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Over the past few weeks SAP HANA has been pimping a free e-course to me on facebook.

It promotes a 4-week eCourse and looked compelling to me so I clicked on the “Sign Up” button.

 

It took me to a sign-up page that promised me all of these things:

  •  An introduction to in-memory technology.
  •  Real-life use cases.
  •  Free online tutorials.
  •  Customized learning.
  •  Access our business application developer community.

Not kidding:

 

Since I am a developer/architect who likes to keep up on everything new, and have spent a lot of time taking the OpenSAP courses so far, I signed up. I was looking forward to be access more online tutorials and content on how to build data-driven applications.

So I filled out the form and clicked the “Start My Learning” button.

 

It took me to a thank you for signing up page where I could click yet another button “Download Now”:

 

It took me to a new page where I had to, once again, fill out a form to register to download the SAP HANA, express edition. So I did, and clicked the “Register” button.

 

I was then taken to a page where I was presented the different options for installing SAP HANA, express edition.

All the links in the 1A. On-premise installation section would start downloading the download manager for the respective platforms.

The links in the 1B Cloud installation section, would take me to already existing tutorials on either SAP Developer Center tutorials, or community blogs.

Google Cloud Platform links to this tutorial on SAP Developer Center: “Install SAP HANA, express edition on Google Cloud Platform from the Launcher”

Amazon Web Services and Microsoft Azure Cloud tutorials both links to the same Community blog post written by Denys van Kempen “Running SAP HANA Express in CAL – by the SAP HANA Academy”

 

And then that was sort of it. On the bottom of the page there is a link to the Community topic page for the SAP HANA, express edition and then one last link to another sap.com/developers tutorial which takes you through how to configure and set up the express edition “How to prepare HANA, express edition environment for tutorials”.

 

So far, no links or references to any 4-week eCourse learning material.

 

I then received an email where they offer me 2 courses to help me kick-start my learning.

Both offerings are (very!) old courses on OpenSAP:

  1. In-Memory Data Management in a Nutshell by Dr.-Ing. Jürgen Müller from 2013
  2. In-Memory Data Management by Prof. Hasso Platner from 2015

 

And still no sign of any 4-week eCourses.

If you don’t have any content to present, please just save the money and stop sponsoring fancy facebook ads.

And please stop wasting our time. We could have spent it on proper tutorials from SAP Developer Center, or on courses from OpenSAP instead.

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24 Comments

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  1. Simone Milesi

    (6th attempt to comment)

    Hi Anne!
    Nice blog, i’ve to thank you about it: i’ll avoid to click the ad on my Facebook page!
    Apart the lack of new content, i found so messy and confusing the landing page for the Xpress edition: here and there i give a look in the effort to reach the Holy Graal at the end of the maze but… urgh!
    i get lost every time!

    So, thanks again for voicing it!

     

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      1. Simone Milesi

        Hi Anne,

        yes, the landing page for Hana Express: so many option and not a clear indication on what do you’ll have in every thing (apart clicking here and there to deep a bit more, going back, repeat).

         

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          1. Simone Milesi

            i do not know, really, i’m pretty weak in UX and Interface Design (i’m an old Abaper first and well, not exactly a lot of freedom into choosing the layout 😛 ), just not this.

            It’s confusing, landing in a page with all grouped, from the binaries to the cloud solution to the different training area.

            i’d prefer as first step a good explain of HW requirements for the On Premise solution and the main difference between that and cloud.

            If i’m there, i want to install the Express Edition for sure and putting the infos after a good scroll, isn’t exactly intuitive imho.

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            1. Anne Kathrine Petterøe Post author

              I am also an ABAP developer, but from the UX and interface design angle, that’s why i was so curios 🙂

              I see what you mean – it would have been good with a short guide to the different install options before clicking a download button.

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              1. Simone Milesi

                Exactly that.

                When the express edition came out, i hurried to download it and only opening the guide i discovered my laptop was not enough (a little example).

