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From SAP, A Lesson on Engaging a Community

From SAP, A Lesson on Engaging a Community

Erika Blaney


Erika Blaney, Vice President, Marketing

When it comes to online communities, 2004 was a lifetime ago.  Back then, Facebook was still known as The Facebook and was just busting out beyond Harvard.

It was into this primordial soup that software giant SAP dropped a new online community for its developers.  Within a year, the community had 100,000 members. To keep them engaged, SAP added a simple gamification mechanism – points – to recognize and reward member contributions and participation.  It was one of the earliest examples of gamification – all of it developed internally, and all serving as a kind of laboratory for those who want to build engagement and collaboration through gamification.

SAP later merged its developer community with various other customer and partner forums to create the SAP Community Network (SCN), which today has more than 2 million members.  SCN was retooled in 2011 when the company replaced its internal platform with Jive. And this year, it began powering its gamification elements with the Jive Advanced Gamification Module powered by Bunchball Nitro. 

The story of SCN is filled with the kind of gamification insights and lessons that can only come from real-world experience, and it is a story that’s detailed in a new case study published by Ovum Research. The free case study, by Ovum’s Carter Lusher, is available today and shows what successful gamification looks like on a large scale. And because SAP had been using gamification to engage members for eight years, the company had something rare and valuable: an historical baseline of engagement against which to measure the impact made by enhancing its gamification experience with the Bunchball-powered Jive module.

There’s plenty in the report: Proven best practices, unexpected revelations and helpful tips that can only come from eight years of motivating community members to move from users to brand ambassadors. And to top it off, Lusher reports the kind of real-world results that every company dreams of: In the first two months after deploying Bunchball gamification, SAP saw engagement (content creation, comments and feedback) soar by 1,113 percent compared to the levels it was experiencing previously. 

You’ll also learn how SAP discovered intrinsic rewards (such as donating money to fight world hunger on behalf of top-ranked community members) were even more motivating than extrinsic rewards like T-shirts or other merchandise. 

The story of SCN is a lesson in how gamification can create the kind of motivation that builds sustained engagement with the audience a company cares about most. Read it today. Download it for free here.

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