In the digital economy, the entire business value chain becomes digitized and data-driven, providing superior product and service experiences that are faster and more efficient than ever before. To succeed in this transformation and to compete and win against both old and new competitors, companies need to be able to leverage digital technologies. Technologies such as cloud, mobile, big data, internet of things, social and business networks allow businesses to re-think their internal business processes, the way they interact with customers and suppliers, the decision and planning processes, or even invent entirely new business models.

 

This unprecedented transformation also has an impact on Learning and Knowledge Management. Having the right knowledge at the right time in the right form is crucial for any business to define and execute its digital strategy successfully and ensure fast value realization.

In the past, a learning program for IT knowledge was generally considered as an afterthought; a company would define its business strategy, operating model and business processes first. Based on this, a suitable technology and software solution was selected. At the start of the project, the IT department was trained to ensure the successful implementation and operation of the solution.

Today, companies can neither wait to acquire technology knowledge nor is it the domain of the IT department alone. At the time when the innovation roadmap is being defined a sound knowledge of the latest digital technologies is also required by business managers, strategists and consultants in order to unlock the full potential for the business. Technology, combined with a radical user-centric design, has become the key enabler for innovation and differentiation.

In summary, four things have changed the learning approach for technology in the digital economy:

1.    The right mix of business, technology and design skills are required:

Business and strategy skills need to be complemented with a sound knowledge of the latest digital technologies and design skills. Unlike in the past, every business should acquire technology skills even before they decide to productively use them or not.

 

2.    Learning starts at the beginning of the transformation journey:

Technology knowledge is required at the beginning of the digital transformation when strategy decisions are made and key differentiators in the market are defined.

 

3.    New target groups for technology and design skills:

A sound understanding of digital technologies is not only critical for IT experts, but is equally important for business managers, strategist and business consultants.

 

4.   Digital transformation also affects learning itself:

New channels have emerged, including online learning platforms and cloud learning in addition to classroom learning. The new digital learning experience is both appealing and collaborative since social interaction with others remains a crucial element of learning.

In order to provide a research platform on the fundamental issues and dynamics of the digital economy, Technische Universität München (TUM) and SAP have announced the Initiative for Digital Transformation(IDT). Companies are welcome to join and obtain industry-specific managerial advice for their digital transformation. In order to assess which skills are needed for competing in an increasingly digitalized economy, a survey is still open to companies who wish to share their perspectives.

SAP has significantly extended and transformed its learning offerings to cater for the needs of the digital transformation. Beyond the proven classroom learning format, cloud learning has become a key pillar of our approach, with openSAP and SAP Learning Hub as leading offerings. They allow SAP customers, partners, IT professionals and students to learn about the latest SAP innovations when and where they need to. These offerings include unlimited access to all learning content, including the Early Knowledge Transfer programs, as well as role- and solution-based learning rooms for collaboration with SAP experts and peer learners. As digital learning is evolving rapidly, we are now also offering access to live training systems for hands-on practice and certification in the cloud, providing a state of the art, flexible and end-to-end learning experience in the cloud.

Not only do we cover SAP product knowledge for IT professionals and end-users, we also teach user-centric design. Courses on the business value of our technology are designed to make the potential of digitaltechnologies more tangible for business people.

Just recently, a new channel, openSAP Thought Leaders, has been launched. This new offering features thought leaders from business and academia, who share their insights on a broad range of topics related to the digital economy.

Learn more about our offerings at the upcoming SAP TechED in Las Vegas and Barcelona.

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