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SAP has long been a target for consulting fraud and over the years I have seen this grow into a real problem within SAP and it ranges to someone embellishing resumes to outright fraud.  Bill Wood has done an excellent job over the years with this topic writing Screening methods to find the right SAP consultant and Screening and Interview Methods to Find the Right Consultant – Part 2 which I would highly recommend.


Over the past weekend Andy Klee shared a job posting on twitter and commented “Stupid SAP job advertisement” but when I looked at it in more detail it was obvious that this was a classic example of blatant fraud and it is important that SAP customers are aware that this is happening in the marketplace.

Consultant Fraud.png

At the core this job posting is offering $30-$50 USD for a senior SAP FICO Consultant with excellent communication skills, speaking fluent English and a US based Skype number to help clear phone interviews and is needed for phone interviews ONLY. Phone interviews are typically one of the key steps customers use to help validate prospective consultants and extremely scary to think the person a customer spoke to on a telephone interview is different than who shows up to do the work. It is very probable that that any person who was unable to do their own technical interview also has a fraudulent resume and this combination can put an entire project at risk. For customers who read my 3 Ways to Sabotage Your Next SAP Consultant Hire it is obvious this fraud is a way to get past those checks.


I reached out to Nathan Genez of Serio Consulting who is a fellow SAP mentor and true FICO expert to get his thoughts and he told me:


“Yeah, this is really disturbing because it is so obviously related to a scam and yet they’re so bold about it. They’re obviously trying to do a technical interview swap between someone who knows SAP FICO and someone who can’t even speak to the solution. Of course, this has been going on in IT for as long as there have been technical interviews… but an internet job board just makes it look so much worse. Hopefully customers will pay attention and see just how unethical some folks are and take more ownership about the vetting of consultants. Far too often the resources are just assigned and show up and the customer has no say in the process. I’m so frustrated that customers don’t take more control of this or have higher standards, and more importantly, are willing to speak up and say “Hey, this person just isn’t working out. We need someone better, stronger, easier to work with, more of a leader, etc.”


Bill Wood of R3Now who has been at the forefront of this wrote in an earlier article:


“Because of the potential “goldmine,” SAP consulting is a target for software consulting fraud, IT fraud, and H1B fraud. Armed with fake resumes for SAP experience there are countless frauds and cheats who claim to be SAP consultants.  Worse yet, there’s an entire cottage industry organized to help write fake resumes, coach potential applicants, and even do initial phone screens to help these individuals engage in software consulting fraud on your SAP project.”

It doesn’t matter whether you are a consultant, partner, customer or work for SAP you should find this extremely troubling. Hiring a good consultant is challenging enough and customers really have to commit to spend the time up front on each and every consultant they bring on board regardless of if they are with a large consulting firm or a one off hire. Some articles I would recommend reading beforehand are Seven Tips to ensure you hire the Right Consultant, Protecting Yourself from SAP Consulting Fraud and Signs you Should Not Trust your SAP Consultant


The bottom line is that anyone who is willing to take part in enabling this fraud on any level should be banned from working in the SAP industry though obviously there is no current mechanism to support enforcement of this. 

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    1. Jarret Pazahanick Post author

      Funny and thanks for the insight to the article as I would like to say this only happens in the SAP FI “wild west” arena but fraud is all over HCM especially in the newer areas.

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    2. Gregory Misiorek

      bride service can only be the best case scenario and i’m afraid a much darker side may be at work as well. wouldn’t pass any HR department muster here in the US, anyway.

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      1. Jarret Pazahanick Post author

        In my blog example HR would not be involved….as they are looking for someone to pass a technical phone interview with the SAP/IT Business teams.  Once that is complete and assuming it goes well HR would get involved to bring the consultant onboard never knowing the Fraud and the “female only” ad that was used to scam them.

