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This blog originated from the blog from Bernhard Escherich (link above), and was also a suggestion from a friend and brilliant mind in consultants recruiting,Michelle Crapo.

It brings many sides of the SAP Expert recognition, valuable participation X overrates, cultural features and many other branches of this interesting subject. So, please, feel free to add your thoughts, critics and suggestions to this blog and its comments. We promise a very profitable debate!!

Important to mention is that, during the debate in the origin blog, we had a great participation from friends from India: Kumud Singh and Anupam Ghosh. That brought cultural diversity to this topic.

After this nice time with them, some topics still miss “definite” solutions:

– how to recognize an expert when recruiting consultants?

– are experts a must for complex projects?

– is there a way to measure a better ROI when using experts in the project?

– what are the multi features which build an expert?

From my side, I can say I never dreamt of being a SAP Consultant when I was a kid. I wanted to be a physician. Life wneet by, and after being a Language Teacher and Armored Cars builder, I have been a SAP consultant for almost a decade and I`m very happy with it. I try to be an expert and recognized as one. Volunteer recognition, not those you ask for, like you can do in LinkedIN. I’m working now to be a Mentor, like Michelle ad other friends of mine, Marcelo Ramos and Tobias Hoffman. 

This will bring, for a while, total satisfaction to me. To be considered as capable as thery are.

Then, some other aspects come up: and the Expert X team environment? What if an Expert Team?

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16 Comments

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  1. Michelle Crapo
    Alexandre,

    You’ve done an excellent job of highlighting some of our different points.   BUT – where’s your answers??!!!  They were very interesting to read indeed.

    After running round and round.  My thought is that usually the guy in the back of the room is the expert.  The person jumping up and down yelling they are the expert????  Well I would do a technical interview with them.

    For me when brining on an expert onto our team it all comes down to the interview.  Other things would / will bring them notice and get the interview moved up.  However, there is no substitute for the interview process.

    AND we need soft skills.  We have to have a transfer of knowledge by the end of the project.

    BR – THANK YOU for writing this blog!

    Michelle

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    1. Alexandre Carvalho Post author
      Thank you for supporting it, Michelle!

      Regarding my answers, I would like to point mainly the need of having a SAP Reference of consultants expertise and reputation. As suggested, the new SCCN – SAP “Customers” Community Network. All actors of this scenario will win: SAP, consultants, customers and agencies.
      Or even, some adjustments to the SCN channel together with a campaign to make customers use it more and better.
      Some blogs in SCN based on Reputation ( I`ve read a very good one written by Jason Cao) talk about something that might differ around the globe. In Brazil, reputation is built with time, attitudes, actions and power of networking. I guess that also takes place in other Latin culture countries. Reputation becomes like a sacred flame you can let die, almost like a burden, just for the benefit of having a Good Reputation and being well accepted. Bringing this to the SAP consultants world, as it is a business world, the consultant who has such Good Reputation (Expert, Mentor….) should deserve higher rates than regular ones. Regarding HOW TO BUILD REPUTATION, SCN awarding, projects in the portfolio, customers’ references, courses taken, level of innovation the professional deals with and, “on-board” features: Languages spoken, work experiences, availability and social skills.
      Regarding higher rates, they are deserved. Even Einstein, Michelangelo worked for the others to make their living. Soccer players, nowadays, make millions when they are stars, example: Lionel Messi. But he plays in a team, also considered the Best Team. Is it a great example that if you a Team of Experts your company will live the best SAP world? I guess so!
      Some players have very good publicity around them, sponsors to make them shine, live as rebels to justify geniality but, when they play they make no difference, and the audience boos. Time to search for another star…. Changing these actors to SAP, some consultants use social networks to claim for references, build Resumes that look like they sell avatars but, when it’s time for action they fail and the customers (audience) get in charge of building the Bad Reputation.
      Although it may not be so good or easy in some places, I feel pleased and proud when a previous customer does the referral himself.

      I would like to hear Experts comments. See the world through their eyes.

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      1. Craig S
        Any attempt to quantify an expert, especially through points or contributions, etc.. is doomed to have problems.  And it would fail to recognize the many experts who never visit SDN of which there are many.  And many who don’t post or participate in SDN because of many reasons.

        It also will cause new people to study how to reach expert by manipulating the system.  Just becasue someone posts a lot or does blogs doesn’t mean they are an expert.  I’ve seen many posts just be flat out wrong and yet they get points.

        You build your rep by doing your best at each client one by one.  You don’t need anyone to tell you or anyone else you’re an expert.  Your reputation will preceed you when you are an expert.  You’ll know when you are one.  If you need to even ask yourself the question or to check yourself against a checklist you probably are not one.

