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Author's profile photo Arundeep Singh

Where are those Gurus?

Late 90’s, I was getting introduced to the engineering/technology world. I never been a studious guy, but somehow I obtained an engineering degree; thanks a lot for the professors to show such a kind gesture :). I did not know SAP then, but still in other technologies there used to be known gurus/experts in their field. Be it networks, C/C++, Java, OS, graphics, DB and so on. Guru of my college, my university, region or worldwide. But there was always a one, which you would come to know soon. This was a great help then.

I entered the world of SAP after completing my Masters in Intelligent systems!!. That was a big change for me; a shift from talking in Fuzzy language, MATLAB, machine vision, artificial intelligence, robotics and wireless to ABAP and then to Netweaver Administration. There was a time, I was lost. Somehow I managed to survive. But still, even in the SAP world, I was able to find some gurus in teams or organisation to solve issues. Hardly there was a moment I had to raise an SAP message. But this does not seem to be true anymore.

Today, after 6 years of my introduction to SAP world, I observe that SAP support team is contacted for almost every kind of issue. I see messages raised even for “RFC not working” and the issue could be “password incompatibility”. Then there are consultancy questions raised to SAP support. Earlier I thought that may be somehow my life took me to a place where people do not want to put efforts and the world outside is better. Then I came across this blog “How to run SAP landscape (or so)” from Lars Breddemann. It was strange, but I felt a kind of relief that it is not just me.

The question remains what happened in those years? How come the product vendor is the only expert left? Why is it hard to find those “gurus” in one’s own group or organisation? Some of the reasons I could think of are.

  • The technology has changed and is changing rapidly. It is hard for anyone to keep up with the pace.
  • The change is not only vertical. One is expected to cover the length, breadth and height of all variations. This is really tough to do.
  • Overkill of the word “Standards”. Everyone is looking for standards. Who is best to provide standards than the Product vendor itself?
  • The increase is number of people working in the industry. Probably the “gurus” are diluted in the big ocean. I read somewhere that today this ratio is about 1:99 (I do not know the calculation though). As in old times they used to say, “It is easy to find people to fight in a war, but is tough to find warriors”.
  • Lack of interest in being a technology expert. Many people in the service industry starts looking for leadership role and managerial role as soon as they enter the market.
  • SAP itself has released many standards for various things. Now people expect every answer from SAP itself.
  • Change in support contract. As highlighted by Lars Breddemann in his blog that it may have something to do with change in SAP support contract as well.
  • Lack of trust on service providers or may be more trust on product vendors by customers. Everything recommended needs to be verified by the product vendor.
  • Reluctance to take the responsibility. It is another angle to the above point, where the service providers just act as an executer.

These are some of my thoughts, based on my experience. It does not mean that today there are no such gurus. I have been lucky to work with some of those, who generally always have solution to any problem.

No doubt that product vendor is expected to know its product. But, I still prefer to know and work with those “gurus”.

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      17 Comments
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      Author's profile photo Former Member
      Former Member
      I think it probably has something to do with the market becoming more saturated. The are much more technology people now than there was in the late 90's. It was also much more difficult to move into an SAP career back then. Nowadays it's a lot easier so naturally there is a lot more competition but that also translates to lower salaries.

      The though pattern is probably:
      Get into SAP, get some tech exposure & then move up. You avoid the bun fight at the bottom & you climb the ladder quicker while all the while earning a lot more...

      Author's profile photo Former Member
      Former Member
      i beg to differ...gurus are not on SCN because they don't have to be and are too busy trying to internalize their knowledge...SCN has mostly wannabies (myself included of course)...real gurus need to be sought out...just like in the real world...and no, they don't have to worry about the competition.
      Author's profile photo Arundeep Singh
      Arundeep Singh
      Blog Post Author
      Hi Greg,

      We tend to be on the same page on this topic. I see similar views shared in other blogs as well.

      Thanks for yor reflections.

      Arundeep

      Author's profile photo Former Member
      Former Member
      It all depends where you are looking and what you are after.

      The user community needs to move away from the mindset of

      I have a problem so I will post on SDN to.

      I have a problem, I will do some research
      check OSS
      check Google
      check the SAP Wiki
      Search on SDN
      Speak to my SAP Partner

      After that has all been exhausted, THEN post on SDN.

      If you look at some of the wiki contributions and blogs you will see some real insight into SAP products by proper SAP people.

      Author's profile photo Arundeep Singh
      Arundeep Singh
      Blog Post Author
      Hi Mark,

      Your points are valid.

      I would like to add one thing before starting the search on various forums and communities.

      "Analyse and try to solve it myself."

      and after search, it may not just be SDN to post, SAP OSS message, or SAP support contact person are also the paths. But it is upto the person and the problem in hand.

      It is good for me to such a lively communication. Thanks for your views.

      Arundeep

      Author's profile photo Arundeep Singh
      Arundeep Singh
      Blog Post Author
      Hi Naidoo,

      "The Guru's are all here - On SCN", well Yes and No.

