Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Smartsheet : An Innovative Online EPM Tool !!

One of my hobbies is exploring new technologies and comparing them with existing ones. It means you find yourself with a new technology every other couple of weeks or so. And I love this kind of work!! Here are some glimpse of something i recently explored: Smartsheet!!

‘Smartsheet’ is an innovative technology, an online project management, collaboration and file sharing tool, very easy to learn and handy to use. It can be used to track and manage projects, event schedules, task lists etc. It is available as 30 day free trail, but it has a great internal mechanism to make users understand and learn things so fast, that anyone can manage to work with it as a professional within three days. Already a user of excel and project, this time reduces to just one day. Simple to adopt templates, familiar (Excel looking) tools, good connectivity options with existing applications (Excel, MS Project, Google Spreadsheets, Box), and direct export/publish options makes it real easy-to-use tool.

Combining these with the additional options for Sharing and Collaborating with teams do provides it an additional advantages for Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs), and allows them to overcome their own limitations of resources and infrastructure. Though large and established enterprises having whole setup for their own sharing and collaboration infrastructure might find little use of it (I din’t find any options to plug it in with IBM Lotus Notes / Microsoft SharePoint / Microsoft Outlook etc.). With such integration options, it might become an additional handy option for project management within teams/departments of large enterprises also. 

Quick options for publishing and online forms for information gathering also provides an additional edge over other similar tools in market. Even the enterprise level publishing and reporting tools needs complex configurations and deployment, which gives this tool extra points for its time-saving innovation. The ‘Smartsourcing’ concept, still need more exploration, so would be covering that later. But besides that too, there and many-many more options (like sending specific rows via email, working with multiple collaborators, Mobile access etc.) that users would want to explore on their own.

Few limitations observed/noted as provided in Smartsheet->Help section:
  • Size limit of the working (new) sheets: Max limits - 5000 Rows, 200 Columns, 200,000 Cells.
  • Size limit for imported sheets: Max limits - 5000 rows, 100 columns.
  • Max size of file that can be uploaded : 30 MB (Free collaborators), 250 MB (Licensed Users)
  • No Integration with any presentation tool: To give a presentation about the project schedule, you would have to externally use some third party tool.

Some useful links users can use in-handy:
If you give it a hands-on and want to share your feedback, i would love to hear that. So please post your feedback/comments about this tool.


Thursday, January 17, 2013

SAP HANA Certification Pathways

(Same content also cross posted here: http://scn.sap.com/community/hana-in-memory/blog/2013/01/10/sap-hana-certification-pathways )

While exploring SAP HANA technology related certifications, we identified that SAP HANA provides two possible streams for certification:
  1. For Technical consultants:
    1. Exam: C_HANATEC_1 (80 questions, 180 minute)
    2. Certificate awarded: SAP Certified Technology Associate - SAP HANA 1.0
    3. Topics: Data Provisioning, Installation, Security and Authorization, System Architecture Design, System Architecture Implementation
  2. For Application consultants:
    1. Exam: C_HANAIMP_1 (80 questions, 180 minute)
    2. Certificate awarded: SAP Certified Application Associate - SAP HANA 1.0
    3. Topics: Business content, Data Modeling, Data Provisioning, Optimization, Reporting, Security and Authorization

Certification pathways

Classroom teaching Pathway:
The following diagram shows a possible SAP HANA certification pathway via classroom teaching programs available from SAP. (Detailed information is available here: https://training.sap.com/us/en/certification/ )
classroom training pathway.png
Figure 1. SAP HANA Certification Path via classroom training
E-Learning Pathway:
The following diagram shows the possible SAP HANA certification pathway via e-learning programs available from SAP.
e-learning pathway.png
Figure 2. SAP HANA Certification Path via e-learning
Exam-C_HANATEC_1 (this is the same exam as above classroom exam, just repeating link again): https://training.sap.com/us/en/certification/c_hanatec_1-sap-certified-technology-associate-sap-hana-10-g/
Exam-C_HANAIMP_1 (this is the same exam as above classroom exam, just repeating link again): https://training.sap.com/us/en/certification/c_hanaimp_1-sap-certified-application-associate-sap-hana-10-g/

Training details

A complete list of all SAP trainings is available at: https://training.sap.com/us/en/search?query=hana.
The following trainings are available and recommended (as shared by one user here):
  • OHA10 : It’s a self-paced training; all the material is provided online. Obviously some content overlaps with HA100 but extra and latest content is available. This is nice to have (and not a must have) training for passing the certification exam.
This is a self-paced e-learning option, costs $500.00
  • TZH300: A remote classroom training, the course contents includes: how to do transformations using SLT, advanced modeling with HANA Studio, importing-exporting objects, join types, advanced SQL Scripts and CE functions etc.
This is a remote classroom training option, costs $1300.00

Completely self-motivated learning

One person completed the certification without trainings, but just reading the content and doing Hands-On practice. The list of relevant material is available here: http://scn.sap.com/community/hana-in-memory/blog/2012/08/27/my-experience-on-hana-certification
Resources (some content taken from this link):
      1. A good repository of all SAP HANA relevant links is available at this link: http://scn.sap.com/community/developer-center/hana/blog/2012/11/30/the-ultimate-set-of-hana-related-links-from-sap.
      2. A good collection of videos on practical demonstration of most common SAP HANA activities: http://www.saphana.com/community/resources/hana-academy
      3. Go to http://www.saphana.com/community/solutions and play around. Go to the “Test Drives & Demos” section and spend some time playing with all the “test drives” available. Might not help for the exam but definitely gives an idea of how stuff works.
      4. Some really useful videos: Hana Modeler (29 mins, gives very good overview of data modeling in HANA), Demo of Business Objects 4.0 tools
        consuming data from HANA
        (13 mins, if you are not used to Information Design Tool (IDT), its a good watch).
      5. If you have access to an HANA system and some extra time, a lot of guides especially for reporting tools are available here: http://help.sap.com/hana_appliance.
      6. You can also request access to an HANA system from SAP. All FAQs related to this access are here

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Microsoft SQL Server 2012 Certification Paths

(Same blog posted first at: http://social.technet.microsoft.com/wiki/contents/articles/15266.microsoft-sql-server-2012-certification-paths.aspx )
Few months after the release of SQL Server 2012, Microsoft provided the pathway to gain label of an expert in SQL Server 2012. This is again a three-level certification-based career path, where you can give the exams to demonstrate your skills in designing, building, and maintaining the next wave of cloud-ready database and information solutions via SQL Server 2012.
A pictorial view of the entire pathway is given below:

Figure 1. SQL Server 2012 Certification Pathways

As a foundation, the Microsoft Certified Solution Associate (MCSA) certification can be achieved by giving following three exams:
On the next level, there are two options for obtaining Microsoft Certified Solution Expert (MSCE) certification: Data Platform Solution Expert, and Business Intelligence Solution Expert.

The top level examinations for Microsoft Certified Solution Master (MCSM) has two exams, for which training courses and exams are not available yet.
88-986: MCSM: Data Platform Knowledge exam
88-987: MCSM: Data Platform Lab exam

Also, to upgrade from a Professional-level SQL Server 2008 certification to a Professional-level SQL Server 2012 certification, you must successfully pass three exams, rather than five. The details about the upgrade exams are also available at the respective exam links.

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