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One of the eleven worldwide centres of the SAP university programme is located in the Valais, in Sierre. But what does this centre offer and what is SAP, an enterprise resource planning system? We spoke to Niklas Maier, Scientific Assistant at the Institute of Informatics of the HES-SO Valais-Wallis, and he gave us some information about the work of the SAP centre team.

Everyone uses a business system

Many companies use integrated management software to optimise management, sales and service processes or simply to monitor the activity of the company and its employees and the life cycle of its products. SAP, one of the best-known management software packages in the world, makes it possible to manage a company's data and to exchange information between the various departments of the same company in order to facilitate communication and management within the same entity and to have constant access to information in real time. Everyone is now working with the same database, allowing data to be reused and information to be homogenised whether it comes from sales, production, accounting or the general administration of a company. These management systems are becoming so important for the smooth running of companies that many jobs advertised in the IT field require SAP certification. Thus, the Sierre centre offers students of the School of Business Administration, and more specifically of the HES-SO Valais-Wallis management IT course, an SAP certification that is very useful when applying for jobs at the end of their studies.

An international influence in French-speaking countries

This course can be set up in particular because the Valais is fortunate enough to have one of the eleven global centres of the SAP university programme. Housed in Sierre, at the Computer Science Institute of the HES-SO Valais-Wallis, in the Swiss Digital Center buildings, the regional competence centre has been given the task of managing requests from French-speaking countries. The SAP Competence Centre provides the software products, training for the university professors who will be teaching the courses, 7-day access to the system and course materials for a number of regions of the world (Switzerland, France, French-speaking Africa and Liechtenstein). This recognition of the work accomplished over many years allows the Sierrois centre to shine throughout the world and to participate actively in the SAP programme strategy.

Helping to improve the SAP programme

In order to constantly improve the products offered and to define the SAP strategy, the community conference invites representatives of the world's centres to four days of discussion each year. This year, among the many topics discussed, the themes of sustainability and resilience were widely discussed with the participation of scientists and the analysis of different publications. The underlying idea was to reflect on the steps needed to develop sustainable products, from their creation to their availability or acquisition by customers. This is a huge challenge in times of climate change and predicted shortages. The information systems sector must respond pragmatically to the question of resilience and access to data in the event of failure. This conference also provides an opportunity to talk to the big names in data management such as Google Cloud, Accenture consultants, Festo or MSG Group and to reflect with the industry on appropriate answers to the burning questions.