      Yes, there are/may be Gurus pn SCN, but not all and for sure not majority of it.

      No, as I was lucky to know  few such Guru's who still believe in old "on the job" knowledge sharing and does not much care about the world.
      The generally live in their own different world.
      One needs to be in their physical presence to learn. I reflected the same in my other blog communication as well http://www.sdn.sap.com/irj/scn/weblogs?blog=/pub/wlg/17959. [original link is broken] [original link is broken]

      But, that is my beleive only. It does not mean everyone needs to believe the same.

      Thanks for your reflections.

      Arundeep

      Author's profile photo Stefan Koehler
      Stefan Koehler
      Hello Arundeep,
      you wrote: "I see messages raised even for "RFC not working" and the issue could be "password incompatibility". Then there are consultancy questions raised to SAP support."

      If i sometimes raise a service request to SAP, i got the feeling that the support staff is skilled to answer only such questions.
      Sometimes it's hard to find some gurus by SAP itself through the SAP support system .. so it's not just a public problem of SAP customers and their employees.

      I sometimes use the slogan: "You get what you pay for!" ... and this seems to be true in the IT industry more than anywhere else.

      Regards
      Stefan

      Author's profile photo Arundeep Singh
      Arundeep Singh
      Blog Post Author
      Hi Stephan,

      I agree with statement, "You get what you pay for!" in general. But in this industry I also observe the otherwise too, Where you do not get what you paid for!

      I have come across a situation where a person is hired for a skill, because he was able to speak the relevant technological words!!!!. This is just one example... And this guy was not easy on pocket as well.

      I also agree with reflection on SAP support staff. After all they are nothing but people coming from the same global pool.

      Thanks for your reflections.

      Arundeep

      Author's profile photo Former Member
      Former Member
      heh..started an sdn account (to comment on this blog!!!).
      Disagree on 1 and 2- as change is challenging and being a "Guru" is not about knowing everything but knowing where to start looking(my perception).
      The last point and the "lack of interest in being a atechnology expert" are the ones which ring home for me.The rest were always there in some way or the other.
      Nobody wants to know how you did it, they only want to know if they can copy it....

      Author's profile photo Arundeep Singh
      Arundeep Singh
      Blog Post Author
      Hi Ritu,

      Thanks for taking the effort to start an account just to share your views.

      The concept of "Guru", the way i understand is that your search ends there. But yes, in this world it may sound like very "idealistic".

      Secondly, if one knows where to start looking, it does not make one a "Guru". the person may be just a better seeker.

      Anyhow, that is quite a subjective topic and individuals with their own views make the world interesting.

      Hope that you will be actively sharing your views with community.

      Arundeep

      Author's profile photo Nathan Genez
      Nathan Genez
      I've felt for a long time that there has been a significant talent drain on the SAP Consulting industry.  This is just my perspective but in the case where I used to know a dozen CO-PA experts (true Senior level resources) I now know only 1-2.  It's the same for most other areas that I occasionally have to reach out and get answers from others.

      -nathan

      Author's profile photo Former Member
      Former Member
      yes - totally agreed. And all the more reason to make use of SCN etc - for the collective wisdom.

      Some of the smartest consultants that I admired in SAP did one the following
      1. Retired rich
      2. Spent their money on getting a top MBA, and went into industry
      3. Moved up in big SIs into management roles

      Author's profile photo Arundeep Singh
      Arundeep Singh
      Blog Post Author
      Hi Vijay,

      Always admired blogs. Thanks for the inputs.
      Your point 2 and 3 suggests that people love to move to management roles. Is it because for some reason management roles are considered superior or are higher paid in this industry?

      Or any other reasons you know of, especially why only management?

      Arundeep

      Author's profile photo Former Member
      Former Member
      Hi Arundeep

      Every SI I know of has a tehnical career path, and a management career path - both in theory having the same growth opportunities. However, in practice - it is not always so. The technical path gets much narrower as you move up the food chain, compared to the management path.

      There are many techies who don't care about titles and money after a certain point in their career - and as long as they don't get frustrated and leave, this works well for them and their employers.

      And glad to note that you like my blogs 🙂

      Cheers
      Vijay

      Author's profile photo Arundeep Singh
      Arundeep Singh
      Blog Post Author
      Hi Vijay,

      I agree with your statement on availability of the career paths, the gap in theory and practical and the choices made by techies who want to remain techies.

      Arundeep

      Author's profile photo Arundeep Singh
      Arundeep Singh
      Blog Post Author
      Or recently someone also told me, that industry (not just SAP), is not seeking more managerial profiles than technical. So there are times when a technical person is not left with any choice but to move into managerial role.

      Arundeep

      Author's profile photo Former Member
      Former Member
      SAP SDN is a knowledge repository for SAP as well SAP users. you have well said.

      every SAP consultant browse SDN when he /she has an issue.

      Muthu