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Do I Need to Be SAP Certified?  In Short, Yes.


Want to know why?  Let me give you a little “point to ponder,” and then three quick reasons.


A recent IDC report titled “Skill and Certification: Key to Achieving Technology Value” points to a tangible connection between business value and differentiation and comprehensive training capped off by certification


IDC found that in IT implementations where more than half the team members held relevant certification, there was an up to 17% improvement in their capabilities to drive IT operational efficiency, response time to complete tasks, and overall agility, described as the alignment between the IT organization and the business combined with IT’s ability to rapidly deploy new business capability.


For consultants, a 17% improvement can mean a lot of things – happier clients, more profit on engagements, and the ability to be more competitive in sourcing and winning new engagements.


For enterprise customers, a 17% improvement can mean your implementation is done better, smarter and faster.


In a series of blog posts, I’m going to expand on these three key reasons Why Certification Is a “Must Have” for SAP consultants moving forward:


1)      Be the Recognized Expert. Certification credentials provide the “Doctor in the House” to serve as the resident SAP expert.  And what consultant or customer wouldn’t want that?

2)      Knowledge to Drive ROI on SAP.  Certifications provide our customers’ Centers of Excellence with the skills and insights to find real return on their SAP investment.

3)      Independent Validation of Skills and Best Practices. From a personal perspective, the journey to certification provides for consultants and enterprise SAP gurus the tangible proof of their willingness to learn and to stay current in the latest and greatest.


In the coming weeks, I’ll address each of these in more detail.  In the meantime, stop by the SAP Education Training and Certification Shop at where you will find additional information about SAP certifications. 

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  1. Chris Kernaghan
    Certification makes sense if the certification confers a competitive advantage for the owner over his or her peers.
    Your post offers interesting reasons for going for a certification, some of which I refute.

    1. Be the recognised Expert – A certification does not make you an expert, it conveys a level of study that infers knowledge not expertise. Practice and battle scars make experts, textbooks and theory do not – I will refer specifically to the Upgrade training (ADM326)a customer received and in no way prepared him for an upgrade!
    2. Drive ROI on SAP, you miss a vital point on this – enabling and educating business decision makers about SAP capability and available best practices means they can find the best ways to maximise ROI. Not that SAP processes are the best way to run your business and any certified consultant will be able to magically unlock this.
    3. Independent Validation of Skills, I would agree with this one – it does show that the practitioner values their education. But I would counter this with engagement within the SAP community outside of training. I wonder how many SAP Mentors attend specific SAP training or take up Delta certifications?
    For me I await with great interest the output of the Mentor advisory panel on certification, another meeting of this panel I believe is taking place at Sapphire.

    1. Joseph Caruso

      I agree with you 100%  I have been working with SAP software since 1996 and I really believe the following two points are true:
      1) SAP technical talent is at an all time low.
      2) The number of talentless “certified” SAP professionals is at an all time high.

      Diverse platform knowlege, experience, passion, and a great work ethic are far more important than certifications as far as I am concerned.


  2. Nigel James
    Can you provide the link to the source report? Did the study group include SAP professionals or other types of computing specialists? ie MS and Cisco?


  3. Tom Cenens
    Hello Kenneth

    I started four and a half years ago and while most systems I touched in the beginning were based on SAP Netweaver 7.0 there was no certification yet for SAP Netweaver 7.0 so I ended up certifying for SAP Netweaver 6.40 which I succeeded in within my first year of work without following all the SAP courses.

    The certificate was called technology consultants certificate 2004 and it contained questions from multiple SAP courses (six or something).

    It only proves someone knows the theory really. Someone who hasn’t worked with SAP could manage to learn it from internet, books and do the cerfitication and succeed.

    I hope change will come out of the certification five group and related groups and discussions but it will always be a very difficult topic to make progress on. The whole education system and techniques are up for discussion nowadays and for good reasons.

    In my opinion certification should cost less and should be repeated periodically.

    I guess certification has some value but not nearly as much as is advertised.

    Summed up I’m awaiting change. The website overhaul is a first positive change, I hope many other changes will follow.

    Kind regards


  4. Ethan Jewett
    I’m really looking forward to the more detailed blogs. Color me skeptical, but these three claims need serious justification. If you can show us that these claims are actually true that would be great, and I would certainly have learned something. Right now my impression is that these three claims are not accurate.


  5. Jarret Pazahanick
    Hi Kenneth

    As someone who has been openly critical of peices of the SAP certification program in the past I was a little surprised to see this article but being open minded I am looking forward to the facts that back up your 3 statements unless of course this is just a marketing post and if so we can all understand and take it for what it is.

    They are strong statements “Be the Recognized Expert”, “Knowledge to Drive ROI on SAP” & “Independent Validation of Skills and Best Practices” and I think we will all agree that those are desired skills to have in the marketplace so if certification can give people that than it becomes a no-brainer.

    On a side note I have two certifications so I am not some senior consultant that doesnt agree with certifications because he never got one. My goal is the same as yours as to see that certifications have the 3 items above (as well as prestige in the marketplace).

    Looking forward to the next blog.


  6. Andy Silvey

    It would be interesting to see perspectives on this blog from more geographical corners of the SAP world

    Petr,  14 years SAP Basis, no certs, only real experience at the coal face

  7. Former Member Post author
    I want to thank everyone for their comments and feedback to this blog.   We will certainly try to address as many of your points as possible in upcoming posts.  Please keep in mind that while some may not agree with the blog’s premise or assertions, I view this dialog as a critical data input to the discussions current underway in the Certification Influence Council.
    1. Chris Kernaghan

      I think you have hit a raw nerve with many, perhaps some is protectionist around not wanting to have a percieved devaluation of their skills through enforced certification. Or perhaps the other side of that coin which is definitely focussed on the certification factories which churn out textbook cowboys.
      There is no silver bullet on this one, the best you can hope for is,
      1. Not to create an insurmountable barrier to entry into the marketplace – we need new blood all the time
      2. A certification that works within the market place to provide a customer focused metric – customers must be able to recognise experience and additional study
      3. Enrich and provide incentives for people to engage with SAP and the eco-system.
      Perhaps this is a situation where Enterprise Gameification can benefit those who take part – is certification becoming too broad a field of study, should we look at more discreet modular building blocks to build an expertise which is transparent to everyone.

      1. Andy Silvey

        if I may elaborate further, I was a SAP Basis employee for 2 years and subsequently worked as a freelance basis for the last 12 years since then, so 14 years SAP Basis working at the coal face experience and no certifications or even official SAP training course participations – just hard work.

        What do I think of being certified – I’d love to be certified, it has a very nice ring to it.

        Why am I not certified and why have I never attended SAP training:  I don’t beleive it delivers enough value to me, ie, I don’t beleive that after the training course I will be any better than hands on learning at the coal face, secondly, I don’t beleive that it holds any value in the eyes of my potential customers, when interviewing and hiring they want somebody who has done it, has seen the problems and solved them and knows how to solve them, they are not worried about a piece of paper that means I sat in a room. Hence it is not worth me investing in training and certification.

        Only one certification I am interested in currently, Migration Certification – but so far there has not been enough demand which has excluded non certified technicians for migration work to motivate me to invest.

        That’s something to think about.

        Kind regards,



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