Last year around this time, I blogged about what I thought was in store for SAP consultants in 2009. That generated a lot of interesting conversation. So, I thought I will followup with my thoughts on how that road might be in 2010 . All the usual caveats apply – these are just my personal opinions, and not of my employer. Also I have not done any scientific study to arrive at these. These are just based on my conversations with fellow consultants, and what I have observed over the past year or so.
1. Year of “Data”.
2010 will be the Year of the Tiger in Chinese calendar. For SAP consultants, I think it will be Year of “Data”.What does that mean? I think Business Intelligence and Information Management will be the big opportunities for SAP consultants. While SAP has a strong story on BI – I am not sure if there is sufficient differentiation between other information management products on the market and SAP’s EIM suite. So while I think EIM will be a big play in 2010, I am not so sure if this will mostly use SAP’s products. To a great degree – BI has this issue too to an extent. There are a good number of SAP cutomers out there who use Cognos, Microstartegy etc on top of BW. And those products work well for them.
2. Upgrade projects will pickup.
I think a lot of BW cutomers using 3.x version will be in a hurry to upgrade in 2010. Plus, the bigger customers on R/3 might want to upgrade business suite to make use of enhancement packs. Upgrades need specific skills and tools. Such skills and tool experience should be very handy for consultants.
3. Mergers / Acquisitions / Divestitures should get some new projects started. Good news for FICO and SCM consultants.
This also needs specialized skills and tools. I would also think that this would open up a lot more production support opportunities, especially onsite support. Specifically, I think this will increase demand for FICO and SCM consultants – FICO because financial conolidations type work is unavoidable, and SCM because supply chain consolidation is usually high on the agenda for most merger situations from cost reduction perspective.
4. SOA comes back, but probably not with a strong BPM/BRM flavor
Since some time has been spent in letting the marketing talk die down on SOA, I think 2010 will see it actually being used in projects. I don’t think many large scale SAP SOA projects will start in 2010, but I do think several small ones will start. Now might be a good time to download some trial versions of composition tools from SDN, and get to know ESR better. I already blogged on my views on BPM/BRM a week ago. While I am a lot better educated on BRM now after reading James’ response – I don’t see BPM/BRM making a big play in 2010 in SAP space. However, I do believe that this would be a different story in 2011.
5. Trainers, get ready to rock
From my view point, 2009 was not a big year for training in SAP space. This makes me believe that 2010 will be better for SAP trainers, especially for SAP relevant business objects skills . I also think that training for newer technical skills will be in demand. There are known gaps in SAP education for certain skills – the example that comes to mind is CRM webclient development. If you can teach it, I know a lot of people who will sign up to learn.
6. Trade promotions Management would lead the CRM pack. BPS might get a side benefit. IFRS is the game for the FI gang
I think TPM will be red hot in 2010. Obviously, companies need to increase trade volumes in a profitable manner. I think there was not a lot of strategic thinking in how people got rid of inventory in 2009, and I don’t think they can do that in 2010 and live to tell the tale. From what I have seen – there aren’t too many CRM TPM consultants out there. So I have a strong feeling that TPM will make it big in 2010. And BPS (no it has not died) consultants might be a direct beneficiary of this, since BPS is an integral part of TPM.
Since listed and non-listed companies need IFRS comliant reports, I think IFRS will be in popular demand in 2010. I know a lot of my friends who do FI consulting were busy doing it in 2009 too, and I think it will continue right on.
7. SAP testing opportunities
There are not too many people who specialize in SAP testing. Mot SAP testing is done by the conultants who implement the solution. These folks do not come from a QA or testing background. And most career testing/QA experts do not come with SAP skills. I think some formal QA training/experience (and then marketing it) might open up opportunities for SAP consultants who might otherwise find it difficult to get a gig in the competetive market.
8. Industry solutions for utilities and higher education might be in demand
Industry specialization is always a great thing to have in SAP. And I think utilities, which doesn’t get hurt by bad economies all that much, and education – where people invest in bad economies – are two that will remain hot. SAP’s industry solutions are leading players for these segments, and I think that will have some great demand for consultants.
9. SAP Community recognition will become key
I am firmly convinced that if you are active in SCN, it will be very helpful in finding your next project, getting a raise and so on. There are plenty of SAP consultants out there, and you need every thing in your arsenal that gives you an edge. And what would give you a better edge than earning the respect of your fellow SAP experts? This works in the reverse too – don’t get into a situation where every one who gets into SCN knows you are in here for point hunting or other trouble 🙂
10. Go virtual
Virtualization is the name of the game now. If you are on basis/infrastructure side of SAP world, and are not smart about the possibilities of virtualization – now would be the time to do that reading and expirimenting. The interest I saw throughout 2009 makes me believe that majority of SAP customers are taking this route.
So, there you go – that is what I think. In general, I am optimistic that market will be better in certain areas than 2009. Now I am very keen to hear from you on what you expect in SAP consulting market in 2010.