Partnership to offer first ERP training programme through e-learning, giving IT and business professionals a faster, more flexible and affordable track to certification
The SIM University (UniSIM) has partnered with German software giant SAP, to offer a SAP Global Certification Programme via full e-learning mode for the first time in Singapore. All IT and business professionals who desire to become certified SAP consultants in Enterprise Resource Planning1 (ERP) can sign up at their convenience and pursue the e-based certification in a shorter time, with greater flexibility and at a lower cost than a conventional classroom-based programme.
The programme aims to equip students with the knowledge of business processes and industry best practices – consultancy skills that are much sought after worldwide. Given the faster and more flexible way of e-learning, the certification programme, offered jointly by UniSIM and SAP, will be a boon to the IT industry which faces an acute shortage of qualified specialists in the field of ERP.
"I congratulate UniSIM and SAP in reaching a partnership to develop globally competitive infocomm professionals via the eAcademy. Companies with globalised business operations are leveraging effective ERP to efficiently marshal their resources for the production and delivery of their products and services across geographical regions and time zones. Infocomm professionals with in-depth capabilities to design, develop and deploy ERP systems will be much sought after by companies implementing ERP," said Ms Christina Gan, Senior Director (Infocomm Security and Manpower Development) of IDA.
Globally, there is a critical shortage of skilled manpower in the area of ERP system customisation, implementation and support which has resulted in the current strong demand for SAP professionals in the industry. This is due to the increased adoption of SAP solutions, primarily in small and midsize enterprises (SMEs). SAP is the market leader in ERP, with a total market share of 32.1 percent in Asia Pacific and Japan2.
By 2010, more than an estimated 60,000–80,000 ERP consultants will be needed worldwide. IT research firm Gartner has forecast Asia Pacific's ERP services market to grow at a rapid compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 14.7 percent from 2005 through 2010. This will continue to fuel the high demand for SAP professionals. Currently, Singapore has about 4,000 SAP consultants certified locally. It is expected that another 50 percent more will need to be certified by 2010. To meet this demand, the UniSIM-SAP Certification aims to train more than 200 SAP-certified ERP consultants in a year.
A typical SAP consultant may earn 15 to 20 percent more than their IT peers. The SAP Certification is a compulsory qualification for all who wish to practise in the area of SAP ERP. It is a qualification that is well sought after and internationally recognised.
A New Way of Learning
The UniSIM-SAP certification programme is offered through the newly set up UniSIM-SAP eAcademy. For a start, students can choose to e-learn from one of six different SAP tracks at the eAcademy. Each course comprises 200250 e-hours of learning or contact time spread over four months, after which the students will have to sit for the SAP certification examination. Compared to the current instructor-led classroom training offered by other tertiary institutions or private training facilities, the UniSIM-SAP eAcademy allows students to learn at their own time and pace. The cost savings of e-learning to the student is also substantial. The UniSIM-SAP eAcademy course fees range from $9,500 to $12,400, which is 40 percent lower than the conventional classroom-based SAP certification courses.
A unique feature of the UniSIM-SAP eAcademy is a dedicated help facility manned by SAP-skilled professionals, who are available to answer students' queries via online chatroom and voice chat.
Addressing Industry Needs
Commenting on the strategic partnership with SAP, the Provost of UniSIM, Professor Tsui Kai Chong, said, "The UniSIM-SAP Certification through e-learning is yet another programme UniSIM introduces in response to industry needs. Our approach is to tie up with major industry players, such as SAP, to ensure that our programmes are relevant and meet the real needs of industry. With the augmenting of IT and business professionals skilled in ERP, the Singapore IT industry is also poised to move up the value chain where we create value through consultancy work, and not just technical support, with local as well as global clients."
Professor Tsui added, "The e-learning mode of this programme is consistent with UniSIM's firm advocacy for e-learning. As a university dedicated to adult learners and working professionals, e-learning approaches enable our students to learn anytime, anywhere."
Mr Kowshik Sriman, Vice President and Country Manager, SAP Singapore, said, "We are pleased to partner UniSIM in developing more SAP talents in Singapore. SAP's vision is to bring industry knowledge and business best practices to companies that want to leverage IT to transform their business models and processes to become more competitive. Through this programme, we look forward to providing these enterprises with talents that can drive these changes."
The UniSIM-SAP Certification programme will be open for enrolment to members of public immediately. It will also be offered to all new students under the UniSIM School of Science and Technology's Bachelor of Science (Honours) in Information Technology and Business programme from January 2009.
1 An Enterprise Resource Planning application is designed to automate and integrate the business processes across different functions like financials, human capital management, operations and corporate services. An ERP system enables an organisation to increase its operational efficiency by planning and managing its resources more effectively. This results in better visibility and decision making, improved customer relationships and partner collaboration across its supply chain.
2 Source: Gartner report: "Market share: CRM Software, Asia Pacific and Japan, 2006"