                Knowing it before would have been better 😛

                 

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                1. Anne Kathrine Petterøe Post author

                  I think we have all been there and done that 😝

                  I only have 8GB of RAM on my machine, so I also didn’t have to download anything but instead should have gone directly to the cloud install option.

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  2. Veselina Peykova

    Both offerings are (very!) old courses on OpenSAP:

    1. In-Memory Data Management in a Nutshell by Dr.-Ing. Jürgen Müller from 2013
    2. In-Memory Data Management by Prof. Hasso Platner from 2015

    If you can wait for just a while longer, there is a 2017 edition of the Hasso Platner course on open.hpi.de, starting on 18.09.2017. It is difficult to tell how much of the content is revised to justify the 2017 label, but maybe you can sign up and check the topics in detail.

     

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    1. Anne Kathrine Petterøe Post author

      I can wait 🙂

      More than anything I was curious to see what content SAP had to offer to developers through a channel I hadn’t come across before; sapdigital.com.

      Usually I would visit the developer center for tutorials and I didn’t see any elearning course available there, so I suspeced this was some kind of marketing gimmic.

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  3. Lars Breddemann

    Thanks a lot for this post!

    SAP wants to be a lot more popular with non-SAP developers and SAP HANA Express is one piece of that effort, that shall provide hands on experience with the core technology. Colleagues of mine spent a lot of time and effort in showing new HANA developers how to start (CodeJams) and how to continue (openSAP, SAP HANA Academy).

    All that in mind it is even more frustrating to see that all the good effort is made void by some stupid marketing “schnitzeljagd” (scavenger hunt).

    Great, that you took your frustration to the source – such a degree of direct feedback and customer engagement is hard sought after by the marketing folks 😉

    cheers,

    Lars

     

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    1. Anne Kathrine Petterøe Post author

      Hi Lars,

      That is my worry exactly.

      I don’t know who that facebook ad is targeted at, but imagine being a non-SAP developer wanting to learn more about the in-memory HANA apps. I am pretty certain sending that person through all those sign-up pages, only to discover there is no e-learning course, will make sure that is one developer lost.

      We all spend so much time both at work, and in our free time, to help each other and also help new developers underestand what all these new technologies mean. And SAP already have many good tutorials both at the developer center and at OpenSAP, that it annoys the crap out of me that marketing has to ruin it in this way. Couldn’t they instead link to the already exisiting tutorials as a minimum? This to me just feels like a way to get hold of people’s email addresses so that they can grow their newsletter subscription numbers. It isn’t helping any of us.

      Cheers, Anne

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  4. Mark Wagener

    Hi,

    I had the same experience. Therefor I contacted SAP via Facebook, as I thought “Am I stupid? … or is this really everything?!”.

     

    The answer I received was:

     

    And finally got e-mails on a regular basis:

    In my opinion the quality of the open SAP Courses is really bad.

     

    If you take for example Introduction to In-Memory Data Management by Dr. Ing Jürgen Müller

    …I cannot listen to this video for more then a few minutes. Why not offer a version spoken by a

    professional and native speaker? What’s your opinion on that?

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    1. Simone Milesi

      Hi Mark.

      Each openSap course is a world itself.

      i followed a good amount of them and some are really good as well as some others are worthless and poorely built.

      i’m the last person who can complain about other’s language skills since my own english isn’t so good, but when i found a topic or a discussion too hard to understand, i activate the subtitles and everything is fine.

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    2. Anne Kathrine Petterøe Post author

      Hi,

      Strange, I have not yet received any additonal emails after that first email with the link to the OpenSAP courses. And I have checked my spam filter. Nothing.

      I agree, some of those early OpenSAP courses can be a bit “challenging”, but after some initial feedback, they have gotten a lot better and I cannot remember participating in a course that wasn’t worthwhile lately. But having said that, what any new developers might think when the first thing they do is to start with that video…

      And another thing I don’t understand is why someone somewhere at SAP thought establishing this sapdigital.com and targeting developers with this kind of advertising (or spam?) is a good idea. SAP already has a good platform for reaching out to developers, SAP Developer Home. And there is the monthly SAP Developer News newsletter. Why not work together instead of creating this kind of confusing messaging?