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        1. Gregory Misiorek

          with all the outsourcing issues maybe HR and legal should be involved in vetting recruiting candidates. if they wouldn’t some enterprising legal eagles will, but it may be too late for the hiring party by then.

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          1. Jarret Pazahanick Post author

            I for one am all for detailed vetting of every consultant that is going to work on a SAP project as those who truly have the experience they claim have no problem going through a more detailed background check and actually want it as it helps set them apart.

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    1. Jarret Pazahanick Post author

      That doesnt surprise me and the scary thing is they will probably get a resume that has that experience πŸ™‚  Top it off by an impostor doing the technical interview and you have all the makings of a disaster project. I didnt want to include this angle in my article but for all the good SAP SCN does it also helps enables this to a certain as when you read many of the forum questions it is pretty obvious the “consultant” posting doesnt have a clue and I wonder how many got their role via an embellished resume or worse.

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      1. Jarret Pazahanick Post author

        Let just say it would not surprise me as I have seen fraud more prevalent in areas of higher demand where there is not a lot of expertise in the marketplace.

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  1. Craig S

    Had a friend of mine, (yes..direct friend, not an urban myth), who was looking to  hire a project manager.  He had been a project manager himself at one time.  Imagine his surprise when his own resume crossed his desk with someone else’s name on it.  It had been modified a tad but the projects and the bulk of the text were the same.

    Needless to say he set up a technical phone interview with the person and then proceeded to give him the most uncomfortable interview ever with specifc questions about each project, the people on the projects, details, etc.. it wasn’t until near the end he told the guy that he knew it was a fake resume becasue it was copied from his.

    This is a major problem.  Companines have to realize, just like everything else.  If it’s too good to believe, (i.e. great rate and great experience),  it probably isn’t.

    FF

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    1. Jarret Pazahanick Post author

      Great point on the if it is to good to believe (ie rate/experience) it probably is. It wouldnt surprise me if everyone reading this blog has a similar story and goes to show that this type of fraud is widespread. I experienced what your friend did first hand which I shared in this article a few years back http://it.toolbox.com/blogs/saptraining/sap-certification-does-it-matter-32968 and has gotten to the point where I am hesitant to share my resume until I am sure it is absolutely required.

      Speaking of fakery, Jarret Pazahanick, an SAP HCM consultant, told me this little gem:

      “Last year I got a call from a friend that works at SAP America when they noticed that a candidate they were reviewing had worked at some of the same clients I had and he wanted to get my thoughts. It turns out someone had taken my resume and changed the name and they were in the final stages of getting a job with SAP. Needless to say I was very surprised.”

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    2. Nathan Genez

      This is a major problem.  Companines have to realize, just like everything else….

      That’s my main frustration.  Because of the maturity, size, and allure of the SAP services market, there is so much of this crap going on but, and I get really defeatist when I talk about this subject… I swear, the customers don’t seem to care.  They hire these folks, and then even if they realize that they’re no good, they don’t kick them off!  So I’m not sure companies do realize and if they do, they don’t act on it.

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      1. Jarret Pazahanick Post author

        I have to agree with you Nathan that it is frustrating and that is why I continue to try to shine a light on it as much as possible although my guess is that client decision makers will not read this article on SCN as it tends to be more consultants and technical resources but would hope that the articles on ASUG reach more customers but overall I havent seen much change in the past 10 years.

        Fingers crossed that SAP will promote this in an upcoming newsletter as it is such an important topic but they seem to shy away from sensitive issues like this.

        Smart and experienced customers know how to interview and get good consultants and it is no surprise that they combine that will strong internal resources and have smooth SAP projects which you never hear about.

        The bottom line is experience consultants WANT customers to do detail technical interviews, check references etc as they know it will help them show the value that they can bring to the table.

