Monday, October 15, 2012

SAP TechEd Day 1


SAP TechEd has begun in Las Vegas. This is the premier technical conference for SAP technologies. There are literally hundreds of sessions, labs, Q&A sessions and two great keynotes scheduled for the week. If you develop with any SAP solution this is the place to be.

p1196869518-3The opening keynote was presented by Clay Shirky who is an expert on Social Media and how it affects business. He has written two books, Here Comes Everybody and Cognitive Surplus. Mr. Shirky provided many examples on how social media has changed how businesses respond to their customers.

He opened his keynote taking about HSBC bank which offered a checking account for college students that did not charge overdraft fees. As you might expect HSBC gained thousands of new customers because of this new program. In the summer after the semester ended HSBC announced that graduates would begin being charged overdraft fees of up to £1500 the first 12 months after leaving college. You can read about the change on The Telegraph.

This plan backfired because a student named Wes Streeting started a Facebook page called “Stop the Great HSBC Graduate Rip-Off”. Because he started this page all his friends found out about the problem and started liking the page. In turn all their friends could also see the page and like it once again alerting their friends. The social media backlash had worked itself up to the point where plans were being made for a series of demonstrations when school started again in the fall. However, HSBC changed their policies before this happened.

This is a powerful story about how much influence social media has over how businesses make decisions. It is very difficult to keep details, especially ones that adversely affect people, out of the public eye. Word of mouth now has a global voice.

One other particularly interesting example was I had never thought of Amazon as a social media site, however, the ability to write reviews provides a way for customers to interact with each other. I often read reviews when I am looking to purchase a particular product and I tend to read the latest ones. But, if you really think about it has a book that was written years ago gotten better over time?

Amazon reviews provide a way for customers to share their experience of the book, video or other product. It gives them a way to express their love or hate of the item. This is a powerful forum for people to collaborate and be heard. The idea that a book or movie only needs to be reviewed shortly after it has come out has been thrown out the window.

I really enjoyed the keynote and I am looking forward to the rest of the conference. If you want to hear more you can view Clay Shirky’s keynote here.

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