Nine years of openSAP!
As we mark the ninth anniversary of the launch of openSAP, we’d like to reminisce about our journey with the team, the experts, and the learners.
One of the first memories I have of openSAP is inviting our first speaker to travel to SAP HQ in Walldorf, Germany to record the very first course, Introduction to Software Development on SAP HANA. Thomas Jung arrived and in tow brought with him six different color shirts – one for each week of the course.
Obviously after a long journey, they needed some TLC and so Michaela brought an iron to the office to help make our first videos feature crease-free shirts.
Thanks to Thomas for keeping the pic of the iron. I think 9 years on, the fact he still has that image from April 2013 tells us that it’s not just us that has those fond memories!
So how did openSAP come to exist?
Well, Clemens participated in the MOOC In-Memory Data Management at the newly founded openHPI in September 2012 and he wouldn’t stop talking about it, telling everyone who would listen about this great new learning format and experience. In January 2013, Bernd Welz (who was Chief Knowledge officer at SAP at that time and is now the CEO at the NPO Klimastiftung für Bürger, dedicated to education for sustainable development for everyone) called Clemens because Hasso’s chair at HPI (Hasso Plattner Institute) and Gerd Oswald (SAP Service and Support board member, now member of the SAP Supervisory Board) had been in contact about the potential of the MOOC format at SAP. Clemens took the task to build one of these on the topic of SAP HANA asap and possibly two more on the topics of Design Thinking and Mobile Development after evaluating the outcome of the first course.
As a preparation, we were happy to invite Juergen MUELLER, who was then Chair Representative at the Research Chair of Prof. Plattner at HPI, to create a summary of the course, In-Memory Data Management In a Nutshell, to be used on openSAP. Since then, Juergen has become a member of the SAP Board and Chief Technology Officer at SAP – we’re glad to have got him early in his career. Of course, the rest is history as the first course attracted just over 40k learners with ~10k earning a Record of Achievement. The new format of Enterprise MOOCs was born!
Just like SAP Learning today, we focused on free knowledge transfer for developers and started to provide trial systems for hands-on access to let masses adopt. We’re proud to have been the early birds back in 2013, and we’re excited to contribute to how this will progress on the SAP Learning site.
We collaborated with other groups at SAP, such as complementing Joe King‘s SAP HANA Academy with building up the SAP HANA developer curriculum. Quickly, our portfolio grew as the demand both internally at SAP, as well as externally, grew. Externals wanted to get the content through openSAP while internals wanted to deliver their content through openSAP. Suddenly we had a portfolio with all of the latest innovations from SAP including SAP HANA Cloud Platform (predecessor of SAP Business Technology Platform), SAP S/4HANA (from the first day of launch), SAP SuccessFactors, SAP Business ByDesign, and more. Our audiences started to get familiar with the experts who appeared in specific portfolios, such as Thomas Jung, Rich Heilman, Rui Nogueira, Sven Denecken, Bert Schulze and Rainer Zinow. In some courses, learners provided feedback to the product experts directly who then in turn further refined and improved their products. In addition to portfolio topics, we also collaborated with thought-leaders from academia and the industry on topics like CSR, Sustainability, Design Thinking and Digital Transformation. We watched our hard work and effort become a successful brand, the now well-known openSAP.
In 2014 openSAP moved to a new platform, built lightning-fast from scratch by our friends at HPI. Through our course forums, we could get instant and unfiltered feedback from our learners and easily respond to their feedback, which helped us to continuously improve the platform and our content. Topics that were raised included demand for reactivation, advanced social learning with tools like peer assessment, team peer review and collaboration rooms, digital badges, subtitles offered in additional languages, as well as search and accessibility topics. Whenever we came to the openHPI team with ideas or feedback, they immediately evaluated the benefits and could start to work directly on topics that would help to improve our learners’ experience. The team at openHPI, under the leadership of Professor Christoph Meinel and his technical lead Christian Willems, has been so supportive and easy to work with over the years, we’ve been extremely lucky with this perfect partnership that worked so well.
Over the years, our team won many awards which often brought us around the globe to collect them. This was truly an honor and very motivating for the team to go the extra mile and deliver.
And we saw many learners flock to the site…
…and even to our booths at various events, where we could meet and exchange in person. This one time at Sapphire, one learner came with his 70+ Records of Achievement! He was proud of himself, but we were so much prouder of both him for his learning commitment but also the team of 30 people behind this great openSAP offering.
