SAP Watch

Apr 6 2010   5:19PM GMT

Beyond Facebook and Twitter: SAP vs. Oracle on social media

Mperkins Matt Perkins Profile: Mperkins

Oracle CEO Larry Ellison has been coming up with plenty of digs against SAP lately — saying that the only place SAP’s beating them has been in the number of CEOs.

“Every quarter we grab huge chunks of market share from SAP,” Ellison said, according to StreetInsider.com. “SAP’s most recent quarter was the best quarter of their year, only down 15%, while Oracle’s application sales were up 21%. But SAP is well ahead of us in the number of CEOs for this year, announcing their third and fourth, while we only had one.”

But when it comes to customer engagement, SAP seems to have the upper hand.

Oracle’s presence in social media includes a YouTube channel, several blogs — such as David Dorf’s Insight-Driven Retailing Blog and the Oracle Technology Network Blog (TechBlog) — and accounts with Facebook and Twitter.

SAP, on the other hand, has the SAP Community Network (SCN) — “perhaps the most extensive use to date of social media by a corporation,” according to a new report released last month by The Aspen Institute.

The report, “Leveraging the Talent-Driven Organization,” looks into how a number of organizations use social networking tools to broaden communication and collaboration, as well as how they use social media to develop new products and real-time solutions for customers.

By mid-2009, the report states, the SCN had 1.7 million members from 200 different countries and territories, with nearly 30,000 new members joining each month. Adding to that, the SCN has generated more than six million messages, with more than 6,000 posted daily (each question asked generates an average of 3.4 answers in a short time period, the report states).

The report also highlights one of the most valuable benefits of the SCN: it gives SAP employees at all levels real-time insights into what customers need, what they’re interested in, and what challenges they’re facing. SAP also seems to be using the SCN as a breeding ground for other social media platforms.

“Although SCN is based primarily on message boards, it also makes use of a variety of other social media tools,” the report reads. “For example, a blogging tool is available, and more than 5,000 members-only one-third of whom are SAP employees-maintain blogs on the network.”

There doesn’t seem to be anything on Oracle’s plate that compares to the SCN platform. It seems that the biggest difference between the vendors when it comes to social media strategy is that Oracle is leveraging networking more for promotions, partner relationships and providing information to users, while SAP is focusing more on the community as a whole, and allowing users and developers to take over the discussion.

“…SAP is taking a decidedly different approach to social networking,” reads a recent post on the blog The VAR Guy. “Instead of promoting SAP’s own content, the company depends heavily on developers, partners and customers to drive the conversation.”

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