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Why possess Process and Consulting knowledge?

When you are new to SAP and do not possess process, domain knowledge and these terms seem foreign to you, you often wonder that why there is a need to have any process and consulting knowledge. You are only supporting or implementing the SAP application and are not directly in the contact with the clients business processes.

In such a case the first thing that needs to be clarified is that the SAP Software industry is different from the other software industries.

In most of the other software paths you are essentially “cutting code” but in SAP you are closely connected to the clients business as well. We will see some points which highlight why you need to possess business knowledge in order to survive in SAP Industry. 

1. Client implements SAP in order to streamline and optimize their business process. The only way you meet the expectations of the client is when you know the business process, have the product knowledge and possess the capability to execute your plan. The main business of the client may be delivery, banking or any other service but it should not be to worry about the SAP application, and this is very important for us as a consultant to understand. Whatever process the client follows in general will be implemented in the SAP application. The best practices and the faults will also creep in. But if you are aware of the business process and possess the domain knowlegde in general, the defects and the pain points can be avoided and eradicated. Most of the time the client himself would be aware that there is some problem in the system but would not be aware as how it can be fixed. This would be your clue to investigate the problem and resolve it. It is absolutely necessary for us as a consultant to step up and see the big picture of the actual business being and try to implement it with the help of software. 

2. Clients demand more than just Application Support, bug fixes, change requests or upgrades. They demand that the consultants should advice them on their process by keeping the software in mind. As the consultants know the power and the limitation of the software they should be better equipped to throw light as to how a certain scenario can be implemented using the software. Today is a time of cut throat competition and your rivals are offering the afore said services and in case you do not, you will nowhere survive in this tough industry. These days you to have multiple skills to attract customers and make them believe that you can make a difference to their business. 

3. One of the equally important aspect as to why you need to know the business process is because you have to talk to the client. Your client will be proficient in the business related language not SAP software language. Let us take an example to demonstrate this: “You are in a meeting and the client tells you that due to some error or misunderstanding they have raised a debit memo and the posting in the accounts is wrong. You need to correct the positing by reversing the business process, plus also correct the entries in the account receivables and payables.” If you are not familiar that why a debit memo is raised for that business process and when the entry is done in accounts receivable and payable you will not be able to ask proper questions, leave alone understanding as to what has to be done. The situation that you would be facing at that moment would be perplexing.   

Getting into the groove of the business may not be as difficult as thought. It just requires some study, analysis and patience. It would be good if you could modify your thinking a bit and ask yourself as to why this is being done in such a way. You would be surprised that the answer to this question will be easier than you think.

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      Author's profile photo Jarret Pazahanick
      Jarret Pazahanick
      I can tell by a lot of posts in the SDN forum that there are unfortunately a lot of consultants that have NEITHER business process or SAP experience.

      I agree 100% that having both is what is needed to be a good consultant and also what clients should expect.

      Author's profile photo Former Member
      Former Member
      Blog Post Author
      I agree totally..... there is a difference between being a SAP Developer and being a Consultant, we tend to mix these terms. There should be a clear difference between them.
      Author's profile photo Former Member
      Former Member
      But .. how can a developer become a consultant ?? any suggestions ??
      Author's profile photo Former Member
      Former Member
      Blog Post Author
      Hi Srivijaya,

      This question can be looked at from various angles:-
      my 2 cents

      -Developing good listning skills.

      - Have good Process knowledge. Read about that industry you are working for e.g. Utilities The BPX community/internet contains loads of information about that.

      -Ask proper questions to client, there can be various examples like probing questions, clarifying questions, process questions, emphatic questions......

      -You can even join some consulting skill enhancement workshop.

      The list can go on and on the possiblity are endless. Listen->understand->research->assess your research->suggest.

      Best of Luck.