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    3. Roman Bukarev

      I believe the problem is bigger: it’s not that companies should implement some processes to verify resumes from job seeking candidates. Rather, it’s that the whole hiring process based on “job ad -> obtain resumes -> shuffle (or whatever is the screening process) resumes -> pick a candidate” routine simply doesn’t work anymore (if it worked any good before.. I’m not sure as I’m too young to remember what was happening in the pre-Internet era).

      The hiring process should be made more network-based, and I mean not “social/linkedin”–style, but somehow older “thgough the grapewine” style.

      It actually works both ways: I would be cautious about a hiring agent coming out from the blue and not knowing about me more than I have in my LI account (I admit having one). Interestingly, some of them do not read even that.

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      1. Jarret Pazahanick Post author

        Great point Roman as from what I have seen in North America SAP recruiters dont provide a lot of value other than to be an additional layer which often is the difference between the customer getting a very good vs mediocre consultant.

        I see many roles for example where a client ask their SI if they have an expert in a specific area of SAP.  The SI will always say yes and if they dont have it will recruit for the role…..the recruiter will typically search on Linked and find a candidate that is willing to work for the rate to ensure they make their profit margin.  A recent US based example was the client had a budget for $200 per hour for a specific SAP role……the SI offered the role to several recruiters at $140…..they went to market between $90-$110 and most of them just do a Linkedin search (is that worth $30-$50 a year).  The sad thing is the customer was paying a lot more than the caliber of candidate they were going to get.

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  2. Christopher Solomon

    Jarret…great blog as always! To me, it all sounds like “hacking” in a sense. As “fixes” are put in place to prevent “attacks”, the attackers just find more/better workarounds. In the “old” days, it was merely copying resumes (and yes, like you, I hesitate to send mine anywhere now….and yes, I have seen my own friends’ resumes with other people’s names come across desks at other projects!). There was (still is?) a BIG underground industry for just “resume farms”….they would collect them, change a few things, etc. and create “ready-for-market” SAP consultants. I remember being in Atlanta on a project, going to lunch and seeing a flier posted up on a bulletin board for “SAP classes” that would “provide you a resume and first job” upon completetion….WHAT!?!? But I think many people caught on to that…a bit more of a “social engineering” attack was needed…which happens to conincide with companies attempting to save themselves money by conduting more and more phone interviews versus flying in potential candidates…..and the fraud as aided by better technology as well.

        The “fraud” of phone interview that I first remember hearing (and even heard directly while giving a phone interview!) was the person on the other end being prepared with “cheat sheets”, books in front of them, etc. to answer any question you threw at them. I was in a room with 2 other people when we were all giving a phone interview to a guy and he would pause when asked a question as if in deep thought…but we could HEAR him clicking around as if he was Googling the answers!!!! hahaha So those “phone interview frauds” has to get more sophisticated….they had to interview in a more believable manner. So, as we see (and has been going on for at least 2-3 years now), there are more and more fake phone interview handlers or “fronts” for the actual candidates. Even on my project now, we were talking the other day about some of their past consultant experiences and they mentioned how they intereviewed a guy that sounded great but another guy showed up for the job. They caught him because they mentioned something they had discussed over the phone (some side discussion like a vacation or something), and he had no clue what they were talking about. BUSTED! hahaha

         In any event, I am not sure what the answer is….background checks and references would be nice, but those can be faked too. Even for a legitimate candidate, finding people from past projects and companies to vouche for them is near impossible at times as projects end, people switch companies, retire, etc. So how can a company be both cautious yet trusting with hiring a potential candidate ?….and then let’s discuss another big one…a consulting company helping implement a project and under a deadline that fills it’s slots with sub-contractors sent to them via recruiting companies/head hunters/ etc……talk about being ripe for being “taken” by those kinds of frauds you mention!!!! haha

         It’s not an easy answer with one simple solution, eh?