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        1. Alexandre Carvalho Post author
          Wow! The expert issue reached the Fire Fighting world… (smile)

          Thanks for the Cinema class and remembrances, though they do not add much here, a little bit of entertainment is always welcome!!

          Experts out of SDN. Yes, they exist, Anupam has even mentioned the ones out of the laptop. But, I failed when stating the aim of this blog: no WHO TO FIND them, but HOW TO RECOGNIZE when THEY come to you.
          Time consuming: yes, thank God I could answer your comments fast. That normally would take not less than 5 days. But, contributing is the aim here: SHARING.
          The checklist would serve the recruiter, not the professional. You are right! a Professional who needs a checklist to see if he’s good enough needs Medical care, not a job! Maybe a training center will sell this checklist as the English students evaluation tests (TOEIC, TOEFL…), but that’s another subject.
          The bottom line is two common items in the EXPERT RECOGNITION PROGRAM (smile): Reputation and Customer Referrals.
          Thanks for the comment FF. You matched two of my daily-life principles: meet people and have fun.

          Very nice meeting you!

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          1. Craig S
            The problem I have had with recruiters is that few of them actually take the time to look into references.  I often don’t feel that most recruiters take the time to really check references.  It can be hard as many clients and large companies have policies about that.  You are often told that they can only confirm that a person did or did not work somewhere.  If I was recuriter though, I would be asking the candidate for a reference from at least one project manager that they worked with.  Most consultants have worked with contracted PM’s and if you are good, most PM’s won’t have much of an issue in providing a recommendation since they themselves are usually in the same position of needing them plus they understand the business more. Even these references might be biased since let’s face it, they’ll be expecting a glowing recommendation for themselves.

            But most recruiters are interested in just placing a warm body and rarely check much past the surface.

            Also ask the consultant if they would be willing to work on a 30-60 day trial period.  If they are confident in their skill set, they won’t have a problem with that. Even if you don’t intend to set up a trial period. Just ask the question and see the reaction.

            Stability in projects is also key.  Most consultants seek out longer term contracts whenever possible. Expert consultants will be in demand and once major companies identify them will tend to try to keep them and will be their first call for new projects. 

            If you see lots of short projects under 6 months, proabbly not a great sign.  If you see no repeat business on a resume, this is also probably not a good sign.  Big companies constantly seem to have projects. By the time one is done, another is starting.  They buy or sell somebody, they upgrade, expand to new countries, etc…

            An expert should have at least one, more likely at least two, repeat customers on their resume.  This also indicates good social skills. Even with good technical skills, clients won’t bring someone back if most of the team thought he was hard to work with.

            A consultant constantly changing consulting houses is probably a red flag.  A good consulting firm will keep using a really good consultant if at all possible and eventually try to hire them in. 

            On the other hand, a consultant in a major firm can be moved between clients a lot because they use them to land a contract, get it going, and then move them on to another client while backfilling with a lower paid, less experienced person.

            I don’t think you can boil that down into a few simple items. But I think I mentioned a few items for a recuriter to consider.  I think repeat busines on the resume is a big one.

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        2. Anupam Ghosh
          Hi Fire Fighter,
                         Agreed that quite a number of blogs are only occupying space in SCN and only written for sake of earning points or reputation or both. At the same time there are lot many blogs or articles which serve as lifeline to ongoing projects. In many blogs author’s miss steps, thus inspite of being technically high in content ultimately proves to be of no use.
          Secondly forum points are definately an indication how technically expert a person is. Forum points are difficult to achieve and points are awarded mostly only if your solution works.
          So if someone has lot many SDN contribution better to go through their articles once, look at the forum points the person has gained and then arrive at conclusion. Personnally I would prefer experts who share their knowledge in SCN. Here I mean to say experts who intend to help projects by putting all the technical steps in detail.

          Regards
          Anupam

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    2. Craig S
      “My thought is that usually the guy in the back of the room is the expert.”

      Sounds like that scene from the movie “The Fugitive” where Tommy Lee Jones (TLJ) as the Marshall is looking for help from the local swampers and he wants a good one to pilot his John Boat in the swamp. 

      “TLJ: “Which one of you knows the most about this terrain?”
      *most of the hicks raise their hands*
      TLJ: “Alright, which one of you is the ugliest, most inbred country son of a b***h out here?”
      *most of the hicks raise their hands*

      One old guy in the crowd didn’t raise his hand at all and just spat out some tobacco juice almost as if he couldn’t care less.

      Guess who TLJ selectd?

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      1. Craig S
        My mistake.  The film was “U.S. Marshalls” which was basically a spin-off movie from the “The Fugitive” using TLJ’s character.

        FF

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    1. Alexandre Carvalho Post author
      Hello Jarret!
      Thanks for the feedback. Very nice having Mentors checking out your work!

