Check Jon's latest diginomica blog!

Here's Jon's diginomica blog updates
Read Ultimate SAP User Guide kindle reviews Podcast Feedback

"I listen to all your SAP podcasts in my car, until my kids get mad at me and make me put on music for them instead. Keep up the good work!"

- Robert Max, 2007 Solution Manager Community of Interest, and Systems Management Special Interest Group Chair for the Americas' SAP Users Group - Visitor Feedback

"Jon, let me congratulate you on building a site which exclusively caters to SAP skills and careers and answers a lot of doubts young and senior SAP consultants have about what skills to have and get trained on."

More Site Feedback

"I have been reading your SAP newsletters for over a decade now... It's remarkable that you have now embraced the Web 2.0 delivery methods - Podcasts, Twitter etc - without sacrificing the in-depth nature of your analyses!" - Dave Sen, SAP Enterprise Architect - Reader Feedback

"I visit almost everyday to check out whether there is something new and what the future trends hold for SAP skills and careers."

More Site Feedback

"I was struggling with career direction a few years ago and you provided me with some extremely valuable advise. I've been very satisfied with my career direction which was influenced in large part by your coaching. Thanks again!" - Keith

New JonERP Feedback

"You have always been there with a prompt reply when it matters the most. You have really been a mentor in true sense."

- Hussain Sehorewala -

Welcome to the Podcast Directory

This podcast directory provides handy previews, in text format, of all the podcasts available for download at There are also video podcasts in the SAP Blog section. Note: The JonERP iTunes feed is currently the most complete audio feed of all new audio content, as Jon posts audio of his video podcasts and hangouts in that feed also. If you're a video fan you'll want to track also.
To gain access to the audio for all the podcasts listed in the directory below - 100 and counting - you will need to register with Registration is currently free.
Podcast: The ERP Lounge #7 - The SAP Community Path to Recognition Print E-mail
podcastlogo_jonerp.gif"7th Edition - On the Do's and Don'ts of SAP Community Participation, Whether Community Involvement Actually Impacts Job Prospects, and Craig's Own Philosophy of Career Change."
Podcast Interview Date: March 11, 2010
Podcast: Listen Now!
[PC users: "right click" to download file]
note: this is a 30 meg sound file, so it may take a minute to download

With special guest SAP Mentor Craig Cmehil!

Welcome to the seventh edition of The ERP Lounge: Misadventures and Opportunities in SAP Consulting. The ERP Lounge is a "long form" podcast series that features uncensored, in-depth discussions on the hard truths and real opportunities in the SAP skills marketplace. All ERP Lounge podcasts kick off with reader questions from listeners like yourself!

Join Jon Reed and special guest Craig Cmehil of SAP for this 70 minute seventh edition as they take on reader questions on whether SAP community involvement has a real career impact (or not), and the right approach SAP job change. Then the guys head into a market discussion on social media hype and whether the enterprise should be more like Facebook. The feature discussion looks closely at the topic of SAP community involvement, with Craig spicing up the podcast with an honest, personal take on his own career transitions.

In addition to being an SAP Mentor, Enterprise Geek, and perennial SCN top contributor, Craig is the maestro of Demo Jam, arguably the high point of SAP's TechEd conferences each fall. Craig is also the creator of the popular live video show Friday Morning Report. Since Craig recently moved on from his role as SDN Community Evangelist to another position inside SAP, this podcast was an ideal crossroads for Craig to reflect on his experiences to date and tell us about what lies ahead.

Note: to comment on this podcast series, or send in a question for us to answer in the next one, be sure to join our ERP Lounge Group on Linkedin and let us know what you want us to cover. If you want to subscribe to the series, get the RSS feed for The JonERP Master Blog and Podcast Feed. You can also pose questions live to Jon on his real-time @jonerp Twitter feed. The ERP Lounge podcasts are also included in the JonERP iTunes podcast feed which is updated no later than 24 hours after the podcast posts here.

Special event link: during this podcast, Craig refers to his special 24 hour FMR marathon show coming up on April 9, 2010 to benefit Doctors Without Borders. Click on the link to find out more on how to be involved in the show and make an online donation.

Note: to comment on this podcast series, or send in a question for us to answer in the next one, be sure to join our ERP Lounge Group on Linkedin. If you want to subscribe to the series, get the The JonERP Master Blog and Podcast Feed. Or find Jon on his @jonerp Twitter feed. The ERP Lounge podcasts are also included in the JonERP iTunes podcast feed

Podcast Highlights

I. (0:00) Opening Banter   

Jon is scared to pronounce Craig's new job title, which Craig himself didn't get quite right in his Enterprise Geeks interview on his job change. Craig still reports up the line to Mark Yolton of the SAP Community Network. Craig is back working with SAP Mentor Chief Herder Mark Finnern in the Standards Management and Solutions and Technology Standards Group, defining business use cases for new ideas coming down the pike. Craig's official title: "Open Innovation Manager."

