Happy 10th Birthday, SAP HANA Academy!!!
What does October mean to you? For some it means the trees are starting to change their colors to welcome autumn in the north and hail spring in the south. For sports fans it means long awaited playoffs or season openers to cheer their teams. For most, it’s the realization that this year is speeding by faster than we want to recognize. For me, it is always a time to take a moment and reflect on past accomplishments and plan for future goals. This October’s reflection is especially meaningful as I feel personally and professionally honored to celebrate the 10th Anniversary of the SAP HANA Academy!
Built on the idea of driving adoption for the brand-new SAP HANA product, our small team of entrepreneurs accepted the challenge to remove the barrier to entry and teach our customers not only the meaning of the new technology, but how to incorporate SAP HANA into their business to reap immediate value and provide potential for innovation. As a business consultant in my former role, I have always looked at technology as the underlying structure that allows customers to reach their potential by thinking beyond what they do each day to better understand why they do it. What is the end goal? Does this process still make sense in today’s landscape? Does it provide value for the effort? Well, we designed the SAP HANA Academy following that same philosophy — is this how people learn today? How can we reach the most people at all skill levels and interests around the world? The answer was simple. We would use an emerging new media platform to promote a ground-breaking new technology and introduce something of value for free to our customers. It was a novel concept and proved to be a game-changer.
Businesses measure success in KPIs, but providing free access meant we couldn’t always directly measure our impact over time. Don’t get me wrong, we have feathers to put in our cap. We won 2 international marketing awards for our novel approach using social media to engage directly with users. We can boast of numerous executives who have touted our offering from the main stages at SAPPHIRE or SAP TechEd, or about being specifically mentioned in the annual Gartner review for SAP HANA, or even to helping to secure a huge sales win or two. If you want pure numbers, we could proudly state our annual growth in viewers or the number of times a video topic was viewed, which frankly are impressive. In fact, in 10 years, we have amassed over 13 Million views from over 120 different countries, providing more than 560,000 hours of training content! Our audience consists of customers, partners, and our own SAP colleagues, and averages over 1000 people per day visiting our site — despite shifting focus from purely SAP HANA to the whole SAP Business Technology Platform along the way. Clearly, the statistics say we found a way to provide value for our audiences.
But to me, the greatest measure of our impact has been in the unsolicited comments, Thank Yous, and accolades we consistently receive from all sorts of people and places. We have learned that our content has been used across SAP for sales & pre-sales, support, product launches, marketing programs and learning workshops over the years. SAP Partners tell us they have embedded our content on their own internal learning sites. Consultants tell us they learned their roles by watching our videos. This viral, organic, and authentic growth is simply amazing. Who would imagine that people at SAP TechEd would be such fans that they would recognize our voices or want to take selfies with us? While it’s fun to tease each other about having groupies, it is immensely gratifying to know that what we work so hard to accomplish has made an impact.
SAP is an amazing place to be, with truly brilliant people working together every single day to make the world better. Sometimes in a large organization you don’t always feel that your efforts matter or are even seen, but we at the SAP HANA Academy are lucky to get feedback direct from our constituents and that feels pretty motivating. They say it’s not work if you enjoy what you do. I’m not sure that’s entirely true, but it has been an amazing decade of growth, change and effect. So, raise your glass and join our toast as we wish the SAP HANA Academy a very happy 10th birthday!