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“Students Should Think of SAP as Something as Great as Google, Facebook, and Apple.”

Source: 360° The Business Transformation Journal

Influencing the Next-Generation Influencers and making SAP Relevant for EveryoneAnn R.jpg

Ann Rosenberg, being a mentor and an external lecturer at various universities in Denmark, has recently become the new Head of Global University Alliances. In this interview with the Business Transformation Academy (BTA), Ann talks about her aspirations and goals as well as the purpose and plans of University Alliances.

BTA: Why did you apply for this new role?

Ann Rosenberg: I have a huge passion for the academic world, and I love the idea of combining the experience of working in management consulting at SAP around the world with SAP’s great access to knowledge and the academic framework. All three things together give you a really holistic perspective on the way you look at the world of technology and business processes. I have been doing this for many years and, having no children my-self, my students are my children. They are my biggest inspiration. They keep me young at heart and help me keep up with the beat of the world. The children of the younger generation do not limit their thinking, they have a mindset of unlimited possibilities, and they feel comfortable within the IT environment.

BTA: What do you think is the main purpose of University Alliances?

Rosenberg: There are two main purposes. The first one is to infuence the next-generation infuencers, and to change their mindset, making sure that young people have an established connection to SAP and think that SAP is cool. Today very few students know what SAP does, and if they have heard of it and do know what it is all about, then they consider it old-fashioned, not really sexy, and neither cool nor innovative. University Alliances will provide via SAP Community Network an end-to-end learning experience which starts with a dream and ends up with a professional skillset which can lead to gainful employment. What we want is that the students think of SAP being as great as Google, Facebook, Apple or any other modern innovation platform that young people work with and for.

Our second main purpose is to build a new skillset within both mature and fast-growth markets to support SAP’s strategies as an innovative company. Today SAP has innovative technology platforms such as SAP HANA, mobile and cloud computing. For example, instead of having ERP on-premise, you can deploy it on-demand respectively in a cloud. By enabling a huge number of young professionals – graduating from universities all around the world – to have this mind-set, these people can be hired and then integrate this mindset into the existing corporate environment. We will also be doing a lot of match making between stu-dents and SAP customers, because SAP customers now really want to work with design thinking, SAP HANA, mobility and so on. We need everyone to understand the power of working with real-time pro-cesses. Ideas will be realized in University Alliances’s new Startupforums4students, and the SAP Student Council@UA, that has just been launched. It is a win-win situation for both parties in the matching process, the students as well as the companies.

BTA: What do you want to do differently?

Rosenberg: The main idea is to have a bigger facilitator role in the SAP community. University Alliances is extremely well-known within the academic community, but not within the SAP community, that is SAP internally, our customers and partners. I have just started bringing the academic platform more into SAP. From now on we are going to be more integrated – we will not create things from scratch anymore, but we are going to use the SAP network by adding the academic flavor to it. We will be the ones to speak to the academic world on behalf of SAP. We will become more of an integrated SAP academic community than ever by facilitating the connection of academia to our customers, partners, and the SAP research. If we consider for example the theme “Internet of Things”, where m-chines communicate, it will become possible to create unique real-time processes in a way we have not seen before. For this we need the student community, as they have the amazing mindset of “everything is possible”.

BTA: In 2 years from now, what would you call a success for University Alliances?

