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SAP Instructor-Led Training – is it worth the time, money, and travel? Prior Planning Prevents Poor Performance

With all the cost-cutting, budget-cutting, I was thinking this morning about SAP Training classes and my experiences with them.  Is it worth the money to attend?  I say it depends on your interest, motivation, and the SAP instructor.

As with any SAP class, I always have an interest to attend.  So I personally try to read whatever I can ahead of time about the class I am attending – whether it be Financials, BW, SAP Travel, Funds Management.  I read the SAP Help, SAP Best Business Practices,  and anything else I can find on Google. 

When I attend the class, I always plan to read the book they give you the first day…I take it home as homework.  Do I always do this?  No, I am usually too tired to really do this justice. 

When I do the exercises, I try to take detailed notes and screen shots so I’ll remember what I did in class; often the instructor has tidbits to assist.  In one of my classes, I sat next to a student who recently graduated from Baylor, and he was always summarizing his notes at the end of every chapter.  What were the key learning points and take-aways?  This is something we should all do.

The energy and expertise of the SAP instructors helps too.  Here are some of the excellent SAP instructors I’ve had:
Joanie Black, SAP Canada
Doug Mrozinski, formerly of SAP
Peter Jones, SAP
Don Gosnell, SAP Atlanta
Mark Sherman, SAP Public Sector

My very first SAP class was several years ago – Introduction to Financial Accounting, taught by the excellent Joanie Black.  She really made sense of things.  I remember at the time thinking: “what’s this posting key thing”.  How good was this class?  I still have the book today, 13 years after I took the class!  Joanie spent time with us, her own time, especially after class.  To this day, I still call the Document Overview button on transaction FB03 “moon over Miami” – a term I learned from Joanie. 

My next SAP class covered Asset Accounting, taught by Doug Mrozinski.  Doug had all the tax laws written on the sides of the room, so we understood why we were doing what we were doing in crazy US asset tax accounting.  I have since configured, trained and set up Canadian asset accounting in less than a week (no complex tax rules in Canada)! 

Peter Jones taught the SEM-BCS SAP Academy course.  He has also written an excellent BW 7.0 book (but that’s for another time, another blog).  Peter comes from a SAP finance background, and he had a friendly demeanor, and a way of preparing us for the tough exam.

Don Gosnell taught BW extraction techniques; I liked the way he asked everyone’s level of expertise at the beginning of the class and somehow remembered that throughout the entire week.  He also set expectations up-front: this is an advanced class, and he expected that you knew what you were doing.  He also spent time with me after class, explaining the new BW Certification process (and as a result, I obtained an associate BW certification with his encouragement).  He spent time at night always preparing for the next day.  However, the Baylor student in my class had NO SAP experience, and was still able to understand everything Don taught; that’s how great of an instructor Don is.

I have always had issues with SAP funds management.  The 4.6c early versions of Public Sector FM had major major issues; now FM is very stable.  I have taken all my FM classes with Mark Sherman; he traveled to my former employer’s site twice, and I have taken 2 classes at SAP locations with him.  He has boundless energy and is passionate about FM.  He too spent time with me after class, helping me configure the minutia of the FM Budget Control System.   As a result, we had a very successful upgrade.

So to me, if you come to class prepared, and are fortunate to have a great instructor, it is more than worth it to take an SAP instructor lead class.  Perhaps you want to handle a project yourself, without consulting.  Maybe you will have a consultant but want to collaborate on a knowledgable level with that consultant.  The return on investment is more than worth the initial cost of attending.


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