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author's profile photo Michelle Crapo

What does the SAP Community mean to you?

As I wrote in a comment on one of the blogs - I've been in a reflective mood lately. That could and does make it way into a new blog I wrote. As I was writing it - I thought - wow! This community has played more in my career than I thought it did.

So I'll start with what it means to me. Background is always good - to put it in perspective, I started working as a customer of SAP in 1996. It was called SDN back then.

Here's what I used to do in my "old" programming days of RPG/CL on an AS/400. I would have a question and I would run around to all the great programmer/analysts in my company. There was only around 20 of us back then. Then if I couldn't find an answer, I would bring out the books. And look through them manually. That made for some long days and nights.

Then... Yahoo came along in my company. We moved from green screens to the old version of PCs. Sometimes I would find an answer, but not always.

Next we moved to SAP. It was so new that if the developer could spell SAP they were amazing. There soft skills could be horrible we didn't care.

Then I found SDN. <whew> sigh of relief here. I had found a community with members that were ready to help. And.. eventually I participated. I was the "question asker" for my team. Then SDN went through some painful - at least to me - changes. SDN = SCN = SAP Community... Or something like that. I found myself using it less.

Now today - that's really what I'm getting to. Today the SAP community brings so many good things to me. New "friends" from different areas of the world would be at the top of my list. Ideas on different ways of using the products we already have. A different, sometimes much better, way of coding. And really big for me right now, I'm back to learning again. So it's helping me pick up other programming skills than "just" ABAP. Although there is still nothing just about it. It is sprinkled into the new technologies as well.

Without the community's support, just being here, I would not be as effective in my job. So to me the SAP Community is quite a big deal! What about you?

I don't mean compare it back to SDN. (But if you even think about it, remember how much bigger the community has become. So many different languages and products) I mean now. What does it mean? I'd love to hear your thoughts.

Not negative - because I'm asking what it does for you, not what it does not. Start the sentence with what it does well. Because to me if we didn't have this community it would be a huge setback. And yes, SAP is mainstream now. So some other sites do have answers. But the focus isn't SAP.

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40 Comments

  • Sep 10, 2020 at 11:34 PM

    Oh wow - no negative comments allowed? That'll be good then...

    Let's see: while SAP is certainly not "mainstream" in the overall IT industry (ask arbitrary "IT people" what javascript, oracle, Word, and SAP are and I'm rather sure, that most will know something about the first three but a lot fewer about the last) it is trying to become more open to the mainstream.

    That's for good reason: SAP's customers cannot sustain their "IT-fication" on expensive and rare ABAP developers alone. They need to be able to use the many available developers that can work with javascript, python, SQL, "the cloud" etc.

    The SAP community platform in its different incarnations certainly was/is a good portal for this. Occasionally you find SAP product folks popping in to share what they feel should be made more public and even more occasionally they engage in a conversation with "somebody on SCN". I think that is a positive albeit underutilized "feature" of this platform.

    As for what other sites - like StackOverflow - provide: it's still a far cry from what one would find for other major platforms.

    So, for me, I'd say, this platform still provides a window into what people that use SAP products to develop struggle with. That can be interesting, often repetitive, and sometimes boring but so far I managed to find "good questions" often enough to come back another time.

    • Sep 11, 2020 at 11:42 AM

      Very nice answer. OK, I guess I didn't mean SAP was "Mainstream". I was thinking more of the "new" stuff that I have to learn. I'm fighting against my normal mindset at times. Yes, that means java script, groovy, and more of the things that everyone else has been doing for a long time.

      I can find answers from other sites in my searches sometimes too. It is cool that the sap community is something that we all still find value in.

  • Sep 12, 2020 at 10:52 AM

    Yes I learnt SAP through SDN 20 years back and am reciprocating my knowledge in SCN till now. Definitely, SCN is the greatest platform where all consultants can enhance their skills in an effective way by sharing their knowledge. Unfortunately, it is also a fact that many contributors who learned SAP through SDN / SCN are not an active contributor from whom, we can expect quality suggestions

    • Sep 14, 2020 at 11:35 AM

      But for the ones that are - it makes this site amazing! I like to think that even if they are not commenting, they are here sometimes.

      For me - it's just fun...

  • Sep 13, 2020 at 05:25 PM

    Started learning most of the SAP concepts and architecture from Community, from the date of joining following and contributing tags helps to get more out of SDN, and solved most of business requirements.

    • Sep 14, 2020 at 11:36 AM

      That's excellent to hear / read! I'm glad that most of your issues were resolved here. It's so nice to have the extra support.

