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Note that Jon blogs and videocasts on a variety of SAP and enterprise web sites. The easiest way to track all his content is through his JonERP Feedburner feed, which you can subscribe to via RSS or email. There is also additional video content to subscribe to on JD-OD.com. Jon also posts audio versions of much of his content on his JonERP iTunes Feed. To pose questions to Jon directly find him on Twitter.
The results of Michael Management’s 2013 SAP Training Survey got under my skin. Though there was a silver lining or two, I was hoping that individuals (and companies) were further along. Too many ERP projects are still struggling or failing, and there is good data to support the importance of training investment to project outcome. Yet the “training gap” remains. In this year’s survey, a whopping 46% of SAP professionals surveyed indicated they did not have enough training to do their jobs. Though the survey sample size of 1,172 is not enough to reach definitive conclusions, it is enough to raise serious eyebrows.
Before I dig in further, here’s a few links you’ll want to have handy.
After the survey, Thomas Michael of Michael Management facilitated a webinar to discuss these provocative results. I was on the webinar, along with Cushing Anderson of IDC (both of us wrote forewords to the 2013 survey). You can view or download the webinar in two formats:
Lately I’ve been pushing the technical envelope with multi-party video recordings to see what is possible. Here we have the latest fruits of these experiments - a Google Plus Hangout chat taping on the under-reported topic of SAP virtualization. I was fortunate to have three opinionated SAP virtualization die hards, Chris Kernaghan, Martin English, and Tom Cenens subject themselves to my first official Hangout taping (note that Tom’s correct Twitter handle is @tomcenens).
During the 40 minute video, we dug into some potent SAP virtualization topics, including:
- Does SAP virtualization matter?
- Why is SAP virtualization always an afterthought when SAP presents on its cloud strategies?
- Should the LVM tool be free? Is the pricing fair for smaller companies?
- How Tom got in some controversy with his LVM pricing blog and how SAP responded
- What are the key skills SAP Basis people need to be relevant in a virtualized SAP environment?
- Has SCN become more balanced towards Basis topics since the #sapadmin movement?
- What conferences are the guys going to? (SAP virtualization week, etc.)
- Why is SAP’s "Project Titanium" eagerly anticipated and why the slow rollout?
- Also relevant: fellow SAP Mentor Tammy Powlas‘ blog post on ASUG LVM webinar
Some time ago, I published a piece on JonERP.com riffing on the power of pull, which was inspired by the book of the same name, but geared towards individuals rather than the corporate focus of the book. It was my tribute to listening and context in a world where most of us are in relentless broadcast mode, in a desperate bid for our slice of attention amidst a media pie that is getting more crowded by the day. Believing that our friends will surface everything we need to read is naive and lazy. I went into a further rant on this topic in my blog post, "Twitter is not a content meritocracy." Though the "Power of Pull" was not about pimping tools, I did say that Google Reader was the ideal tool for those who want to get a leg up by pulling the best content into one location.
One of the areas of most confusion (and interest) involving Business ByDesign is the SDK. Up until this point, the ByDesign SDK has been restricted to a limited number of partners. So when I had a chance to talk to one of those partners, I made the Skype video taping happen. Based out of Bangalore, Vijayan Venkataraman of ERP Logic is an expert in the ByDesign SDK who has more experience in the product than most people in the world. (He got his first exposure while helping to develop the SDK with SAP Labs). During our twenty minute talk, I ask Vijayan about the use cases for the ByD SDK, how difficult it is to train, the skills needed, and what features he’s looking to see in future releases. Note: soon we should have an edited and produced version of this video on JD-OD.com. The audio is also posted on my JonERP.com iTunes feed, or you can download the audio ByD SDK discussion.
Mobility is one of the key areas SAP is banking its future on, with 100 million Euros set as a revenue goal for 2011 as a combination of mobility, HANA, and on-demand revenues. But the growth opportunities SAP anticipates in mobility bring organizational challenges as well. With HANA stealing most of the Sapphire Now headlines, important mobilty questions lingered after the event. To get to the bottom of those, I taped a three way video podcast with fellow SAP Mentors John Appleby and Kevin Benedict. During this 40 minute video spiced with a bit of sassiness, we hashed out the burning SAP mobility questions and also discussed what SAP needs to pull off in TechEd season for it to be deemed a success from a mobility perspective.
Sapphire Now 2011 looms as one of SAP’s most important conferences in years What better way to preview the action than with UK-based John Appleby of Bluefin Solutions, in his home office, Sybase mug in hand? John agreed to walk the plank for my first-ever Skype video taping with a new piece of software that places our profiles side by side. This is a format my video partner Dennis Howlett and I use on our newly-launched JD-OD.com "on-demand video commentary" site. The video you are about to see here is the second shoot of the day. The sound quality was solid, the video quality pretty decent with the exception of my video angle which blipped in and out a few times. In this post, you can check out the video OR download an optimized audio file. The 30 minute video starts with some Sting jokes and banter before covering burning questions pertaining to HANA, mobility, BI 4, and on-demand (in that order). Scroll down for viewing/listening options and some time stamps.
