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SAP BPX Certification Podcast with Mario Herger of SAP - Podcast Transcription Print E-mail
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Podcast Transcription: 
The Unveiling of the First SAP BPX Certification: 
A BPX Community Podcast with Mario Herger of SAP
Hosted by Jon Reed of
Podcast Interview Date: August 26, 2008

Jon Reed: Welcome to this special BPX Community podcast. I'm your host, Jon Reed of, and joining me today is Mario Herger, the SAP Community Network Alchemist. Mario has been knee-deep in some exciting work on SAP BPX certifications. In this podcast, we're going to get the latest on how the SAP team is progressing on BPX certifications and also how you, the listener, can get more involved.

Mario, thanks for joining us today. For those listeners who aren't caught up with the developments on BPX certification, tell us the latest news.

Mario Herger: The latest news is that we now define five tracks for the BPX certification, and we now have one of those tracks filled with classes. We are going to announce at the upcoming TechEd in Las Vegas that the track we have filled with classes is the so-called SAP Business Process Management Certification for BPX, with classes around the Business Process Management area. Classes in this curriculum are, for example, about BPM methodology, BPM governance, some basics about BPM, and BPM technology tools that you can use for that.

Reed: That's great stuff. The BPX certification mirrors the three-tiered SAP certification structure, right? There's an Associate's level, a Professional level and a Master's level to follow?

Herger: Exactly. It's following this structure, the three tier level, but it will not be like a traditional certification in that you go through these classes within two or three weeks; it is a little more extensive, it is an elite program. We have five tracks: in each track you need a certification, and all those tracks together lead to one BPX certification at an associate level.

Reed: That makes sense. Right now, you've fleshed out one of the tracks, which is the BPM for BPXers track, and you're going to be fleshing out the other four. You have the associate's level for the BPM and also the professional level for the BPM, is that correct?

Herger: That's right, we have the associate level and the professional level. The master level will follow a little bit later; we have to work on that as well. Inasmuch as the BPM track is concerned, we have four additional tracks. We got that out of the discussion with the community and with our internal experts. For example, we have so-called basics that you need to know, like entering business scenarios, starting with order-to-cache process or hire-to-retire so that they understand some fundamentals.

Then we have knowledge that you should acquire about application solutions and industry knowledge. If you come from one area, it's good to learn about others, so this is included in the curriculum as well.

Another track focuses more on the technologies behind this stuff: software and IT knowledge you should know about, like Business Intelligence System, XI, and portals, to understand the whole architecture and be able to guide and lead and build the architecture. Did I already mention BPM certification for BPX? Everything about Business Process Management methodology, Solution Manager overview, Enterprise SOA, everything that is available in this context.

The last track, which is often underestimated, is soft skills and experience. This is an important point for us because we think the BPX certification is not a program you do right out college. You don't go through a three-month boot camp and you're a BPX associate. No, we expect you to have three to five years of experience; you've gone through your first projects, you've seen that you need knowledge from other sides and you've also seen challenges that came up in such projects.

These challenges often include soft skill gaps that people need to fill: leadership; knowledge about diversity in teams, especially in such global environments that we're working in; communication skills, not just bringing over your message, but being able to really communicate and get your point across is necessary for everybody. That's something we want to more or less bring into the program.

Reed: Good stuff. Before we get further into this, can you tell us why we need a BPX certification in the first place? How would this certification, properly implemented, help the SAP ecosystem?

Herger: We know from reports from different groups who mentioned that, of the IT projects in the U.S., only about 34% of those are seen as successful in the industry. That means, obviously, 66% of IT projects are either failing completely or they are late or over budget. That's why we have the BPX here, to come in and help bridge the gap between business users and developers, and to be the so-called "marriage counselors" (and I am quoting a colleague from SAP who coined that phrase).

We estimate that we are losing six billion dollars in the U.S. alone due to unsuccessful IT projects, so there should be a demand for BPX. And bringing in BPX, certifying BPX and showing that somebody has gone through all these five tracks and learned how they can help make an IT project successful - I think this is a good point to bring in certification.

Many people that we've spoken to are coming either from the development side and have all this interest in the business side as well, or you have people coming from the business side but they have done a lot of technology consultation to bring us these business requirements on a technology level. People consulting with large customers, many customers - I think they feel they do have a skills gap, and they want to complete certification to help them assume this role. That's why we are offering that curriculum, that path they can follow. At the end of that path, they should have the knowledge. They should be able to say, "I can do that now. I'm really here to help my customer, my company."

Reed: There's also been some discussion that validating the BPX area with a formal certification will also put a higher level of prestige and importance on these skills in the eyes of customers as well.

Herger: Definitely. We are standing behind it, we are not taking that easy. For us, BPX is an important next step for a professional in this industry. You may already come from a certain area, like a developer, business user, consultant, configurator and so on, and then you see you need more. So this is really a track and education curriculum that shows that you have moved beyond the initial phase of your professional career and that you are going into much more challenging and interesting areas.


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