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My impressions of the SDN Subscription program

As a SAP Mentor in the area of SAP Portal and Knowledge Management & Collaboration and an owner of a SAP NetWeaver Development Subscription, I would like to take the opportunity of the SCN subscriber contest to write about my impressions of the SDN Subscriptions.

I am working as an independent consultant specializing on SAP NetWeaver Portal for more than 7 years now. I’ve done my first installation of SAP Enterprise Portal 5.0 when I was working for KPMG Consulting early 2002 and was very excited to learn about the new SAP technology and the capabilities of the framework. In 2003, I joined a special expertise partner for SAP NetWeaver Portal, btexx business technologies GmbH, and specialized on doing portal implementations from small to large scale. During that time, I realized pretty quick the difference between a good and a great consultant. A good consultant is always able to provide the best solution and answers for the client but the significant difference is that the great consultant is always a step ahead of the client when it comes to knowledge. In this article I would like to write now, why I think that the SAP NetWeaver Development Subscription can help you achieve the extra step.

When you try to learn about the latest features of a SAP product, you can always go to the SAP Release Notes at and read this very valuable information for every consultant, but there is always the difference between having read something and having done something. Therefore I was very happy when I saw that SAP made NetWeaver trial versions available for download. With an extremely easy and fast installation I was able to have an own installation where I could get hands-on experience with the SAP NetWeaver technology. But I also realized two very big disadvantages of the trial version. First, it is not suited when you want to develop your own software over a longer period of time, as the trial version expires after 90 days, and second, it is also not suited when you want to have the latest version running locally. Of course there are workarounds, but those are not the things that you want to waste your time with. Therefore I was very happy that my old employer, as a special expertise partner, was able to apply for a license key for my local portal installation. Now, as a freelancer, this is for me the perfect way at a decent price to get my own license keys, and also an S-user with access to Service Marketplace and the SAP Support. I am treated as a regular customer when I have problems with the installation or the product itself.

There are of course other advantages of purchasing a SAP NetWeaver Development Subscription, like the access to virtual classes from SAP TechEd. It’s great to be able to see a full presentation of a session you have missed (or was not able to attend) rather than only the slides that you have found somewhere on SCN. I wish that SAP would also film the hands-on sessions and make them available in the virtual classes section, because those are the most valuable sessions at the SAP TechEd, in my opinion.

I should also mentioned that I still see a lot of room for improvement for the SCN Subscription Program. Making the installations available as a VMWare image would be great value for someone who is not interested in dealing with the installation process. Even more important in my personal opinion would be to provide a IDES system as part of the subscription package, or at least to provide meaningful test data together with the systems.

In June I am planing to start a new company (to be announced) together with some friends, specializing on SAP NetWeaver Portal applications and I see the SAP NetWeaver Development Subscription as the cornerstone for our success. I believe that freelancers and start-up companies have with the subscription the best offer to create their own development and demonstration systems and to be successful in the SAP area, without having to invest too much money.

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  • I can’t over state how much I agree with you about this.  It would be a win-win-win situation for developers, SAP customers and SAP.  It would offer more people the opportunity to develop in a more complete environment which would give SAP customers are larger pool of developers who have more extensive SAP knowledge.

    Whose door do we knock on to get some feedback from SAP?  What would be the downside for SAP?

  • “In June I am planing to start a new company (to be announced) together with some friends, specializing on SAP NetWeaver Portal applications and I see the SAP NetWeaver Development Subscription as the cornerstone for our success.”

    Robert…Congratulations my man! Excellent news…Which the best of luck and hundred of clients! -:D

    Regarding your blog…I wonder…When I’m going to be able to lay my hands on Subscription Program -:( I should move to another country, where this is available -:(

    Anyway…It’s always great to see positive comments about Subscription program which is in my opinion…A great move from SAP -;)


  • Hi Robert,

    Thank you for this posting. It’s great to hear success stories from the field! Congratulations on your accomplishments!  I am sure your story will inspire others in the community.

    You provide some valuable insights that other free lancers can leverage.  It’s interesting to read through the stepping stones and seeing how an independent developer can get started in the business, create a small company, grow their business, hire staff and become a greater contributor in the SAP ecosystem (and create value in a down turn economy). 
    I see common themes between some of your experiences and those of other subscribers like Marcel Salein and Kai Wachter.  I referenced their postings in a recent blog Highlights from Subscriber Contest  Also, for those of you interested, I would encourage you to read the advice Harald Reiter shared with other free lancers in the community who are looking to gain new skills Fill the skills gap with SAP Netweaver, Development Subscription

    We’ve received quite a bit of feedback on how to improve the subscription program (such as offering IDES data for testing or virtual images through VMware).  We need some time to evaluate these options and priorities.  


  • Hi,

    I agree entirely with you, especially in the topic about SAP IDES for personal/commercial use in the own computer. SAP hasn´t realised that programmers can programm and consultans can recommend what they can do best: SAP.

    If SAP system is unknown to them or they do not have access to a SAP system to practice with, they get no skills and therefore they will not spread the word about SAP as the greatest tool.

    If you search a little in the internet, you find many guys (mostly in India or indian guys living in UK) selling copies of installation DVDs or preinstalled SAP IDES 4.7, ECC 5.0 and ECC 6.0 in an external HDD either at Ebay, with own web site or commercial ads. Price range is from € 60 to € 400.

    If SAP makes SAP IDES available to any one without paying a huge fortune for the system, independent consultants would be able to sell themselves better and recommend SAP to companies which work with other systems. Newbies would be able to acquire experience by their own and find a better job in the IT industry. This would be a win-win scenario for everyone.

  • the SDN developer subscription sounds fantastic and I would love to get my hands on it – only problem is that it is only available in Germany and USA which leaves those of us in other countries frustrated !!!