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SAP Business Technology Platform and Rise with SAP

SAP Business Technology Platform is part of SAP’s Rise with SAP package. As we approach a year since the introduction of Rise, IgniteSAP has been taking a closer look at what IT consultants need to know to be part of the wave of Rise with SAP implementations which has been gathering momentum over the last year.

We previously provided our community with an overview of SAP Business Process Intelligence, which is one of the other main components of the offering. This week IgniteSAP will look at SAP Business Technology Platform: what it is, how it contributes to Rise with SAP, and how IT consultants can learn and gain qualifications for SAP BTP to confidently implement parts of the Business Technology Platform as part of a Rise with SAP project.

What Is SAP BTP?

The Business Technology Platform is a collection of integrated solutions that facilitate the creation of business value from data. By focussing more on what the business requires rather than technology infrastructure, users of products from the BTP portfolio save time and resources, and also create new value streams for a business as well.

SAP BTP achieves these goals because it helps businesses and organisations to build, manage, and deploy business applications, and connect all data and business processes on one integrated platform.

The portfolio of BTP applications is extensive and users are encouraged to select those which provide the services they require. The applications available in the cloud platform can be grouped into four main categories. These are: database and data management, analytics, application development and integration, and intelligent technologies.

Within these categories, users can take advantage of SAP solutions such as SAP HANA Cloud, SAP Analytics Cloud, SAP Business Planning and Consolidation, SAP Integration Suite, SAP Extension Suite, SAP Intelligent RPA, SAP Conversational AI, and SAP IoT.

The platform is ideal for companies who are already using other SAP products like S/4HANA but also integrates with non-SAP systems.

This wide variety of solutions means that all sorts of enterprises and manufacturing operations can be catered for within the scope of SAP BTP. Those IT professionals seeking to learn and get qualified to implement SAP BTP instances will do well to get an overview of the entire selection, but specialise in the particular area that corresponds to their own interests and expertise. So for example they may choose to specialise as developers and integrators within the SAP BTP framework but in their professional practise they may be expected to have a working knowledge of other areas with SAP BTP, and of course of the business context and business processes as well.

Qualifying as a SAP BTP Developer and Integrator

SAP is keen to ensure that there are sufficient professionals with the appropriate skills to implement and integrate instances of SAP BTP as part of Rise with SAP projects and so have been making sure that there is an easy path for those seeking learning and qualifications as BTP services providers.

Consequently there are several clear paths to gain skills and accreditation, with varying levels of investment of time and money, in order to suit a variety of circumstances.

For a quick summary of how SAP BTP helps developers watch this keynote speech by Juergen Mueller (SAP’s CTO) from TechEd 2020.

Introductory courses for SAP BTP do not require that participants have any IT or coding experience, and SAP BTP even has new no-code/low code development capabilities, but on the whole people learning SAP BTP in order to qualify as highly sought-after developers should expect to learn JavaScript and ABAP, SAP’s Advanced Business Application Programming language.

An Introduction to SAP BTP on openSAP

SAP’s openSAP initiative offers free access to SAP knowledge with Massive Open Online Courses. Every course on openSAP is free to access, and the course content is available on demand so SAP learning can take place according to each person’s requirements and schedule. The courses offer interaction with SAP experts and peers, and use a variety of teaching methods including micro-learnings, podcasts, gamification, discussion forums and self-testing.

“SAP Business Technology Platform in a Nutshell” is a great introduction to SAP BTP and allows participants to access three hours of learning divided into five units: 1. SAP Business Technology Platform: strategy and offering, 2. Integration: connecting processes, data, and experiences, 3. Data to value: enabling customers to improve with confidence, 4. Extensibility: enhancing and customising the business processes, 5. Key takeaways: SAP Business Technology Platform in a nutshell.

Though the course results in a confirmation of participation certificate and a record of achievement, this course should be seen as a first step and introduction to more in-depth learning. This can be accessed through the SAP Learning Hub.

