Learning by Gaming – ERPsim business simulation with SAP S/4HANA
In December 2006, I was welcomed at the headquarters of SAP in Walldorf with my colleague, Pierre-Majorique Léger. We came to present what we had done (with the help of our colleague Gilbert Babin) in our ERP class at HEC Montréal. We showed a video of testimonials of our MBA students filmed during their final exam. Our audience was stunned. We had transformed the way to teach ERP systems by creating the ERPsim business simulation.
From a meeting in Walldorf to a simulation game played by 25,000 students per year.
Since then, ERPsim has been a global phenomenon and is used in academia in more than 38 countries by around 300 universities. Last year, 5,000 simulations were played by SAP University Alliances member institutions. We estimate that 25,000 students per year use ERPsim either in-class, competitions, or at other events. ERPsim is used for teaching in fields like Information Technology, Operations and Logistics Management, as well as Industrial Engineering and Accounting. It is used in research and commercially by Baton Simulations.
Over the years, the ERPsim Lab at HEC Montréal has worked closely with SAP University Alliances, the University Competence Centers (UCC), and Academic Competence Centers (ACC), to help professors and trainers deliver ERPsim in their classrooms. Those interested in learning more about ERPsim in academia can contact the ERPsim Lab or visit https://erpsim.hec.ca.
So, what is ERPsim?
ERPsim (Léger et al, 2007) is a unique business simulation technology developed at HEC Montréal and maintained by its ERPsim Lab. It supports a business simulation of near-real-life business contexts, using a large corporate information system. In our business games, participants in teams of 4 to 5 run virtual businesses. Contrary to other business games, the only interface between participants and the simulator is a real-life SAP® system. To compete, they need to acquire technical system skills, understand their business processes, collaborate and work in teams, and learn to use live company data.
Making learning fun
The ERPsim Lab website offers a series of testimonials explaining why ERPsim has been so successful. First, it offers a fun and engaging way, to learn SAP and enterprise systems through gaming and competition. It creates a safe environment where learners can create solutions, quickly detect errors, and learn from their mistakes. Finally, the different versions of the game offer a large option of simulations with growing levels of complexity. It has been used in lot of different ways and attests the growing number of pedagogical articles on ERPsim.
Over the years, I have had the privilege of hosting the International ERPsim competitions, and some of the other regional competitions. Because of its competitive nature, it was only natural to organize such events. Last year alone, through the leadership of the SAP University Alliances and in collaboration with the ERPsim Lab and the regional Academic boards, 14 competitions were organized (not counting those organized within some universities). These competitions are two to three-hour online events where teams representing different universities compete in an advanced ERPsim game. The top three teams in each of the 7 regional competitions are invited to the international competition being held in June. Over the years, teams from 4 different regions (Europe, Asia-Pac, China, and North America) have won. We also ran a demo game at SAP Sapphire NOW 2022 in Orlando in May this year.
Sign Up Today: For the Next ERPsim Sustainability Challenge
Our hope is that participation will grow even further. These competitions create friendly occasions for students to engage, and for faculties to share their respective experiences. I encourage you to engage in these events. Who knows, I might welcome you in next year’s 15th International ERPsim competition!!
In the meantime, we are happy to announce that we are organizing the first edition of the SAP S/4HANA ERPsim Sustainability Challenge. We are inviting participating universities from North America (Canada and US) and the DACH region (Germany, Switzerland, and Austria) to join in a friendly competition using our new sustainability game. The ERPsim sustainability game has been created by the ERPsim Lab and Baton Simulations to showcase how SAP can be used to address the pressing requirements of the energy transitions. It integrates into the ERPsim game elements of the ESG measures and dashboards. We hope the game will highlight the growing pressure to incorporate ESG factors in management decisions. Click here to learn more and register.
Follow the SAP University Alliances’ Community Page to learn more about how SAP University Alliances enables faculty, educational institutions, and partners around the world to educate the next generation with SAP skills. If you like to read other blogposts on similar topics, visit here.
Jacques Robert, Professor HEC Montréal, Co-inventor of ERPsim.