AI have created many training systems during the last few tears and learned a lesson or two in the process, Having dedicated training environments means adding additional complexity to the landscape but is highly recommended, a good training landscape is an essential part of the SAP environment and provide a vital service.
What are the things to take into consideration for a good training system?
A good training system is stable, safe, up-to-date, clean and ready to go when needed. Let’s see how we can achieve that….
What do I use as source?
As a thumb rule if you are in a project you should preferably wait until the QAS system is ready for User Acceptance Testing, Why?… because at that point there should be enough master and transactional data to play with, but depending on the volume, time constrains and quality of the training this can be as early as integration testing. If your landscape is productive then again QAS is usually your best option as its usually smaller in size and still contains all the data that you might need.
How many clients should have?
A decent training system has two types of clients, a Training Development Client or “Golden Client” and a Course Delivery client. Clients should be closed for changes once the development is completed so the only modifications come as transport requests.
This is where the trainer will create and develop the exercises for a particular course; this client will be used to prepare the data, put together the material for the trainees and create the standard training users. No training will be delivered on the golden client.
This is the client where the actual training will take place, the client will be used and refreshed periodically.
You should clean-up the system and remove all unwanted users, undesired connections to other systems, background jobs, RFC’s, etc, you want your training system to be isolated and/or working only with other training systems that you might need on your landscape.
Ideally data should be scrambled to protect confidentiality, especially when dealing with HCM training. You can use a product like TDMS to scramble the data.
How to keep it up-to-date?
To keep you training system up to date you should add it to the transport route, ideally you should have a delivery route parallel to production so once the transport reach the QAS system it will get added to the Training system buffer, then you should import into the training system on the same schedule as production.
How to refresh a used delivery client?
Simple, the Golden client can be used to refresh a delivery client either manually or automatically by using a periodic job. (This is easily achieved using SCCL)
What about the users?
Create a set of standard users with standard passwords in your Golden Client that way they’ll reset every time the client is refreshed, I tend to create an INSTRUCTOR account and TRAINING01 to TRAINING20 user… the users should be created with enough authorization to run all the exercises required for training but nothing else. Simply you don’t want your users to be able to modify cross-client objects and wreck you Golden Client.
A few other thoughts,
Training systems do not have to have the same specifications as the rest of your landscape, a small but well tuned (and this is very important) system will do, remember than most training sessions will have less than 20 concurrent users.
You thought performance was not an issue, well… IT IS! If you think about it most end users will be introduced to SAP using a training system, if the performance is bad they’ll get frustrated very quickly, hence I highlighted the importance of a well tuned system.
Availability to End Users
Its a good practice to give the freshly trained users a window of time where they can use the delivery client for practicing what they learned. Believe me you don’t want your users practicing on your live system!, I think its a better idea to have multiple delivery clients and refresh them on a weekly basis.
Trainers tend to go to where the business is, it’s like a small traveling circus. Special accommodations for remote locations need to be taken into consideration, this is probably a bit out of scope for Basis but you can help by making sure that your training team have a checklist of what to look for when working in unusual training environments.
Yes, you can use your training delivery clients as temporal sandboxes.
In my opinion this covers the basics you need to consider when building a training system.
Am I missing any info?, let me know, as always love to hear your comments…