SAP supports its SMB partners with a training and knowledge transfer model that is tailored to their needs and the specific requirements of the SMB market. Partners learn how to employ, customize, and implement SAP’s SMB solutions to best accommodate their customers. They gain valuable direction on how to position and sell SAP’s SMB software and philosophy in the market. And perhaps most importantly of all, partners build up a comprehensive and up-to-date knowledge base that is easily transferable to their customers. The key dynamic is continuous learning – expertise is constantly enhanced, refreshed, or updated to provide an enduring knowledge base that accompanies partners throughout the lifetime of their customer relationships.
Blended learning – from school desk to hot desk
The same principles that characterize SAP’s solutions for small and midsize businesses apply to the SMB training portfolio – flexibility and affordability. This is made possible by a concept of blended learning with training ranging from e-learning, which is free of charge to SAP partners, to classroom courses led by qualified instructors.
Classroom-based courses are offered for SAP Business One, providing an initial foundation for partner employees. A range of workshops for both SAP Business One and mySAP All-in-One impart hands-on experience and useful advice. Partners selling mySAP All-in-One are served by comprehensive sales workshops. Delivered by experienced sales professionals, these workshops not only support the sales team in developing effective sales strategies and activities but also give detailed pointers in terms of competitive and market analysis. Further product-related workshops for mySAP All-in-One instruct partners how to build and localize a solution and at the same time successfully leverage mySAP Business Suite technology for the mid-market.
For SAP Business One, additional role-based classroom courses fulfill the more detailed training requirements of employees in sales, consulting, development, and support. These role-based courses are inextricably linked to the partner certification process and success in the corresponding certification tests is a prerequisite to partner status. The idea is to provide more than just a basic grounding for new partners. More advanced courses and expert training elevate participants from fledgling apprentices to specialists in their field. This combined with proven certification in the SAP Business One role-based courses allows SAP to ensure that only the most qualified partners have license to trade in the SAP SMB space.
While the courses currently on offer support implementation, software development and sales, upcoming courses will continue to broaden the spectrum and address current topics such as Internet sales or the important issue of product integration and interoperability. Training materials are regularly updated and new courses are always in the pipeline. All are developed based on carefully researched market needs, partner feedback, and project experience. To ensure global coverage and maintain quality, courses are offered worldwide. Where required, training materials are localized to reflect the differing requirements and language of the individual country. SAP Business One courses are currently available in 12 countries around the world with about 400 consultants and sales specialists fully certified in SAP Business One at this time. Certified SAP Business One professionals are subject to regular re-certification (usually on an annual basis) to ensure that skills are constantly updated and standards maintained.
Flexible, fast, and free of charge
Despite the benefits of instructor-led, hands-on training, to sustain a continual learning process that reflects the latest developments, students often have to step outside the confines of the classroom. In a fickle and unpredictable IT market, partners need to be flexible and stay one step ahead of the game. E-learning provides the ideal answer and an effective knowledge transfer medium for both mySAP All-in-One and SAP Business One.
Flexible, fast, and free of charge, partners can take advantage of Internet-enabled training that sidesteps the inconvenience and cost often associated with scheduled training at fixed locations. Just as systems and applications are upgraded, partners are able to update and enhance their knowledge base – at their own pace to fit with their schedules and learning needs. Global online workshops, virtual training sessions, live expert sessions, online self-study units – all contribute to educating partners about the latest software releases, functions, and country-specific enhancements. The main source of information on the latest SAP Business One and mySAP All-in-One releases can be found in the SAP Learning Maps. These online self-study units provide tailored, role-based learning designed to prime sales, development, and solution consultants for the task of selling, customizing, and implementing different releases of SAP’s SMB software.
SMB Partner Portal – Future knowledge broker
At the heart of SMB partner network lies the SMB Partner Portal, a web-based portal created by SAP as a complimentary platform for the SMB partner community – to share information and profit from online collaboration, knowledge transfer, and services. The full range of role-based e-learning objects is accessible here. Implementation and configuration guides as well as classroom training materials can be downloaded by partners and reused for customer training – at no extra cost. However, the portal is about more than just fast and efficient knowledge transfer between SAP and partners. Equally important is the premise to get partners talking to each other, sharing information and building on expertise. It’s early days yet, but as the SMB partner network continues to grow, so does a flourishing knowledge base. Bolstered by a strong partnership with SAP, increased skill levels, and their existing expertise, partners communicating through the SMB Partner Portal have the opportunity to explore the potential of a truly reciprocal knowledge transfer relationship – where all of the players stand to gain.