  • Sep 14, 2020 at 03:52 PM

    For me, SCN gives me an opportunity to share what I know, teaching and mentoring in the SAP Crystal Reports and SAP BusinessObjects BI Platform spaces.

    Paying it forward/giving back has long been one of the ways I live my life and SCN provides a platform for doing that. I have done the same thing on other sites, as well, but SCN has become the primary site where I answer questions and share.

    -Dell

    • Sep 14, 2020 at 04:42 PM

      Thank you! Thank you from everyone you've helped or will help. And thank you from me. I love to hear/read things like that. I have received help at many different times. I try to be helpful too. It works out great that way.

      Here is where my on-line home is. SAP is what I do while I work. Most of my waking hours are spent working so I come here a lot. I try to avoid it on the weekends though. ;)

      • Sep 14, 2020 at 06:14 PM

        I was fortunate that I had so many people who helped me early in my career. I feel a need to provide that for others.

        • Sep 14, 2020 at 06:31 PM

          Agreed. And it's interesting to me that I've moved full circle. I didn't know what I was doing, I sort of knew what I was doing, I did know what I was doing (most of the time). Throughout that I helped as much as I could. I told many people I could easily justify answering the questions, because the site had saved me X amount of time and research.

          Now back to full circle. Some stuff I know what I am doing, in some of the "newer" to me technology I sort of know what I am doing... Just waiting to get back to the place of basically knowing what I'm doing. I haven't dug too deeply into questions lately as there are amazing people that support the tags I do answer. I admit to send out an answer too quickly and not trying to dig up what the OP wants to do and why it is or isn't a bad idea. So I've decided to hang back a bit and wait until I can be of more help.

          I of course, am still writing. Blogging, and here in the corner, sipping on some coffee. I will still share what I learn. And I am happy to be learning new things! That's the joy of what we do, we are constantly learning. I don't think I'll ever get bored.

          And that's the beauty / magic of being here. We'll never be bored. Some people will write things I'll never read. Some that I read about 3 to 300 times. There is always something going on.

          Told you I've been a bit philosophical lately. I got that way while trying to express myself here on the coffee corner, and then writing a blog, now I'm back in coffee corner. Just happy as I can be. Someone - you - are reading this.

  • Sep 15, 2020 at 10:05 AM

    It's a haystack with some few wisdom needles.

    Sadly, the magnet they gave to me to find those needles attracts hay too, so I must search for those wisdom needles by filtering every tiny piece one by one.

    I was about to say "a complete waste of time", but cuz sometimes you find the needle, so it's not complete.

    • Sep 15, 2020 at 11:48 AM

      I like that answer. Yes, at times, I get so frustrated. I google and find 20 different answers to my questions and they are ALL wrong, or not wrong but not what I'm looking for, of not the right version.

      And that is why we need people like you. We need good people to add the best answer, blog post, coffee corner comments... That way there is that one needle in the hay to find. A community is only as good as the members.

      What I really love are the tutorials. (And of course blogs, and Q&A - OK I like a lot of it) Sometimes I like to use the community to simply understand some of the different options I can offer as a solution. Using the community to influence is nice as well. Jelena has a blog post out there with a lot of comments. It's to stop us from having to sign up again after a 30 day trail development.

  • Sep 15, 2020 at 04:24 PM

    I'm a niche person and only have one area I work in, QM. It's not easy finding people in that area that are willing to share to any great extent. I'd be remiss though if I didn't mention that I really got into online forums via SAPfans and not the SAP community or its predecessors. I used both platforms for a while. Then only SAPfans. Then SAPfans, for some reason I can't put my finger on, died a slow, long, drawn out death and I then revived myself in SAP SCN. Then it got replaced by SAP Community and it almost died. And now.. It might be recovering slowly.

    For me, it's meant business contacts in my area of QM. Some that I've had now for many, many years. Some I've lost contact with. And some new ones I'm starting to get a feel for. But honestly, its been harder on the new platform. But the personal contacts are what's most important for me. Especially now.

    Answering questions over the years has kept me more current and relevant with the products. I see Hanna/Fiori being the last major technical system I'll learn before retiring. I hope to retire in 3-6 years and then I might want to go back to independent consultant and do one or two, 2-3 month projects, a year as long as I'm still enjoying it and feeling it.

