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120,000+ certified SAP Consultants.  10+ years of history.  A deep-seated integration between SAP and their partners.    For a long time, SAP and their partners have scratched each others’ backs.  SAP needed an army of consultants to spread the word and implement their software.  Large consulting firms needed to up-skill their new hires and verify to themselves and the larger SAP customer community that these newly forged SAP Consultants were knowledgeable enough to get the job done.  It was in the heated crucible of fast and furious SAP implementations in the 1990s that the SAP Certified Consultant strategy was born.  However, in the past several years things have changed, but the SAP Certified Consultant strategy has not. How the world has changed IT budgets have shrunk.  Companies are being asked to do more with less.  The IT managers and CIOs are being asked to give their companies a tactical advantage over their competitors though technology.  More and more the required knowledge is less about getting the system up and running and more about how to optimize, how I administer more cost-effectively and how do I improve business with my systems.  SAP customers are no different.  More recently these factors have also led to off-shoring.  And that has caused a shift, at least physically, in the support organizations.  In the consulting world, net new SAP implementations are rarer.  Competition for implementation partners is as fierce as ever.  Demand for certified SAP Consultants to help with implementations has dropped while the supply has increased.  Proving the return on the additional investment for SAP Certified Consultants has become an ever more difficult proposition. How SAP has changed In the past 10 years, SAP has moved from almost exclusively having Fortune 1000 customers to a more diverse customer base.    Our product suite has expanded from basically one product (R/3) to a whole host of products that span both the business and technical needs of out customer base.  Some say that SAP is becoming a technology, but we certainly remember our roots.   How SAP Education has changed SAP Education has shifted to try to meet the changing customer needs and SAP corporate goals.  The format of education has moved from exclusively instructor-led to a blend of classroom and e-learning.  Technology has allowed more options for delivery at customer sites and customization of courses to meet very specific customer and partner requirements.    SAP Education is now, more than ever, able to offer courses that span across the entire life-cycle from Plan into Build and continuing through Run and Upgrade.  There are now offerings to help up-skill not only project teams, technical teams and consultants, but also business owners, power users, end-users and executives. What needs to happen to the Certification strategy to address these changes So it’s time to rework the SAP Certification strategy.  Generally, SAP Certified Professionals should span the ranks of SAP roles.  It needs to expand to cover more advanced knowledge that comes with experience.  And probably most importantly, SAP Certified Professionals should bring value to all phases of an SAP Implementation (Plan – Build – Run – Upgrade).  So how do you bring all these pieces together?  How do you meet the needs of such a diverse group of customers, partners and SAP?  You refocus the certification program on the individual.  It’s a community of individuals that bring value to SAP implementations.  It’s this same community that increases a company’s return on IT investment.  SAP already recognizes that certifying implementation knowledge has its value.  So the next logical step will be to expand the certification program into other phases of the product lifecycle and deeper into the product knowledge.  Three major changes to the existing program need to happen in order to fulfill this expanded scope.  First, an expanded focus on SAP strategic programs (for instance EOSA) to showcase the SAP software product, SAP Education and the talents of the SAP Certified Professional community.  Second, the current certification tracks and tests need to migrated and expanded into career enabling certification tracks with multiple tiers and multiple points of entry.  Thirdly, SAP needs to decouple the education from the certification.  By this, I mean that individuals should be free to learn their own way, be it SAP Education courses or OJT or third party books.  And once individuals feel they have a solid understanding of the job they are asked to perform they should have the ability to test their skills in by taking a certification test in a local testing center. Showcase Certifications Hot topics.  New technologies.  Cutting edge products.  There is always a buzz created when SAP (or other large software companies) announce where their products and the industry are headed.  Customers are drawn into the pull of how these new ideas can be translated into higher profits, better productivity or competitive advantage.  And newly minted SAP Certified Professionals should be there to help companies take advantage of these new possibilities.  It’s not easy to stay on the cutting edge, but SAP should help identify and promote the talents of the elite few who can stay ahead of the curve.   Multi-tiered multi-entry point Certification Tracks Experience.  It’s the hardest thing to test and the most useful asset in the field.  SAP can address this requirement by implementing testing that takes into account job-task analysis and depth of knowledge.  Additionally, an expansion into the world of performance-based testing would be the next practical step for the SAP Certification program.  But all of this needs to be framed within the context of how it helps drive an individuals career into bigger, better and more exciting and lucrative areas.   So what’s in it for SAP By changing the focus of their certification from the implementation partner organization to include a broader and more complete array of SAP Professionals, SAP then use this program to drive some very real and very achievable goals.    •     Minimize risk to SAP and it’s customers throughout the SAP lifecycle •     Increase in Partner loyalty by adding value to their more experienced consultants without huge investments in education •     Reduce the Total Cost of Ownership of SAP software by certifying SAP Professionals have the knowledge required to add that additional value 
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  1. Andre Truong
    Can you share info about some details around showcase certification? Will SAP Education publish something</?> in the near future? How will we get the updates and when? Thanks, Andre
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    1. Stefan LeGrow Post author
      There are some significant changes coming in the next 6/12 months including new Enterprise Architect and Business Process Expert certifications as well as a redesign of most of the existing certification programs.  As soon as formal design is done, there will be more posted.
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      1. Andre Truong
        Great. Thanks Stefan. That’s exactly what’s needed to boost the Netweaver as composition platform and enterprise SOA. Once people will see how SAP defines an Enterprise Architect and BPX via its product, technology, and methodology, it should provide better ground for more projects leading to the Agile and Flexible Enterprise. Looking forward to it.
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  2. Community User
    Hi,

