SAP is known for its enterprise-grade software and technology across the globe. Organizations within various industries and that span borders use SAP products and services to help run their businesses more efficiently. An independent subsidiary of SAP—SAP National Security Services (SAP NS2)—has been providing the same types of products and services, specifically across government and regulated industries within the U.S.
SAP NS2, which is 100% U.S.-based and staffed, was founded with security in mind, bringing the leading analytics insight and data fusion technologies from SAP and applying them to mission-critical workloads. One of the services the company provides is NS2 Serves—a training and employment program designed specifically for U.S. veterans.
ASUG spoke to Nicole Duffy, education practice manager at SAP, who manages the instructors who teach the courses in the NS2 Serves program and plays a vital role in keeping the nonprofit program moving forward in teaching the important skills and information around SAP technology.
ASUG: How did the NS2 Serves program come about? What is it and how does it work?
Duffy: Mark Testoni, who is the CEO and member of the Board of Directors at SAP NS2, is a veteran himself. He introduced the NS2 Serves program because he believed that our veterans experience challenges in transitioning to civilian life after they have served, and he wanted to provide a program that helped them assimilate to everyday life, but also to do so by teaching them valuable skills within the SAP ecosystem.
Statistics show us that 53% of post-9/11 veterans will face a period of unemployment, and that doesn’t factor in this recent pandemic and its effects across the country.
The NS2 Serves program has been a huge success. To date, we have trained more than 350 veterans, with many graduating and moving on to outstanding jobs across multiple industries. Through the program, SAP NS2 offers training and employment assistance to recent veterans, resulting in official SAP certifications, which are valuable in many career paths in both the U.S. and across the world.
ASUG: Can you walk us through a typical training class?
Duffy: The first class we held was in 2014 and consisted of 20 students who went through a 10-day business process overview and materials management course. That went really well, and everyone successfully got employed after receiving their certifications. The next course we did was on SAP Business Warehouse. We did rounds of that course. The idea behind what we do is not focused on training on a specific SAP technology, but rather making sure there are employment opportunities on the other end of that training.
So, we work with employers to better understand what their needs are, and then we craft our courses to match those needs. We’ve had training courses on everything from SAP BusinessObjects, to SAP HANA and SAP SuccessFactors and HR Payroll, to more recently SAP S/4HANA Finance.
We really try to work with employers ahead of time to figure out where the need is and then come up with a training program around that.
Currently, we are holding eight-to-12-week training courses. In 2019, we ran five to six courses and trained about 100 veterans. We took a step back in 2020 because of COVID-19 but are moving forward with virtual class in February 2021. If it goes well, we will replicate it until we’re able to have face-to-face classes again.
ASUG: What, if any, kind of IT background do participants of this program need before applying?
Duffy: None. We’ve had participants come from all walks of life and that is perfectly acceptable. We aren’t training individuals to be system administrators; we’re training them to be certified in a specific product.
It’s worth mentioning that we do not take anything from their GI Bill, so they can still be seeking to get a more specific degree in IT—or anything else, for that matter. This program is free to veterans and is meant to complement whatever else they are doing with their GI Bill, if anything. We do also provide some intro courses, for example with SAP S/4HANA Finance, and we’ll do an intro to accounting. Or, in other cases, we provide some communication courses where it’s necessary. But the primary goal of the training is to get them certified on SAP technology where the need is.
ASUG: Can participants get more than one certification?
Duffy: Participants can get recertified based on their companies. For example, when we did the course on SAP SuccessFactors, because it is a cloud product, participants are required to get recertified every quarter. So, NS2 Serves purchased the SAP Learning Hub so that they can keep up with studies and get recertified as required.
ASUG: Can you talk about the future goals of the program?
Duffy: I think 2021 will be an interesting transition year for the program. We are testing a virtual class, something we’ve never done before, so we’ll have to wait and see how that goes. Our hope is to get back to training and employing as many veterans as we can.
ASUG: How can SAP customers get involved?
Duffy: Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
With the recent announcement of RISE with SAP, ASUG has a series of virtual events lined up to help members make sense of this new offering. Join us on Feb. 11, 3 p.m. ET/2 p.m. CT for the second part of our ASUG member-exclusive series: Breaking Down RISE with SAP for Our Partner Network. Keep an eye on the ASUG Events page to register for what’s coming up.