It's Academic: SAP Captures the Attention of Innovators and Leaders on Campus
Last week I had the pleasure of spending the day with more than 300 professors who teach SAP at the university level. These folks are part of the SAP University Alliances program, they gathered in Charlotte, North Carolina from all across the United States and 10 other countries, they represented large and smaller schools, full colleges and universities plus technical institutes, and they either teach business classes (Accounting, HR, Marketing...) using SAP technology, or they teach software development, management, and information technology topics (BI, Computer Science, BPM...) by using the SAP platform and applications. They were together at the SAP Curriculum Congress to learn about developments at SAP since they last convened, to explore our newest software offerings, and to share best practices and plan their curriculum for the months ahead.
Wide Reach with a Host of Resources
Although it was a fairly large gathering, this was just the tip of the iceberg. These professors were the lucky few who had the chance to join together, but they represent a much larger University Alliances program that has a presence in more than 50 countries and almost every continent (not Antarctica, yet) around the world. They also have the benefit of University Competence Centers, which are hosted systems accessible thru web browsers and the SAP GUI so that individual schools don't need to invest in technical infrastructures or operations staff.
Biggest News: New University Alliance Community Right Next Door
The loud buzz during this event was the grand opening of a new virtual community for professors, lecturers, and students. This new University Alliances Community (UAC) launched earlier this year, adjacent to our SDN (SAP Developer Network), BPX (Business Process Expert), and BusinessObjects communities, and which offers many of the features, capabilities, and benefits of these existing adjacent communities. That means: a full University Alliances section in the SAP Community Network, including a new UAC blog category, plus a library of content, and special capabilities like a faculty club, online classrooms, a student union area, and more.
Imagine the Possibilities
You might imagine students sharing and collaborating with each other, even with their peers around the world, as they learn about business and the software that runs global business. Maybe you can picture professors sharing their lessons and effective teaching strategies with other professors. Perhaps students will get help and insight from professors who are seen as experts outside of the student's own, local school. Or, students connecting with real-world SAP practitioners - the developers and Enterprise Architects in SDN, the business analysts and consultants in BPX, or the BI report designers and metrics gurus using BusinessObjects - and maybe even finding future career connections.
Content will be shared in the UAC library, students will try the free downloads, the community wiki could be a place for group/team projects, the hundreds of eLearning videos could reinforce or drill-down on topics discussed in the classroom, we might see some new faces at our SAP TechEd events toward the end of the year, and employers might search among the most actively engaged students to find fresh new talent as they build-out SAP expertise in their customer or partner companies ... (I feel a little jealous; I wish I had these kinds of resources and connections back when I was starting-out my own career during the Paleolithic era ...)
My Keynote Presentation
I spent part of the morning last Friday introducing the professors to our communities - SDN, BPX, BusinessObjects - and to their own, new, online home. I gave them a little background on the 1.6 million people who are members of our existing communities, what we do here, how to find things ... and mostly I encouraged them to connect and engage actively in the new University Alliances Community in order to get the most value and benefit for themselves and their students. You probably know all of this already, but you're welcome to view my presentation if you're curious.
Please Welcome the Newbies
I invite you to keep an eye out for the new professors and students joining our global SAP Community Network, to make them feel welcome and comfortable, and to help them learn where to find resources and how best to engage with others here. My hope is that together we will fuel the future workforce for business and IT, and that they will be the best-equipped generation of talent ever ... extremely ready to implement, operate, and innovate SAP for our customers and partners to be best-run businesses.