    Thanks for sharing information about things to come. Would it be possible for you to shed some light on regional strategy/priorities/portfolio for education services as well?

    I understand (plz correct me) that Education Services Manager for each region come up with their own go-to-market strategies based on a set of KPIs. Consequently, not every course/program might be introduced/prioritized across all regions. This is primarily driven by the nature of consulting engagements in a particular region; consulting being the demand side and education being the supply side.

    So an overview of the regional roll-out strategy will be quite helpful, especially for organizations partnering SAP in education services.

    Thanks and regards

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    1. Stefan LeGrow Post author
      It is correct that each education region and country assigns their own strategies and priorities as well as deciding what from the global portfolio to deliver in their region.  However, certifications are a global standard and are available throughout the world.  The difficulty is that we cannot ensure that all the courses that are expected as prerequisites to education will be offered in all regions.  So, studying can be tough.  But, if enough people see the value in certification then the demand for the prereq education should go up and make it an easy business case for the regions. 

      I hope this helps.

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  3. Arun Varadarajan
    Stefan,
    I do agree with you on the aspect of testing implementation experience and the likes in a certification exam. But then it is that much harder to test for the same.
    Also consultants are values when they bring in implementation experience coupled with the ability to understand the issues of the client whcih makes them all the more valued , this puts the ball firmly in the functional side of things. This leads to an interesting mix of technology and functional expertise, maybe this can be satisfied by the upcoming certifications on BPX and netweaver as such.
    My 0.02
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  4. Anonymous
    SAP R/3 training is focus on implementation and consultant. However, NetWeaver is different. First, The more people attend the training, the more people develop on the platform. Second, a colleague student can not understand R/3, but he/she can understand and practice NetWeaver development himself.
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    1. Chandra sekhar Reddy Kalluru
      Hi Mr. Sharma,

      as you are a network engineer, i believe your experience and knowledge will be very useful if you go in for SAP BASIS [this module is a sort of configuring part of SAP R/3 and administration].  So, i would suggest you to take up SAP BASIS as career path.  All the very best!

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    1. Stefan LeGrow Post author
      Hi –

      There is no denying the use and expertise in the Functional Consulting world.  So, we are working to expand the program to include both depth of application knowledge through tiered certifications within the more traditional functional tracks, as well as expanding the offerings to branch into more strategic and visionary roles.

      I hope this helps.

      Steve

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      1. Bart Jongen
        Dear Steve,

        What in your vision is the future of the SAP functional consultant ? Myself I have now worked 8 years (5 for an end-user, 3 for a consulting agency) logistics SAP consultant with in-depth knowledge of both business processes and customizing-parameters. My background lies in business administration and I have never (wanted to 😉 learned how to program; I am a real business guy but I do have developed a superior customizing-knowledge over my colleagues. For your image: I am 32 years old now. With the recent developements in the field of enterprise SOA I feel the need to reconsider my future career: do I need to develop more into SAP customizing knowledge (since future SAP functionality will remain, be it in the form of services) ? Should I focus more on project management (which is absolutely not my favorite) ? Another aspect of my current career is that the company I work for (2B Interactive) works mainly in the SME market, in which greenfield SAP implementations are still on the rise, but I know that some day/year this market will also be saturated sort of speak such as is the market of bluechip customers nowadays, at least in the Dutch SAP market it is. Should I develop more technical skills and if so in which area ? Do you think in the long run it is better to go work for an end-user again as a BPX or do you believe there will still be enough demand for external functional consultants/BPX’s ? I know I have given you a lot of questions to answer, but I am sure that there are many functional collegues out there who are in the same situation as myself and who have the same questions. In advance I thank you for your reply/ies !!

        Kind regards,
        Bart

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  5. Darshankumar K Patel
    This blog is very helpful for beginners; I am ABAP-NETWEAVER Certified consultant. I would like suggest: can you please extend the content of the BLOG? Where you can help us to know various tracks after doing the 1st certification.
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  6. Farrukh Javed
    Hi

      I have programming experience in Oracle, Visual Basic, ASP & PHP. I have developed many applications using these tools. Could you advise me which SAP Certification is suitable and best for me. Right now I am studying ABAP/4 by myself. I am not having as such difficulties for understanding the ABAP/4 arcitacture. You kind help will realy helping for chosing the right direction in SAP certification.

