Friday, October 12, 2012

How Can I Start a Career as an SAP Consultant?

By Jon Reed

When you begin to think about your SAP career, you can start by deciding whether you want to be an SAP functional consultant or an SAP technical consultant. Of course, there can be some crossover between these two, and ideally, you will have a mix of both, but careers in SAP are about focus. Your focus is dictated by two things: the overall background of your experience, and where you want to be headed from here.

Those SAP professionals with a functional background in areas such as finance, supply chain management, or customer relationship management, will likely focus on the functional side of SAP in their consulting careers. On the technical side, there is a distinction to be made between two main career paths: SAP developer and SAP Netweaver Engineer, or what has historically been called the "SAP Basis consultant." Basis incorporates hands-on SAP systems administration functions.

Often, some DBA know-how is included in the Basis skill set, though on larger SAP installations, the SAP DBA is frequently a separate role. The same goes for SAP Security. While there is such a thing as an SAP Security consultant, security is often a skill set under the SAP Basis umbrella.
Business Intelligence (BI) is starting to impact all SAP roles and all SAP professionals should consider developing proficiency in this area.

With those distinctions in mind, how do you become an SAP consultant in today's marketplace? It's helpful to think of SAP consulting as a combination of two important skill sets: SAP implementation experience and enterprise consulting experience. It's not always easy to acquire both these skills at the same time. In the 1990s, you could sometimes get trained as a consultant while getting your first SAP exposure at the same time, and all you needed was a certification. That's not the case anymore.
To become an SAP consultant in today's market, you almost always need to have SAP implementation experience under your belt already. That means you've done a 2-4 year stint working in a hands-on capacity on a full-blown SAP project. Typically, this experience is acquired while being a full-time employee. On the functional side, product configuration skills are still important, as well as full life cycle experience throughout an implementation. On the Basis side, product installation and systems optimization is the key, and on the developer side, experience customizing SAP reports, making UI enhancements, and developing third party interfaces are examples of bread-and-butter skills. This type of experience, accumulated over years, forms the core of the SAP skill set.  Read more at erptips