As we mark the ninth anniversary of the launch of openSAP, we’d like to reminisce about our journey with the team, the experts, and the learners.
One of the first memories I have of openSAP is inviting our first speaker to travel to SAP HQ in Walldorf, Germany to record the very first course, Introduction to Software Development on SAP HANA. Thomas Jung arrived and in tow brought with him six different color shirts – one for each week of the course.
Obviously after a long journey, they needed some TLC and so Michaela brought an iron to the office to help make our first videos feature crease-free shirts.
Thanks to Thomas for keeping the pic of the iron. I think 9 years on, the fact he still has that image from April 2013 tells us that it’s not just us that has those fond memories!
So how did openSAP come to exist?
Well, Clemens participated in the MOOC In-Memory Data Management at the newly founded openHPI in September 2012 and he wouldn’t stop talking about it, telling everyone who would listen about this great new learning format and experience. In January 2013, Bernd Welz (who was Chief Knowledge officer at SAP at that time and is now the CEO at the NPO Klimastiftung für Bürger, dedicated to education for sustainable development for everyone) called Clemens because Hasso’s chair at HPI (Hasso Plattner Institute) and Gerd Oswald (SAP Service and Support board member, now member of the SAP Supervisory Board) had been in contact about the potential of the MOOC format at SAP. Clemens took the task to build one of these on the topic of SAP HANA asap and possibly two more on the topics of Design Thinking and Mobile Development after evaluating the outcome of the first course.
As a preparation, we were happy to invite Juergen MUELLER, who was then Chair Representative at the Research Chair of Prof. Plattner at HPI, to create a summary of the course, In-Memory Data Management In a Nutshell, to be used on openSAP. Since then, Juergen has become a member of the SAP Board and Chief Technology Officer at SAP – we’re glad to have got him early in his career. Of course, the rest is history as the first course attracted just over 40k learners with ~10k earning a Record of Achievement. The new format of Enterprise MOOCs was born!
Just like SAP Learning today, we focused on free knowledge transfer for developers and started to provide trial systems for hands-on access to let masses adopt. We’re proud to have been the early birds back in 2013, and we’re excited to contribute to how this will progress on the SAP Learning site.
We collaborated with other groups at SAP, such as complementing Joe King‘s SAP HANA Academy with building up the SAP HANA developer curriculum. Quickly, our portfolio grew as the demand both internally at SAP, as well as externally, grew. Externals wanted to get the content through openSAP while internals wanted to deliver their content through openSAP. Suddenly we had a portfolio with all of the latest innovations from SAP including SAP HANA Cloud Platform (predecessor of SAP Business Technology Platform), SAP S/4HANA (from the first day of launch), SAP SuccessFactors, SAP Business ByDesign, and more. Our audiences started to get familiar with the experts who appeared in specific portfolios, such as Thomas Jung, Rich Heilman, Rui Nogueira, Sven Denecken, Bert Schulze and Rainer Zinow. In some courses, learners provided feedback to the product experts directly who then in turn further refined and improved their products. In addition to portfolio topics, we also collaborated with thought-leaders from academia and the industry on topics like CSR, Sustainability, Design Thinking and Digital Transformation. We watched our hard work and effort become a successful brand, the now well-known openSAP.
In 2014 openSAP moved to a new platform, built lightning-fast from scratch by our friends at HPI. Through our course forums, we could get instant and unfiltered feedback from our learners and easily respond to their feedback, which helped us to continuously improve the platform and our content. Topics that were raised included demand for reactivation, advanced social learning with tools like peer assessment, team peer review and collaboration rooms, digital badges, subtitles offered in additional languages, as well as search and accessibility topics. Whenever we came to the openHPI team with ideas or feedback, they immediately evaluated the benefits and could start to work directly on topics that would help to improve our learners’ experience. The team at openHPI, under the leadership of Professor Christoph Meinel and his technical lead Christian Willems, has been so supportive and easy to work with over the years, we’ve been extremely lucky with this perfect partnership that worked so well.
Over the years, our team won many awards which often brought us around the globe to collect them. This was truly an honor and very motivating for the team to go the extra mile and deliver.
And we saw many learners flock to the site…
…and even to our booths at various events, where we could meet and exchange in person. This one time at Sapphire, one learner came with his 70+ Records of Achievement! He was proud of himself, but we were so much prouder of both him for his learning commitment but also the team of 30 people behind this great openSAP offering.
As learning has evolved, we noticed people started to enjoy microlearning and we reached out to the microlearning team at SAP and invited them to join us at openSAP. With this complementary offering, we could support learners who didn’t need to attend a full course but needed a short knowledge boost and there, microlearning fit perfectly into our portfolio. We also started to create and host podcasts to satisfy learners who like to learn on the go and with audio only. In addition, even though our site works on any browser and on any device, we created both iOS and Android apps to support learners with further mobile ready learning. We receive positive feedback on the apps and learners appreciate the choice of learning with the browser or app.
We also collaborated with the team at SAP Community, for example with Caroleigh Deneen to build missions, so when learners successfully completed an openSAP course, they also received recognition on the community reputation program. It was great to see learners start to collect a lot of badges by completing many courses with us. The openSAP missions belong to the top missions on SAP Community which see the most completions.
For sure, you’re already aware that the SAP Learning site will soon become the one destination for learning at SAP to ensure that you can find what you need in one place. This is an important step to help you continue your journey with SAP. We’re happy to be part of it and contribute to this as SAP Learning Labs by sharing our experiences from openSAP and bringing new ideas to the SAP Learning world and to you in the future as we have done over the past 9 years. Stay tuned to see how openSAP evolves as part of the new world at SAP Learning.
We had the opportunity to change the learning world in SAP: openSAP was the first platform with truly digital, truly free and open, at scale premium content (no travel, 24 h availability, collaboration and interactivity with forums, masses learning at the same time with all flexibility, but still motivational with deadlines). And we worked with a small but great team who were motivated to deliver the best for our learners alongside our wonderful experts and partners.
As we move on with SAP Learning, we’re now part of a much larger organization with a wide variety of talented colleagues with many additional skills. We look forward to working with all of the teams to bring it together and deliver a world-class learning experience to you, our learners!
Take care and see you on the SAP Learning site!
Michaela & Clemens (AKA Mrs. & Mr. MOOC)