As an SAP consultant, Marco Buescher never expected to be face-to-face with the longest-reigning heavyweight boxing champion. For the certified SAP consultant in supply chain management (SCM) and ABAP, the encounter was as educational as it was exhilarating.
This time, however, Dr. Wladimir Klitschko, adjunct professor at the University of St. Gallen in Switzerland and Challenge Master, took his place at the lectern together with Anja Schneider, senior vice president and head of Customer Innovation for Technology & Innovation at SAP, to give the openSAP course Design Thinking and Challenge Management.
Based in the central German city of Lingen, Buescher works on SAP customer projects in the oil and gas and food industries. He relies on the online learning platform openSAP to keep him on his feet and ready for any challenges the latest digital innovations thrown his way. Like boxing, it requires the discipline to stay mentally fit and agile while continuously learning and improving oneself.
During the openSAP course, Buescher picked up a few more skills from Dr. Klitschko, who related personal strategies and proven methodologies that can be used to manage challenges that arise from digital transformation. Buescher says he was pleased with the course. “Dr. Klitschko talks about his life in sports and transfers this knowledge to his own life philosophy, Challenge Management: Which knowledge do you need to bring in your daily life as a consultant? How does this knowledge match that of a professional athlete? And, what can you do to improve yourself?”
Digital Transformation Certificate Showcases Skills Proficiency
Buescher recently achieved an openSAP certificate in Digital Transformation through his coursework. The certificate comes with a digital badge that he can use on social media as a trusted validation of his SAP credentials.
For the certificate, Buescher successfully completed six courses in the Digital Transformation track, encompassing hard and soft skills like leadership, information security, enterprise machine learning, and digital innovations in SAP Leonardo. “It’s a very good way to get an overview of the digitalization process,” says Buescher. “The courses are not easy. After six courses, you will know what you have done for the certification.”
Self-Paced Learning Made Accessible
Buescher’s first contact with SAP occurred many years ago when he was working as an IT consultant and heard about SAP through colleagues. “I didn’t know much about SAP, but it sounded really interesting,” says Buescher. “I got the opportunity to take an SAP course. I used this to become a certified SAP consultant in SCM. After this, I was obsessed with SAP. I wanted to know everything about it.”
Following his certification in 2009, Buescher took more SAP consulting courses in financial/controlling and production planning, eventually becoming a certified ABAP consultant.
In 2015, he began taking openSAP courses to deepen his knowledge about the latest digital technologies. He recalls his first course on the learning platform, In-Memory Data Management in a Nutshell.
“At first it was just to try out the platform and see in-memory data,” he says. “I wanted to prepare myself with these courses, so I could talk to people in the projects about in-memory management, SAP HANA, and what’s coming up in the future.”
Since then, Buescher has taken about 30 openSAP courses on a wide range of topics, including SAP HANA Cloud Platform, Leadership in Digital Transformation, ABAP and an Introduction to Oil & Gas Downstream Logistics. He likes that openSAP is up-to-date with the latest technologies in terms of structuring and presenting course content, as well as facilitating peer-to-peer interaction. “Over time, the presentation of the courses has changed,” he notes. “It’s very interesting to see the new technology. In a course, you can work in groups and upload your work so other people from the course can provide feedback.”
Buescher also likes that the course instructors are personable and accessible in sharing their knowledge. “I think the instructors are very competent,” he says. “I saw one instructor at an SAP Code Jam and I talked to him. I think they are great people and really good at what they do.”
And while he prefers to learn in his home office, he knows he can access openSAP everywhere with his smartphone. “It’s great if I sit in the train and I can see on the openSAP app what new courses are coming.”
SAP Code Jam Passes It Forward
Marco Buescher is gracious about sharing his knowledge and encouraging more people to join the SAP community. In February, he organized the first SAP Code Jam in the city of Lingen, with plans to meet twice a year. “It’s very interesting to see people come together,” he says. “Before I was an ABAP developer, I thought, ‘interesting but not for me.’ But now that I am an ABAP developer, I think it is great to get new people in the community.”