The Seidman ERP Program News
April 07, 2017
Students from Grand Valley State University recently took part in a unique endeavor, the SAP HANA Challenge. The Challenge is a one of a kind coding and networking event where participants use SAP technologies, platforms and tools to collaboratively develop a product, in this case an app, that has a real world relevance. The ten students, all from the Seidman College of Business MIS and Graduate programs, spent seven weeks learning and using SAP HANA Express Edition applications to design and build their product.
The project began with a crash course education from two expert SAP developers, Craig Cmehil and Lucia Subatin in the use of the HANA XSC Development Workbench software. With this system the students learned how to collect or source data, how to store the input and then evaluate the material using tools such as a sentiment analysis. From here they would need to be able to take the necessary information and have it displayed in a functional user interface. The students decided to construct an app that would use Twitter feed to rate downtown Grand Rapids restaurants and breweries. They were first divided into teams of two with each team working on a different aspect of the project. As deliverables progressed more collaboration took place for the various parts to be pieced together. For the final product live tweets would first be collected based on the tweet’s use of restaurant names. The entry was analyzed and graded for its level of bias; that information would then be presented in real time to the user allowing them to show at any given moment which eateries were the more popular downtown locations.
A main goal of the Challenge is to help students improve decision making skills that involve systems, technology and processes. Throughout the project students developed their ability and knowledge of how to become a problem-solver and use resources available to come up with solutions. With the help of the SAP experts and GVSU faculty advisors, Dr. Simha Magal, Dr. Thomas McGinnis, Prof. Luttenton-Knoll, Prof. Jayne Dissette, and Christopher Gillespie, all of the participants took on challenges in areas that they were not well versed. They stepped out of their comfort zone, technically speaking, and learned how to develop ideas into finished concepts. The final project was presented on Friday, April 7, at a conference of the Midwest Decision Sciences Institute.
I worked on data sourcing for this project. In doing so I had to use APIs and coordinate the sourcing application with the table structures we made on the web IDE. A big challenge was figuring out what data we actually needed to accomplish our objectives.
Ultimately I think that participating in this project was a valuable experience. I learned a lot about how databases hold data and how they interface with APIs. I think this knowledge will be valuable even if I don’t end up in a data warehousing or app development field.
One thing I found frustrating about this project was my lack of any real coding experience. I felt like I could have contributed much more if I had more skill in this area. In particular I would have liked to code a filter to sort out advertisements from bars.
~ Guy Witham
Over the past couple of weeks I’ve learned quite a few things. The first of which was the SAP Hana Express Edition Tool. I believe this is a great tool, which will enhance personal users who want to run sentiment analysis on their own laptops. I’ve really had a great time working on this project meeting new people in the MIS program that I haven’t talked to or been in classes with. Thus, the teamwork on this project was a great learning experience for me, as well. As this is the biggest group I’ve ever been in counting on other individuals before I could do my portion of the project. I am really grateful for the experience that SAP gave us as undergraduate students and will always remember this experience as another exposure I’ve had to an up and coming technology that will be used in the business world.
~ Gregery Rocco