Many bloggers are in the habit of automatically cross-posting their content verbatim on multiple platforms. I’m not a fan of cross-posting and try to avoid doing this. If/when I post my podcasts in additional blogs, I try to add some updates that bring fresh context or a new look into what went into the project. But in this case, I wrote a BI 4.0 event review for the Enterprise Irregulars (a group I am now a part of), but I forgot to add my Enterprise Irregulars post to my Feedburner "JonERP Master Blog and Podcast Feed.", which pulls most of my far-flung SAP blogs and podcasts together. As a result, many of my readers didn’t see the post, which I spent the better part of a weekend wrestling with. (If you’re not tracking that Feedburner feed, it features most of my content and can be tracked via either RSS or email). As for the BI post I wrote for the Irregulars, I’m going to share it here, but I’ll begin with some additional BI content that hasn’t been shared yet.
At SAP TechEd Las Vegas, I was amongst a small group of bloggers that had a compelling conversation with SAP CIO Oliver Bussmann on the changing technology at SAP and the barriers to collaboration and "upskilling at scale" that must be overcome for SAP to realize its grander visions. A good portion of the conversation was sparked by bloggers Dennis Howlett and Sameer Pattel, with a focus on how SAP can integrate (or extend) more collaborative processes and unstructured information into its ERP core. The best part of the discussion was that it was a genuine discussion, with both sides taking notes. That’s SAP at its best. Nobody has all the answers.
To me, this conversation about technical evolution always circles back to skills development - without the right skills, how can you support a (gulp) "intelligent enterprise?". I asked Bussmann that question, and Howlett filmed Bussmann’s response and the follow up questions. The conversation pointed towards skills trends all SAP professionals should be paying attention to. Not to mention implications for certification that the Certification Five will certainly be tracking.
SAP TechEd season is upon us, and I’ll be heading to Las Vegas for the week. I’ll be attending Innovation Weekend, and if you want to meet up at TechEd, you can find my TechEd “Who’s Coming” JonERP profile and ping me there. For readers of this blog, there are opportunities to learn more about SAP skills and certification at TechEd as usual. Four of the “Certification Five” will be in Las Vegas and two of the five in Berlin. Here’s a few details on some of the live sessions, as well as a couple of videos for those who can’t attend.
Before I did into this blog topic, I want to make sure that those who subscribe to this blog are aware of my other sources of content. I have a backlog of posts I intend to feature here, but if you want to track all my content, including my new podcasts and blogs on PAC and SCN, not just the posts here, make sure you’re tracking my feedburner "Master SAP Blog and Podcast Feed." All podcasts are on iTunes at the JonERP iTunes store.
With that out of the way, on to the topic at hand: Why SAP TechEd is relevant to business users. This is the time of year where I hear from business users that they aren’t interested in TechEd or aren’t trying to get approval. This attitude baffles me. SAP TechEd is not only highly relevant to business users, in my view it’s SAP’s best event of the year. Instead of using empty superlatives, I shot a video rant that goes into the specifics of my argument on TechEd’s business relevance. I am hopeful that this content will also help individuals build their business case for SAP TechEd attendance. I even donned a tie for the video so you know I went the extra mile on this one. And no, SAP didn’t ask me to shoot this video. In fact sometimes SAP itself plays down the business relevance of TechEd.
Already on the ground in Orlando - and deep into an SAP Enteprise Architecture pre-conference deep dive, I received word from Ray Wang, one of the key analysts in the enterprise space, about a groundswell organization to poll SAP user sentiment. And that’s where you come in. Please help us gauge the sentiments of SAP users by filling out our "Sapphire user sentiment survey."
Have you ever wanted to see if a band of individuals united around a common cause could have an impact, move a mountain, get an institution much larger than you to change its tune? I know I have – I’ve been rockheaded enough to try it many times over my career, with admittedly varying degrees of success. The most recent such attempt, involving SAP certification, is a story that goes back about nine months, from the first meeting of a group that has come to be known as “the certification five.”
SAP certification is a hugely popular topic for JonERP.com readers, so this post is a chance to say your piece. Right now, on the SAP Community Network, you can read a blog post where the certification five lay out our viewpoints on SAP certification. There is also a link in that post to our complete 55 page white paper, which goes into detail on our positions and also includes feedback from SAP’s Sue Martin, providing SAP Education’s responses to our current stances. If you have an opinion on SAP certification, and I know many of you have a strong one, please hop over to our SCN blog post and comment there.
This month, JonERP.com released a new book, The Ultimate SAP Pricing Guide. The author of this book, SAP pricing consultant Matthias Liebich, is a twenty year SAP pricing consultant. Over the years, Matthias has become a good friend and valued colleague. But up until two weeks ago, he and I had never met. With the first copies of his book proudly in hand, I paid a visit to Matthias at his home office in Atlanta, Georgia. During the visit, we shot three short videos on SAP pricing skills I am going to share with you in this blog post, along with a few notes from the interviews.
