Sheffield Hallam University inaugurates SAP 'centre of excellence'

Sheffield Hallam University has expanded its long-standing academic relationship with SAP with the launch of a study centre

Sheffield Hallam University has expanded its long-standing academic relationship with SAP with the launch of a study centre.

Sheffield Hallam University became the first UK member of SAP’s University Alliances programme in 1998. It was also the first member of the global SAP Student Academy programme in 2013.

Roger Eccleston, pro-vice chancellor at the Faculty of Arts, Computing, Engineering and Science at the University, said: “The Centre of Excellence will have a specific focus on building advanced skills in SAP solutions within a high-quality, dedicated academic teaching and research environment. The emphasis will be on students developing tangible skills in SAP solutions, alongside an understanding of business and systems concepts”.

The centre will comprise teaching and research labs and facilities, including a computer running the Hana database platform. It will deliver three SAP-centric Masters degrees, the first of which – ‘Strategic Enterprise Systems, Business Transformation and Management’ - begins recruitment in January 2015.

Stephen Lofthouse, senior lecturer in Business Computing & SAP at Sheffield Hallam, said: “As a university, we have always taught educationally foundational concepts and have used technology to illustrate those. From our point of view, we want to pick the best tools to do that, and SAP provides those. 

"There is a massive demand for SAP skills in companies worldwide, and our graduates go everywhere.”

Lofthouse said the local economy benefits from graduates with enterprise software skills. “Yorkshire Water, the Post Office, and Tata Steel are all big SAPs shops. We are producing highly skilled graduates, and businesses have access to SAP technology, such as high powered analytics on the Hana box. 

"We also have an MSc. in analytics, which draws on SAS expertise.”

Graduates of SAP-related courses at the university have found jobs at Jaguar Land Rover, Saudi Airlines, Xansa, Ernst & Young, Fujitsu and Bombardier, he said.

Lofthouse confirmed the centre will be funding PhD students focusing on pharmaceutical supply chain analytics using Hana.

Martin Gollogly, who heads SAP’s University Alliances programme in the UK and Ireland, said: “Sheffield Hallam is the single most SAP-accomplished university in the UK and Ireland”.   

He said the Sheffield centre is likely to be out on its own for a few years. “I don’t want to be in the position of doing multiple centres in an ad hoc way. We’d rather do one really well for, say, three years, and use that to train others.”

Cormac Watters, managing director of SAP UK & Ireland, said: “The launch of several specialist SAP-themed degrees with multiple certifications at Sheffield Hallam is intended to give students a deep understanding of multiple aspects of SAP software, and of the importance of design, integration and simplification.”

Read more on IT education and training