What I Do: Sameer Patel, SAP’s social software guru

Sameer Patel is all about social and collaborative concepts, but he wants them to be used for businesses to communicate internally as well as with their customers.

When you hear the term
“social software,” you’ll probably have one of two reactions. “What is that?”
or “Isn’t that just Facebook?” As the global vice-president and general manager
of SAP’s social software, Sameer Patel will tell you that it’s all about creating
social and collaborative elements in applications for his enterprise clients.  And they’re trying to avoid the Facebook model
entirely, since they don’t want to be social for the sake of social.

“The industry has spent 6
years trying to emulate ‘Facebook for the enterprise’ but that doesn’t work,”
says Patel. “Just because we’re highly social on Facebook, it doesn’t mean we
are when it comes to business,” says Patel. 

Patel has spent the last
15 years evangelizing the use of social
and collaborative concepts to accelerate operational and financial performance.
This means incorporating social and
collaborative elements within existing business processes to help them become
more efficient. Working previously with Sovos Group, Patel developed applications
for some of the biggest companies in the world, including Intel, Nike, Oracle, and Sun Microsystems,

While becoming more social
is often the stated prescription for many brands, Patel says that’s not the
goal here. “The problem you’re solving is not a social one,” says Patel. “The
goal is not just to become more social, but it is to solve a problem using
social.”

And by the way, social
collaboration doesn’t just mean working in the cloud space. Patel says most
cloud applications are simply “copy/paste” replicas of regular transactional
applications. The key element is to help organizations understand the value of
making transactional relationships collaborative ones.

For example, SAP can help
businesses incorporate greater communication tools in their supply chain
software, enabling vendors to be not just product suppliers, but also
collaborators in the workspace. It reduces response times and greatly increases
the efficiency of problem solving. Similarly, collaboration elements can be
applied to customer service, HR and data analytics. Field workers or sales staff can reach management, inventory or accounting departments at the touch of a button. The goal is to have all
your important networks available to you at the tips of your finger.

Having all the information
and the best minds to utilize it all connected to each other is crucial to the success of any business. By
integrating all the different elements of a business, enterprises can achieve
their goals faster and see significant improvements in their key performance indicators. SAP markets its products, as holistic solutions to existing problems.

As expected from someone who builds better
tools for communication, Patel is no slouch in the communications department. Regarded
in many circles as a thought leader in the field, he has over 10,000 followers
on Twitter, his blog PretzelLogic.org is widely followed in the industry and he
has spoken at several events including Enterprise 2.0 Conference, The Social
Business Forum, Milan and GigaOm Mobile Enterprise Summit. While he was hired
at SAP for his management skills he says his multimedia presence definitely
played a part. “I would be crazy to think it did not have an impact on getting
me hired,” he says.

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