Business Solutions with SAP

CollaborationToo often today I see lots of hype around various social interaction methods in the enterprise. Companies talking about adopting things like Facebook and Twitter inside the organization. Some of this is just silly.

Facebook, Twitter, and other social media outlets may provide tremendous outlets for interacting with customers, gathering market intelligence, or promoting your brand, but without some business direction they can be more destructive than productive.  Collaborative initiatives that are divorced from a specific business purpose are disasters waiting to happen.

The future technology to IT to customer to market integration paradigm will require meaningful Web 2.0 technology to bring it all together.  But the real issue here is what do you want technology to do?

Here is my first pass at a systematic process for using technology collaboration tools for innovative products or services that are also customer focused.


  • Collaborate (technology integration)
  • Gather intelligence and research
  • Ideas (customer immersion narrative) [FN1]
  • Socialize (customers, employees, other stakeholders)
  • Evaluate (emerging trend or fad)


  • Organize and prioritize
  • Prototype (mock-ups, story boards, paper prototypes, actual working models)
  • Pilot (finalize design, costing, materials or talent, etc.)


  • Market trial
  • Refinement
  • Sales Campaign

Where Can Technology Enable and Support Innovation Breakthroughs?

Technology tools can support collaboration, gathering marketing intelligence / research, prioritizing, and potentially piloting (engineering, design, etc.) a new product or service.

What are your thoughts?  Is this a process model worth exploring?


[FN1]  See the three part series that explores this topic in more detail.  This series lays out some initial guidance on understanding and then deploying customer focused innovation.

For More Details on the Specifics of Collaboration, Social Media, Technology Integration, and a look at creating a Learning Organization see these posts:

ERP III – Is the Integration of Collaboration the Future of Enterprise Applications

SAP, ERP III, SOA — Learning Organizations through Social Media Collaboration

The ENTIRE INNOVATION SERIES is outline below:

From Collaboration to Innovation to Market – Toward a Working Model

A process oriented approach toward a process model for moving from collaboration to innovation to market. A first pass at integrating collaboration with a structured creative process and moving from idea (conceive) to design (develop) to market (sell).


Business Strategy and IT Strategy to Reproduce Apple Innovation

Overview of Apple Innovation and the focus on Jobs as the head of Apple. The apple innovation secret (if it can be called that at all) is about relentlessly pursuing the customer experience at the point of customer frustration. Where there is customer frustration or customer dissatisfaction there is opportunity for gaining market share for the company who is able to address that point of frustration.


Striving for a Customer Focused Approach to Innovation 1 of 3

Categorizing and Defining the 3 primary types of corporate innovation. I’ve dubbed these as “Stoic” (minimalist or continuous improvient); the “Stretch” (striving for a known future state); and the “Maelstrom” (directionless chaotic storm of ideas). The names you use really don’t matter, but these are the 3 types of what companies call “innovation” that I have seen.


Striving for a Customer Focused Approach to Innovation 2 of 3

Explaining the use of an “innovation narrative” in the “Stretch” type of innovation. This method produces a future state narrative which may not be achievable but provides a customer and market focused direction to aspire to for new products or services. That narrative acts as a future state blueprint for product or service development to move toward.


Striving for a Customer Focused Approach to Innovation 3 of 3

Practical ideas and practical application of some methods of moving toward an innovation culture. Some specific examples around how SAP (the big ERP vendor) has been very successful at integrating their customers, vendors, and their internal organization into an extended development dialog are explored. Includes an overview of how this all ties into the collaboration model I started in a post entitled “From Collaboration to Innovation to Market – Toward a Working Model”


Process Execution of Business and IT Innovation

The final post in the series on innovation.  After this same short review of all of the material covered in this series the final guidance that you must appoint owners or champions at key points in the innovation process is suggested.


Contact me today through our site contact form ( ), phone, or e-mail.

Bill Wood
+1 (704) 905 – 5175
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