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The winners of openSAP’s latest SAP Fiori UX  app developer’s challenge have a message for anyone who still thinks MOOCs consist of knowledge transfer through talking head videos and multiple choice tests: the newest dynamic learning community has arrived. Focused topics, hands-on learning and expert support are the hallmarks of a successful MOOC strategy that are just as effective as in-person classroom experiences.

The challenge was part of the SAP-sponsored MOOC, Build Your Own SAP Fiori App in the Cloud, and resulted in three winners of Apple MacBook Air computers, plus a gallery where 170 participants are now showcasing their app prototypes. Of the 20,000 participants who enrolled in the openSAP Fiori challenge, 6,000 completed the weekly assignments and 1,500 created a prototype Fiori app to receive a certificate of achievement. Here’s what the three winners have to say.

Customer Service in a Microbrewery

Staying updated on innovations like SAP Fiori UX is all in a day’s work for Bjorn Harzer, a solution architect at Absoft Limited, a U.K.-based SAP partner focused on usability and mobility.

“Fiori is the new face for SAP solutions, and I wanted to see how these innovations actually work so we can tell our customers what they can do with them,” said Harzer. “Fiori is becoming mature, and with the introduction of SAP S/4HANA, customers need to understand how to move to these new technologies.”

Harzer’s app provides customer service departments in microbreweries with a centralized view of customers, including access to financial details and promotional opportunities for streamlined cross-selling and upselling. “The Fiori interface is a great way to give customer service all the information they need to process, place and track orders immediately. It’s a one-stop-shop to mitigate financial risk and maximize sales and service,” he said.

Electronic Medical Records – Doctor Rounds (EMR – DRounds)

As an intern at Blue Ocean Systems, a Singapore-based SAP partner, Jacob Tan saw the latest Fiori MOOC as the next logical step in his SAP HANA platform education. “I’m intrigued by SAP’s user experience-driven approach,” he said. “I had never built an app before but have been exploring SAP HANA through other openSAP MOOCs, and wanted to learn about Fiori because it’s the entry point for SAP products.”

The EMR – DRounds app gives health care professionals instant access to patient information and the ability to seamlessly manage actions across a community of caregivers. During its design, Tan appreciated access to SAP Web IDE (Integrated Development Environment), a cloud-based HTML5 mobile app tool that’s part of the SAP HANA Cloud Platform.

“The templates are automatically set up, giving you a head start in design,” said Tan. “Anyone out there can develop their idea easily and fast. I was able to build an app within minutes.”

Football Team Management

Tobias Hermanns was one of four people from Ordina, an SAP partner based in The Netherlands, to sign up for this MOOC. As a young business consultant at Ordina with limited programming experience, Hermanns saw the online course aligned to his career goals.

“When I started at Ordina in January, I didn’t know anything about SAP, Fiori or programming,” said Hermanns. “The openSAP MOOC gave me the opportunity and flexibility to learn everything I could about developing Fiori apps and installing them for our future customers.”

It made perfect sense for Hermanns to channel his passion for football (soccer to American fans) into an app that offers managers a winning edge. The Football Team Management app brings together historical opponent information, formation options and player selection for streamlined analysis and pre-game play decisions. In real-time, managers analyze opponent tactics, obtain feedback from assistance coaches, and plug in players and plays to arrive at the optimal game strategy.

Hermanns found the peer review, in which participants grade the submissions of five other contestants, equally educational, advancing his understanding of the concept of Design Thinking and the possibilities of SAP Fiori.

“I’ve seen a lot of cool ideas from the apps I reviewed. It provided me with a greater understanding of how apps could be used to improve business processes, addressing the user’s pain points, which is the basis of SAP’s Design Thinking approach,” said Hermanns.

Like so many technology innovations, online learning isn’t better or worse than in-person classroom teaching per se. As openSAP and other business MOOCs are finding, it’s a different learning experience that can change the careers of participants and instructors in unexpectedly powerful ways.

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