As learning has evolved, we noticed people started to enjoy microlearning and we reached out to the microlearning team at SAP and invited them to join us at openSAP. With this complementary offering, we could support learners who didn’t need to attend a full course but needed a short knowledge boost and there, microlearning fit perfectly into our portfolio. We also started to create and host podcasts to satisfy learners who like to learn on the go and with audio only. In addition, even though our site works on any browser and on any device, we created both iOS and Android apps to support learners with further mobile ready learning. We receive positive feedback on the apps and learners appreciate the choice of learning with the browser or app.
We also collaborated with the team at SAP Community, for example with Caroleigh Deneen to build missions, so when learners successfully completed an openSAP course, they also received recognition on the community reputation program. It was great to see learners start to collect a lot of badges by completing many courses with us. The openSAP missions belong to the top missions on SAP Community which see the most completions.
For sure, you’re already aware that the SAP Learning site will soon become the one destination for learning at SAP to ensure that you can find what you need in one place. This is an important step to help you continue your journey with SAP. We’re happy to be part of it and contribute to this as SAP Learning Labs by sharing our experiences from openSAP and bringing new ideas to the SAP Learning world and to you in the future as we have done over the past 9 years. Stay tuned to see how openSAP evolves as part of the new world at SAP Learning.
We had the opportunity to change the learning world in SAP: openSAP was the first platform with truly digital, truly free and open, at scale premium content (no travel, 24 h availability, collaboration and interactivity with forums, masses learning at the same time with all flexibility, but still motivational with deadlines). And we worked with a small but great team who were motivated to deliver the best for our learners alongside our wonderful experts and partners.
Take care and see you on the SAP Learning site!
Michaela & Clemens (AKA Mrs. & Mr. MOOC)
My fond memory is of creating the course How to Deliver a Great User Experience with SAP S/4HANA just before the COVID lock down started.
1) We used SAP scenes characters to tell the story (Petra the Project Manager, Uma the UX Architect and so on). Till then the courses were a case of say, mainly an instructor looking at the camera and delivering a lecture. While this suggestion/approach took the openSAP team by surprise they fully supported the idea of different people giving voice for each of the characters (so only voice is used and not the video). This required lot of editing to stitch together voice clips from different people; but it was no bother for them !!! openSAP team even came with the idea of animating the Scenes characters based on head movement of the speakers to make it bit more fun. Not a full disney movie, but a bobbing head or a eye close/open etc were enough to make a serious topic more fun/easy to follow. This of course added another layer of editing effort as the voice clip, separate feed of character animation, screen sharing video etc has to be combined. openSAP team rose to the challenge and enjoyed making it.
2) Also there was a risk that we may have to pack up and go home without completing the recording at the studio in Walldorf. But we were fortunately able to continue the recording. However the very next week the COVID restrictions for office based work was introduced. How much has the world changed since then ...
I can only agree, that your openSAP course is simply amazing and that it was a pleasure for the former openSAP team to build and run it together with you, Javier Giangrande and a lot of other smart colleagues from your area. More than 20k course enrollments and a star rating of >4.5 out of 5 stars (from >1500 votes) easily testify this. Thanks for contributing to our blog in such a nice way!
An amazing team and an amazing program, worth every minute spend on preparation and in front of the camera. Happy Birthday !
Thanks a lot, Bert, for you kind words. Without Bernd Leukert, Thomas Saueressig, Sven Denecken and you, the SAP S/4HANA curriculum at openSAP wouldn't exist at all. More than that, Sven and you together with Torsten Hams also brought the highly adopted topic of Digital Transfomation to openSAP and lately also RISE with SAP - of course together with a lot of other wonderful SAP experts.
Happy to see that you were enjoying the hard work of building all these MOOCs with us 🙂
I think I remember taking that 1st HANA course... Funny to see a Thomas Jung with no beard!
Also feel very honoured by SAP.iO folks who asked me to help teach parts of iO Start School https://open.sap.com/courses/iostart1-1 (part of Week 2 + Week 3). I thoroughly enjoyed that!
Thank you Catherine Giradin (then Head of Learning at SAP.iO Intrapreneurship) for so heavily recruiting me. You really had a lot of faith in me I could pull off those 4x units!
Thank you Florian Schwerer for editing and sharing my passion for LEGO.
Oh yes, I do remember the iO Startup School very well. It was an SAP internal curriculum by SAP.iO at openSAP in 2019 & 2020 with wonderful content and lots of amazing feedback from the learners. Thanks for your contribution to its success and for reminding me to this openSAP milestone.