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    1. Jarret Pazahanick Post author

      Thanks for the kind words Chris and the excellent insight. It is very scary that the fraud in the SAP marketing keeps evolving.  You bring up a great point that customers SHOULDNT just say I am using IBM or Deloitte so I dont have anything to worry about as all to often they subcontract roles so the client believe they are employees of the SI when in fact there are so many layers involved (ie Recruiter/IBM Vendor/IBM/Client) that the only consultants they can hire are lower caliber due to the reduced rate because of 3 layers and mark-ups. Some of these lower caliber are frauds.

      One answer I have to follow Seven Tips to ensure you hire the Right Consultant as well as use your network. Looking for a great SAP HCM Process and Forms or ESS consultant ask other customers, ask SAP Mentors, ask within your User group, consultants you trust and some of the same names will continue to bubble to the top (ie in my example someone with the name of Chris) πŸ™‚ The bottom line is customers need to be diligent on every consultant they hire as for the money they are going to be paying them they deserve to get someone who knows what they are doing.

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      1. Christopher Solomon

        You and I both know that is a great idea (the customer having say in every consultant on site), but the reality is that projects are already strapped for time and money and neither can budge much to allow a careful “inspection”….and then there are contracts to deal with as well. It can be a mess, but again, just comes down to “trust” in the end.

        To something you mentioned at first….I was on a LARGE project (like upgrades of EVERYTHING and/or new implementations of anything SAP had that the client didn’t have)…2+ years. Of course to manage this, teams are split off (for example, I was on the HR team). On the CRM team, they had this guy come in as a supposed “CRM guru”. He went to every meeting, didn’t say much, shuffled around emails, etc….and after 1 month had not really done ANYTHING. He had billed and been paid for one month before the client (and other team members) caught on and gave him the boot. Sounds bad right? But it gets worse!!! He is by no means alone. I have heard of SEVERAL horror stories like this. Seems this “type” of “consultant” just hops from project to project. They collect what they can before being found out and move on to the next. Thankfully, the SAP world is stil fairly small, so these types tend to get filtered out (but not before many simply land perm. positions at companies!!!). But it does still happen. Uggggg.

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        1. Jarret Pazahanick Post author

          The sad thing is every big project seems to have a story of a ‘SAP Guru” who couldnt even spell SAP as I have seen it firsthand as well. It is one of the reason I have hesitated putting “guru” on my business card πŸ™‚

          I think many customer hear these stories and believe if they go with a large SI they will have nothing to worry about as all the consultants will be of the same caliber and that is the farthest from the truth.

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  3. Euan Keir

    INtersting blog Jarret……

    Why should hiring a SAP consultant be any different from hiring any other specialised person?  When looking to hire a CIO, accountant, pilot or an heart specialist does the parking attendant do the interview? During the ‘golden years’ when the SI’s were falling over one another to fill their already overflowing troughs they didn’t seem to always give much thought to whom they assigned onto a project –  it was supply and demand and boy was there demand!  This I feel, went mainly unchecked and that’s grown into what we have today. You will always get the chancers and with companies worried about the bottom line a lot of them seek out the ‘cheaper’ option which then of course turns into anything but.

    The strange thing is when you’re on an implementation you’re normally focused on process, process, process . . . . . . . . . . . . .  seems ironic!!

    One thing I’d like to know Jarret is if you feel SAP have any obligation (moral or otherwise) in correcting this and whether or not the SAP certification has made this matter better or worse?

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    1. Jarret Pazahanick Post author

      Thanks for the comment Euan and I do believe SAP has an obligation to at least let customers know that fraud is something to be aware of and to have a recommended checklist for customers when they are looking to hire a consultant.  Bad consultant often mean bad projects which hurts the SAP brand so they have a stake in this game as well.

      As far as certification I think it has raised expectations on getting a job in SAP and when people cant leverage that into a full time job that on some occasions they become unethical to get their first break.  I would also say that SCN to a certain degree helps by providing an easy way to get basic answers that can help shield a consultant who is learning on the job what his resume says he is an expert in.