    Staying current and constantly adding to your knowledge of the minutiae of your chosen area is to me, the number one priority people in IT need to do. To really be an expert, it's not about being able to answer the general newbie questions. It's really about answering the 1 in 100 questions that no one has answered before. It's about being able to offer multiple approaches and ideas to a problem where most people only see one. SAP community helps me to keep thinking out of the box and to learn about other processes and functionalities my company might not be using. Yet....

    • Sep 15, 2020 at 05:04 PM

      Wow! I didn't realize there were other people that used SAP Fans. I did too!

      As someone in a niche area - I bet you give some great well thought out answers. I am able to connect with people from times long, long ago. OK - not that long. But it's been nice.

      Retirement? <Gasp> Actually I'm really good at spending money. I think my retirement is a long way out. So I see myself going through at least one more tech changes. Truthfully on the days that I'm not yelling at my computer, I love learning new things. So right now - right now, I'm very happy.

      Believe it or not - at one time, I was a functional person in quality. Even then I leaned towards the technical side. One of the big projects that I remember revolved around the disposal of environmental materials. I never did work anywhere where the lab equipment was tied directly into the system. Now that would be fun. I remember setting up when to pull sample. (vaguely)

      I've been around technical and functionally quite a bit. Lately it's been MM functionally, BADI, workflow, and CDS technically.

      Interesting to read about what you use the community for. I've seen you around the coffee corner a bit too!

      • Sep 16, 2020 at 02:29 PM

        Yea.. I check in here fairly often. But the coffee corner isn't quite as active or irreverent as the GD of SAPfans once was. :-).

        I liken the SAPFans GD area to your friendly neighborhood bar or pub after every one's had a few pints. Sometimes things got out of control, once in a while people got their feelings hurt and occasionally someone had to be thrown out. But once you came around enough, you got to be part of the family.

        While the coffee corner here is more like a mini Starbucks in a corporate lobby. Friendly, but corporately polite. People don't hang around to long, and there isn't a lot of scenery to keep you in your chair very long.

        But a lot of that in both cases, (forums vs eating places), is due to the private vs. corporate ownership.

        • Sep 16, 2020 at 03:46 PM

          Total agree. It depends on where you are at. Corporate vs. private - it makes a difference. :)

        • Sep 17, 2020 at 11:15 AM

          we and our corporate Starbucks here - coffee may be worth a sip or two when on the run, but it's easy to miss what's happening on github, youtube, twitter and the interwebs in general.

        • Sep 29, 2020 at 09:22 AM

          I think I know that SF name... I cannot ramember the wool of it, but it was a sheep I would sail on again for sure. Some conversations there could leave you full of ewe.

          Dude, I mess those days.

          • Oct 01, 2020 at 07:14 PM

            I think there should be a tuly idiots badge available for ex-SAP Fans. :-)

        • Oct 01, 2020 at 03:40 PM

          Well put, I like the neighbourhood pub analogy. The old SDN Coffe corner was also a very different place. To me it's like they've taken my favourite streetside cafe (neither shabby dive nor posh and pretentious) and renovated it into ... well I think you hit it bang on with mini Starbucks in a corporate lobby. It's not too bad but it is way less lively and I miss the irreverence. Just when you thought it couldn't get more random the conversation would get broadsided by a Saslove comment (lets see who remembers those :-)

      • Oct 01, 2020 at 01:41 PM

        "Way back when" I was also quite active on SAPFans and learned quite a bit from my interactions there in my early days of working within the SAP-system. IIRC, I also got involved with a translation project to create translated FM-documentation if none already existed.

        Cheers

        Bärbel

        • Oct 01, 2020 at 02:01 PM

          Ah another Sapfans person. Yes, I stopped using it a long, long time ago.... Or maybe not that long ago. ;) Sometimes time has no meaning in our world.

  • Sep 17, 2020 at 01:41 AM

    for someone who is new to SAP, this is a place to start looking for solutions, sharing new ideas, learning new issues in specific areas of SAP. I have been active member since 16 years now and it greatly helped to enhance my knowledge and sometime helps as a quick tip to any issues.

    • Sep 17, 2020 at 10:53 AM

      I have found some quick tips a lot of times too! And yes, when I first started with SAP - I was here so much! I had so much to learn. Now I'm back into a learning mode, and I am back on the community more to learn again. I still use it for other things too.

  • Oct 01, 2020 at 01:00 PM

    For me SCN is Ocean of knowledge and Ocean is bridge to connect member of other countries to share their thoughts and creative idea.

    • Oct 01, 2020 at 01:44 PM

      You express your thoughts wonderfully. Yes, that's exactly the way I feel. However, in an elegant way.