Thank you Wayne Pau, it‘s been so much fun working with you and the whole team to make this course happen.
It is also great to see the continued collaboration with the recently launched internal follow up course Become an Intrapreneur.
Congrats for the amazing achievement, Clemens Link, Michaela, and the whole openSAP team ,
First of all – thanks for all the enthusiasm, energy and drive you’ve brought into the otherwise static space of SAP Learning and User Assistance. It’s staggering to see what positive impact openSAP has on our external community, being it for BTP, Hybris, Kyma or other topics I’ve been involved with.
I also still have fond memories from the creation of Extending SAP Products with SAP HANA Cloud Platform, which widened my view to the world of MOOCs. Followed by many more BTP courses, best practices course, Kyma course, openSAP became the de-facto standard to reach out to large masses of people to spread knowledge and experience out there. I still remember doing the recap of the course, estimating how many SAP TechEd hands-on sessions should I organize to reach anything close to the 5K people, which that first course allowed us to touch in a matter of only 4 weeks. It's safe to say that numerous products in SAP's portfolio would not have reached anywhere close to the adoption they have today, without the openSAP cover, instilling confidence and allowing our users to experiment, fail, succeed and learn in a safe and supportive environment.
It’s super exciting to meet people out there who are energized, go through the courses and even say “well, I’m sorry – I can’t stay drinking beer with you, because I have a deadline to complete this week chapter in the openSAP course I’m enrolled in”. . When something comes ahead of beer with friends – you know that you're onto something and you’ve really touched people.
#kudos for that! Keep rocking!
Looking forward to many more certificates to be released, birthday cakes to be eaten and raving fans to be onboarded! .
Thank you Krasimir Semerdzhiev for your kind reply…I remember when you started with Bettina your first course project and it’s really nice that we jointly continued to create such wonderful courses with you over the years. The best MOOCs come from motivated experts and teams 😊
And we learned quite fast that the learners always must be in our focus and the content & offering in the best possible quality. Thank you for always making this happen with us!
See you soon!
Clemens Link You know how much I love and promote this platform. I enjoyed reading the blog. I got intrroduced to SAP HANA thanks to Hasso's HPI course and I did the Introduction to Software Development on SAP HANA by Thomas Jung from May to July 2013 and did many others course ever since and found each of them valuable.
I am so glad that openSAP is the foundation to my new love - learning.sap.com which address the gap we had with openSAP.
Keep up the great work and lots of succeess to you and your wonderful team.
For the SCN community - Keep Learning, Get Ahead!
Thanks for you kind words, Devraj, and of course thanks so much for your constant effort to promote SAP's free learning offering. I remember lots of great chats with you at events around the globe. Your honest input always helped us to constantly improve the platform and courses.
Looking forward seeing you soon, wherever and whenever 😉
On behalf of the HANA Academy Team, Congratulations and Thank you - Clemens and Team. Our collaboration starting 9 years to this very day, as my HANA Academy team uses your courses to learn the new products that we then support with our videos on our YouTube channel, has been an outstanding win-win. I am looking forward to see what we can build in the next 9.
Thanks a lot, Joe, for every support your team gave to openSAP for such a long time. By joining forces between SAP HANA Academy and openSAP 9 years ago, together we made free SAP training such a tremendous success. I'm proud and honored about that, as you and your team should also be. You rock!
Hola Clemens, esto te lo diré en español desde México.
Mil mil mil gracias por todo lo que hemos aprendido con openSAP, en lo personal estoy muy agradecido con ustedes, he podido aprender cosas magníficas para mi trabajo diario.
Son una gran plataforma y hasta el infinito y más allá les decimos: "Felicitaciones totales".
Son los mejores.
muchísimas gracias por tus felicitaciones. Oír que todo lo que has aprendido te ayuda en tu trabajo díario nos alegra y satisface enormemente.
Sigue aprendiendo y nos gustaría darte también la bienvenida en nuestra nueva plataforma https://learning.sap.com
Saludos cordiales desde Alemania,
Michaela y Clemens (con la ayuda de una compañera que habla español 😉)
Hands down since it started is my favorite place to learn SAP as well as to encourage others to learn! Congratulations on amazing success + it sounds like a lot more great times ahead!
Thank you very much, Stephanie, much appreciated and happy learning! 🙂 Kind regards, Michaela