focusing on specific topics. They can then use the “Track a Term” feature to ask Jam to periodically email them a list of people who are actively discussing topics. This feature works like Google Alerts for talent. A mobility recruiter for example can join groups related to mobility and track terms such as iOS, Android, Windows8 and so on and SAP Jam will keep her posted about the people who are discussing those topics the most. Since this list will reside in the recruiter’s email folder, he or she can search for internal people right within the email client.

We have a long way to go before this problem is addressed efficiently. For example, we could have custom apps for recruiters to search for talent within a company. SAP Jam has made a very good start. If you are interested in talent retention by enabling recruiters and hiring managers to look internally, consider SAP Jam.

Sunday, February 03, 2013

From Productivity Improvement To Performance Improvement

The SAP SuccessFactors Hybrid HCM model was an overwhelming success in 2012. SAP customers embraced SuccessFactors with open hands and my colleagues and I had a busy year. This year we wanted to scale the expertise from a handful of product managers to over 200 field colleagues.

A couple of weeks back my colleagues and I started the process and trained 88 solution consultants on the SAP and SuccessFactors Hybrid HCM integration strategy and road map so that we can scale our work this year to support up to 1000 pursuits.

I wanted to share some info about how we used SAP Jam to support this training and enable not only the productivity of these colleagues, but also the performance of these colleagues. This is what we did. After the training, we shared all the content and associated resources with the 88 colleagues via SAP HCM Exchange,  a private Jam group for product management and field colleagues. Our community manager, Stephanie Morgan, then looked at the consumption of content using the standard reporting functionality in Jam and gave us information about the rate of consumption of the content.

Since we can track the consumption of every asset and every colleague, we were able to tailor email campaigns to highlight the value of the content in context for the specific set of colleagues.

Such campaigns were very effective because they were timely and they took our colleagues to relevant content with one click. While they are viewing the content, our colleagues could also see the list of related documents based on actual behavior by people like them. Such campaigns and tools significantly increased the consumption of training content and the subsequent performance of these colleagues in customer pursuits.

Features such as views and likes give us insight into consumption and quality of content
Based on the consumption of the content, we were able to tell with remarkable accuracy how many colleagues are ready to help customers and how many need more help. We can highlight the importance of the content to  those colleagues who have not looked at the content. More importantly, managers can make resourcing decisions on every sales pursuit based on empirical evidence.

Such real time insight from SAP Jam is enabling us to proactively support our colleagues and take critical business decisions based on evidence.While many social collaboration tools talks about increasing the productivity of employees, we are using SAP Jam to improve the performance of our colleagues.

If you are looking for a tool that can make a difference in the performance of your employees, consider SAP Jam.

Saturday, February 02, 2013

Iron Railings On The Banks of The Vltava River

Iron railings on the banks of the Vltava river with Prague castle in the background. I shared this one with my friends and many of them liked it. I did not think that this was one of the good ones from my Prague drawings. But something in here appealed to people. Not sure what. May be the locks and the story behind them were the reason.

Iron railings on the banks of the Vltava river with Prague castle in the background

Chinese and Native American Art

A few weeks back I paid close attention to Chinese drawings on vases and Native American drawings on pottery. They are fascinating. I learned a few things about their style when I drew these. Each culture has its own signature style. I realized that once you understand the basic patterns, it is quite easy to draw them. The patterns tend to repeat. In the Chinese vases for example, there are two patterns. The orchids and the vines.

Chinese Vases

Native American Pottery, Colorado

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