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Enterprise software training at German universities and schools (status 2007)

In a study carrried out in 2007, it was found that of the 383 German universities (Federal Statistical Office 2006), 208 are members of the SAP University Alliances (UA) program and train their students in the use of SAP software as an example of modern, complex enterprise software. Other UA clients are vocational academies, vocational schools and other educational institutions such as management and business schools.  The software which is technically and administratively difficult to operate, is provided by SAP AG and hosted in the “University Competence Center” (UCC).

In 2007, the third training needs analysis was conducted among approximately 1,600 registered teachers in the framework of the SAP University Alliances (UA) program, following similar needs analysis conducted in 2005 and 2006. The aim was to provide an overview to SAP topics in research and teaching. 331 teachers (20 %) took part in the survey.

The major findings of the study were:

  • The classic core Components such as BW are the most commonly used in the training of SAP products. The lecturers use only a small part of the SAP University Competence Centers (UCCs) offered SAP-Products.
  • The average experience level of the UCC community member is approximately 7.6 years which in comparison to previous years, has declined slightly. Lecturers at vocational academies have the longest experience in SAP topics, while lecturers at vocational schools the shortest.
  • The most important sectors for graduates with SAP knowledge are: machinery and vehicles, banks/insurance companies and manufacturing.
  • The focus on future SAP educations are Business Information Warehouse (BW) and basic issues in the NetWeaver ™ area. The training needs of the respondents reflect this focus. Generally, a further wide range of training is required, to compensate the division between technology topics and technical subjects.

Conclusions:

The UCC training portfolio covers the needs for training to future SAP teaching and research topics. It is therefore recommended to keep on offering a mix of products and appropriate training with which engineering graduates in application-oriented management and SAP topics can be trained. Several new SAP products are used only occasionally. The marketing efforts for these products, for example in the form of personal interviews or by descriptions in the SAP UA newsletter could lead to a faster diffusion of these products. Through an active “marketing strategy” a critical mass of lecturers could be achieved, who could promote the use of the products in teaching and research within the framework of an active community.

The UCC lecturers represent a relatively homogeneous group. This is regarding the number and the use of SAP products, training profiles in teaching, industry orientation, number of training courses attended and training and product needs. For example in the teaching experience significant differences are noticed between the UCC types of customers. Especially teachers of vocational schools and colleges show higher levels of experience. It is important to consider how this group can be mentored with a demand-actuated offering.

Finally, it should be mentioned that the training needs analysis has established itself in the recent years as an important part of UA-/UCC-Communication with customers. So far it is “only” the basis for planning the training of teachers themselves and the UCCs. A way to a systematically incorporate feedback for UA program and the UCCs on other topics is missing so far. This could be achieved in coming years through a “UCC-Customer Satisfaction Survey”.

For further information regarding this study, refer to the following publication (in German):

Mohr, Matthias und Ebner, Winfried und Wittges, Holger und Krcmar, Helmut und Schrader, Heino (2007): “Unternehmenssoftware-Ausbildung an deutschen Hochschulen und Schulen. Ergebnisse der 3. UCC-Bildungsbedarfanalyse 2007.” Nr. 8, Studien Lehrstuhl für Wirtschaftsinformatik Technische Universität München.

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