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More than 100 German-speaking lecturers participated in the virtual Academic Community Conference 2020 with a three-week program.  Everything focused on how SAP technologies can be used as application examples and practical learning scenarios in teaching and how they can support them. Especially in these special times, teaching and learning environments for SAP technologies can offer an interesting added value in digital learning.


In the period between August 31 and September 18, the University Competence Center (UCC) Munich together with the Academic Board DACH and the University Competence Center Magdeburg put together an exciting three-week agenda for the German-speaking academic community of the SAP University Alliances program:

  • Keynotes from Thomas Saueressig, Member of the Executive Board of SAP SE, and Bastian Nominacher who is Co-CEO and co-founder of Celonis.

  • 6 tracks with about 20 presentations submitted and selected by the community on topics such as usage scenarios for SAP solutions as a teaching tool, innovation projects with industry partners, From SAP ERP to SAP S/4 HANA, New Work and New Learning in the SAP context etc.

  • 5 workshops to discuss and develop issues such as New Learning (business games, gamification), teaching support (analytics, lecturer tools), curricula for SAP S/4 HANA and Industry 4.0 etc.

  • 12 train-the-trainer instructor training courses on e.g. SAP S/4HANA, .... As well as preview trainings on the SAP Cloud solutions SAP Data Warehouse Cloud and SAP Analytics Cloud.

Lecturers and professors from various universities, colleges and educational institutions were able to exchange information on teaching in the SAP context as well as on the current challenges of virtual teaching and mutually benefit from best practices.

Challenges of digital teaching

Prof. Dr. Krcmar, Technical University of Munich and Academic Director of the UCC Munich, considers the Covid pandemic as a test case for the fundamental question "How is our teaching doing?" and asks where it will lead teaching in the long-term.

How do I communicate with students? Which tools can and may I use? How can virtual exams be conducted? How do I transfer local resources into virtual environments? How do I design virtual teaching? How do lecturers and students get access to the infrastructure? How do I ensure a high quality of teaching?

The importance of virtual teaching is increasing and technical requirements (hardware, bandwidth, etc.) are essential. Virtual teaching has greatly increased the use of UCC offerings and the demand for mutual use of existing material within the community.

The hybrid event is the keyword in current discussions with high innovation potential for emergent formats like already known formats like e-Learning, Massive Open Online Courses etc. Therefore, an exchange within the community is important what works well and what does not.

Challenges in teaching (slide presented by UCC)

With the quote "Never waste a good crisis", Prof. Dr. Krcmar encouraged the participating lecturers to take the opportunity to implement digitization measures that have been planned for a long time, to use new players, technologies and diversity in teaching and to exchange experiences.

Teaching and learning environments

Prof. Dr. Turowski, Otto-von-Guericke University Magdeburg and academic director of the UCC Magdeburg, presented the development of the University Competence Centers as Shared Service Centers. The UCCs are embedded in the respective university and the latest results from research are directly implemented in the application, thus service provision and research in the academic environment complement each other.

The UCCs are changing from technical service providers (hosting) to academic service providers and provide academically relevant teaching and learning environments with SAP system access, model data and teaching materials.

The UCCs have the expertise to offer high quality teaching systems at reasonable prices while at the same time ensuring binding framework conditions, e.g. data protection. This requires "operational excellence", which has once again been tested and documented by SAP through certification of the UCCs.

UCCs are certified by SAP (slide presented by UCC)

The UCC Magdeburg has 20 years of experience and pursues a systematic approach with the aim of providing the academic community with high quality and cost-effective curricula. The latest innovation was recently developed in collaboration with the SAP Data Warehouse Cloud solution product team: an operational concept with a "shared tenant" approach that enables a cost reduction of a factor of 20 to offer SAP Data Warehouse Cloud for teaching at educational institutions in the future.

Weiterhin haben die UCCs neue Partnerschaften verkündet:

  • Cooperation between Software AG, Harz University and SAP regarding Enterprise GPS for Business Process Modeling interested parties: SAP and Software AG Create Learning Environment

  • Cooperation with Celonis to map the end-to-end process of process mining

The Mindset process - Celonis

In his keynote, Bastian Nominacher, Co-CEO Celonis, expressed his solidarity and gratitude to the academic world. As a student at the Technical University of Munich, he himself made use of the practice oriented UCC offers in the context of SAP. The idea to analyze data was born in the course of a student project. Celonis was founded in 2011 and is now one of the "unicorns" of Germany. Celonis is one of SAP's largest Cloud Extension Partners with 250+ implementations worldwide.

The customer's question is how to leverage the potential of technologies. How theory can be put into practice. An integrated skill set from process and data science is required (see figure).

Integrated Skill Set (slide presented by Celonis)

Bastian Nominacher now wants to give something back to the students of today and in cooperation with the UCC Munich teaching materials for different roles are offered (see figure).

Lehrmaterialien (Folie präsentiert von UCC & Celonis)

Lifelong Learning and Skills for the Intelligent Enterprise - SAP

Thomas Saueressig, member of the Executive Board of SAP SE, focused on three topics in his keynote speech: competencies, lifelong learning and SAP's contribution.

