SAP Education Portfolio Expands

Yesterday SAP announced its intention to acquire software and relevant assets from datango AG, a leading provider of workforce performance support software. Subject to the usual regulatory approvals, the transaction will broaden SAP’s software portfolio in the education space, providing customers with software tools to help address their end-to-end user training, knowledge management, and performance support challenges. datango’s products are being used successfully for SAP Business ByDesign as an end-user support tool.

datango was founded in 1999 and holds a longstanding and productive relationship with SAP. datango’s Performance Suite has more than 1,000 customers and three million users to date.

SAP Education: A Trifecta of Offerings, Live and Online

SAP Education, which is part of the SAP Services organization, trains more than 300,000 individuals annually, and has a growing range of technologies to enhance customers’ training efforts. Its portfolio extends beyond the traditional live classroom environment to include e-learning and other online options.

SAP Education’s comprehensive portfolio offers a trifecta of learning offerings, covering services, software, and content. 2011 saw the introduction of new training and certification for HANA and Mobility, the launch of the SAP Learning Hub, and other innovations. The decision to acquire datango reinforces SAP’s commitment to remain a market leader in education software technology, and by extension, underscores SAP Education’s commitment to being essential to SAP’s success. For more information, watch this video about SAP Education.

Q&A with Markus Schwarz, Global Head of SAP Education

On the heels of the announcement, Markus Schwarz, senior vice president and global head of SAP Education, shared some insights into the acquisition and what the new product – to be known as SAP Workforce Performance Builder – means for SAP’s customers and partners.

SAP: datango is already an SAP partner with strong ties to the company. What added benefits will the acquisition deliver to SAP as well as its customers and partners?

Markus Schwarz: The area of end-user enablement is very critical not only for the success of SAP software deployment and implementation projects, but also for the ongoing adoption of our software. datango’s software addresses the creation of training content, simulations, documentation, and testing materials in a very scalable way. Owning this,software allows SAP to optimize its value while adding integration with the rest of our tools. Importantly, with this tool we’re empowering customers to manage knowledge on their own, and gain independence in the process.

When customers speak about of SAP software, talk inevitably turns to total cost of ownership and total cost of implementation. How will the acquisition of datango’s education software reduce costs?

Markus Schwarz: A big concern among customers is the time and cost involved in deploying SAP software. We anticipate that this tool will bring savings of up to 80% in time and effort in creating documentation and about 30% time savings in creating training materials, resulting in a reduction of first-level support tickets. This tool from datango exactly addresses a big chunk of these costs.

What role does certification play as part of SAP Education’s offerings?

Markus Schwarz: Certification is really where quality control starts for SAP. Customers are asking SAP to ensure quality in the ecosystem, and we achieve this by offering leading edge enablement courses to partners. But we’re also delivering a quality control mechanism to the market which is certification, and this is very critical. The program has developed a great deal over the past two years, and I would say we are very much on par with certification providers such as Cisco or IBM.

What is the importance of education to SAP’s own services offering and within the enterprise software market as a whole, also in terms of revenue and growth potential?

Markus Schwarz: It’s a key role of SAP Education to be a market-maker for SAP. Properly enabled customers and partners ensure widespread adoption of SAP innovation. For example, SAP Education trained over 2,000 people in HANA in 2011. HANA was actually one of the best-selling early product training courses in the history of SAP Education. Mobility also had significant attendance, and we’re expanding these curricula for 2012.

SAP Education has a strong foundation in classroom trainings, but has significantly evolved its offerings. The education arm of SAP empowers customers to run better in a very sustainable way, meaning it ensures that all customers’ audiences – not just project teams – are properly enabled and ensure adoption. SAP Education achieves this with a comprehensive portfolio that combines learning services and learning software, as well as learning content which can be consumed online.

In 2011 alone, SAP Education trained nearly 55,000 people via e-learnings and e-Academies. SAP Education simultaneously released 31 courses in Sept 2011 to support the BusinessObjects 4.0/BW 7.3 release. This was the first major release of SAP BusinessObjects courses since SAP acquired the company.  And in Q4 2011, we saw a 36% increase in the number of Sybase trained resources, which is a strong indicator for 2012.The aim is two-fold: to provide scalable, affordable, and flexible offerings; and to ensure enablement continues across the lifecycle.

Note: Pictured below is Markus Schwarz,  global head of SAP Education