      For your example I dont remember hearing many stories of CIO’s having someone else do their interview for them but I get your point πŸ™‚   It is also interesting in talking with people that this appears to be a more US specific issue and curious if anyone has an idea why that would be.

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  4. Thomas Cakalic

    Interesting read. That was pretty blatant. In the last 15 years I’ve:

    1. Been on a project where the technical consultant was in reality a recruiter that was farming the ABAP development home to his wife to do overnight. I was aware the guy was underskilled, but didn’t hear the true story from a colleague until after he left. He lasted about 5 months and many of his co-workers knew but didn’t tell.
    2. Interviewed for a consulting position and just prior was told not to mention the recruiter’s real name and to provide a different name if I was asked. I wan’t asked, but after having the client give the green light, I was asked to drop my rate from what was already agreed. NO SALE.
    3. Was asked by a co-worker to be the candidate on a phone interview in Canada for some remote consulting. If I got the gig, the co-worker would perform the work and split the pay. NOTHING DOING!
    4. On my current project I worked with a functional consultant that obviously knew nothing of the subject matter. He would come to my desk and ask for debug assistance, and then set up his computer 2 chairs down and sit there. What the heck? He lasted only 3 weeks, thankfully.
    5. Submitted my resume to a 3rd party consulting firm for a position I was eminently qualified for. I pursued it vigorously and was told “Don’t call us, we’ll call you”. I finally called a colleague on the project, and had her run my resume backwards to the implementer. The implementer called the consulting firm and they denied ever having my resume. However they submitted it, and I got the job. Then they started calling me “Mister Cakalic”. That was funny.

    Unfortunately resume embellishment and fraud is fairly rampant. It’s my goal never to knowingly or unwittingly participate in such schemes, and to bring them to the attention of project management if I become aware of such.

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    1. Jarret Pazahanick Post author

      Thanks for the comment Thomas and thanks for sharing those real examples you have come across. I really believe that fraud is more prevalent in SAP consulting due to the low barriers of entry (which appear for some to be a fake resume and someone else doing your interview) and the high salaries.


      I think we all owe to customers to do what you are doing and bring this to their attention and to continue to educate that this is something they have to be on the lookout for.  As I mentioned earlier SAP has turned a blinds-eye to this I personally I believe SAP has an obligation to at least let customers know that fraud is something to be aware of and to have a recommended checklist for customers when they are looking to hire a consultant.  Bad consultants often mean bad projects which hurts the SAP brand so they have a stake in this game as well.

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      1. Craig S

        I think for SAP it is a double-edged sword and hence the blind-eye syndrome. I know they obviously don’t want customers to be using bad consultants because as you said, if a bad project is the result, it doesn’t help make SAP software look good.

        On the other hand, if they try to really crack down on this, rates could rise even more, attracting even more devious and dishonest folks.  Not to mention a possible shortage of project people for implementations.  You can’t buy software if you have no one to help install it.  SAP really can’t take too active a role in this unless they have a solution for their customers like more on-staff consultants provided at lower rates. 

        I don’t want to offend anyone, but the SAP platinum consultant rates seem to be some of the highest in the market. They basically set the bar for everyone else.  But cutting their rates obviously cuts into their bottom line. But personally, I hope SAP raises their consulting rates even higher!!!  πŸ˜€

        So I don’t think there is any easy answer for them.  It comes down to educating the client and blogs like yours to get clients to do their own due diligence.  Don’t rely on the SI’s or headhunters.

        In the US at least, I would like to see a more concerted effort at companies like SAP to get students to take programming and technical IT tracks in college.  With the numbers of foreign nationals on projects in the US and in IT departments in general,  it is very clear we are not turning out enough college grads to fill these technical roles.

        FF

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        1. Jarret Pazahanick Post author

          Good point and what I think could be a middle ground for SAP would be to create and promote a SAP Consultant hiring checklist (something that any off us could do in a few hours) although I am sure legal wouldnt allow it for fear of lawsuits on failed projects (ie we followed the checklist and…..).  It is something that the user groups such as ASUG/DSAG definitely should look into on behalf of their customers as another option though.


