18,75 % success rate: that’s what happened to my class 2 months ago. A first, and hopefully the last!
3 out of 16 students succeeded: One was new to SAP Business One’s world, one had worked with B1 for more then a year and the last was more of a developer then a consultant.
So what happened to the others?
(Please acknowledge that opinions in this publication are mine and do not represent necessary the ones from my employer.)
(updated in December 2016 for the new certification 9.2)
I am not going to tell you what happened to the 13 others. They were all good lads and deserved to succeed. Besides, I was leading the course and should be the first one to blame! Instead we shared our experience and learned lessons. And after that, I promised myself to share our findings, hence this article.
This paper is all about the preparation of the CTB1200, what you should expect in terms of investments, difficulties and time lines. And while doing so, let’s open the subject to all CTB1200 training’s formats, whatever it is on-site, blended or from home.
- Plan your time (study time, systems, formats).
- Plan the material (courses, softwares).
- 1st round: the Discovering phase.
- 2nd round: the Associating phase.
- Final round: Study Guide, pre-test & final exam.
I – Plan your time seriously
Plan the study time
The TB’s are not difficult as such, but their content is demanding (1300 pages without the exercises, 1600 pages for the new 9.2 training) and will require well planned dedicated time. The original schedule for on-site TB training (1000, 1100 & 1200) with an instructor is 2 weeks. That’s 80 hours minimum fully allocated to the learning, excluding your own revisions at eves. So you must understand what you are getting into!
Plan the system
Some of us will have a limited access to the SAP Business One system. Indeed, the trial version (fully operational) expires after 30 days. You must use those 30 days at their best.
Alone or Instructor?
There are different education’s channels: from SAP directly, from existing B1 Partners, from schools or universities as well as from your own cozy living-room.
So, all together, you are presented with 3 options (or any combinations of the 3):
- With an instructor, on-site.
- With an instructor, virtually.
- From the comfort of your home.
Having an instructor is beneficial but when studying alone, you can find multitude of free information if you have internet access, for example on the legendary SAP Community Network (SCN).
If you choose 1, you might incur additional costs (flight, car, hotel). You can check where and when a course is available for you (see Training and Certification Shop).
With 2, SAP introduced a new virtual class called “TB1200 Blended Class” which consists of 5 weeks virtual training (7 weeks for 9.2). Here, again, you might check the dates and places.
NO MATTER what formula you choose, you will succeed only if you work!
I often have the question if being experienced on SAP Business One is an advantage for succeeding the final exam. My answer is yes, because one can associate SAP B1 features better and faster. But I also say that experienced consultants have a propensity to over-complicate the TB’s structure and unique goal which is to prepare for the final exam in a “TB” mindset. Therefore, experienced consultants might fail where newbies succeed, no matter if they worked alone or with an instructor
II – Plan the material
Although the certification refers to the CTB1200, the course contains the TB1000 and TB1100 as well. SAP has moved the TB materials (*) from a restricted PartnerEdge portal to a fully accessible SAP Business One Academy portal. The portal has a lot to offer, but you would focus on the 3 following subjects: Logistics (TB1000), Accounting (TB1100) and Implementation & Support (TB1200). Download the multiple pdf files (the one covered in the exam are marked with asterisks) and additional content like recorded presentations, demonstrations, exercises and solutions.
(*) at the time of publishing, valid in English, Russian and Portuguese only. For other languages, you will need access to the restricted PartnerEdge portal.
You will need a SAP Business One system to practice. SAP Business One needs 3 main components in order to run:
- A Business One Server
- A Business One Client
- A database system: HANA or Microsoft SQL
I always recommend to work locally (your laptop) but that means you will have to find and install yourself those components. To avoid this burden, looking at a cloud or remote connection is an appealing alternative.
More suited for existing consultants that have access to the PartnerEdge in order to download the SAP installation files with knowledge on how to install SQL server, SAP Business One Server & SAP Business One Client. There is no downloadable version outside the restricted PartnerEdge Portal, which actually is a “full” version but without a license, therefore valid for 30 days from the date of installation. Note that the installation file is approximatively 8GB (oops, that’s more then my monthly internet cap!). So unless you have a PartnerEdge ID to access the SAP Business One download page and a comfortable bandwidth, you are stuck !
If you are not part of a SAP Business One Partnership, don’t hesitate to visit one close-by and explain what you are trying to achieve. Most SAP Partners are now offering B1 in the Cloud, sometimes with already preset 30 days trial, so discuss the possibility to access it. They might as well allow you to remotely access a B1 system, either via RDC or Citrix.
Point is you must find a system to practice and it can be a tricky part. Also, it must be aligned with the TB family you are studying.
TB courses are created by ‘family ‘. Note that family 8.xx is no longer available, so you will study the family 9.xx.
III – 1st round: the Discovering phase
A first round?
Yes, no matter if you plan to study in a classroom or by yourself. Why?
- As already mentioned, the content of the TBs is quite heavy. The best way to mitigate this, is to take advantage of the free material at your disposal for a first round of preparation. A ‘2-waves’ study cycle will tremendously increase your knowledge: one wave to discover the modules separately and another one to link them together.
- If you have a B1 system with 30 days trial, you might prefer to use it when it matters the most. Discover all the materials first, then review them on the system in round 2.
