Early in 2017, I wrote an openSAP training course called, “Getting Started with Data Science.” Data science is a hot topic, but I suspected that many people found the formulas and academic presentation style to be unappealing and difficult to understand. So, I designed this course to introduce anybody who is new to data science to the fundamental ideas, reducing the complexity as much as possible.
The course followed a clear data science project methodology, so there was an understandable structure and flow through the six weeks of presentations and exercises. Some of the topics were relatively easy for students to understand, while others were more challenging, covering data visualization, data preparation, predictive modelling, through to model deployment and monitoring.
We also offered students the option to download a temporary license for SAP Predictive Analytics software, so they could build models on data that we provided. This proved extremely popular, because students could learn the fundamentals and then try it for themselves. It also exposed students to SAP’s ground breaking predictive analytics software.
High Impact of First openSAP Data Science Course
On the first day of enrollment, over 11,000 students signed up. To date, nearly 25,000 students have enrolled from all over the world. 1,600 questions were received in the openSAP forum from interested students who wanted more information. Some of the students explained that this was an introduction to a totally new subject; others, who were obviously experts themselves, were checking out what SAP could offer; and, for a few, this was a first step to changing their career and becoming a professional data scientist. In the final exam, the success rate was nearly 4x compared to the average. This was a huge success, and the students wanted more— they wanted a course that showed them how to use data science in a business environment.
Demand Leads to Second Data Science Course with Business Application
So, by November 2017, I had written the next installment for openSAP, which we called “Data Science in Action—Building a Predictive Churn Model.” This course showed students how to build and deploy predictive models to identify which customers of a telecommunications (telco) organization were most likely to switch to another provider.
Again, the course followed a clear data science project methodology, and we provided students with access to SAP HANA, SAP Predictive Analytics, and SAP Predictive Factory in an AWS environment they could subscribe to. Nearly 9,000 students enrolled. They learned how to manipulate data using SAP Data Manager, build predictive models, develop segmentations and to operationalize them in SAP Predictive Factory. This was another big success, with very positive feedback and requests for more courses.
In 2017, we exposed thousands of people to SAP Predictive Analytics technology and created many new sales leads. Many of the students were new to the subject, while others were experts, but most of them used our software and experienced how easy it is to build predictive models, understand the outputs, and gain real business insight. We proved that you don’t have to be a rocket scientist to be a data scientist…as long as you use SAP!
In 2018 I will be following up with more courses. I hope to develop an openSAP course focused on time series and forecasting. So, watch this space!
The courses are still available*, and I encourage you to join the club and take advantage of what they have to offer.
- Course One: Getting Started with Data Science.
- Course Two: Data Science in Action – Building a Predictive Churn Model (*Note: the AWS environment for course 2 is no longer available.)
Also, you can download the predictive analytics software for a free 30-day trial. Check out the following links:
- Professional edition trial (AWS/CAL trial landscape including SAP Predictive Analytics and SAP Factory, including an SAP HANA landscape)
- Getting Started blog
- Desktop edition trial
And finally, check out the other upcoming openSAP classes for 2018.