(3:15) And yes, Craig will continue to do Demo Jam!

(4:45) Humorous sentimental aside: "Why was my page modified by Craig Cmehil?"

II. (5:45) Ice Breaker - Reader Questions and Comments

A tough question for Craig: "Does being active in the SAP community really help my career, or is it just happy talk?"

Craig: Yes, there's "happy talk" on this subject because it's hard to get specific data one way or the other. Craig shares some anecdotes on how community members have changed their careers via SAP Community Network participation. Craig has plenty of these stories - they are NOT isolated events. But there's a catch: You have to go into the community in the right state of mind, with a desire to help the community and share knowledge. If you go in there saying, "I'm on SCN because I want to be the next vice president," it might not work out.

(11:48) Another question for Craig, this one from Jon: You recently did an FMR show on handling change. What is your own career philosophy when it comes to making changes? What's the difference between making bold changes and staying in our comfort zone? 

Craig: When I'm too comfortable, that's a key indicator that I need to make a change. If I'm not being challenged every day by my work, that's a problem. You get from your work what you put into it.  "If you want to be truly successful in anything, you have to give it your all."  People don't stay at companies for fifty years anymore - different tactics and a different mentality towards change are now required. The tensions between giving your all and finding work/life balance come into play here. 

(15:30) Jon: shares a flashback to starting - he started it when he was comfortable in a different role...if he hadn't gone the extra mile to build a career bridge with, where would he be now?

Craig: Grew up as a "military brat," so change in life and location has been a constant all his life..."no regrets."

III. (18:00) Market Banter - Taking on the Social Media Hype

Question for Craig: "We throw around terms like Web 2.0, Enterprise 2.0, Social Media, but what are we really talking about? Does this stuff matter, and if so, why?"

Craig: I've been doing this stuff for 15 years - the only change is that the barriers to entry are lower so more people are participating.

"Should the Enterprise Be More like Facebook?"

(21:21) Jon asks Craig to put on his industry pundit hat to discuss the blogosphere blowup from Marc Benioff's post The Facebook Imperative, where Mark argues that enterprise apps should be more like Facebook. Charles Zedlewski of SAP responded to Benioff's post - Charles hadn't posted in 18 months, but Benioff got him worked up enough to post this:

"I'm not so sure that 'spend as much time on the site as possible' is a useful design paradigm for the enterprise. So to ask 'why isn't all Enterprise software like Facebook' is a bit like asking 'why isn't all Enterprise software like the final season of Lost.'"

As it turns out, Charles and Craig are both Enterprise Irregulars. Craig agrees with Charles - co-workers don't want to have the same kinds of bonded relationships with co-workers that they would with people they have deeper personal history with. The contexts and associations are different. Yes, enterprise can benefit from social technologies, but it's not the golden grail. Enterprise companies shouldn't be flocking to integrated Twitter to their products.

Craig: "Does it make sense to integrate Twitter with your manufacturing plant? Probably not, because the people on the manufacturing plant floor are busy running the machines." 

Jon: "'Social' sounds great to those of us who are looking for another dynamic way to collaborate, but the manager may view it as just another water cooler in the sky."

IV. (27:15) Into the Lounge, Feature Topic: The SAP Community Path to Recognition

"How do you start on the community path to recognition?"

Craig's research led him to a blog series on the path to recognition. Folks didn't know how to get started. The path of recognition is also a path to discovery as well as a professional pursuit. Craig had the benefit to listen in the midst of SCN, and there is a path within the community just like there is within the community. There are six levels: consumer, contributor,active contributors, top contributors, and community influencers. Now there's a whole new level, the SAP Mentors, who are influencing SAP itself.

Even when you go from consumer to contributor, you start forming your network of relationships, answering and asking questions. Suddenly people start emerging into active contributors. So how do you start? You begin with what's comfortable for you - forums, blog comments, web logs are all fair game. White papers, articles, and wiki content are also good ways to begin. Wear the shoe that fits.

We're up to 2 million SCN members, but the bottom line is the same: what works for you? How can you create quality content that resonates with other community members? 

Once you dive into the community, you get pushback/feedback that helps you to understand the community's expectations. Example: a three sentence blog might not go over that well. You have to take those expectations into account and jump into the "feedback loop."

(36:15) Craig has found his comfort zone with community involvement through the Friday Morning Report. Jon asks Craig what he has taken from the experience. 

Craig: We're now in year three of FMR. Craig shares some history of how FMR started and evolved and lessons learned along the learning curve. It's the audience that is the reason the show has gone on for three years. People paid attention. Podcasts downloads are up to 11,000 since the beginning of last year. That's when Craig realized he had possibly found his path to what he wants to achieve. Craig has a career on the SAP side, but it's also about passion. If you can link your passion to your job, then all the better. For Craig, working with new video technologies is a passion, and this fits perfectly into his new job role  - just as it did with the community evangelist role. He found something he was passionate about and was able to tie that into his changing job roles.

