SAP Next-Gen is revolutionizing the way businesses and universities work together to develop digital skills, foster innovative thinking, and create job-ready graduates.
SAP Next-Gen began as a series of semester projects in which educators provided students with access to SAP technology, allowing them to explore solutions for real customer challenges. The success of this model led the German enterprise software giant to expand its reach by establishing the SAP Next-Gen Lab at multiple universities around the world.
In 2018, Victoria University became one such university when they opened an SAP Next-Gen lab on their City Flinders campus which allowed Master of Business students access to SAP Leonardo technologies such as machine learning and big data. This was followed by similar labs opening up in China, the UK, Germany, and the US. Each lab provides companies with students who have specific digital transformation knowledge and skills through both academic studies such as new software courses or elective professional certificates from existing courses that focus on tools like SAP ByDesign or S/4HANA.
The launch of the Next-Gen Lab at Nottingham University’s Digital Centre Of Excellence in 2023 saw partners from Innospec, Tarmac, Hillarys (Hunter Douglas Group), Marshall’s Group, Boots, Birchman, etc. attend. In addition, SAP successfully launched its MSc in Accounting Information Systems which is based on SAP S/4HANA, and had 65 pupils in its first year. SAP’s aim for the lab was to digitally future-proof students and enhance their career prospects.
Commenting on the launch, SAP EMEA North Director of University Alliances Martin Gollogly shared:
“The Next-Gen Lab at Nottingham University Business School will connect students, partners, and customers within one world-class facility. This facility will give students the opportunity to gain a deep, high-quality understanding of SAP and how it is used to help the world’s most successful organizations run better. Customers and partners will gain access to a pool of talented, motivated, and skilled SAP-ready students that will be able to hit the ground running.”
SAP Next-Gen Lab at the Forefront of Digital Transformation
Not long after SAP Next-Gen Labs began to appear, companies started reporting a shortage in hiring digital skills with SAP being particularly severely impacted due to the deficiency of early talent SAP Business ByDesign and SAP S/4HANA channels. University of Nottingham Professor of Strategy and Digital Transformation Dr. Andrew Callaghan further explained:
“We are increasingly seeing the expectation from employers that graduates should be able to arrive on their first day with the digital capabilities necessary to work in a modern, often hybrid or remote working environment. The Digital Centre of Excellence is designed to help digitally futureproof our students and enhance their career prospects. We pair functional business skills from our degree programs with digital skills that are in high demand to make sure our students stand out in the job market.”
The said deficit has been addressed by the SAP Next-Gen labs. Not only have they provided new software courses but they have also enabled universities to integrate technology into existing courses as well as create elective ‘digital’ professional certificates tailored specifically to SAP technologies.
Ultimately, SAP Next-Gen Lab is now at the forefront of digital transformation and has become a platform for SAP’s vision of transforming education. SAP’s commitment to widening access to SAP technology and developing long-term partnerships with universities has enabled companies to benefit from SAP Next-Gen Labs which are increasing the number of SAP-trained graduates available for employability in the market.
The initiative’s success story is still evolving and as more labs open up, SAP is sure to continue providing students with the latest skills needed by today’s businesses to remain competitive in a dynamic global economy. With such an impressive success rate, it seems likely that SAP will continue its mission to provide new generations of professionals with the SAP-certified skills and knowledge needed to succeed in their chosen fields. SAP Next-Gen Labs are paving the way for future generations to acquire SAP certification and become SAP experts.