On 11/19/2010, a Twitter chat session was held between @SAPEDU (SAP Education represented by Ken Schieffer and Brian Rice) and @ARTWORSTER (Mr. Art Worster – Director, Applicability, Student Support, and Professional Specialist Acquisition at Central Michigan University). An ardent supporter of SAP Education and Certification programs, Art’s role at Central Michigan University involves working with the MBA Concentration and SAP Graduate Certificate programs to support the Professors who teach the content; to work with corporate and individual clients; and to help to move the programs forward.
For those who missed the chat session, the following is a transcript:
Q1 – @artworster Can you tell me your background in @SAP?
My intro to SAP was in 1994. I was leading BPR for a major chemical company. SAP was my transformation IT application of choice. In 1997-1998, I did PP consulting & led a project turn-around for a small boutique. I also started teaching WB100 for SAP America. 1998-2007, I led SAP Consulting for EDS. I also led major transformation programs for several clients, one fixed price – full suite. Since 2008, I have been adjunct faculty at Central Michigan University in the MBA, SAP Concentration and Graduate Cert. Program.
Q2 – @artworster How does @SAP certification fit into your current role?
MBA program has a full SAP Concentration (13 credit hours), and a SAP Graduate Certificate Program (16 credit hours). Both include 4 graduate credit hours for a 10 day TERP10 Boot Camp that applies to the MBA curriculum as well as SAP Certification. Curriculum includes Introduction, Configuration, BI and Financial Auditing (GRC) in addition to TERP10.
Q3 – @artworster In your mind, what is the value of SAP certification?
It represents the acquisition of a body of knowledge about how and why business processes are or can be configured various ways. Just doing things in SAP only provides knowledge of what your experience has been, not what the potential is. Doing is important, but real knowledge comes from “how” and “why”, not just what. Certifications of all types provide that. Certifications should also include non-SAP when appropriate – PMI, APICS, CPA, etc.
Q4 – @artworster Why are you so passionate about SAP’s certification program?
All certification programs confirm certain levels of knowledge; SAP generally includes deeper knowledge of subject areas than some others. To build a career in SAP, you have to continuously increase knowledge of “how” and “why”. Certification is a key component of this. University programs like the Central Michigan University MBA program & Graduate Certificate are also the business side of education. Other programs are also important, since the need is for SAP, business process & methodologies knowledge. It all contributes.
Q5 – @artworster What improvements would you suggest to the SAP certification program?
The certification levels SAP is building are important. Development of more “update” programs to keep certification current is important. True Masters level certification must include non-MCQ testing and therefore is more appropriate for Universities to work with SAP. Ultimately, degrees and certifications jointly awarded by AACSB accredited business schools and SAP is the Master’s level. There is a pilot program starting in Germany that includes University Business Schools and SAP. This should be in the US also.
Q6 – @artworster How do you think @SAP certification benefits a person’s career?
It is only a part of the puzzle. Career commitment to SAP requires career-long education and certification is part of it. Business Process Certification (TERP10) should be a requirement for any Master’s level certification regardless of the source. Clients should be encouraged to also train the internal business analysts in TERP10 to support on-going improvement programs.
Q7 – @artworster Can a person get a job without the benefit of SAP certification?
There are many client positions and lower level developer positions that can certainly be done without certification. Any positions, consulting/client that deal with design of business processes & business improvement should include certified workers. Clients should strive to have SAP leaders who have all of what would be Master’s level education and certification.
Q8 – @artworster What recommendation would you make to hiring managers relative to SAP certification?
For consulting companies, hires should either have or be required to become certified in both their function and TERP10. For clients, AMS types of positions rely more on what is there and experience may be able to substitute for certification. For design programs at clients, certification becomes critical since it deals with “how” and “why” and that is not experiential.
Q9 – @artworster Where does SAP training fit into the certification equation?
For clients, department leaders (analysts & managers) need to know the functionality that is available to think of what is possible. For consultants, after functional and TERP10 certification, SAP Training can fill gaps in knowledge of surrounding functions. For client employees, this should be part of continuing education for promotional purposes.
Q10 – @artworster Lastly, what career advice do you give your students regarding SAP?
SAP, as a career, requires the same type of discipline that other highly technical functions require, like CPA, etc. If you marginalize your education, you marginalize your value, and you marginalize your potential for reward. It is always about the business, so including business education in SAP, like MBA or undergraduate electives is crucial.
Thank you @artworster for taking the time to chat about @SAP certification. You can view the transcript here – http://bit.ly/SAPEDU
If you are interested in participating in a future Twitter chat with @SAPEDU, send your topic and its value to the Education community directly to Ken Schieffer at Kenneth.firstname.lastname@example.org.
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