      Very nice blog! I fear I fail in items 5, 9 and 10. I`ll try to solve these gaps in my Resume. (smile)

      The idea of an Expert Club sounds good. Maybe I will use it for fine tunning my SCCN idea.

      Please, tell me: how do you (Expert and Mentor) deal your rate? Do you suffer much resistance from agencies?

      See ya,

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  2. Luke Marson
    I wrotea blog last year on how to find a good Nakisa consultant, since many people say they can integrated Nakisa solutions, but generally they just mean they installed it and put in the SAP connection string. A bit like saying you can setup SAP but you just mean you can put the SAP system details into SAPgui.

    How to identify a good Nakisa consultant

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    1. Alexandre Carvalho Post author
      Hello, Luke!
      Thanks for sharing….

      Very complex your scenario, huh?! I kind of suffer the same when integrating SAP R/3 and Brazilian Governments applets and validation webservices.
      These Electronic obligations here demand the consultant to have knowledge ranging form Taxes Laws and regulations to legacy messaging systems interface at DB level. Besides, to cover the gaps between the delivered SAP solution and the customer’s specific market fiscal needs.

      As the SAP market and, we can also say IT market, lacks capable work power, even at basic or intermediate levels, these people who claim to be experts are not jobless or struggling for money and surviving. So, what drives them to the belief they are experts?

      Still, we have the other end, customers or agencies, who publish Expert open vacancies. Do they know the definition of the word Expert? It seems like when you ask someone to figure in mind an “elegant woman”. Each one you ask, will “produce” a different JPG image!! (smiles)

      I could never solve this communication problem…

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  3. Anupam Ghosh
    Hi All,
             I went through wonderful blogs written by Luke and Jarret. Before I write anything else I wanna to say:- what ever I express here are honest expressions of my thoughts and observation and I do not intend to hurt anyones feelings.

    To identify experts in SAP Domain I assemble the following points from all discussions and my thoughts. 

    1. Experts will be humble even after so much of success. (I came to know about experts from others, they never announced their own achievments.)
    2. They will answer 98-99% of your technical questions correctly, without slightest hesitation. (For me only almighty God can answer all questions so I leave 1-2%)
    3. They are well known in atleast SCN circle through numerous blogs, articles and forum.
    4. They have undertaken quite a lot of quality assignments which needed innovative thinking.
    5. They are good in soft skills- This is important to understand business rquirements. Since most times requirement is not clear.
    6.SAP certified , awards, recognitions (optional) 
    8. Team worker.

    Regards
    Anupam

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    1. Alexandre Carvalho Post author
      Hey Anupam!
      Thanks for the kind attention you are dedicating.

      Don’t worry my friend! We all know from your words that you are a good and wise man. Besides, nobody will be hurt because your idea of an expert matches a lot with ours. The features you pointed are mostly a common sense among us.
      I guess an Expert Checklist is about to be designed?!

      Regarding soft skills (a subject you master, we can see!), at least here in Brazil we suffer from a disease: most often your the words you speak are  misunderstood partially or completely. Do you have any hint how to ease such painful times?

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      1. Anupam Ghosh
        Hi Alexandre,

        First of all let me admit I was scared to write blogs because I felt this is an area where only experts have the priviledge to dwell. This was until I had exchange of thoughts with u and Michelle. Really both of you have enormous contribution to what ever I am writing today. I am happy you liked it. Thank you for your kind words.  I have been explaining engineering subjects related to computer science to my students for quite some time now. During this time when I understood importance of soft skills. The words that came out of our mouth actually determines the kind of person we are.
        We need to careful in what we speak and how we speak. A simple and effective technique I found useful was to put a gap between words. You should not be too slow that people loose their patience to hear u. At the same time if you speak slowly with a little pause between words
        you will find people are understanding what you are saying. One more thing, wanna like to add here, which I still apply in my organization. I assume the person who is listening to me is knowing nothing of the subject I am speaking. Thus I need to simplify whatever I am saying as much as possible. These tricks raelly helped me.

        Regards
        Anupam

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      2. Anupam Ghosh
        Hi Alexandre,
                  Thank you so much for your kind words.
        Its great to hear you liked my writings. I have been expalaining Engineering subjects related to computer science to my students for quite some time now. Important lessons I learnt during this time about soft skills are

        1. When you speak be careful.
        2. Try putting little gap between the words you speak. This also gives you time to think.
        3. The volume of your speech should not be too much.
        4. Try assuming that the person with whom we are speaking is completely unaware of the subject, we are speaking about. Thus try to simplify the matter as much as possible.Use metaphors where ever applicable.

        I got great benifits by using these tricks.

        Regards
        Anupam

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