Thanks to Craig Cmehil’s invite for the SDN day, Hyther & me are here at the SAP campus in Whitefield, Bangalore.
It was a revelation of sorts of how big a community SDN is! Thanks to Bangalore’s traffic woes, we started a bit late and Craig had a micro intro. Mark Yolton, VP of SDN/BPX, gave the initial presentation titled “What have we been up to (together) this year”.
The SDN team is 35 strong and some of them were present – Mark, Craig, Marilyn, Marco (the only Dutchman was the joke), Uri, Anil, Anand and others. The invitees included SAP employees, partners (all the developers whose life revolve around SAP) and a couple of customers. Craig & team had done a pretty good job and the mix was perfect.
The numbers quoted be Mark were staggering. 600K SDN members, 80K from India alone (only US & Germany have more). And SDN had to split to make room for the Business Analysts & Consultatnts to form a new community, BPX – Business Process Experts. They too have grown to 60K with 12K members being added every month. (Mark is targeting 75K users by this year end and 1 million by 2010)
SDN has this system where members can earn points. The system works this way – you have a question and post it to SDN, someone comes up with an answer and you (or anyone) can award him/her some points. Naturally, Craig had made sure that he’d invited some pretty big earners of good karma to the SDN day. Among today’s participants, Kartik Iyengar of Wipro headed the list.
SDN encourages its community by providing freebies, when you cross a certain level you get a T-shirt, the next level, a jacket etc. Most of all, it is the recognition that a SAP developer gets that keeps this community so alive. The SDN community is so vibrant and active that the average time that you have to wait for an answer is just 16 minutes!
Other stats include 61 of the Top 100 Indian companies run SAP, SDN has a unique monthly visitors count of around 400K and weekly views of 1.6M. There is small growing community of bloggers too (600 to 800, Mark was not sure of the number) who write at SDN Blogs.
Those are some points I’m left pondering about, dreaming about a similar Zoho community to form when more Zoho apps go out of Beta, open up our APIs, get a more viral traction. SDN is social networking at its best. They proved it once again through the “Speed Networking” session where we got to interact with the other participants. Even we guys from Zoho who were literally the only ‘outsiders’ felt at home meeting all these cool people. Kudoes to the SDN team and all its members for making this happen!
Hyther being the tech guy, naturally, is more interested in how Zoho and Web 2.0 can bring in value to a giant ERP soultion provider like SAP and enterprise apps in general. And he had a session titled “Enterprise meets Web 2.0” which was very well received. He will also be part of a panel (think the title is ‘Technology & Innovation’) at the end of the day. Prashanth Rai who will also be part of this panel is blogging too.
May be I will later try updating this post with some photos. Tomorrow, we are again special guests of Craig at the SAP TechEd. Hope to have a great day tomorrow too. And forgot to mention, the arrangements were excellent – a very good internet connection, well organised sessions and nice & spicy Indian food.
Update : As promised, some photos from today’s event (Thanks to Uri, who lent his photos!)