  • Oct 01, 2020 at 01:31 PM

    Have been active contributor in SCN from past 5 years.Enjoy learning and sharing across community.

    Regards,

    Sriprasad Shivaram Bhat

    • Oct 01, 2020 at 01:56 PM

      Excellent - it's another SAP Community fan. I think it's a great place to be! Consuming information and sharing both are amazing. It's so nice to know that I have so many people in so many different areas out there helping. No one can learn it all. And as I noticed myself, once I feel comfortable... There is always a change. And that is a good thing, it keeps me interested. It also keeps me involved in this site as a learner. Now more than ever - except maybe when I started. I am learning so much from the people here!

      • Oct 01, 2020 at 02:04 PM

        Agree Michelle Crapo ...Everytime see new question with net new challenge will end up in Proof Of Concept to provide an answer.. Some time will spend more than a day to dig out the issue to provide some sort of best solution from my perspective.And never ever regretted on spending more time in community than customer projects ( multiple time it happens ) and feels like answering some technical questions is stress buster...!

        Cheers!

        Sriprasad

  • Oct 01, 2020 at 04:59 PM

    Simple answer to heading

    Help others and get help when you need :)

  • Oct 01, 2020 at 08:32 PM

    SCN helped me in many ways throughout my SAP career and its still helping.

    Keep learning to update yourself and give it back by sharing.

    • Oct 02, 2020 at 12:34 PM

      The perfect answer. Many people have answered this way, and that makes me happy. I believe this is the only way our community can stay strong.

  • Oct 04, 2020 at 05:46 PM

    The community helped me to stay up to date, find a lot of answers, is part of that job passion I feel today and does one thing I'm really grateful. It gave me new friends...

    So what's to add. MAny aspects are discussed already. And because you asked to keep the negative aspects away I stop right now, but have to add, that also the negative aspects are part of the summary I'm grateful... what would have happened to me if I haven't complained about the stuff I don't like ;-)

    • Oct 04, 2020 at 07:40 PM

      You are so right! So many people with so many great experiences. It's so nice to see.

      Yes, I do voice my thoughts / ideas on what I find that I don't like. If you've read some of my blog posts, I really complained in one. But there are times when staying on the positive side of things helps too. Sometimes we lose sight of what was so important and valuable while thinking about all of the "negative" things.

      Lately, there has been more than enough going on that is "negative". I wanted to add my voice to what is positive. What did I like / love about this place? Why do I still after all these years, take the time to add things here? Well, I know why I do. I thought it would be fun to find out why others did.

      Now back to negative - when you present something that is wrong, it's not it doesn't make it negative. Not unless you write something with the idea that this needs to be fixed or I'm not going to xyz... There are times when a gentle nudge or a suggestion is much needed. I totally agree. Just not on this one. Why? I'm celebrating what is good here! Because it makes me happy to be positive right now.

      I might even learn some things I didn't know. I'm just so very happy so many people have stopped in and shared their thoughts.

  • Oct 13, 2020 at 11:26 AM

    Hello,

    for me it is a good source for research & information. I really like it.

    Jan

    • Oct 13, 2020 at 11:49 AM

      As always it makes my day when someone says they like the community! Is there something that you like more than the rest? For example, the blog posts are the area that I get most excited about. Yes, I love all the things available. But blog posts have helped me a lot over the years.

  • Oct 14, 2020 at 12:03 PM

    To put it in a nutshell, the community means to me to be able to broaden my mind and get new inspirations! Also it's kind of a motivation to never stop improving...when I see what others are getting into, I am also more motivated to start exploring new things!

    • Oct 14, 2020 at 12:45 PM

      I really like that answer! The new ideas make it possible to suggest them during the design phase. I don't even try to keep up with everything. But I do bookmark things that might be useful in the future. Do you have an example of when someone in SAP has inspired you?

      I guess for me it was learning about Eclipse and how to use it. (Lately) I still go back and fourth between Eclipse and SE80. That wasn't needed for design time. But it is a nice tool to used. (CDS)

      For the design, it was fun to be able to suggest flexible workflow. Of course, as it usually is, they needed the project done yesterday, so I didn't get to use it. But I am hopeful.

      • Oct 14, 2020 at 02:01 PM

        Hi Michelle, hope you are fine! I also used the community and also the developer page a lot to upskill myself regarding Eclipse, but I also used it to see what's new in the ABAP language... There are some very interesting ABAP Freak show sessions which motivated me to do some things in a more modern way....and to leave some old school stuff behind!

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