SAP Learning Journeys for SAP BTP

SAP currently offers seven Learning Journeys that prepare those taking part for SAP certification exams. The exams do require payment and result in SAP Global Certifications which can dramatically increase your chances of getting employment and winning contracts, but the courses on the Learning Journeys are free up to the point where you are ready to be examined.

Here is the path of a Learning Journey from course to qualification.

The “Developing with SAP Extension Suite” Learning Journey consists of just under twelve hours of content that guides students through the process of building a side-by-side extension application. Participants are introduced to the SAP Cloud Application Model (CAP), the Node.js framework, and other tools within the SAP Extension Suite.

On this Learning Journey students learn how to create a user interface with Fiori, create custom code, and implement security features, manually or automatically deploy an application as well as gain a comprehensive understanding of the other features of SAP Extension Suite such as use APIs to exchange information. Participants are expected to understand simple cloud development concepts and JavaScript.

Following the course, students can get qualified by taking the exam for SAP Certified Development Associate – SAP Extension Suite as an online exam.

Online Exams Through the Learning Hub

After completing a Learning Journey it is possible to take an exam online which is overseen by a virtual invigilator. By purchasing the SAP Global Certification Online Exam, Six Attempts (CER006) subscription through the Learning Hub, a student gets access to six attempts at a SAP certification exam. This costs € 500.00 (EURO), and a single exam attempt can be purchased with the one exam attempt option with the product code CER001 for € 200.00 (EURO).

There are three levels of certification in most SAP products and they are Associate, Specialist and Professional, with the highest level being Professional Certification. The extent of your training, specialisation and level of certification determine the salary or value of contract you can expect when practising your profession. An associate exam need only be taken once but with exams for specific SAP products it may be necessary to take “stay current” exams corresponding to updates to that version of that SAP product. This may seem an unnecessary expense at first but by keeping up to date with these exams it is possible to differentiate yourself from your competitors, to the extent that any initial outlay can be recouped in salary or value of a contract later on.

Learning Hub vs Classroom Learning

Following the free Learning Journey followed by taking exams through the Learning Hub subscription is by far the best option in terms of value for money but it is possible to get training through a live virtual classroom.

For example if we take the equivalent course listed in the SAP Training Shop under the previous product name of SAP Cloud Platform Extension Suite (the course code is CLD200 SAP Cloud Platform: Enterprise Extensions), we get much more in-depth training but also a higher price to pay: € 2,175.00 (EUR).

What we have to consider is: Is this level of training appropriate to me currently? Can I get a third party, i.e. current employer to sponsor my continuing SAP education? Will this extra training result on a significant return on investment in the course of my career as a SAP Developer?

Take Advantage of Free SAP Resources First

Currently SAP is pushing adoption of Rise with SAP and it is seeing significant uptake in all areas of commerce and industry. In order to support this SAP is making a substantial effort to change the culture of the SAP ecosystem in such a way that it supports Rise with SAP uptake in the long-term. Product education and training for potential clients, partners and individual IT consultants contributes to this strategy.

Consequently there are free resources currently available which can allow IT consultants to get a good general understanding of both SAP Business Intelligence, SAP Business Technology Platform, SAP S/4HANA Cloud, and also individual SAP products with these portfolios, because these resources will contribute to ensuring a skills gap does not develop to hinder the uptake of these products and the Rise with SAP platform.

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The best way to take advantage of the current resources is to set aside time in your schedule to explore the possibility of retraining or up-skilling using these free resources. Once you have completed a Learning Journey you will be able to assess whether it is appropriate for you to invest in taking the Global Certification Exams, and/or further in-depth training in specialised areas. Also if you have already completed the Learning Journey then your employer will be far more likely to sponsor your exam. Even if you choose not to take the exam you can choose to defer examination or simply use the knowledge gained to support your current professional practise.

You can be sure that with the increasing momentum of Rise with SAP uptake, the demand for IT consultants with the necessary skills will also increase, and it will be those who have taken steps to retrain ahead of time that will get the edge over their peers in the SAP jobs market.

If you would like more information about retraining or repositioning yourself within the expanding SAP services market then please contact IgniteSAP and our team will be happy to discuss your plans.