          Since I have a business degree and lucked into SAP 14 years ago I take real offense with your last statement πŸ™‚   On a serious note as SAP pushes more into SaaS with SucessFactors/ByDesign etc the premium will on consultants that have a deeper understanding of the business given the lack of customization options but that said the best consultants I know in OnPremise world have a deep understanding of the underlying business as well as how to best leverage SAP. That combination is something that the “frauds” may be able to “fake” on a technical interview but after a month on-site most client can easily tell who has the expertise.

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          1. Craig S

            I wasn’t knocking folks without IT  degrees Jarret!    Mine is in Animal Science!  I’ve always believed the best systems analysts and functional consultants have a background where they spent considerable time in the business end of the area they are consulting on. 

            That said, many of the ABAP’ers come from the IT world and use that to wheedle their way into a consultant’s role while having little to no actual business experience.  But there are many SAP roles besides programmers that do not require business knowledge but are best served by an IT professional.  Such as BASIS people, security analysts, network specialists, database managers etc..  In addition, SAP is not the only IT discipline out there.  Most technical IT roles, regardless of whether it is SAP or not, lacks homegrown talent.  (at least in the US).  And that is the fault of our schools, colleges and Universities as well as the government for basically allowing unlimited technical visa’s.  With lower cost employees from overseas on visa’s there is little incentive for students and colleges to undertake/push these fields of study.

            But that’s a whole other topic. 

            FF

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            1. Thomas Dulaney

              I agree with you, Firefighter, that US based schools are failing to provide relevant skills to the marketplace in a lot of cases. I’ve started to volunteer at local universities who participate in the SAP University Alliance to help provide the voice of experience to students and faculty and feed back to the university what skills are actually needed. It’s extremely rewarding. If we can help design a more relevant curriculum in partnership with the universities, everyone will benefit. (and there will be less room for frauds since the number of qualified folks will increase).

              I’ve also been working very hard (but with less success) to get involved with local Veteran Associations in order to educate more Veterans (especially Wounded Warriors) to the possibilities that exist within IT for them. Many don’t realize how their real world experience in maintenance processes (for example) could translate into a career in SAP Enterprise Asset Management. There’s not a good path for them to get from point A to point Z at the moment, but hopefully we’ll be able to cobble something together. I know there are some companies out there that would definitely see the value in the wisdom a 20 year Veteran who has maintained equipment all over the world and in all conditions could bring to their organization during an implementation.

              But, as you said, we digress… πŸ™‚

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  5. Steve Bogner

    Great blog and perspective Jarret. I’ve been an SAP HR consultant for a long time, and I’ve seen way too much of this phony consultant approach. It’s not particularly hard to evaluate consultants though – we’ve both written and blogged/podcasted about how that’s done. It’s not hard, but it does have to be done – and many clients skip the rigorous evaluations. You get what you pay for.

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    1. Jarret Pazahanick Post author

      Thanks Steve and you bring up a great point that on the surface evaluating, interview and validating consultants seems like a lot of work but it isnt and companies that do the work up front end up with a lot higher caliber of consultants for the same cost.

      You have been vocal on this topic to help raise awareness via podcasts/blogs and would recommend folks take a look at this very good content.

      Finding the Right Consultants for Your Team

      http://www.insightcp.com/blog/two-critical-success-factors-your-sap-hr-project


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  6. Imran Khan

    There are lot of fake institutes in the city called Hyderabad in India, which is having lot of unauthorized SAP training centers and they do all these kind of fake resumes, interviews etc. There is a place called Ameerpet in Hyderabad where these type of illegal things happen. SAP should raid these institutes and take legal action against them.