- TB1000 (Logistics) & TB1100 (Financials) are basic knowledge. Of course, they are somehow related to SAP Business One, but they are to be found in any ERP systems and any ERP Business Processes. A Debit and a Credit is the same all over the world! But some of us can understand it faster then others.
- The TB1200 (Implementation & Support) is easy enough to understand, even without the support of a demo system. My recommendation of course is to get a support system from the very beginning.
Where to start?
I don’t think it matters. Personally, I like to start my classes with the TB1100 (Accounting) simply because it is universal and it is the backbone of any ERP system. As well, for some students, it is more demanding, so better start with the “big” chunk.
Each chapter has its summary at the end. They have been created for a purpose, so read them carefully to help structuring your study.
Exercises with their solutions are provided. Of course it is better to do them in a demo system, but there is no pain of reading the solutions during the first round and without any system: It will help you to revise the TB content through the structure of the answers.
What else in this round? Register for your final exam. Availability can vary between Certification Centre and you would prefer to pass your exam immediately after round 3 when everything is still fresh in your head.
IV – 2nd round: the Associating phase
You are now finished with round 1 and you still have questions. Well, that’s normal. If you don’t have questions please send me your CV immediately! 😉
Install/Activate your demo system
Now is the time to activate/install your SAP Business One system. Remember, when installing the demo locally, the 30 days trial starts from the date of installation. That’s why you didn’t install the software in round 1.
Exercises & Solutions
Start this round with all exercises and solutions. Touch & feel the system as much as you can. First you do the exercises while reading them in the TB courses, then close the book and re-do the same exercises: printing the B1 screens in your head will help you when passing the final exam. And don’t be shy! Extend the exercises to your own scenario. SAP Business One is a sexy ERP system, once you start using it, you can’t stop.
TB1200 finishes with a study case which consists of creating a prototype using SAP Business One. The database is created from scratch and will guide you through all subjects covered in the TBs. Use this ‘general’ exercise to further establish your knowledge.
The OEC Computer demo database, provided when installing the SAP Business One system, is used for all exercises of the TB. So if you are studying a french TB, you would prefer to exercise on a french localized OEC Computer database. In english, you will choose the UK localization.
V – Final round
There we are! You are soon to be certified.
What I like with the study guide is the type of question that oblige you to resume an answer from your global knowledge. There are no answers given for you. Example of a question: What is the purpose of user-defined shortcuts and how are they set up?
The guide has 17 chapters with questions on specific subjects all linked to the TB courses. Answer them the best you can and in your own words. If you can answer them easily, then you are ready for the final exam. If not, you know where to further gain knowledge.
Tips: If you don’t know how to answer a question, copy the key word from the question and paste it in ‘find’ mode into the pdf TB document. All the instances of that keyword will be listed.
There are plenty of CTB1200 pre-test on the web, unfortunately I cannot certify their version and seriousness. Instead, I would focus on the SAP portal:
- You can download some sample questions here.
- You can find the list of topics covered in the 9.0 exam here.
- If you have a S-user, you can access a practice test here.
It’s all on the screen! You provide your ID card when arriving at a certified centre (a common one is Pearson Vue), you sit in front of a computer and the exam will start in the language you requested during the registration.
80 questions in 3 hours. That’s 2.25 minutes per question in a MCQ (Multiple Choice Question) format. And if there are more then one correct answer, it will tell you “there are 3 correct answers to this question”. There is no negative marking.
The pass rate is 69% (down to 60% for 9.2 certification).
As for all type of exams, READ THE QUESTION PROPERLY!!! Very often, the answer sits in the question itself. Or should I say, the non-answers. Example, the question says “Mr. XX wants to automatically do a banking reconciliation…”. In the 4 proposed answers, 3 are discussing a manual process, not automatically done by SAP Business One. Bingo!
You can ‘mark’ questions so that you can review them later. Once you are done, you click the finish button and there is no come back.
The result is instantaneous. Deadly!
A TB version (let’s say 9.0) is based on the lowest family version (in this case, 9.0). It’s important to know because if you study with a 9.1 or 9.2* demo system, you will be confronted with new functionalities that are not related in the TB courses. The same applies for the exam’s questions: they are based on a 9.0 system so answer them with a 9.0 mindset.
* 9.2 should be available end of this year 2015.
VI – Conclusion
The reason why we failed 2 months ago is too much workload in too less time. Initially, the blended training is meant to be 4+1 weeks. Pushed by some deadlines, we decided to “blend” the course in 2 weeks home study (TB1000 + TB1100 with some virtual meetings) + 1 week on-site (TB1200 + revisions).
The 3 students succeeding their exams followed their heavy studying schedule. The others didn’t, no offense given, they all work a full time job and more. But when they tried to catch up the last week during the on-site training, they just couldn’t.
I am mentioning this just to introduce the conclusion:
- Don’t under-estimate the workload.
- Plan your study time accordingly.
- Stick to the plan.
And remember, there is no single way to prepare. Only you know what suits you best. But two things are sure: you must work and you must have fun!
Your feedback is important
If you followed (or not) this guide to prepare for your SAP Business One CTB1200 certification, give us feedback.
Share your thoughts in the comment space below or tweet me @FredericBada