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There’s a lot of talk about “SAP Business Process Experts.” But what does this really mean to the individual SAP Professional?  In this podcast from September 22, 2008, Jon Reed of jonerp.com speaks in-depth with a senior functional consultant, Samantha Gammill, President of Osiris ERP Consulting, about her pursuit of the “SAP BPX skill set.”

In this podcast, Jon gets the story of why a certified MM/PP functional consultant with a broad SAP background and 14 years of SAP consulting experience decided to pursue the BPX skill set, how she went about doing it, and what the reactions of her team members were to this skills transition.

During the podcast, Samantha talks about her efforts to move into her role as “future functional business process expert.” In the process, she gives listeners a view into her approach to self-education. Samantha funded her own attendance at the TechEd 2008 Las Vegas BPX Community Day, and brought what she learned about that day back to her team.

Topics covered in this 28 minute podcast include:

– Samantha’s background as an SAP functional consultant and the range of modules she has expertise in, including MM, PP, SD, and FI.

– What motivated Samantha to attend BPX Community Day and what she learned there. In particular, she talks about how NetWeaver BPM (Business Process Management) and BRM (Business Rules Management) struck her as innovative areas that are going to be very important to her skill set.

– The different reactions she received when presenting what she learned to her team after TechEd. Technical team members: “What’s going to happen to my job?” Functional team members: “Sounds great, when can I start?” Samantha also talks about how she responded to these initial reactions: there will be plenty of work for technical teams around SOA and BPM, including plenty of UI-related work for technical folks, as well as customizing fields.

– Jon asks Samantha to speak to the hype around BPX through the ultimate judge: will it help her get more consulting work? Samantha explains that on the Army project she is on now, her lead she reports to was excited about what she had learned about BPX and BPM, and that it fits in with the some of the new ways of approaching SAP that are in the works following the ERP 6.0 upgrade.

– Samantha’s on the upgrade team from 4.6c to ECC 6.0, and the Army is looking for “new and inventive” ways to run their business processes. So, her new skills are already an asset to her in terms of positioning herself on the project and making a key contribution – specifically around Business Rules Management, where the Army will be able to take more ownership over their business rules.

– Samantha talks about her future skills investment plans: she’s considering the BPX Certification, but the next thing on the table is Duet certification. This fits in with her focus on learning the SAP skills that help her to enhance the user experience – a key success criteria for SAP success (user “rejection” of SAP is a key reason why SAP projects either fail completely or fail to live up to their promise). After all, SAP can occasionally be “cumbersome.” Duet can have an impact here by letting users run SAP within their own preferred environments. Samantha also talks about the challenge of working training into her independent consulting work between deliverables.

– Jon asks Samantha to respond to those consultants who are skeptical about the BPX skill set and perceive it as either overhyped or not relevant to their current skills. She talks about the importance of shifting with SAP’s technology, and the dangers of becoming less marketable by falling back on what we know. It’s not a skills crisis, but a skills evolution that SAP professionals will benefit from embracing.

– Jon asks Samantha how the BPX web site fits into her skills approach, and she talks about what works for her about BPX, where the challenge is (huge amount of information), and how difficult it can be to work online interaction into a consulting schedule. She also makes recommendations on how consultants can take the next steps in their own BXP skills progression.

– The podcast wraps with Jon thanking Samantha for sharing her own strategy for staying on the cutting edge of SAP and how she works this approach into her project work.

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