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    1. Jarret Pazahanick Post author

      Thanks for the comment and insights Imran and not to single out a specific group but many of fraudulent resumes I have come across over the years have been associated with folks from India. 

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      1. Laeeq Siddique

        Just found something like this on Internet.. This ad is a simple invitation to join a unethical business of consulting fraud. Have a look.

        1. Trainer: 12 years of SAP Real time experience & certified in BW,   BPC, BODS and HANA

        2. Materials : PPTs , Certification materials, Project specific   Interview materials.

        3. we provide Online Servers.

        4. Students can record the Live training sessions. (Desktop  with Audio)

        5. 24/7 online support.*

        6. Project prototype.

        7. Resume assistance with projects summary.

        8. Mock Interviews

        9. Placement assistance.

        10. 6 months support for your first project *

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    2. Ramki Maley

      These type of businesses exist in the U.S. as well. These guys hire foreign grad students (on opt/training visa), train them for a couple of months in an SAP or other IT skill and market them with a fake resume showing 6 to 8 years of experience. These so called experts are willing to work for peanuts to stay in the U.S. Add visa fraud to SAP fraud.

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      1. Jarret Pazahanick Post author

        Thanks for comment Ramki and that is interesting.  Do you happen to have some weblinks of companies you suspect are doing this. The bottom line is that customers cannot trust a resume and must do work upfront to ensure every consultant they bring on board has the skills and experience they say they do.

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  7. Varkey George. K.

    We need to proactively attack this menace so that all Customers, Partners & others would benefit out of this process.

    I would suggest that since the data on SAP Certified Consultants are available to SAP & its Authorized Training Partners, they should upload the Consultants’ Name, Address Contact details to SCN or some other site. SCN Members who claim to be Certified should be only allowed to link their Profile to the above data. We should not leave any loophole in this process – Pros & Cons to to discussed further & ironed out.

    I think the above site will then be for reference to HR Teams, Customers & Partners for verification.

    We cannot leave this menace unattended.

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    1. Jarret Pazahanick Post author

      Thanks for a comments and suggestion.  A few thoughts

      1. Some of the best consultants I know are NOT certified as they after 15 years of experience they dont see the value and some of the most junior ones are so that could be a problem.

      2. As someone who has two SAP certifications I have long believed that SAP should do more to ensure that people who say they are certified actually are and have a place that is easy for customers to check.  If you look in the comment section of this blog I wrote last year SAP Certification Sale is Bad News SAP PROMISED to publicly outline a certification transcript process within “a week” and sadly that was over a year ago and nothing has been done.

      In a perfect world SAP certification would be like Cisco where customers could use it as a way to help validate a consultants skill/experience but SAP is no where close to having something that strong and respected in place.

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      1. Thomas Dulaney

        I couldn’t agree with you more, Jarret. Every other certification program has a web site that can be used to verify certifications. NOT having one invites fraud and abuse. SAP Training should make this a TOP priority! -td

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        1. Jarret Pazahanick Post author

          Great point Thomas and the sad truth about SAP Certification is its top priority is to make money and I see it first hand time and time again. The sad side effect is many people are lead to believe that getting the certification will be their road to becoming a consultant and when that does not occur some take the next step into unethical behavior.

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          1. Christopher Solomon

            My thing with SAP certification (much moreso in the past) is that it is really “product” certification. I have been in cert. classes firsthand. Most are all about “this menu is here” and “this option is here” and “you can do this feature if you activate this”…….but not much (any?)in applying it to real world business scenarios. That only comes with experience…which is a bit hard to teach. (haha) SAP Certification has gotten better and is still doing so, however, I think they still have a ways to go.

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            1. Jarret Pazahanick Post author

              Great point Chris and at one time SAP time the SAP Education group talked about a “master level” certification which would have had both but that has been dropped.  I very much agree with the “longs ways to go”

              I am a perfect example as I passed my HR certification in 1998 and at that time didnt know the first thing about HR as well as was learning about SAP for the first time as my previous experience was non-IT in the grocery business.

