Over the past several years, many people have asked folks from SAP Education the same basic question – “I am new to SAP so what is the best way for me to learn how it works?” Since my focus within the North American SAP Education group lies with the functional applications, the question I hear most often is “I am new to SAP so what is the best way for me to learn the functional modules?” To me, that question has two distinct parts that need to be answered:
- the proper content to teach based on the desired student background and requirements;
- The proper training methods to use to teach the required content.
SO WHAT ARE THE DELIVERY OPTIONS ANYWAY?
Let’s start with the training methods available to teach the required content. Before a training solution is proposed to a customer, we have to first understand the different ways in which people learn because we cannot assume students fall into the “one size fits all” category of learning. Just look at the staggering number of options available to learners today:
- Classroom instructor-led training
- Virtual instructor-led training – try a sample
- Recorded classroom sessions
- E-Learning – try a sample
- Webinars – try a sample
- Books and magazines – try a sample
- Informal team training
My colleagues at North American SAP Education work very closely with our customers and partners to understand their learning requirements in order to synchronize the training method with the training requirement. In addition, SAP Education’s Regional Portfolio Management teams work tirelessly to develop as many training solutions in as many different delivery options to satisfy the varied options required by our customers. For example, does it make much sense for folks to attend a weeklong class for a two hour topic? In that case, e-Learning or recorded classroom session might make much more sense. On the flip-side, instructor-led classroom training may work very well for large audiences who require extensive amount of training. Think about it – there is no right or wrong answer – the training delivery method needs to fit the person/group and the content required.
NARROWING THE SEARCH FOR THE SOLUTION
Next, let’s address the content required to learn SAP’s functional modules. Similar to the impressive number of training delivery options available, there are as many functional applications that one can learn. SAP’s functional solutions encompass the types of applications required by most companies:
- Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP)
- Customer Relationship Management (CRM)
- Supply Chain Management (SCM)
- Supplier Relationship Management (SRM)
- Product Lifecycle Management (PLM)
OK, these terms might sound somewhat familiar but where do we go from here? Depending on the role you serve within your company – implementation team leader, team member, architect, application consultant, support, or end user – we may have to get a little more specific and dig a level below these applications. Unfortunately, there isn’t enough space within this missive to dig too deeply into any one of these areas right now however, if you are beginning to sense a sequel or two (or even more) is coming your way, you are correct!!
THE JOURNEY BEGINS
Before you begin with the training specific to your role, there are two courses that I would suggest you (as a functional application person) take to start your SAP Education learning experience: SAP01 – SAP Overview and TERP10 – SAP ERP Integration of Business Processes.
However, let’s back up for just a second before we discuss courses. In the SAP Education world, training courses are described as either Level 1, 2, or 3:
- Level 1 courses are overview courses that are intended to provide basic understanding of the terminology, concepts, and functions. These courses will consist of lecture, high-level instructor demos, hands-on practice, and plenty of time for Q&A.
- Level 2 courses are foundation courses that are intended to provide a deeper dive into the application processes. These courses will consist of lecture, a good amount of instructor demos, and an even better amount of hands-on practice and Q&A. Before a company begins to “blueprint” their new SAP environment, it is CRITICAL that their team members attend Level 2 training to understand the SAP application functions and processes before their “system” is designed.
- Level 3 courses are the detailed or configuration courses. These courses will consist of some lecture, a large amount of instructor configuration demos, and time to create and test configuration with real-world scenarios. Some SAP customers have told me that the attendance at level 3 classes is restricted to a chosen few or their consultants. Personally, I believe it is in the company’s best interest to expose as many people as possible to level 3 classes to prepare them for the day they have to manage their ongoing upgrade and support requirements themselves.
Now back to the courses, SAP01 and TERP10.
SAP01 – SAP OVERVIEW
Before any functional (or technical) person begins to work within the SAP environment, it is a best practice to attend SAP01 course. SAP01 is written as a level 1, 3-day instructor-led class designed to:
- Explain the terminology used by SAP;
- Provide an overview of the business solutions;
- Develop the baseline SAP product knowledge necessary for participation in more detailed SAP courses; and
- Demonstrate the main concepts, capabilities and benefits of SAP NetWeaver, SAP ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning), the SAP Business Suite, and SAP BusinessObjects solutions.
SAP01 consists of nine units which include instructor lecture, demos, and hands-on practice of navigation and business processes.
