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SAP University Alliance: How I spent my Saturday

Mico Yuk, fellow SAP Mentor, recruited me to assist a pilot for the SAP University Alliance Student Dashboarding Club.   I explained to both her and Kirby Leong that I am new to Xcelsius, but they encouraged me anyway.

Last week I attended Mico’s orientation with graduate and undergraduate students from University of Texas-Dallas and University of British Columbia, and then as Mentors we received our assignments.  Because I am new, I was assigned the first lecture, “XCelsius Dashboard Design Basic Concepts”.  

The SAP University Alliance prepared the slides, I just needed to prepare for the lecture.  I just found out last Thursday (9/23) from Kirby that he wanted me to lecture today (9/25)…so off to work I went.  I needed to come back up to speed on Stephen Few’s Dashboard design concepts, and even though I knew how to use what we were discussing in today’s session, it’s one thing to know something, and yet another thing to explain it.

Here’s what I did to prepare:
1) Reviewed Ingo Hilgefort’s Dashboarding chapter in Reporting & Analytics using SAP BusinessObjects; it has general best practices in this book
2) Reviewed Stephen Few’s book on Information Dashboard Design
3) Reviewed Wayne Eckerson’s book on Performance Dashboards

The topics I covered in today’s lecture/session were dashboard design, designing spreadsheet models, basic components, alerts, selector components, and dashboard layout.

I haven’t officially “taught” a college class since my senior year at the University of Kansas when I was an accounting undergraduate teaching assistant! I forgot that teaching is a great deal of preparation and work.  “Prior Planning Prevents Poor Performance”.  So how did I do?  Here’s an e-mail I received after the session: “I liked your presentation. Excellent. Very crisp and clear…. “

Before I forget, I want to thank the students for giving up part of their Saturday to participate, Kumar Subramanian, EverythingXcelsius, for being there to demo and Kirby Leong for being so encouraging and flexible with our schedules.

I look forward to Kumar’s session next week on “What-if” Analysis.  I am glad SAP is sponsoring this, we really need college students who come into the workforce with the needed SAP skills, and it is a great item on the students’ resume to be a member of the Student Dashboarding club.



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  • The way you spent your Saturday is how I would like to spend mine!Seriously. I’ve been looking for more information on UAP; unfortunately I couldn’t find a lot. I was planning to attend seminar in South America to get to know people involved in UAP and understand UAP status.
    Just a few days ago, I read a blog by Paul Hawking(who by the way is now a mentor) looking for help from mentors. And your blog is awesome;
    I will be in Las Vegas from Sunday to Thursday. I’ll attend Innovation Weekend on Sunday and Tuesday.
    I would like to meet you and others involved in UAP in Las Vegas if possible.
    The reasons for my interest in UAP are two:
    1) I’ve spent more than 20+ years(easily 10+ hours on an average everyday for 20+ years!) just on Computers. Its time for me to do something different.
    2) I would like to share my knowledge and skills.


    • I’ve been thinking about similar too, but now having 2 small kids I found that teachning is everywhere everytime. Like teaching my 3-years old son to speak Ukrainian after 4 summer month he spent in Poland (where my wife is from) is not easier than teaching dashboarding ;-))

      Good luck for everyone willing to teach and share their knowledge whatever the situation is!

    • I am attending Ingo Hilgefort’s ASUG BI Precon that Monday…

      I look forward to meeting you in person, Bala – I enjoy your postings on SCN.


    • Hello Bala,

      What information are you looking for on the University Alliances Program?
      You can find information on the UAP in the University Alliances Program:
      If you’re interested in see what schools are involved, on that same page in the right side module “UAP Around the World” you can see a listing of all the UAP member schools.

      Best regards,

      • Diem,

        I visited UAP page several times in the past. I don’t know what the challenge was but everytime I felt I was spending a bit longer to navigate through the pages. I was looking for the information on how to get involved. I don’t believe -may be the information is there and I probably don’t know how to navigate- UAP page provides information on “whole nine yards”.
        Regarding “UAP around the world”, I see several universities in USA offering SAP.  Since I live in Georgia state, USA, I was looking for unversities in GA. I picked GaTech, googled for SAP program in GaTech site;this search returned several results. I reviewed a few of them. None of them were related to UAP. First result is related to GaTech’s own program called “Satisfactory Academic Progress”.
        Unfortunately I didn’t find actionable information in UAP. This was why I even considered attending seminars in South America. I don’t believe attending seminar is necessary now because of Tammy’s blog. I would meet UAP people in TechEd and gather everything I need to know about UAP.
        I would think about ways to make UAP bit more easier to navigate. I will email thoughts to you or blog about them.


  • Tammy sounds like you guys had a blast.  I am not able to attend any of the Saturday sessions due to religious reasons but I do plan to catch the recordings. I am so excited that you decided to join us for this effort.  Not even sure the students realized how blessed they are to have such a talented mentor. You are awesome!


  • Are these sessions tapped or broadcasted to share with other Universities, chapters or SIGs?

    We are very interested in the information but it is a commute from New England.