(43:10) Zoli Erdos, fellow Enterprise Irregular and friend of Craig's posted on video as a crock and mentioned FMR as a reason not to do video. But Craig's FMR audience responded in defense of the show - illustrating the impact of the show and why the audience's reaction to your work is a key sign on whether you are on the right path and how you should shift to find that recognition that is the common ground between creator and audience. Jon was worried that Zoli saw his YouTube videos as part of the reason he decided to mock video in his post.

Jon: you don't let criticism stop you from don't want you want to do on the learning curve as you create. It's not about getting into personalized fights when people don't like your stuff. It's about listening to the feedback loop and pressing on.

(47:27) Jon wrote a major two part white paper series on SAP careers and the intersection of careers and community for SCN. Craig's work on the path to recognition was a key part of the second white paper. Jon reads Craig an excerpt from the paper and asks for his response...the excerpt is a contrast between the pursuit of excellence from community versus the most common SAP career question Jon gets: which SAP skill is the hottest? The difference between the two approaches: one is driven internally (how can I contribute my best work) and the other is external: tell me what skills I should pursue.

Craig: I've had people email me and ask me what job would be right for them? It's not the right question. The best way to start is to get active in the SAP community. These are riddles you have to solve for yourself. Craig shares a world exclusive: his high school aptitude test, which showed him the contrast between potential aptitudes and vocational passions. Lesson: focus on your passion and stop asking others what you should do. One good exercise can be: examine your interests and skills and see how they map into SAP. Craig took a similar chance when he came on board SAP as a community evangelist.

(54:44) Jon: Social media can amplify this problem, because if you haven't solved these riddles of identify, you often end up broadcasting without adding any context. What are Craig's how not-tos to avoid getting unfollowed or zapped by SCN moderators?

Craig: one mistake is following everyone, repeating what others are saying because it's working well for them. Mindless following. Craig hasn't been as active on Twitter lately - he explains why. People lose sight of the context, and start instantly following thousands of people because everyone else is. Where's the personality? Where's the engagement? When you're just repeating what others blogged about, you're just adding to the noise. Don't go on Twitter because everyone else is doing it - there are too many tools and have to find your own value. 

Craig made the case of Twitter's value to Dennis Howlett, who later made that case to Jon and was instrumental in getting Jon to try Twitter - but in each case, you need to find your own value in the medium you are using.

(1:02:35) Craig has pointed out the distinction between top contributors and SAP Mentors. So what exactly is that distinction? Craig's take: SAP is actually influenced by the Mentors, and as such, Mentors do not need to be on SCN - they could have established themselves in other realms (blogging, speaking, trade shows). Top contributors, by definition, are active within SCN. Everyone should aspire to be a top contributor and an SAP Mentor, but they are not the same, and achieving one doesn't necessarily lead to the other.

Jon closes with a rant about the importance of internal motivation rather than focusing on external recognition. 

Craig closes by reminding listeners about his special 24 hour FMR marathon show coming up on April 9, 2010 to benefit Doctors Without Borders. Click on the link to find out more on how to be involved in the show and make an online donation.

Note: to comment on this podcast series, or send in a question for us to answer in the next one, be sure to join our ERP Lounge Group on Linkedin. If you want to subscribe to the series, get the The JonERP Master Blog and Podcast Feed. Or find Jon on his @jonerp Twitter feed. The ERP Lounge podcasts are also included in the JonERP iTunes podcast feed.  


JonERP Feature Interview

Browse Jon's YouTube SAP Videos
Read Ultimate SAP User Guide Reviews

What is Jon Up to Now?

Track Jon in real-time on Twitter
See his latest diginomica blogs

Get Jon's SAP Blog + Videocast Feed (or Email Notifications)

Jon's "Get All My SAP Content" RSS Feed

or Subscribe to the Feed by Email

The Latest JonERP Feedback

"I have referenced your articles on for my internal Fujitsu colleagues on how the functional skill set is changing. It's not just theory, but real life change and the need for new SAP skills."

- Ranjan Baghel, Associate Director, Fujitsu America - Site Feedback

"I can't imagine any SAP professional who is serious about their career not utilizing the website. I know I used it frequently when I did SAP consulting. I use it even more now and I know my colleagues go there quite frequently to increase their knowledge of the SAP market, it is a source of great information."

- David Dawson, SAP Direct Hire Consultant, Acsys -

More Site Feedback

"Jon, you are definitely spot on with your analysis of the SAP market. I've been using your websites for over five years now. Instead of buying all the SAP books, I use your stuff to catch up with what's new in the ever-increasing SAP market." - Mark Reader Feedback

"I've kept up with your site for a long time and your articles via and elsewhere. I just realized a few months ago that you were also the author of the first SAP Consulting book that I read when I decided to take the leap from working at a Utility company to becoming an SAP Consultant. The SAP Consultant Handbook is a staple for any SAP consultant, new or experienced. I just wanted to thank you for the quality work."

- J. Michael Peace, Independent SAP Consultant -