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What’s he got that I ain’t got ? – getting it right in times of scarcity

I have been on numerous SAP BI interviews and very often am unable to distinguish between resumes that come. In many cases the only change between resumes has been the project , company and durations – the responsibilities all seem to be the same.

In times of plenty – we needed almost every hand on deck – but then in times like these where watching the mail for any signs of trouble or when you get shivers when your Unit HR calls you… etc what about job creation ?

Question 1: Are there jobs in the industry or is it that no one is hiring and I should stick on to what I am doing come what may till the situation improves ?

The answer is yes and no.
Jobs that exist and that are created are very specific in nature – typical questions –
Experience in the new FIGL extractors
Experience in architecting a large EDW
Experience in BO

Jobs that companies have stopped hiring for :
Generic BI roles like support , Business content implementation. I would also like to correct myself – it is not that these jobs are not being recruited for but then the number of openings have become less and the competition for these jobs is becoming more.

Why is this so ?
One answer to this is that the way projects are structured – a person typically starts in support and then works his/her way upwards. But along the way h/she tends to ( I think ) look at things in a generic way and in effect the specific experience does not come out because all the experience is project based. I have come across people who want to be put in a project so that they can get experience in FIGL or COPA.

but then clients also ask for project experience …..

What could be done ?
Take a particular domain and start looking into its specifics. SAP BI is not all about “” Extraction of SD and MM data using LO Cockpit ” , ” Creation of queries with variables , formulae , CKFs and RKFs ” , “Staged the data in a DSO before sending it to a cube ” etc etc… there is much more to it.

Get the fundamentals right – how does SAP BI work ? what happens when a query is triggered ? what happens when a compression job is started … simple things that you might be doing every day but have not asked why…

Also you can look at new vistas opening up – Visual composer is an oft forgettable tool for BI – not many people think of VC for dashboards – but then why not explore VC for dashboards – very few people are aware of a tool called VC and that it can be used for SAP BI.
Business Objects – crystal reports – how to migrate SAP BI reports to Crystal Reports ?

All these will not come once you are put on a project – I am sure every company has its own test systems – take it up and find out and educate yourself – otherwise it becomes a chicken and egg story – you need project experience to get into new projects and people with specific skill sets are required for projects – and those who wait for the company to tell them ” We know your potential and you will have to learn on the project ” remain in the sidelines because where there were 20 such people , due to the specific nature of projects there are 50 and the number increases every day.



These are my views on how a person should approach the job market and possible ways to distinguish yourself from the other person who is looking for the same job… These views are not an indication of the actual market and neither do my views represent my organization in terms of job market and recruitment. These are my views only and to be taken in that sense alone. Please do not make any connection between any particular company or the market in general.

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  • I was about to write my 3rd blog (on a non-technical topic) but decided to take a look see at what is currently "on the ticker" in the blog-o-sphere.

    For some time already I have been concerned more about lack of training of folks working on production systems and "real" development systems, than freshers asking interview questions about their IDES systems.

    I think this whole job market aspect plays second fiddle to good quality consulting with a minimum baseline to get into it.

    A whole bunch of untrained folks marketing (and implementing) a product is sure to backfire, no matter how good the product is.

    Unfortunately the opposite is also true, and there are a lot of successfull design errors out there.

    But the bottom line for me is increasing the base line of the training in the correct product.

    That is sustainable.

    Cheers and thanks for the interesting personal insight,


    • I would also cite the following malaises ....

      1. The customer does not have a plan of what to expect from the product till they reach a stable state - but then the stable state comes sometime after 2 years for a sizeable implementation and by then the focus is more of sustaining the implementation rather than building upon it.

      2. Consultants not aware of many features and in turn the client does not implement the same.

      3. Lack of clarity on how such services can be marketed to win projects with clients - the ISVs know how to market SD and MM but not VC for SAP BI

      My 0.02

  • Hi,

    I read through your weblog and must say that you have touched on a many pertinent issues.

    Although I am a youngster in the Software Industry - as a developer I feel that recessions and times of worry are the best indicatorss of the strength of a nation's IT Industry.

    Where I come from - I often feel that the large scale hiring of thousands of employees on a single day then training them on a generic selection of topics rarely gives them or the hiring organization a really good chance of survival in times like these.

    Instead of mass hiring and then laying off people - it is better to pick and choose good, exceptionally skilled persons - so that the recessions seem shorter.

    I may be way off with this comment - but hey I thought it would be good to put in my 2 cents worth.

    Good blog!


    • I would disagree on a few points there ...
      1. No one can predict a downturn and also at the scale at which some companies operate - they need numbers and they rely on their appraisal and promotion system to weed out the weakest... and for projects that require say 150 BI consultants - you will have to cut corners to get people in time else the project will get over by the time resource requrements are fulfilled...

      2. Do not blame the organization - the onus is on you to differentiate yourself to make yourself wanted - no organization is going to take special interest in you specifically out of a thousand others and groom you ( unless you are special - like related to the CEO etc !!!)

      My 2 cents..

  • I have seen many postings on SDN asking for advice on learning a specific SAP area or asking for advice on interview questions.  Here is a new idea, GO TO TRAINING!  Just like the professionals do.  Stop taking shortcuts and pay your dues like the professionals do.  This will surely help your resume.