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February 15, 2011

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Mark Yolton - SVP of the SAP Community Network

Hi Bill:

I’d like to clarify something in your blog. SAP has never provided financial rewards for individual or company participation in its online community. I think Francois and you may be confusing a couple of items. Here’s the real story:

In our early days, we used to award t-shirts (hardly “financial compensation”) to members of our community in recognition of them reaching certain levels of activity. These were very popular items, but once we reached 500,000 or 1 million members distributed in 200+ countries and territories around the world, the cost and logistics became too much for us to manage. We asked the community for ideas, and they suggested a collective group goal, for which we would make a donation on behalf of the community to a charity. We took their advice and set a baseline and stretch target: hit x number of points during the year and we’d donate 100,000 euro to the United Nations World Food Programme, or hit y number of points and we’d double the donation to the U.N. The community members responded enthusiastically, and when I blogged toward the end of the year that we were in danger of leaving money on the table, they re-doubled their efforts and we hit the stretch target and made the bigger donation. This was a rewarding exercise in many ways, including the collective group effort.

Here's my blog announcing the U.N. World Food Programme: http://weblogs.sdn.sap.com/pub/wlg/9753

Here's my blog encouraging a run at the stretch goal: http://weblogs.sdn.sap.com/pub/wlg/11742

One of our favorite community members who championed the idea announced when we hit the target in his blog: http://www.sdn.sap.com/irj/scn/weblogs?blog=/pub/wlg/9999

We still recognize individual contributions of time, expertise, and insight – but the reward is not directly financial, it is and always has been recognition and reputation. On top of this, our 2+ million community members get other direct value, as well, including: faster project execution, higher quality solutions and outcomes, the reward of strong connections to other SAP experts, and oftentimes greater job opportunities, choice project assignments, and career advancement.

If you or your readers are interested to learn more, we invite you to visit, join, engage, and participate in the SAP Community Network at http://scn.sap.com.

Regards,

Mark Yolton

bill  Ives

Mark.. Thanks for your comprehensive clarification. It is much appreciated. Bill

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