Free How-to guides for implementing SAP HCM

Nov 2010 update: If you a consultant or consulting manager then check out my iPhone app to calculate consulting rates.Today I stumbled upon Sylvia Chaudoir‘s SAP HCM Expertise website. Sylvia is an ex-SAP HCM Consulting manager and she’s always been very willing to assist others. She’s presenting at the HR2008 conference in Orlando and you can meet her at “Meet the experts”. You can click on the Publications link to get a number of very useful guides to implement and maintain the SAP HCM system.Here are some other resources that you may find useful. Most of these resources are free:

  1. (free): This site has a wealth of information including many articles on the SAP HR/HCM module.
  2. SAP’s SDN portal (free): Loads of useful implementation information and forums.
  3. SAP Help Portal (free): This is SAP’s official help documentation portal. Here is the link to the SAP Best Practices for HCM (US version).
  4. SAP Business Maps (free): SAP Business process/solution maps are very useful as high-level overviews of the SAP solution. You will find the SAP ERP map here and a 2004 HCM map here.
  5. AdManus (free): AdManus is a group of german SAP HCM consulting companies. The site contains a lot of tips and tricks especially their newsletters archive.
  6. SAP HR/HCM – one stop resource (free): This blog is not well maintained and contains numerous ads and bad CSS formating. Not too sure if I should list this one…you decide. [Aug 28, ’08 update: Lost of good changes. Clean CSS and less intrusive ads.]
  7. MIT SAP HR-Payroll project notes (free): These notes are from 2000, however some of it may still be relevant.
  8. SAPDrill ($$): Self-study materials for SAP in general and SAP HCM.
  9. HR Expert ($$): Excellent HCM reviewed content. It is pricey, between $895 and $1,295 for an annual subscription. You can download a free sample here.
  10. SAP HR2008 ($$): This is an excellent conference to network and gain practical knowledge of the SAP HCM system.
  11. SAP PRESS books ($$): SAP PRESS publishes many books on SAP HCM. They are typically around $7+shipping.
  12. Blogs (free): I listed a few in a 2007 post.
  13. HCM Consulting companies (free :-): Some SAP HCM Consulting companies provide free information on their websites, however you’ll usually have to pay steep hourly rates for the good stuff.
  14. SAP Solution browser tool (free): Browse all the latest and greatest from SAP.

If you know of a good resource that I missed please post a comment.

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BI killer app: Google&Cognos

Last year I wrote about SAP’s in-memory BI technology. Refer to SAP’s SDN portal for the latest info. Today I read about a partnership between Cognos and Google regarding enterprise search and BI. Sounds very interesting and may compete with SAP and Oracle’s BI offerings. The Cognos solution is built into Google’s OneBox appliance.

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Ruby on Rails – Build a blogging engine in 15 minutes!

With Ruby on Rails (RoR) it is possible to develop a blogging engine in 15 minutes. Watch this 15 minute video demo-ing RoR. The Ruby language was developed by Yukihiro Matsumoto (Matz) in 1994. According to Matz:

“Ruby is the interpreted scripting language for quick and easy object-oriented programming. It has many features to process text files and to do system management tasks (as in Perl). It is simple, straight-forward, extensible, and portable.”

I have to admit that I’ve not heard of Ruby until recently. I programmed a lot of Smalltalk and C++ in my former life as a programmer and Ruby seems to be a great OO language with great reflective capabilities. Matz also mentions that Ruby was inspired by Eiffel and Ada — languages that I studied as a student in the late 80’s and then forgot about. Reflective features and MVC are now commonplace. These features were very esoteric in the 80’s.Well back to Ruby on Rails. This framework was developed by David Heinemeier Hansson and released in July 2004. David is from Denmark and a partner in the company. I really appreciate the simply, yet powerful design of the 37signals web applications. Do yourself a favor and learn a few things from these guys.RoR is a framework to quickly develop and deploy enterprise web applications based on Web2.0 principles. It uses Ruby as a scripting language and quickly and easily generates a web application framework. You can quickly link this application to a database back-end. The beauty of RoR is the interaction with the application while developing and the rapid deployment when you are done. Rapid prototyping is back! Rapid prototyping or agile programming involving the user is a great way to quickly develop an application that is highly usable and valuable. I really enjoyed Hasso Plattner’s (SAP co-founder) recent keynote at SAPPHIRE 2006 in Orlando called (re) design (scroll to the bottom of the page for Hasso’s keynote).At some point I would like to compare RoR with SAP’s Webdynpro technology. You can find an interesting discussion on this topic and AJAX on SAP’s SDN website. This is your first hint that my plan is to relate some of the new Web2.0 technologies back to enterprise software, specifically SAP. Watch this space…More links: Attend a RoR conference in a city close to you. You can also find a number of books on Ruby and RoR on Amazon, e.g., Ruby and Ruby on Rails.Oct 26, 2007 update: Ruby and Rails are now standard in Apple’s OSX LeopardPlease give me your personal experience using Ruby or Ruby on Rails.[amtap book:isbn=0974514055][amtap book:isbn=0977616606][amtap amazon:asin=B000FK88JK]

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