SAP Mentors Providing Value to Universities by Paul Hawking
A meeting was conducted at TechEd Las Vegas between SAP Mentors and academics involved in the SAP University Alliance Program (UAP). The purpose of the meeting was to introduce the SAP Mentor initiative to universities and discuss how universities could take advantage of the SAP Mentor’s expertise to enhance their curriculum. Many academics in the meeting were not aware of the SAP Mentor initiative and the value Mentors can provide. The following short video provides further details about the SAP Mentors.
A further conference call was organized to investigate how to move forward. One suggestion was to provide examples of how SAP Mentors have assisted universities. The purpose of this blog is to describe some of the interactions between SAP Mentors and universities.
Student Business Intelligence Club
This initiative was established by SAP Mentors Mico Yuk and Tammy Powlas in conjunction with Kirby Leong from SAP and was sponsored by SAP. The Business Intelligence Club involved graduate and undergraduate students from University of Texas-Dallas and University of British Columbia.
The Student BI Club was a combination of company stories and SAP Mentor webcasts. It included:
- ASUG Volunteer Brian Durning, formerly of Pepsi and now with DELL spoke about Crystal Reporting on top of Universes.
- SAP Mentor/ASUG Volunteer Derek Loranca spoke about VLDB (very large databases) with Universes.
- Tammy Powlas spoke about BusinessObjects Analysis.
- SAP Mentor, Ingo Hilgefort provided student webcasts on BusinessObjects Explorer, Crystal, Web Intelligence, Analysis OLAP and Office and Dashboards.
Other than the knowledge passed onto students, the Student BI Club allowed academics to access resources which they could use in their curriculum. For example Nitin Kale, from University of Southern California, expressed interest in Analysis Office. He used slides from Ingo and Tammy on Analysis Office which included content and exercises. He was then able to develop detailed real-world classroom exercises using Analysis Office. “I was able to test these exercises and I was amazed at how in depth and detailed they were”. Nitin said his experience was so successful that he was asked to share his story at the 2011 SAP University Alliance Student Curriculum Congress.
This example illustrates not just the willingness of SAP Mentors to develop material and conduct sessions but also the contacts in companies they have who can present to students.
The following blogs provide further details about the Student BI Club.
- Student Dashboarding Club Saturday Session #2 – SAP University Alliance
- Dashboard Club Update & Student Dashboarding Contest
- Student BI Club: Class is in Session for Best Practices for Integration Crystal Reports with SAP ERP and BW, including 4.0 – No Homework Hero needed here
Once SAP Mentor, Tony de Thomasis discovered that students were learning about different aspects of SAP at university he wanted to get involved. He discussed with me the opportunity to develop and teach a subject. I indicated that one of the short comings of our course was related to the periodic administrative tasks required in an SAP environment. So Tony said “leave to me”.
He developed a curriculum and the supporting resources to cover the following topics:
- Stopping and starting a system;
- Analysis of system logs, database logs and short dumps;
- Database administration;
- User administration;
- Work process types and their allocation;
- Batch Jobs;
- Setting of system variants;
- Monitoring of CPU and memory use.
He also indicated that it was essential for students to understand the SAP ecosystems and the supporting social media. I dropped into the class throughout the semester and was amazed by the buzz of enthusiasm of the students. Other than covering the above topics Tony had large number of visiting speakers from industry including three SAP Mentors. Tony was aware one the world’s leading CRM analysts, Ray Wang, was visiting Melbourne for a keynote address. He tweeted him with an invite to attend the class if he was available. Ray dropped in to speak to the students.
As an added incentive Tony offered to take the three best students to client sites for two weeks so that they could get a better understanding of consulting.
Tony encouraged the students to create blogs on SDN to document their experiences so other universities may develop similar initiatives.
The links to these blogs are:
- ERP Applications – BCO6181 – Victoria University of Technology: A visit from Demo Jam winners
- ERP Applications – BCO6181 – Victoria University of Technology: An Introduction to SAP NetWeaver Portal
- ERP Applications – BCO6181 – Victoria University of Technology: Insight into retail
- BCO6181- ERP Applications – Victoria University of Technology: An introduction to SAP PI and round one of class presentations
This subject involved a significant commitment from Tony but he said the experience provided enormous satisfaction for him. He is getting ready to teach the subject again in 2012.
The two previous examples involved a significant commitment from the SAP Mentors involved. However the next example illustrates a less intensive way to interact with the SAP Mentors.
Australian University Dashboard Competition
This competition was developed and conducted by Susan Foster, Monash University and myself and was first conducted in 2010 with the support of SAP. The most difficult aspect of the competition was the development of a meaningful scenario with supporting data. In 2011 we reached out to SAP Mentor, Ingo Hilgefort to assist in the development of the case study. We also reached out to Ingo, Tammy Powlas and Tony de Thomasis to be part of the judging panel. They all readily agreed and through their participation the competition was significantly improved from 2010.
The examples above are only a snapshot of some of the different ways SAP Mentors have assisted universities. There are many more examples from around the world. My experience has been that SAP Mentors are willing to assist universities from a number of perspectives. This could range from advice to presentations to assisting in initiatives. The level of participation is dependent on the university’s requirements and the location of the SAP Mentors who best able to assist.
Maybe a good starting point is fro university academics to comment below this blog as per their requirements. Also SAP Mentor, Karin Tillotson from Valero will be in attendance at the upcoming SAP University Curriculum Congress. She would be more than willing discuss with academics what opportunities exist.