April 09, 2012 // By: Heather McIlvaine
In late 2010, the SAP Business ByDesign sales, consulting, development, and product management teams took part in a workshop with the aim of better aligning their processes with the lean development model. Lean methodology for IT is all about reducing waste, whether time or money, in the process of building and delivering software. With this focus on efficiency in mind, the SAP Business ByDesign teams realized that there was a lack of transparency – both internally between teams and externally among customers and partners – throughout the development process. Developers were too far removed from customers to fully understand what their requirements were, and customers didn’t know what improvements were in the pipeline. Everyone involved needed a way to interact with customers and get their feedback in a timely manner. This was the birth of the SAP Business ByDesign Ideas Forum.
The Ideas Forum is a community where SAP Business ByDesign customers and partners can submit their improvement ideas, comment and vote on each others’ ideas, and track the progress of the ideas that SAP has chosen to implement. SAP developers, product managers, and other employees can also access the forum to track ideas and make comments, but only customers and partners can submit ideas. Even before the Ideas Forum was widely available, it was clear that it would be a success.
“After we decided to run a pilot program in Germany, we only sent out an email to a few preselected customers. You couldn’t find the link on any web sites, and we didn’t do any marketing for it. But in the first weeks and months, we kept getting more registrations and more registrations. It went viral,” says Tatjana Walter, solution expert, SAP Business ByDesign.