Last Thursday, SAP had a kickoff call with its SAP BusinessObjects Authorized Education Partners (AEP) regarding SAP BusinessObjects Business Intelligence 4.0. Historically, training materials have lagged several months behind each major release, so one of the side benefits of SAP’s ramp up process is that training materials will be ready to go on day one of general availability (GA). I’ve been a certified trainer for nearly seven years, beginning with classic BusinessObjects 5.1, and I still approach each major release with the same combination of excitement and dread. Excitement over new toys, but dread over new concepts and training manuals to master.
I’m focusing this post on classroom training (both in public training centers and on-site at customer sites). In the future, I’ll discuss other options like e-Learning.
New Training Material Format
The big news for SAP BusinessObjects Business Intelligence 4.0 classroom training is the new training material format. Paper manuals have been phased out of public classrooms in favor of Adobe Digital Reader E-books. SAP has responded to customer requests for training materials that have greater portability, accessibility, and flexibility. And SAP will be able to reach its sustainability goals by having a more eco-friendly training format. In the classroom, Students will be able to toggle between the E-book (which can be annotated, bookmarked, and use desired font sizes) and the training system from the same PC. After the class, students will be able to read their E-book on their work or personal device. Printed manuals can be ordered after the class is taken for a nominal (and currently unknown) materials fee.
SAP customers that arrange for on-site training at their facilities will still have a choice between E-book and paper until the end of 2011.
New Course Offerings
As one might expect, there are new classes to support new tools. Courses for Crystal Reports 2011 and the classic Universe Design Tool (formerly known as Universe Designer) are largely unchanged from their previous iterations. But there are new courses for Crystal Reports Enterprise 4.0 and Information Design Tool. And the Data Services curriculum is revised in format to reflect the integration of text analytics and other new features.
SAP Crystal Reports Enterprise 4.0
BOCE10 – Crystal Reports Enterprise : Fundamentals of Report Design (2 days)
BOCE20 – Crystal Reports Enterprise : Advanced Report Design (3 days)
SAP BusinessObjects Information Design Tool 4.0
BOID10 – Information Design Tool I (3 days)
BOID20 – Information Design Tool II (2 days)
SAP BusinessObjects Data Services
BODS10 – Data Services – Platforms & Transforms (3 days)
BODS30 – Data Services – Data Quality Management (2 days)
SAP BusinessObjects Dashboards (BOX310), formerly Xcelsius 2008, is now a 2-day offering. I always managed to get students through the previous 3-day class in around 2.5 days, so it will be interesting to see what’s changed. The administration series (BOE310 2-day/BOE320 3-day/BOE330 4-day) have the same course titles and durations, but the Administration and Security (BOE310) and Administering Servers (BOE320) courses are supposed to have a lot of new material. And lastly, Web Intelligence has the same course numbers and durations (BOW310 2-day and BOW320 1-day) but it’s effectively a brand new tool with a lot of new workflows.
I can’t comment on the actual course materials yet, as SAP Authorized Education Partners are not involved in the process to create SAP BusinessObjects course materials. Keep in mind that SAP uses its own trainers for education while BusinessObjects used a combination of its own trainers and partners, a trend that has thankfully continued since the BusinessObjects acquisition. I hope that the new BI 4.0 guides have more emphasis on hands-on activities for students, as the previous XI 3.0 manuals reduced hands-on learning in favor of instructor demonstrations. I’m looking forward to ordering my new instructor guides when they become available at the end of the month (August 2011) and will be furiously working through them during the month of September so I can quickly get through SAP’s instructor vetting process.
The certification process to become a SAP Certified Associate is largely unchanged, although the exams will obviously be new. New exams for Web Intelligence, Crystal Reports, and the Business Intelligence Platform (formerly BusinessObjects Enterprise) will be available on October 31, 2011. Exams for SAP BW 7.3, Business Planning and Consolidation, Financial Consolidation, and Governance, Risk and Compliance (GRC) will be available by the end of 2011.
Well, that’s all I have right now. In the meantime, check out the latest Diversified Semantic Layer podcast where Jon Reed, Sheila Ryan and myself discuss SAP education and certification with Eric Vallo, Jamie Oswald, and Greg Myers. And take a look at my ASUG presentation on user adoption, as classroom learning is a key component but not the only component of a successful user adoption strategy.
What are your thoughts on SAP BusinessObjects Business Intelligence 4.0 education, e-Books, and certification?