      (1) 
  5. Karl von Beckmann

    Hello Anne,

    I am on the SAP digital marketing team and wanted to let you know that we’ve seen your feedback on the developer e-course offering and have taken the ads down while we retool our processes to improve customer experience, expectation and quality of content.

    We are very glad that our original ad captured your attention and interest and we will do our best to better deliver on expectations based on your feedback!

    Best,

    Karl

    (7) 
    1. Anne Kathrine Petterøe Post author

      Hello Karl,

      Thank you for getting back to me so quickly and thank you also for stopping the facebook ad.

      I don’t know who your target audience or your target options were for that ad, but I do hope it was not aimed at new, or non-SAP developers. I feel so many of us spend so much time convincing the larger developer ecosystem, that SAP is so much more than ABAP these days. I would hate to see them alienated by hitting these marketing sites first.

      As for my own motivation to check out the ad, it was split in two parts.

      One was the fact that I don’t yet work with, or develop, in-memory applications on HANA. The projects I am involved with, are still mainly ABAP + SAPUI5 projects. So I was geniunly intrigued by the idea of an e-learning course that spanned over 4 weeks to deepen my knowledge.

      The second factor was curiosity. The wording of the landing page sounded too much like marketing to me. Not once did you mention what exactly the content was, or which technologies and tools the e-learning would focus on. Are we talking about XS(A) programming? Possibly an SAPUI5 app? Or learning how to build an OData XS service? If you check out the tutorials on SAP Developer Center you will see what kind of wording I would expect to be met with as a developer.

      Best,

      Anne

       

       

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  6. Jelena Perfiljeva

    I’m wondering if it’s some kind of should’ve bought a squirrel situation and if answering “Yes” to the newsletter triggers the whole other chain of events. 🙂

     

    Seriously though – thanks for posting this and taking time to document the steps and results. Most of the times I embark on a journey in the sea of SAP marketing I later regret not running the screen capture from the start. I imagine many students would kill for an internship at SAP, so finding cheap labor to click through an ad and make sure it doesn’t take you on a wild goose chase should not be so difficult.

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    1. Anne Kathrine Petterøe Post author

      They should have had the content ready before even running the ad if you ask me 😉

       

      I am also afraid it won’t be last time we will be met with these kind of marketing campaigns, but hopefully someone will streamline the registration process a bit first next time. There is always hope 😊

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  7. Claire Donelon

    Dear Anne,

    Sorry to hear about your experience with this ad.  

    If you’d like to learn about SAP HANA, these courses can help: https://open.sap.com/courses?topic=SAP%20HANA
    The latest courses are at the top and as you scroll down, you’ll find the older ones. The two courses which you were presented with via the ad were actually openHPI courses that we also added to our platform, since they’re also relevant for an SAP audience.
    Thanks for recognizing that we’ve added subtitles and transcripts to all of our courses. This was feedback we received after our very first course in 2013 and since then, we’ve made them standard in all courses. Our presenters are all product experts and we’d rather they share their knowledge than getting in an actor to read a script. As we’re a global company with a global audience, it’s important that everyone can understand the content clearly, so hopefully the subtitles help.

    I’m responsible for openSAP communications – openSAP doesn’t use Facebook ads to promote courses but if we ever do in the future, we will ensure that you click straight through to enroll.

    If you’ve enjoyed a course on our platform and would recommend it to others, I’d ask you to share it with your peers via Facebook/Twitter/LinkedIn  We’d appreciate that! We have sharing buttons on each enrollment page per course or you can share the event on Facebook from our Facebook events page.

    We hope this experience does not affect your perception of openSAP courses in general.  

    Kind regards,

    Claire

     

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