The so-called "Digital Skills" need to be thought about further, because communication and soft skills must not be forgotten. Computers cannot imitate empathy, creativity, curiosity and differences can only be fertilized by diversity.

Technological change has always existed, but the speed of adaptation has rapidly shortened: Twitter has established itself within 2 years, Pokémon within 4 weeks! This showed that Augmented Reality is by no means a dream of the future, but rather a low-cost technology.

In the learning context, Micro Learning - e.g. mobile while I'm sitting on the bus - is on the rise. According to the World Economic Forum, one billion people worldwide will need to be educated within the next decade. Young people should be prepared as early as possible for tomorrow's world with the skills they will need in the future. That is why continuous learning is essential. The willingness to learn and to remain inquisitive is important, even if it is sometimes exhausting. ? This also includes a culture of learning from mistakes and trying things out.

SAP has, for example, established so-called "Screw up Nights", the "Sharing is caring" - also regarding mistakes and learning.

"Unfortunately, the pandemic shows how important digitalization is. This applies to companies but also to schools. The SAP University Alliances Program is essential and therefore I personally think it is important to provide SAP Cloud products", emphasizes Thomas Saueressig.

In keeping with the culture of trial and error, Thomas Saueressig had his co-lecturer Eva Zauke, Chief Knowledge Officer at SAP, appear as a holodeck, presenting the necessary skills and competencies to customers as part of their transformation to renew and grow (see figure).

Developing the Skills for the Intelligent Enterprise
(slide presented by Eva Zauke)

Furthermore, openSAP and SAP Learning Hub, student edition was presented, which give students access to professional, digital and collaborative learning content.

News from SAP University Alliances

Dr. Michael Nürnberg, Vice President, Regional Director, SAP University Alliances informed about the organizational changes that took place in April 2020: Karina Edmonds is the new Global Head Academies and UA and reports directly to Christian Klein, CEO SAP (Interview article: Karina Edmonds Brings Industry and Academia Together at SAP).

The new global head of the SAP University Alliances program is Katharina Schäfer. The focus is on the next generation and their education according to the vision: Students know SAP as the innovative technology leader enabling the intelligent enterprise end-to-end. Students are enthusiastic to use SAP technology and work within SAP's ecosystem.

Michael Nürnberg also presented the three core topics: teaching, applied innovation and research. In the area of teaching, the focus is on the migration from SAP ERP to SAP S/4HANA by September 2021 and the current development of operational concepts for the provision of SAP cloud solutions for teaching.

In the area of applied innovation, the format of the SAP Next-Gen semester projects, which was piloted in 2016 and has been successful since then, will be further developed into a scalable format with industry partners. In the area of research, cooperation opportunities for different IP needs will be brought together (in the context of organizational change and the addition of the Central Research Services unit).

Core topics within SAP University Alliances
(slide presented by Michael Nürnberg)

André Biener was introduced to the academic community during the conference as the new contact person for the DACH region (Germany, Austria, Switzerland).

Current projects of the UCCs

The UCC Magdeburg informed about the following projects:

  • Pilot phase for SAP Data Warehouse Cloud with curriculum from Prof. Freyburger, HS Ludwigshafen and Prof. Hagen, HS Offenburg starts for 10 institutions from October 2020

  • Pilot phase for SAP Analytics Cloud with curriculum by Prof. Morelli, Mr. Hofstetter, HS Pforzheim and Ms. Furtner, University of Innsbruck, planned from April 2021

  • New SAP BW/4HANA curriculum from Prof. Freyburger, HS Ludwigshafen and Prof. Hagen, HS Offenburg will be available from summer semester 2021

  • Development project "Digital learning factory for production and corporate cost planning" with Festo, Forcam and FH Joanneum of 13 learning paths and simulation

  • Online learning system "Enterprise GPS" in cooperation with Software AG, SAP and HS Harz for a guided navigation through business and technical views in SAP S/4HANA

The UCC Munich informed about the following projects:

  • Curriculum for SAP Retail based on SAP S/4HANA Model Company in cooperation with University Duisburg-Essen

  • Process Mining Curriculum in cooperation with Celonis

Brisk exchange in community sessions

In the context of the community session "Application scenarios for SAP solutions as a teaching tool", Svenja Damberg, Technical University of Hamburg, among others, presented her experiences with the use of SAP S/4 HANA in digital and international teaching. Dr. Anke Schüll, University of Siegen presented her teaching approach regarding learning from mistakes in a playful e-learning environment on integrated business processes of the model company Global Bike Inc. She also won the "Best Contribution Award" of the conference. Congratulations. ??

E-Learning with fun, presented by
Dr. Anke Schüll, University Siegen

In the community session "From SAP ERP to SAP S/4HANA", professors Karl Liebstückel and Hans Scheruhn shared their experiences in the discussion and emphasized that the change and the effort were worth it. The lecture of Boris Levkowskyi also confirmed the relatively easy change from SAP ERP to SAP S/4 HANA and emphasized the innovation possibilities in SAP S/4HANA which are of interest for students.

Invitation: Academic Community Conference 2021

The next conference will take place in September 2021 at Zeppelin University in Friedrichshafen. Until then, register for the monthly SAP University Alliances Newsletter.