At a time when lots of my Mentor colleagues are at SAP’s internal DKOM events, I had the opportunity to attend SAP’s semi-public UK Technology Forum in St Albans on March 21st and spent day 1 there, mainly focussing on information around User Interfaces and Netweaver Gateway. As a regular TechEd visitor, events such as this are not providing you with a raft of new items around SAP products, but instead give you with a gut feel for the local customer and developer community.
I have yet to see this evening’s Demo Jam, but so far it’s been a worthwhile trip, which is mainly down to networking and chats I had. Here are my key points:
User Interface and User Experience: demos and presentations were around HTML5 – either driven by Sybase Unwired Platform or developed straight using HTML5 and CSS3. For example, Keytree demoed an interesting live retail app for iPad that uses HTML5, hooked up to a SAP retail backend via homebuilt RESTful services. CompriseIT demoed a new SAP tool to generate native iOS consumption UIs for Netweaver Gateway services.
Gateway: I liked that most presentations clarified that not just SUP can be used for consumption, which was in contrast to information available during TechEd 2011 in Madrid, where participants often thought SUP is the only way to consume Gateway. I attended two interesting sessions by SAP labs’ very own Yaad Oren, including a Kinect-enabled Gateway solution and a Siri-based prototype called SiPi (using Open Ears). In the latter, a video showed a SAP CRM lead being created using iPhone voice recognition and later an image was added to the CRM business partner by searching the person on Facebook, based on facial details. This is a very likely future use-case, yet it still makes me slightly shudder! (Disclaimer: the app is only a prototype!). As far as a wider developer engagement for Gateway is concerned, it seems that a reliance on the SAP partnering framework is the chosen path for now. Whether this will hamper the “billion users” ambitions SAP has remains to be seen.
During the Run Better Tour in Boston last Wednesday SAP announced an Applications Roadmap for its In-Memory Technology HANA (High Performance Analytical Appliance). Invited as a blogger and SAP Mentor, I had the opportunity to take part in meetings with SAP board member Vishal Sikka and CIO Oliver Bussmann.
“Can we meet again next week same time? How does that suit everybody else?”
A simple question, however finding the answer is a little bit more tricky, because the meeting participants live in 5 different countries, 4 different time zones and on 2 continents. Those involved are: SAP Mentors Dennis Howlett, Jon Reed, Leonardo de Araujo, Martin Gillet and myself, Michael Koch. Meeting venue is the world wide web, Skype conference calls to be precise.
Over the last 9 months we’ve been fighting time zones, meeting calendars and busy social diaries for one thing: SAP Certification, well, collaborating to manifest our view on it, make a critical statement and suggest what can be improved. If that’s not true passion for SAP then I don’t know what is.
We’ve created a SAP White Paper document that’s evolved over time, had several reviews and feedback (including SAP’s).
So why should you pay attention to our White Paper? Because I think it is an important stake that is being firmly placed in the ground by a group of five committed individuals. Moreover, we approach “SAP Certification Land” from different angles. There is Dennis Howlett, an experienced industry blogger and consultant on social computing projects. Jon Reed blogs, podcasts and tweets about all things SAP and is an expert on skills and market trends. Leonardo de Araujo weighs in as a SAP Logistics Functional and Technical Consultant with 12+ years experience. Martin Gillet brings the same expertise to the table for all things HCM and in addition runs HR training courses for SAP. Last but not least there is me, with deep technical and functional SAP experience across a range of modules and areas.
Our initial motives to work together as the “Certification 5″ had been slightly different. Which is no surprise, because our approach and our exposure to SAP Certification was diverse. To me, one of the main achievements from our collaboration so far is that we managed to create a document that reflects this diversity, yet still shows that we’re all aligned in the desire to make SAP Certification better. The White Paper goes into a lot of details, but we also summarised our thoughts into Problems and Recommended Action Items in Dennis’ SDN blog post.
The result can now be viewed, downloaded and commented on SDN. We’re really keen to receive input and feedback from the community on our paper. Go to SDN and let us know what you think!
I really enjoyed presenting the findings of my online survey about “Contractors and SAP Certifications” here at SAP Inside Track London this morning. The unconference is still in full swing, but I wanted to share the presentation and survey results spreadsheet with you right now. The original slides were created with Apple’s Keynote so I hope the converted file displays ok in Powerpoint. Any problems please give me a shout.
Dennis Howlett has also recorded the presentation, so more video goodness later.
Update: Here is also a link to the zipped Keynote presentation file.
As announced earlier today, here is the official link to the
Please note that (obviously!) the survey should only be taken by SAP contractors or freelancers, as this is my focus group.
The survey entails 17 questions and should not take you longer than 15 minutes max.
Please forward the link to this survey to all contractors and freelancers working in the SAP arena.
Overall goal of this is to support the aim of facilitating better implementations of SAP and increase Return On Investment (ROI). SAP is listening to the community and it’s our part to come up with ideas and constructive comments. Hopefully the survey results will contribute another piece to the “certification jigsaw” and improve the system even more.
Ever since the big response on Dennis Howlett’s “Should You Be Certified?” SDN blog post I felt that the implications of SAP’s certification push had not been identified well enough for contract and freelance consultants. The main reason for this is probably because there is not enough data to establish what this particular group thinks about the old or the new 3-tier SAP accreditation.
Why focus on SAP contractors?
It’s been my idea for a while now to do a survey purely for contractors and freelancers in the SAP arena. This group’s approach and its take on the topic is slightly different for the following reasons:
- most of the time freelancers have to pay for certification out of their own pocket
- market circumstances might dictate that certification is paramount to land your next assignment
- they might use certifications to break into new SAP areas / modules, very often without any work lined up after the exam, as clients want people with experience who can hit the ground running.
In contrast to this, SAP consultancy firms and partners tend to educate their consultants in anticipation of upcoming demand. In the current climate, they might decide to send a dozen of their staff to SAP certification exams as they expect demand for products such as Business Suite 7 to pick up within the next 12 months, for example. Moreover, these partners can also offer sandbox systems or access to early adopting clients so their newly certified consultants can learn by doing.
End users certify their staff yet again for different reasons. In my experience the leading motive in multinational corporations is usually to establish centres of excellence with certified subject matter experts.
One last thing…
One last thing that I feel is important to mention: overall goal of all this really is to support the aim of facilitating better implementations of SAP and increase ROI. My intention is not to talk SAP certifications down. Far from it.
Coming up later today
The survey will be up later today. Some people will be emailed separately with a link to the survey, but the link will obviously also be posted on here. Please forward it on to as many SAP contractors and freelancers you know. SAP is listening to the community and it’s our part to come up with ideas and constructive comments. Hopefully the survey results will contribute another piece to the “certification jigsaw” and improve the system even more.