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SAP Functional for Techies

Hello Again its me, Mz again writing after a brief gap.

Today I would like to discuss a topic which I hope would be interesting to all out there.

How many of us have been a part of or atleast heard the below conversation.

Consultant 1 : “Hi, consultant 2, which technology do you work for?”
Consultant 2 : “Oh, I work in SAP”
Consultant 1 : “Hey that’s great. What are you, a technical or functional consultant?”
Consultant 2 : “Hmm…. I am a Technical/Functional”

I have a comment regarding the above conversation.Why is it that people restrict themselves to being a technical or functional consultant exclusively. I feel that if you are a technical consultant, you should have basic functional knowledge. I mean, just being an ABAPer doesn’t seem to have much meaning unless you understand how the business works and know the basic tables etc related to the functional R/3 modules.

I know that there are many consultants who are technofunctional, and I totally respect them and give them a thumbs up from my side :). I cannot comment really on the functional consultants, however. I am not sure how easy it is for a pure functional guy to learn technical SAP. But, I do feel that if a technical guy puts enough effort he can go a long way in becoming a technofunctional guy.

I am working on developing a series of articles on each of the SAP R/3 modules keeping the average Techie in mind. I plan to put up these articles on SDN as they are completed (time permitting of course).

Please comment and let me know what you think of my idea.

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    • Hi Dmitry,

      Many thanks for your comments. I was thinking that all-in-all a person would be a much better resource if he had an overall idea of the business in functional sense.

    • It is a good suggestion to have highlevel cross-knowledge, but I am afraid that it will take time to complete my articles (time is the major issue).. thanks for your suggestions 🙂
    • Thanks for your comment Dhandapani… I agree that Reusability and efficiency is one thing that someone would be capable of if he had an overall idea about the business instead of just sticking to his module exclusively….
  • Seems like you left aside the other breed of SAP consultants. The “Basis Fella”… I actually get confused when abapers call themselfs technical consultants, why don’t simply assign them the title of “coders”… 😀   (Runned to get some cover)


    • Hee hee, that made me laugh. Especially the last line.

      My mistake. It completely slipped my mind regarding the BASIS guy…. Apologies for the mistake 🙁

      I wonder though, what the BASIS guy should learn, I don’t think ABAP and Functional Modules would be required. Maybe something related to Databases, OS , Enterprise Portals.

      Any Suggestions form your side Juan….

      Cheers, Mz

      • Nahh… we like going unnoticed 😀

        You’ll be surprised. Most Basis have not only have the ability but the need to be able to debug code or analyze SQL statements and lead their ABAP colleagues into improving their code. Also we have a fairly good understanding on how business is done as we not only build the infrastructure for it but do the configuration to let those business processes flow.

        Going back to the subject, I think odds sais that you are more likely to find a great funtional consultant with good undertanding of the technical side (or viceversa) than a great techno-funtional one.

        I’m looking forward to read your next blogs.


        • Hmmm….. very interesting.

          I can understand your point. But, I never realized that Basis consultants have a very big role.

          I can also understand the point you had made earlier – Any decision made by technical “coders rather 🙂 ” or functional consultants do impact BASIS directly.

          It is sad that in most projects that I have been a part of, the BASIS consultant is not given his due importance. He/She is treated more like a maintanence guy rather than a Technical person. I feel that as you said, the Basis guy should play a more active role or should atleast be given a more active role.

          Yep, Its a very big challenge to find someone who understands both technical (coders 🙂 ) and functional aspects equally well. One of the factors that influence this could be that people usually start of their career with their feet solidly as a technical or functional person. Then, gradually make the transition while ‘on the job’ so to speak.

          Thanks again for your comments. Provided some interesting food for thought.

  • What would be different about a functional series for “techies”????.   I know I do both function, technical, requirements gathering, design, etc.  We all cross boundaries here.   (I’m not a consultant.)  I’m slightly insulted.  Not too bad just underlining a point here.

    I read functional blogs all the time, and understand them without a problem.   Even though I have a technical brain.  I read technical blogs as well.   Why would you limit functional ideas just to Techies?  

    I guess I’m wondering at the need write blogs for specifically for technical people that already read and UNDERSTAND functional blogs.