    Rgds

    Farrukh

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    1. Stefan LeGrow Post author
      Hi Farrukh –

      It all depends on your interests.  Obviously, you have interest in picking up ABAP, so I would recommend taking the C_TAW12_04 certification.  A certification description can be found here (https://websmp209.sap-ag.de/~sapidp/011000358700005093992004E)

      Later this year, we will be introducing levels of expertise to this program so stay tuned for more information about how certification will be evolving over the next few months. 

      For times and training you can contact your local training organization.
      (https://websmp209.sap-ag.de/~form/sapnet?_FRAME=OBJECT&_HIER_KEY=701100035871000080707)

      For more information about all the certifications we offer, you can always visit service.sap.com/education and click on the link for the SAP Global Certification Program.

      Good luck and best regards,
      Steve L.

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    1. Stefan LeGrow Post author
      Hi Kranthi-

      Look for the marketing to rollout in the few next months and the first technical certifications targeted to be available around in early Q4. 

      Best,
      Steve

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  7. Abhilash Oommen
    Hi Stefan,

    I’m interested in becoming a certified SAP professional, but i’m totally confused as to how it would enhance my career propspects.

    I’m an MBA in marketing,with around 4 years of experience who is right now working as the Regional Sales Head for a Media company in India. My current company does not have SAP implemented.

    So my worry is, after a SAP-SD certification, would I have to start at the bottom of the hierarchy, or would my previous domain experience prove useful and get me a better opening.

    Stefan, what would you advice? Should i even considering getting a SAP certification to get ahead in my career or should i just keep doing what I’m doing. Also I’m in the service industry, working with a Media Company, is SAP certification a useful career enhancement tool here.

    Thanks,
    Abhilash

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  8. Martín Piattini Velthuis
    Hi,

    I think education is very important.
    Also I beleave that certification is an importan issue, also many time is not very demandind in the market I work. Personaly I certificate myself for my profesional goals.
    But the thing I want to remark in this comments is that SAP AG must control more about the process of certification. Because usually when I took my exams, I did not see any control from SAP they leave us alone in the exam. I have my ethic and I follow the issue and restrinction that the exam demand but I know that not all persons in the exam did. Then after my effort and approve the exams I rest with a bad taste, because people pass the exam with help etc… then de VALUE of the exam dicrease.

    Then my advice for SAP AG is control more the exam for consultant and more the exam for de partner consultant.

    Thanks
    Martin

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    1. Isabelle Britten
      Hello Martin,

      my certification is 7 years back, but I must say that during the certification we were controlled and I was unable to use any additional material except the empty block I was given by SAP. In my case cheating was impossible all we had to know was in my head.
      I believe that this was benefitial, because as a developer important to know where to begin before you start a development.

      I do agree that education is very important too.

      Regrards

      Isabelle

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      1. Martín Piattini Velthuis
        Isabelle,

        That’s perfect.
        I hope that politics can reply to all SAP office around the world. And we have more control for the exams.
        I thinks this new7more impulse to the certification is good, but I hope that “more” come with “better” also.

        Better exams, more import/significant
        the certification.

        Thanks
        Bye Martin

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  9. Mohammed Rafiq
    Hi Stefan,

    Has the BPx course content and curriculum been finalised. I do not see many details apart from a generic guidance. I am sure consultants would be eager to chart out studying and certification plans. This will help the SAP eco system with standardised bench mark and evaluation criteria. An immediate effort in this direction will give more prominence and necessary push for caliberated professionals in the community activities.

    Regards

    Mohammed Rafiq

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    1. Mary Bazemore
      HI Mohammed,

      The BPX certification will become finalized during Q1 2008- as we incorporate the Enterprise Service Repository into the curriculum. In the interim, potential candidates can start to prepare by attending the SOA100 course, which became available in Q4 2007. The next course that will be available in SOA120- SAP Enterprise SOA- Business Process Modeling. This course is expected in February, 2008.  More details will be available on http://www.sap.com/services/education/catalog/enterprisesoa/index.epx
      later in January.

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  10. thenmozhi s
    SIR,

    i am an engineering with an MBA graduate..have 2.5yrs exp in financial services..so i thought it would be better to take up SAP CRM certification.

    as due to my financial status i would not be able to take up the certification with the SAP,genovate or siemens…as for they are about 3 to 3.5 lacs (INR). please help me do the certification.any solutions please…

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  11. Anonymous
    Hello All,

    As we know, Certifications for the tiered profiles include the following: SAP Certified Business Process Associate, SAP Certified Business Process Professional, and SAP Certified Business Process Master.

    How will you differentiate with the persons who have already certified ? Do they need to again for certification in this case ?

    Please advice.

    Thank You
    – Atul

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