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My plan was to take a Solution Manager class, early in 2010, as part of my normal career development.  E2E100 – E2E Root Cause Analysis was going to be given in a virtual setting between June 14 and 18.  Earlier this year I had a purchase order generated, and booked the class.  To ensure my office phone or casual visitors did not disturb me, I booked a hotel in nearby Ocean City Maryland.  Everything was going as planned.

 

http://twitter.com/jspath55/status/7800363711
 

12:19 PM Jan 15th

On hold with SAP education. You can only book online with a credit card. P.O.s don’t count. So I’m going to read them a # over the phone.

 

Until:

http://twitter.com/jspath55/statuses/14439174552

9:36 AM May 21st

SAP just canceled my virtual training class due to “low enrollment”. That is unbelievable for a company claiming to support sustainability.

 

It didn’t take much to convince me that my planned week away from the office for training was easy to convert into a week away from the office for a vacation.  The hotel was booked, Kathy’s leave was approved, and I don’t think I’ve taken a day off in 2010.  Maybe one, but I probably dialed in anyway.

 

In the meantime, however, I had scheduled an evening event, as a follow up to 2 recent podcasts I did with Jon Reed (and others).

  • Podcast: Talking SAP Solution Manager with Jim Spath
  • Podcast: SAP Solution Manager Roundtable – Hype Meets Reality

 

The former was solo with Jon (a duet) while the latter was the quartet of myself, Jon (@jonerp), Tony de Thomasis (@c821311), and Phil Avelar (@sappro).  That session was a challenge to initiate, technically and timewise, so in subsequent conversations we agreed to share the host role, meaning the workload was distributed, and whoever was host could set the agenda.  Still about Solution Manager, but from our own perspective.  We set May 14th (our evening, Tony’s morning of the next day) as our session time.

 

To make it a bit more fun, we also talked about a “theme song” like the SAP Mentors now have (I guess), as do the Enterprise Geeks (why not?). Tony offered to commission a piece from his colleagues, though I decided to produce my own work this time.  Except that I don’t play an instrument, and while using Santana’s Soul Sacrifice (as played at the ASUG/Sapphire conference, not to mention Woodstock) seemed to fit in quite well, copyright restrictions hindered us from lifting portions of that catchy riff.  I had found online links to the song, but decided posting them violated the SDN rules of engagement.

 

On the other hand, songs that are distributed with Creative Commons Share-Alike licenses were quite in the spirit of community conversations we’re planning to have on systems management tasks, roles and responsibilities.  So I’ve sampled a few seconds, as permitted, from this site:

My Life in the Bush of Ghosts – Remix
 

David Byrne and Brian Eno produced the album early in the 1980s, and I’ve worn the vinyl out; when the extended mix CD and web site came online in 2006 I was pleasantly surprised at the crowd-sourcing they did by releasing every track as a WAV and MP3 file, for download and reuse, for 2 songs (“A Secret Life” and “Help Me Somebody”).  Help Me Somebody seems the best fit.

 

The podcast might or might not be taped Monday, but below are the results of my remix effort – 10 seconds of lead-in and 5 seconds of fade-out.

 

Video

 

 

 

 

 

video 2

 

 

 

Audio

 

I built the audio tracks by hand with Audacity, the freeware sound editor, but it’s easier to post a YouTube clip here than an MP3 file.  So I then took a screen shot of the Audacity mix session, added it to a video project (a non-freeware tool story for another day) and produced both a QuickTime MOV file and an MP4 file.  The former was huge compared to the latter, but the MP4 file fuzzed up the screen shot.  So I chose to upload the QT file.  Then YouTube complained the index was at the end, instead of the beginning, like I did it on purpose. A software fix for another day, or is that coding?

 

Off to the races – Enjoy!

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4 Comments

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  1. Andy Klee
    Jim, I don’t find it surprising that SAP (or anyone else) would cancel a virtual class.  Low enrollment can make even a virtual class a money-losing proposition.  The breakeven point on a virtual class should be lower than for an on premise class, but there is still a breakeven point. 

    I’m not saying that every class has to at least breakeven–there may be valid reasons to hold money losing classes–such as not annoying the 2 or 3 customers who signed up, and hoping for further business from those customer companies.

    We have found that adding a virtual option to all our classes in 2009, didn’t generate a tremendous response, and I suspect SAP has the same problem. 

    You will see SAP and all SAP training firms come out with all kinds of flexible options in 2010-2011, such as:

    Offering classes online for 4-8 hours per week, with homework assignments between classes.

    Offering eLearning ‘substitutes’ for instructor-led classes.

    I don’t think ‘the business of training’ will ever return to the heyday of 2007 and early 2008.  Smart customers will still invest in training, but budgets will continue to be lower, and training will need to be more flexible, cost justifiable, and optimized to reduce the time students spend in class.

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    1. Phillip Avelar
      I can’t address sustainability but a possible solution we use with our clients is to do a soft commitment to the training class,( honestly a virtual class has a very low enrollment requirement and all of us know that the company providing training is not going to do the training at a loss though I would argue that within a certain time frame say 2 weeks out the company should take the loss and give the training class nonetheless but I digress.)
      Continuing my thought the soft commitment would be followed up with a confirmed class the moment the threshold for profitability is reached. Anyways I think what we all hate is a change of a commitment that was considered firm.

      Feel free to use my idea I have not submitted it to the patent office though I know that if I did they would patent it 🙂

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  2. Kenneth Schieffer
    POSTING ON BEHALF OF NA SAP EDUCATION:

    Hi Jim,

    Thanks for being a good sport about the cancellation.  We sincerely apologize for the inconvenience.  Virtual training and sustainability are both extremely important for the Education business, and we’re going through a transformation process to align with these and other emerging priorities.  Unfortunately, this particular course slipped through the cracks.  Thanks for pointing it out.  We’ll contact you directly to discuss a remedy.

    Regards,
    Don Gosnell (Education Business Manager)

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