Archive for the ‘SAP’ Category

Dec13

12Sprints – My take on SAPs Google Wave competitor

A couple weeks ago I was given access to the 12sprints.com Beta program (thanks @12sprints for listening).  12Sprints is SAPs answer to Google Wave for the enterprise that they’ve deemed a “Virtual War Room”.  It seems to be part of the Business Objects division (based on information from emails I’ve received).  In short, I’m VERY impressed with the service and opportunities I see it leading to.

I’ve held off publishing my review to ensure I gave my self ample time to review the different aspects of the service.  I will say that my final experiment (before publishing my review, that is) was performed on a Mac in the Google Chrome browser. I was greeted by a warning message that was essentially ‘browser not supported, proceed at your own risk’ but found no significant issues.  There were a few overflow errors (likely just CSS) but the service worked splendidly which excited me since Chrome is my browser of choice.

How I’m Looking at 12Sprints

So, I entered the experiment with limited exposure to Google Wave (I have an account but haven’t been that active) looking at 12Sprints purely from an enterprise operations standpoint.  How can the average enterprise use 12Sprints to succeed or make themselves better?  Four areas immediately popped into my mind with instant thoughts of SAP backend integration – purchasing, customer service, engineering and, of course, the executive suite.

Purchasing and customer service is probably at the top of everyone’s list.  The ability to collaborate across a multi-national corporation on large purchasing decisions or bounce a customers complaint around to different people in an organization with ease has incredible potential for the business and the consumer.  Combine the collaboration aspect of 12Sprints with integration to SAPs backend and the possibilities for process improvement are endless.  Ideally, I see purchasing and customer service being integrated with SAPs Records Management and Case Management solutions.

Engineering is something that may not make it to the typical list of use-cases but I think it’s important to call out.  An organizations ability to design products and reduce the overall time to market is a competitive advantage that I see 12Sprints impacting for the better.  Couple the collaborative nature 12Sprints with SAPs cFolders solution and I think you have a very interesting solution that will help reduce the time it takes for companies to hit the market introduction stage of a product.

Feature Set

12Sprints came loaded with a solid set of features for the typical enterprise.  Actions within 12Sprints are organized into what is called an ‘activity’.  Each activity can have any number of ‘tools’ such as agenda’s, responsibility matrices (ARCI, RACI, DACI and RASIC), Cost/Benefit and SWOT analysis, Pro’s and Con’s and even a decision tool that requires that you ‘lock in’ what was decided.

I think one of the really cool features is 12Sprints integration of the online note tool Evernote.  The process of adding content from my Evernote account was seemless and a huge draw for me personally.  I question it’s reach at the enterprise level right now (none of my clients are currently using Evernote) but at an individual user level I find it very useful.  User’s can also post content from their computers such as Excel spreadsheets,  PowerPoint presentations or that recently completed White Paper.

Missing Features

I think the biggest feature missing was the ability to chat with other members of an activity or your organization.  Collaboration on documents, decisions and the like is key (the major use-case here) so I don’t understand exactly why an embedded chat feature was left off the list.  My guess (hope) is that it is in the works for a future release.

Another feature that I’d like to see made more prominent is the services integration with various SAPs services.  Understandably, 12Sprints is still in beta (and I don’t have an SAP environment linked) but I couldn’t find any clues of it’s potential integration with an SAP backend system.

They do, however, have a call for developers looking to partner on the product so perhaps they’re attempting to build that ‘app store’ ecosystem where enterprises can purchase miscellaneous extensions to enhance the service.  I think it would be a great move to drive innovation and reduce the time it takes for 12Sprints to exit Beta.  It’s obviously too early to tell but given that the apps are the flavor of the day for platform roadmaps I wouldn’t be surprised.

All-in-all – two thumbs up so far and expect additional reviews as the 12Sprints team continues to enhance the service.

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