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In the year since openSAP premiered its wildly successful Build Your Own SAP Fiori App MOOC challenge, developer interest has skyrocketed, stoked by SAP S/4HANA innovations, along with prototyping tools like SAP Splash and BUILD.

I wasn’t surprised to hear that attendance doubled in this year’s MOOC, “Build Your Own SAP Fiori App in the Cloud – 2016 Edition,” with over 30,000 enrollments. This latest challenge reflects the high standards of all openSAP courses, deliberately intensive and dynamically evolving in sync with the latest innovations, in this case, SAP Fiori. For example, this year’s challenge gave participants the option to gain feedback during both the design and development phases.

“Participants in the first course told us they would have appreciated more time to iterate apps,” said Bob Caswell, Course Architect at SAP. “So we decided to offer two rounds of feedback, similar to the real-world experience of starting with an idea and carrying it through to fruition. This approach helped people pace themselves better, and was backed by reward points to encourage full participation.”

OnTimePayments App

Moscow-based developer, Veronika Bakhtalovskaya, used peer input to more efficiently iterate her OnTimePayments app (at right). The app keeps both project managers and customers updated on outstanding invoices.

“The two challenges gave me the chance to improve my project before starting to develop it,” she said. “Based on the feedback I received, I changed the app name, redesigned the action buttons, and clarified the POV, shaping the persona in more detail. The forum discussions also contributed a lot of additional knowledge not mentioned in the course materials, but important to app development.”

Bakhtalovskaya directly applied her learnings to her role at BearingPoint, where she manages financial transformation projects on SAP ERP and SAP S/4HANA.

“Now that I understand SAP Splash and BUILD, I’ll be able to quickly create inspiring prototypes for customers without deep knowledge of programming,” she said. “I’ll continue working on S/4HANA Finance, being the expert and advisor for our customers in the implementation of further innovations. Make this world simpler and more efficient is my ultimate goal.”

Two-time winner

After winning the openSAP challenge for the second year in a row (in two categories), Jacob Tan, an SAP HANA and Fiori app developer at SAP Business One partner Blue Ocean Systems, couldn’t agree more with the value of MOOCs.

“I really enjoy the open and free learning platform,” said Tan. “There are so many opportunities building on top of SAP HANA to develop something on a small scale for major impact, allowing companies of any size to grow globally. The courses are helping me stay on top of the user experience, increasing my understanding of using solutions like SAP Splash and BUILD. This will be a good way to quickly turn my use case sketches for clients into prototypes, sending them a link for immediate feedback.”

Tan said he plans to approach hotels to gauge interest in his winning Facility Management app, (above) which determines and predicts crowd occupancy levels in buildings, allowing people and companies to potentially save time (and frustration) and costs. Tan was among the winners in a new category of SAP Partners that received $1,500 in marketing development funds.

Valuable peer assessments

Nittin Garg, Lead Consultant at HTL Technologies in India, also signed up for both this and last year’s MOOCs not only to learn the latest SAP Fiori capabilities, but also to take advantage of the peer assessments he couldn’t use last year due to time constraints. This MOOC increased the number of peer reviews to five per person. “I was able to make the time to complete five peer assessments, which is very important,” he said. “It’s the same process we use daily in my own work, and the best way to evaluate ideas against what’s required. The more we collaborate, the more ideas we’ll generate, and the more we’ll achieve.”

Garg developed a loan approval application app (right) to increase transparency for faster, fact-based decision-making. He plans to use the feedback he received from peers during the course for improvements like adding collapsible icons by loan category.

S/4HANA innovation

Another winner in the partner category was Stefano Scalcinati, a senior Technical Consultant at Stampa & Partners AG in Switzerland, for his JD Medical Research Center app (below). He said this MOOC was the logical supplement to his ongoing SAP S/4HANA education. His app speeds up worldwide healthcare diagnosis and treatment.

“I’ve completed several other openSAP courses on SAP S/4HANA, and the SAP Fiori front-end app is an important step for integration with the most valuable software offered by SAP,” he said. “I’ve learned so much, including how easily you can integrate a Fiori App in the cloud, and how Fiori simplification supports the process of transforming complex data in a structured manner for easy manipulation. I hope to become an expert on the SAP platform while continuing to improve my skills in SAP Fiori.”

Just as impressive as these learner comments are the course stats. Over 4,000 participants submitted ideas to this year’s SAP Fiori design challenge, and 2,100 continued with the development challenge. More than 3,000 people received a record of achievement. There were over 9,000 discussion threads between participants and instructors in online forums.

The top 220 submitted apps, including all of the winning entries, are displayed in this online gallery. Upcoming openSAP MOOCs promise to strengthen participant knowledge of SAP Fiori, as well as other user experience innovations, including Developing Web Apps with SAPUI5 and Software Design for Non-Designers.

Follow me @smgaler

Related content:

Top 220 Apps Created from the SAP Fiori Develop Challenge – Now on SCN

openSAP Fiori UX Apps Challenge Breaks New Ground in MOOCs

How SAP MOOCs are Creating Dynamic Learning Communities

Crowdsourcing and Contests Make the Grade for SAP MOOCs