    Side note: our Basis people cross boundaries as well.  They know “coding”, have basic functional knowledge, know way more about the system and how it works under the covers than any normal person would want to know.  They have to know all of the above to keep the system healthy.   And our Basis people let us know when we have put a “memory” hogging program out there.

    Just my 10000 cents,


    • I agree everything you said about Basis. I guess one important Basis quality you forgot to mention is that a good Basis individual should be able to learn quickly, not just technology but the environment(people, business, development, organization structure(who supports DB etc), data, landscape,culture etc). Curious mind is critical to succeed in Basis world. When one is curious, that person wouldn’t worry about boundaries because he/she is interested in finding out why. Of course, he/she should understand the culture of the organization to be able to navigate under the company’s radar. And probably this is one reason why this blog’s author is not aware of the qualities of Basis.


      • Maybe you could write an educational blog about what a Basis person does.   All of the information they need to know.   That would help more people understand.  Including me.
      • Hello Bala,

        Thanks for your thoughts. Hey please give me a break. I didn’t mean any offense to any BASIS people out there. I have the utmost respect for you guys. You Rock!!

        I agree that although I have been interested in BASIS, I haven’t had an opportunity to learn much about it. Or, in other words, I feel that it is more easier to learn the Business Basics compared to BASIS for which the textbook approach wont work. You really need to have good enough exposure.

        I totally agree with your view that Curious mind is what is required in any individual, whether Basis, functional, coder, ABAPer or whatever. Boundaries would mean nothing to such a person and obviously he wouldn’t restrict himself/herself to doing just what he/she does best.

        Once Again, please do not feel offended by my blog. Its just my point of view and was not intended to be offensive to anybody including BASIS consultants. Apologies for any misunderstanding.

    • Hi Michelle,

      Thanks for your comments.

      First of all, my sincere apologies in case I have offended you. My blog was not meant to be offensive to anyone.

      Maybe I could have drafted my blog in better language, that would have cleared up the confusion. What I meant to say was that any person working in SAP, whether technical, ABAPer, functional, BASIS or whatever role they play, he/she should not restrict him/her self just to one role that they know.

      I personally know of many people who actually refuse to “cross the line” saying that this is not my responsibility, I am a (some SAP role here), (some other SAP role) person should take care of this.

      I do understand, that not all people are like the ones I just described above. There are people who ARE interested in crossing over the line. Like I said in my original Blog post : ” Kudos to you people. You have my utmost respect”.

      One thing which I admit I made a mistake was I just mentioned SAP to be made up of technical or functional. I just completely forgot about the BASIS guy… (sorryyyyy…. i know your role, but it just slipped my mind, Basis guy).

      In summary, I just want to add this in general : “Don’t stick to being in one role in SAP (I know that many of you don’t), but try to learn a bit from the people in other roles. It could go a long way in your SAP career.”


  • Although I am interested to see your posts, I have the following concern:

    What are the tools one uses to optimize a business requirement?

    I have seen many times techies responding to requirements in a suboptimal manner not knowing the depth of the functionality. A techie has in his blood code and is inclined to use it when his functional knowledge reaches his limit. A functional guy can take functionality to its limits.

    (The contrary also applies: Functional guys responding to programming requests without the required knowledge to optimize.)

    In my opinion effective collaboration is needed. It is achieved when techies know the related functionality and when functional guys grasp the technical aspects of functionality.

    • Hi Orestias,

      Bingo, you hit the nail on the head.

      In order to acheive maximum efficiency in work, consider the below scenario.

      An ABAPer, who knows a little bit of functional, BASIS.

      A BASIS guy who knows a little bit of ABAP, functional.

      A functional guy who knows a little bit of BASIS and ABAP.

      Mix them all together, and Voila…… You have a very nice cocktail 😀

      I think that in the above scenario, collaboration would be very very effective since everyone would be able to understand each other much better compared to a scenario where people stick to their own boundaries.

      Atleast a few people should don this role if not all of the resources in a project.

      Best Regards,

    • Hello Lokesh,

      I Appreciate the time taken to comment on this blog. Thanks for writing.

      Unfortunately, time is the real enemy for me. But, I should hope to have something for SD module soon. Let’s see….