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Hightlights of the Academy Cube Handover Ceremony: Experience of a Talent & Outlook of the Future as European Two-Layer Organization

On April 8th 2014 the Academy Cube has been officially handed over to PDAgroup GmbH,  headquartered in Innsbruck, Austria, operating the Service Office of the Academy Cube with immediate effect. Partners and supporters joined the handover and signing ceremony taking place at SAP headquarters in Walldorf to be part of this momentum and to celebrate this great milestone of the Academy Cube initiative.

SAP as strategic partner

Dr. Bernd Welz, Executive Vice President at SAP AG and responsible for Solution and Knowledge Packaging, opened the ceremony with the Academy Cube journey – from the IT-Summit 2012 until today’s transformation from a project set up to sustainable operations:

  • German IT Summit 2012: the initiative is born with the first partners
  • CeBIT 2013: Launch of the platform by Neelie Kroes, EU-Commissioner and Jim Snabe, SAP’s Co-CEO with 35 Spanish learners
  • Go To Market phase in Germany, Spain and Portugal with circa 400 talents
  • Dec 2013: Launch of platform release 2.0 with  new functionalities
  • Jan 2014: Rolling out all over EU countries: more than 5.000 talents sign up and over 420 vacancies
  • April 2014: handover to a experienced operator

Currently the platform is offering more than 1,000 jobs to more than 8,600 qualified talents with over 30 partners and supporters. The handover to an experienced operator is intended to ensure the continued evolution of the platform and sustainable operations.Dr. Bernd Welz, outlined in his speech that SAP will continue being a strategic partner of the Academy Cube providing job ads in all EU countries, providing market relevant trainings and certifications, providing the technical platform a well as enabling scale of the Academy Cube by strong promotion.


Experience of a talent

Dr. Bernd Welz was joined by Jaime, a talent using the Academy Cube platform to enhance his skills with courses and to apply for jobs. Jaime provided a live presentation of the platform to the audience and talked about his experience.

Bernd: „How did you hear about Academy Cube?”

Jaime: “A friend recommended me Academy Cube. I graduated in “Autónoma de Madrdid University” in Environmental Science and I got my university degree in 2011. My first job was at SAP in the sustainability labs in Markdorf and it was there when I got interested in the IT sector, that’s why I ended in Academy cube in order to gain more knowledge in IT and increase my chances to be hired by the leading IT companies.”

Bernd: “What do you like the most about your experience at Academy Cube?”

Jaime: “The internal job portal is the most attractive element of Academy Cube for me, because it lets me search directly for open positions that match the skills I’m learning in my course.”

Bernd: Did the courses you were doing help you to apply for a job?

Jaime: “Yes, in fact, it really did. What I think it’s important here, is that at the end, you are gaining a lot of knowledge about the company and the products e.g. of SAP and when you are about to face an interview, it really helps you to understand better what the interviewer wants from you and demonstrate that you already has something to show about your knowledge. Today I’m working at SAP Madrid.”


Academy Cube Service Office operated by PDAgroup

Prof. Dr. D. Kilian and Prof. Dr. P. Mirski from PDAgroup GmbH made an introduction of PDAgroup and presented the future of Academy Cube as a European Two-Layer Organization: Service Office and national Front Office. In the role of the Academy Cube Service Office the PDAgroup will from now on:

  • Operate the cloud-based platform
  • Provide core business functions like European content vision and content integration, job taxonomy and integration
  • Provide talent management processes after a candidate is approved and moves into a talent status (e.g. helpdesk)
  • Manage European relations

The Academy Cube is becoming a nationally anchored initiative with National Front offices in order to:

  • Manage and attract industry partners, universities and associations
  • Contribute to European content
  • Collaborate in a European talent recruiting program
  • Develop and coordinate national talent recruiting measures
  • Run national marketing activities

In the upcoming months national Front Offices will be established in Austria, Germany, Portugal and Spain, and as next expanded all over Europe.

For PDAgroup, taking over the operations of the Academy Cube is a logical evolution of their vision. More than ten years ago, the creation of a degree program at the interface between management, communications, and IT was a first step aimed at fighting against the skills shortage with a hands-on university program.


After the speeches the official signing ceremony of the handover contracts took place.


Prof. Dr. Dietmar Kilian, PDAgroup; Prof. Dr. Peter Mirski, PDAgroup; Dr. Bernd Welz, SAP

Afterwards an alive panel discussion on the topic “ICT job profiles and skills of the future” took place.

Prof. Dr. Adelsberger, Chair of Information Systems for Production and Operations Management, University Duisburg Essen pointed out that the main gap is the competence – the missing ability of the students and graduates to use their theoretical knowledge taught at the university. Prof. Dr. Kilian added that universities made a great progress in order to provide also competencies e.g. in project management by working on real projects or doing internships.

“The problem is the missing transparency on the labor market on each side: students don’t know what the employers need, universities have to reorganize due to the situation, but also companies need to learn about the market” so Prof. Dr. Peter Mirski, PDAgroup. “Large companies have experts but midsize companies need to understand what a degree program should include to find the right talents. Academy Cube is also a constant information platform.”

Definitely yes.” Dagmar Zippel, Recruiting Team Lead for Experienced Recruiting at Accenture answers the question if a candidate that has a degree plus the Academy Cube experience is more preferable. “Because the trainings you can get via the Academy Cube are really close to our needs, close to our demands, our requirements, our jobs we have to offer and therefore of course this is very positive and from my perspective universities are not really able to educate those specifics skills as there is a variety of specific skills and you have to give the baseline during the studies and afterwards you have to add on the specific skills.”

From the SAP perspective, looking back one and a half years back, Dr. Bernd Welz sums up the key learning from the experience with the Academy Cube: “The key learning of the Academy Cube is that – and we see this when we talk to our Industry Partners and others – IT knowledge especially in the context of innovation is key. They all told us the next wave of differentiation, the next wave of innovation comes from the combination of the hardware – high  quality, high precision, assembly line – but combined with software and new applications. I think with the Academy Cube, where a graduated Mechanical Engineer can find the right IT courses, we really can prepare the talents for this jobs where different subjects and areas of expertise need to come together to generate innovation. The other way around as well: a student in Computer Science or with strong IT background can get at least an overview and first idea what Industry 4.0 actually means. I think that the Academy Cube platform really comes right point in time.”


Prof. Dr. Dietmar Kilian, PDAgroup; Dagmar Zippel, Accenture; Dr. Bernd Welz, SAP; Prof. Dr. Heimo H. Adelsberger, University of Duisburg-Essen

After the a question and answers sessions, all participants were invited to celebrate with a drink and snack and use this opportunity to network and to get in touch with the future Academy Cube Service Office operator.


Read also the official press announcements:

SAP Newsbyte: Academy Cube takes next step: SAP transfers platform operations to PDAgroup
PDAgroup GmbH announcement: PDAgroup: The New Operator of the Innovative and Growing Job Platform ‘Academy Cube’

The press coverage you can find here:

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