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Certification – SAP Versus Cisco


In the past, I always used to spend a considerable amount of time while searching for a training or certification program within SAP education site. SAP education page doesn’t follow WYSIWYG format. I would click on a training program, a screen would come up with a list of countries the course is offered. I would click a country, next screen would tell me “This course is not scheduled in this country at this time”. I used to wonder if the class is not scheduled in that country, why display it in the first place? 

With this background, when I tried to check out the details on Cisco’s certification process, I was pleasantly surprised with Cisco’s user-friendly web page. Cisco’s format is simple and elegant. Very well organized. The list of all certifications is displayed in one screen. I decided to blog about this because this difference is not trivial. I guess when someone wants to learn or get certified, I feel the information he/she is looking for should readily be available in a simple format. In my opinion, this should be SAP’s first objective towards increasing the quality of SAP certification program.

To illustrate the difference, I captured the screenshots while navigating SAP and Cisco certification pages. They may not accurately reflect the user’s experiences so feel free to navigate to those pages yourself to understand what I am talking about.

                              Cisco’s Certification Programs

Screen 1: Searching for Cisco Certification in



Screen 2 – Part A: After clicking on “IT Certification…” entry above, I landed on this page. I am showing it in two parts because of size restriction.



Screen 2 – Part B:  Second part showing the summary of all certification programs in a tabular format




                                              SAP’s Certification Programs

Screen 1: Google search for SAP Certification




Screen 2: Part A: When I clicked the entry above, I landed on this page. This page provides details on two levels of Certification Associate and Professional.



Screen 2: Part B provides details on Focus Areas. In order to list the certification programs available in each focus area, one has to click each one individually.



Screen 3:  the list of certification programs available in Focus Area: Technology. This screen shows 4 levels whereas previous page provided details only for two levels. Also I don’t know the sorting order of this list so it is not easy to locate what I am looking for. Compare this to Cisco’s format, all programs in one page:)



Screen 4,5 and 6:List of programs available for Focus Area: Application.





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  • I actually agree wholeheartedly – the SAP education / certification pages could be lot easier to use. The Cisco site is a good example of what can be done.
    I would also raise the issue “what value do people believe the SAP certification has?” as part of this. There are numerous certification tracks for different products and it is physically impossible for someone to do all of these and maintain their day job.
    It’s therefore necessary for people to identify what certs are going to be the most valuable to them in their career – it may sound a bit harsh, but particularly if you have to pay for it yourself, then you want to make sure that you get the most for your money.
    It may also sound a bit trite, but if the website to provide information about the certs is difficult to navigate, or doesn’t explain process track in a way that engages the reader, they may then take the view that if the website is poor, then the cert itself is not of value.
  • ok, here is where “Cisco links” have taken me:

    1. some class offering marketing outfit that asked for my name and zip code and now it’s not even displaying when running the google search again.
    2. page not found when clicking through to the first certification CCENT

    Disclaimer: i don’t know anything about Cisco.

    i could use some kind of short url and file upload tool on the scn extranet, though.

  • I agree that the way SAP does it is clunky. You may not be aware that in the Certification 5 paper, we pointed to Cisco as representing best practice. SAP has looked a what they do. I’m not sure about progress. SAP Edu?
  • One thing that I think SAP does well is their flowchart graphics that depict all of the relevant courses within a single topic area.  For instance, in the ERP Financials area there is a graphic that relates all of the courses and logically depicts their relationships.  For the one below it comes off as a bit too dense but then again we all know how complex SAP is as a whole.  Still…  I give them some good points for that.  For all of your screenshots you might be able to add that one.|

    • Nathan,
      Great point.No doubt. I agree SAP is doing great in some areas of education/certification. Is that enough?
      I wrote this blog after reading the white paper on certification written by 5 mentors. The mentors pointed to Cisco as representing best practice. That prompted me to review Cisco’s certification page. That was when I realized how well-organized Cisco’s web site was. I had visited SAP’s certification page several times in the past and used to feel exactly like Tony’s response to this blog:
      “….It may also sound a bit trite, but if the website to provide information about the certs is difficult to navigate, or doesn’t explain process track in a way that engages the reader, they may then take the view that if the website is poor, then the cert itself is not of value….”.
      So instead of making general statements such as “SAP doesn’t care about certification”, I wanted to show the quality of information provided by SAP and then let readers decide for themselves.
      In addition, if you click on any one of expert certifications(there are five) under Technology, the next page  will tell you the level is actually Associate :(. This is really embarrassing. So the certificate one gets would show he/she is an expert but actually he/she is not:(.


      • I agree with your blog.  It’s valid and you make a fair evaluation and comparison with what most people consider to be one of the leading and respected technical certifications.  I’m certainly not defending SAP in this manner…  BUT, I do like their flowcharts and I’m thinking that it does help new users quite a bit.