(In the interests of full disclosure, SAP is a client of mine, but the way I found this out was from a Google alert, not from them)
Never underestimate the power of the social and business change that we're undergoing. Please. Its big. It affects the way that everyone works and how they interact with each other and how they interact with institutions. Pretty much all of them. Including the big guns of technology.
The big guys in the world of enterprise software, that would be Oracle and SAP, may have been late to game - not really showing up much at all until 2007, but they are moving as fast as 800 pounds allows them to move.
I found this last Saturday morning.
While being on Facebook, Twitter, Flickr and YouTube is hardly a "new" thing and certainly isn't innovative per se, it's actually important that large vendors in CRM and in enterprise apps do this. There needs to be a means of communicating with "constituents" be they customers, developers, partners or whoever. These social channels are pretty well ensconced in the mainstream now and for a mainstream technology company to not participate is not suicide but is pretty damned dumb.
Like Oracle, SAP CRM is moving quickly to incorporate contemporary tools into a 21st century culture. This is an instance of SAP recognizing that collaboration, co-creation and communication are the name of the 21st Century game and setting up channels to interact with SAP-interested parties, to be able to capture data that will be of immense value and will be "organic" to the folks providing it - rather than categorized by the folks requesting it.
It's interesting that SAP's CRM group is leading the cultural shift at SAP, much as Oracle's is spearheading Oracle's overall cultural change. Are they finished products, sleek and functional? Not by a long shot. But the changes are very promising and the more that the rest of SAP's culture follows the CRM group's lead, the better off SAP will be in a highly competitive space.
Let's see where this is going to go. Is it going to be a kickstart from SAP CRM to the rest of the company - or will they break their toe trying to kick it into SAP gear. I hope the former, but there is no telling yet. But I'm certainly glad to see it publicly.