It’s been an exciting time for SAP career content at JonERP.com. This week, I announced my SAP Career Outlook 2010 series I wrote for the Career Center at SAP Community Network. These two white papers are probably the most important thing I have written about SAP careers this in a decade, so I encourage you to check them out (they are up on SCN also).
One of the problems with writing SAP career content is that "one size does not fit all." Each SAP career path needs to be fleshed out. Sometimes the best way to do that is through a collaboration with another expert. Enter SAP Mentor Tony de Thomasis of the Australia Post. Tony saw my two part video series on "SAP Career Planning" I had posted on SCN - videos that capture some of the themes of the white paper series. Tony then took those videos a step further with a fabulous Prezi on the career path for Basis-NetWeaver pros. I then raised the stakes of collaboration again, by taping four commentary tracks through Tony’s Prezi slides. You can see these in this blog post.
On Wednesday, December 9, I had the opportunity to attend the much-debated "Sapience 2009: Alternatives for Leveraging Your Investment in SAP" conference in Boston. I say "much-debated" because there was a good deal of talk both prior to the conference and afterwards in terms of whether the Sapience show was "anti-SAP" or not. In this blog post, I’ll weigh in on that topic and more. And yes, this entry is not exactly on time. To be honest, it took me a long time to sort through what I might be able to add to this discussion. At any rate, the challenges SAP faces have not gone away since this event took place.
Another video highlight from 2009 I am now posting on this blog is my "How (Not) to Behave on Twitter" video. I taped this when I was in a bit of a pissed off mood about some common misbehaviors on Twitter I find particularly annoying. But after the fact, I thought there was some decent stuff on this video on the best ways to use Twitter to your advantage if you’re an SAP professional, and maybe a few laughs besides.
When I posted this on the SAP Community Network, I said, about the video, "In this unforgiving yet low key rant, Jon Reed of JonERP.com presents, for Twitter users, ‘how not to behave’ on Twitter if you want to use it for business - either for your employer or yourself." That’s a pretty good summary of what you’re about to see. Oh, and if you want to track me on Twitter and ask me quesions in real time, find me at @jonerp.
As the year winds down, I’m playing catchup on a couple of my favorite JonERP videos I posted on the SAP Community Network that I haven’t had a chance to post on my web site yet. The first two feature Sue Martin of SAP on the changes afoot with SAP certification, and how the dialogue between SAP Education and the SAP Mentors (an initiative I am a part of) is impacting the direction of SAP certification.
From the Mentors side, I can tell you that as I see it, one major goal is to ensure that the SAP certification of the future has more direct relevance to hiring managers and is more closely tied to the bona fides of real world project experience. That’s a strong message we’ve gotten from the SAP community, and we’re trying to translate that into specific practical suggestions that can be implemented. We’ll see more about what kind of success we are having with that in 2010, but for now, these two videos I taped with Sue Martin at SAP TechEd 2009 Phoenix will give you an inside view.
I’m posting a handful of my favorite videos from 2009 to close out the year. One highlight, without a doubt, was this shoot with Ann Rosenberg. To get to the bottom of the impact of BPM on SAP’s tools, skills, and consulting approaches, I managed to get the "Goddess of BPM," Ann Rosenberg herself, otherwise known as the Global Practice Owner for Business Process Management at SAP, to sit down for a live video shoot at SAP TechEd Phoenix. We shot the nine minute video on my flipcam and I thought the sound quality was very good, given that we were just outside the Community Clubhouse, where people were talking it up as usual. I consider BPM to be one of the most important skill areas inside of SAP, but it brings with it a great deal of hype as well. We got into those issues during this video.
During the holiday season, I’ve been digging out a few of my most watched videos of the year and posting them on JonERP.com. This video, on "Making the Business Case for SAP Mentors," is my best attempt to date to capture the impact of the SAP Mentor Initiative - at least on my own work. I taped this video prior to the SAP Influencer Summit on December 8, 2009 in Boston. This was a late night video project, and I took three shoots - this one was the winner. We were asked to submit a video on a compelling story from the SAP ecosystem with a business case - something with real meaning to SAP customers. I believe the SAP Mentor Initiative is such a story - during this video, I make my case.
In 2009, I filmed a few more videos than usual. Mostly I was tricked into it by SAP Community Network members who asked me to contribute profiles and other community videos. I’m nothing special with video production, but I did find that my YouTube SAP video channel got more hits that I would have expected. So now, I’m posting a few highlights on this blog. One is this video on SAP training and certification. I haven’t blogged much on breaking into SAP this year, partially because I have already written about this subject in detail, and partially because there are specialists in this area who are serving this market well, such as JonERP advertiser SAPCookbook.com. I shot this video as a warmup, but it’s gotten about 500 views with no promotion, and as I looked at it again, I realized it did have some focused advice I have boiled down over the years.
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