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Jan 26, 2007 at 01:35 PM

An Apology to SDN and a Request for Advice


After thinking about Mark Finnern's suggestion yesterday that I stop blogging so frequently, I realized that I had made an honest mistake about the way in which I was using the SDN blog area.

Let me try to explain how and why this mistake occurred.

First, it goes without saying that what SDN does well, it does extremely well. I have used the Expert Forums on several critical occasions in the past few months, and they function "above and beyong". I also keep a list of "good_sdn_links" when I see great guides and explanations in blog posts, so I don't have to bother searching for them later, and here again, SDN is doing its job extremely well.

But the fact that SDN does certain things very very well doesn't mean it is doing everything it should be doing.

What do I mean by this?

Well, many people here at SDN would agree with me that there are many things terribly wrong with the IT community today and inside the SAP community as well. Furthermoe, it's my opinion that SDN is doing nothing to try and change these things, when it in fact can and should be trying to change them.

So I decided to do my part as a "change agent" by posting a number of "perspective" posts which tried to communicate what I thought was wrong with IT and SAP today.

But here's where the mistake came in.

First, I figured from my read count that I must be doing something right, otherwise, why would my blog posts have @52,000 reads since 10/1/2006, or about 440 reads per calendar day?

Second, for all the criticism I received in personal emails about my blogs, I also received validation at SDN. Let me give you an example of this.

Two well-respected and long-time members of the SDN community indicated to me in personal emails that they had a lot of problems with my two long series of blogs on the WDA component WDR_TEST_UI_ELEMENTS and how it could be very easily converted to do many other useful things.

But at the same time as I was receiving this criticsm , I responded to Thomas Szuecs in one of his threads and therefore took an opportunity to ask him if he knew the SAP developer of WDR_TEST_UI_ELEMETNS, and if so, to convey my gratitude to the developer of WDR_TEST_UI_ELEMENTS for writing such a wonderful piece of code. He responded that he did know this developer and that this developer liked the series very much,

Third, I have received blog responses from several SDNers indicating that my "perspective posts" were registering with them. The one of these that I treasure most is from the SDNer who posted the following: "I like the way you put your finger where it hurts - keep it up."

So, you can see from the above three points how the mistake occurred - I figured that if I had 440 reads per day over four months, and if my technical posts were OK with key SAP developers, and if at least some readers were responding with indications that they understood what I was trying to do in my "perspective" posts, then I must be doing something right.

But if you've been following some recent conversations in this Forum, you'll realize that I was doing something quite wrong.

What I was doing wrong with my "perspective" posts was trying to use the blog space at SDN to effect change in the SAP community and therefore, in the larger IT community.

And if you think about it, this was wrong for a very obvious reason: SDN has this "Suggestions" Forum that I'm posting in right now.

So if I was really serious about trying to get SDN to become a change agent to help improve the SAP community and the larger IT community, then I should have been posting a particular kind of post to the Suggestion Forum, instead of "perspective" blogs.

In particular, I should have been making Suggestion Forum posts which:

a) clearly identify a problem in the SAP community that SDN can actually help to change;

b) offering a concrete suggestion as to how SDN can help to change this problem.

So - having finally realized my mistake, I want to start posting posts to this Suggestion Forum which do (a) and (b).

But before I do, I want to ask two questions up front: one about frequency and one about content.

With respect to frequency, how often should I make one of these posts to the Suggestion Forum - weekly, every other day - you folks tell me.

With respect to content, are there any topics that any one thinks inappropriate for a suggestion post? In particular, would anyone object to Suggestion Forum posts on the following topics:

a) in the SAP community (outside BI/A), matters relating to real business computation are being ignored in favor of an emphasis on tool technologies that have nothing to do with real business computation, but are important to SAP's marketing strategies; what can SDN to change this?

b) in the SAP community, not enough support is being provided to the many external SAP developers who are stuck on systems at or above 4.6c and below 04s; what can SDN do to change this?

c) in the SAP community, there is not enough awareness of deficiencies in the relational database model, and how carefully it must be used; what can SDN do to change this?

d) in the SAP community, there is not enough awareness of how various "organizational pathologies" at customer sites constrain the ways in which SAP can be used to benefit customers; what can SDN do to change this?

e) in the SAP community, there is far too little focus on SAP metadata, particularly at a time when SAP is trying to move into the Enterprise SOA paradigm.

To sum up:

1) If you think Suggestion Posts in any of these five areas are inappropriate, please take a moment to let me know.

2) If you think that Suggestion Posts should also be limited to a certain frequency, please also take a moment to let me know.

3) If you've gotten this far in reading this post, thanks very much for your patience and for whatever advice you have the time and energy to provide.