- Introduction to the SAP Company and a product overview
- Navigation through the SAP system
- Undertanding System-Wide Concepts
- SAP Logistics Functions including Sales Order Management, Customer Relationship Management, Production, Supply Chain Management, Procurement, Supplier Relationship Management, and additional processes and Product Lifecycle Management
- SAP Financials including ERP Financials, Financial Accounting and Financials Supply Chain Management, and Management Accounting and Corporate Governance
- Human Capital Management
- Reporting, Analytics, and Strategic Planning
- SAP NetWeaver
- SAP Services
After taking this SAP01 course, you will be able to understand and be proficient in SAP terminology, navigation, and business processes and integration capabilities. Going back to the delivery options for a second, keep in mind that SAP01 can be delivered through multiple delivery options:
- Live classroom at either your customer location or SAP training center
- Virtual live classroom
- Prerecorded course (SAP01E)
- Some SAP01 topics are e-Learning courses themselves (SAP125 – SAP Navigation or SAP130 – Solutions Powered by SAP)
TERP10 – SAP ERP INTEGRATION OF BUSINESS PROCESSES
The real hidden gem of the SAP Overview curricula is the TERP10 course. The TERP10 course is written as a level 2, 10-day instructor-led class and is well worth the investment because it really has something for everyone. New and experienced SAPers will be able to learn and become certified on the detailed business processes inherent to SAP (certification exam C_TERP10_60). New users will learn how the individual SAP module functions and transactions relate to the broader business processes like Procure to Pay, Order to Cash, and Plan to Produce while experienced users of SAP, who may have spent their entire SAP careers focused in one functional area can expand their knowledge of integration thereby making themselves more valuable from a career perspective. The biggest thrill of my teaching career came when I taught TERP10 to a team of IT administrators. It was an incredible experience for me as I watched the lightbulbs so off for them as we discussed the functional aspects associated with their highly technical SAP world.
The goals of the TERP10 class include:
- Explain the organizational structures used in each business process;
- Identify the key master data which must be maintained to execute each business process;
- Discuss the ERP transactions required to complete each business process cycle; and
- Identify the key integration points between the different business disciplines supporting each business process cycle.
TERP10 consists of fifteen units and six appendices which include instructor lecture, demos, and hands-on practice of navigation and business processes. Most units discuss the organizational levels and master data associated with it’s particular function.
- Unit 1 – ERP Basics includes SAP ERP positioning, organizational levels, master data, and reporting solutions
- Unit 2 – SAP NetWeaver
- Unit 3 – Procurement Cycle includes purchase requisitions and purchase orders, goods receipts and transfer postings, invoice verification and vendor payment, and reporting
- Unit 4 – Material Planning
- Unit 5 – Lifecycle Data Management
- Unit 6 – Manufacturing Execution
- Unit 7 – Inventory and Warehouse Management includes stock transfers and transfer postings, logistics execution, and physical inventory procedures
- Unit 8 – Sales Order Management includes order to cash business process and reporting/analysis tools
- Unit 9 – Enterprise Asset Management and Customer Service includes technical objects, corrective maintenance process, reporting and analysis, and service order process
- Unit 10 – Program and Project Management includes project structures, planning, budgeting, execution, period-end closing, and information system
- Unit 11 – Human Capital Management includes HCM structures, employee records, HCM processes, and reporting and analysis
- Unit 12 – ERP Financials: Financial Accounting includes tasks in Financial Accounting, general ledger accounting, accounts payable, accounts receivable, fixed asset accounting, and preparing financial statements
- Unit 13 – Management Accounting includes cost center accounting, internal orders, profit center accounting, profitability analysis, and product cost planning
- Unit 14 – Business Intelligence
- Unit 15 – ERP Analysis
- Appendix – Navigation
- Appendix – SAP Portfolio Solutions including Enterprise Buyer Professional (SRM), Customer Relationship Management, and Advanced Planner and Optimizer (SCM)
- Appendix – Production Execution: Process Order
- Appendix – Production Execution: Repetitive Manufacturing
- Appendix – Procurement Cycle
- Appendix – Quality Management
After taking the TERP10 course, you will be able to understand and be proficient in the SAP logistics and financial business processes as well as the use of SAP’s analytical functions. Going back to the delivery options for a second, keep in mind that SAP01 can be delivered through multiple delivery options:
- Live classroom at either your customer location or SAP training center
- Virtual live classroom
- E-Learning course (TERP1e) which is a container for the individual TERP* e-Learning courses
- E-Academy course (TERPE)
WE JUST GOT STARTED
So class, what have we learned thus far? Hopefully, you have a better sense of the available training delivery options and the different types of SAP courses. More importantly, the beginning of your functional SAP training should start with SAP01 and TERP10.
In later blog installments, I will focus on the educational opportunities to be gained through the Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP), Customer Relationship Management, Supply Chain Management, Supplier Relationship Management, and Product Lifecycle Management curricula options as well as provide some training recommendations along the way.