Rosenberg: A success will definitely be if SAP becomes known within the student environment and we really manage to influence the next-generation influencers. As we want our established SAP aca-demic community to grow even further – today we are partnering with already 1,300 universities – we are targeting to reach out to 1 million students around the world by the end of 2013, e. g. directly via SAP Innovation learning platform – HANA Academy, InnoJam4student, Startupforums4students, SAP Commu-nity Network, SAP Students Mentor Pro-gram, and SAP Students Council@UA. Already now young people at the uni-versities can join our new SAP Student Mentors Program 2013 and become our ambassadors. Regarding content, the plan is to focus on SAP’s (mobile) Apps. Apps from students and for students, e.g. the Photo Tribe App (, will be the first, with many more to come. And we want them to be an exclu-sive part of SAP’s events. In Bangalore we already reached over 5,000 students. And we received tremendous feedback from the students that joined the SAP In-noJam in Madrid as Pioneers. Some of them even told us that it has been the best experience of their lives. And we will not stop there. Planned is a massive rollout to existing and new University Alliances program members and beyond. A real success would mean having built up a capacity of the new skillset and hav-ing grown within the fast-growth markets. University Alliances will be successful if we can really manage all these things.

BTA: What can you tell us about the future collaboration between University Alliances and the Business Transformation Academy (BTA)?

Rosenberg: We are joining the community that the BTA has built up with academics from all over the world, and we will support industry and cross-industry research initiatives of the BTA. It means that in the future, we will contribute by delivering articles and white papers, as well as participating in the BTA events and conferences. We want to support the execution framework that the BTA has already set up where academics, busi-ness transformation practitioners, and SAP experts work together on innovative topics. Thanks to the 1,300 universities within University Alliances, we are in the position to really support the BTA in its efforts and vice versa.

BTA: What else would you like to let us know?

Rosenberg: In 2013 University Alliances will be focusing on SAP’s big events by bringing huge numbers of students together and giving them the opportunity to be creative. We will host big competitions for students to try out SAP software and to create new mobile applications, some of which will get the chance to be commercialized, so these new ideas can turn today’s students into tomorrow’s start-ups. University Alliances will be more active at schools. Besides the already established erp4school program in Germany and Africa, the following programs are planned: apps4kidz, InnoJam4kidz, SAPcommunity4kidz, SAP Kidz Council, and Student RobotCamp for HANA One.

Last, but not least, we are currently working on applications for e-learning. We would like to support and use universities, which we call “Future Universities”, as a sort of incubator where you can try out the things you have studied at home via e-learning. This way the whole learn-ing process will be transformed into a more innovative one and the academic environment can really become an incu-bator for our next-generation influencers.

BTA: Ann Rosenberg, thank you very much for the interview and for providing us with some interesting insights.

Read the article on 360° The Business Transformation Journal.

Ann R.jpg
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  • Dear Ann,

    thank you for sharing yor vision of the new SAP University Alliances Programm with us.

    I see that there will be a strong focus on students and how to give students direct and easy access to the latest SAP Technology like “In Memory Computing” and “Mobile”.

    One point I missed when I read your article was the future role of the 7.000+ lecturers we have within the community. Will this new approach exist in parallel to the etablished train the trainer approach?

    At SAPPHIRE’12 in Madrid you talked about a new lecturer steering board at SAP UA (I don’t remember the exact name). Maybe you can add some thoughts on that and/or other ideas how our lecturer can participate in the new approach.

    Personally it was fun to join the Innojam at Madrid and work together with SAP Experts/Mentors, Students, Lecturer to create some cool prototypes within 36hours. Getting deep insights in the latest SAP Technolgie and the very latest fancy mobile gadgets from Blackberry, Microsoft not to forget the omnipresent Apple devices…

    See you


  • Why only Universities? Universities already have their own course and subjects. Why not join private, small colleges and coaching institutes. I guess it will make big difference and also everyone would be happy and beneficial.

    • MadhuSudhan,

      Hi! Yes, universities is an “umbrella” term which includes small colleges, trade schools, community colleges, etc. We often use this overall term in that each country has multiple terms (“naming”) for their respective higher and secondary education schools.

      The key point is that when it comes to developing future business and IT leaders and workers (“talent”) that may end up working for SAP, customers and/or partners (a.k.a. “SAP Ecosystem”) the opportunity is as great (if not greater) then working for a top brand such as Apple, Google, Facebook, etc.

      Thanks again for sharing your comment!:-)

      Best regards,