              Do you think all the “freshers” who get their certification to try to break into SAP and often find that challenging are one of the root causes of the fraud?

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        1. Ethan Jewett

          Hi Martin,

          I feel a sense of deja vu. Maybe we had this discussion at the time πŸ™‚ Or maybe I’m becoming Jon Reed (sorry, lame Twitter joke).

          I just feel it must be pointed out that this is almost useless for employer verification of certifications. It is very easy to forge. People who are hiring consultants or employees need to be able to verify the certifications of those people directly with SAP, without the prospective employee as a middle-man. This must be possible quickly and without regard for the region the certification occurred in.

          Cheers,

          Ethan

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          1. Martin English

            Jarret,

              I agree with the dejavu bit πŸ™‚ I think we went on to discuss the possibility of SAPs involvement in supplying these directly to customers on request (i.e “Martin English has applied for a job here – what are his certifications”).

            PS As soon as I became Jon Reed, I forgot why I wanted to be him.

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        2. Jarret Pazahanick Post author

          We are all a year older (and maybe not wiser) but I seem to recall that not only was there not a consistent way globally for an individual to access their certification transcripts in some regions like the Americas there was none at all.  Sue Martin committed to take this as an action item and provide a clear process within a few weeks and obviously that never happened.  

          That said I agree fully with Ethan that a big and crucial step forward is to have customers be able to verify that people have the certifications they say they do as until that is in place all the improvement in the world arent going to help credibility when it is easy for people to claim they have it with no verification.

          Not sure why everyone is picking on Jon Reed but I am sure there is a valid reason πŸ™‚

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          1. Ethan Jewett

            Poor Jon Reed πŸ™ We had a Twitter discussion about deja vu a few days ago, so it seemed apropos to me, and also seemed cryptic enough that it would confuse everyone. On second thought, maybe the cryptic-ness isn’t a positive thing πŸ™‚

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        3. Nathan Genez

          Martin… I have some urgent questions regarding BW 1.2b.  Can I send them to you?  πŸ™‚

          In all seriousness, this is a telling trend.  An SAP professional is certified in the first two releases of BW…  but there have been 4 or 5 major releases since then and he’s not certified in them.  Why doesn’t SAP tap into this and encourage professionals like yourself to stay certified.  Lower cost?  Access to some new materials/documentation?  Experienced professionals don’t need the certifications but maybe there could be some sort of bonus attached to it…  retain your certification and we’ll give you ____.

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  8. Luke Marson

    Hi Jarret,

    Another good blog at highlighting the fraud that goes on in the industry. It’s a shame that this blog probably won’t be read by many customers, but I hope ASUG or some other forum makes use of this blog to support their customers in hiring the right people.

    Best regards,

    Luke

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    1. Jarret Pazahanick Post author

      Thanks for the comment Luke and I agree that the main demographic of an SAP SCN user is more consultants and SI’s which is obviously not the intended audience. That said based on your ID I am going to reach out to ASUG to see if they can help promote it in a newsletter or ASUG news so that more customers become aware.

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  9. John Draper

    Why not insist that candidates provide a passport photo on resumes, and conduct interviews for key roles via webcam if they can’t be done in person?  How many consultants wouldn’t have access to a video enabled device these days?  That also foils the Google users.

    Regards,

    John

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  10. John Moy

    Hi Jarret, looks like you’ve touched a sweet spot with this blog (something you seem to do very well). As someone who has worked on the customer side for several years, I should add my own values and philosophies …

    • Don’t trust your recruiter to properly check candidates.  I have seen too many examples of recruiters putting up candidates who they even know are unsuitable, but hope the customer will not notice.
    • Don’t trust your SI to provide appropriate candidates.  Once again I have seen too many examples of big name integrators putting up unsuitable resources, hoping the customer will not notice.  And I’m not simply ranting from the customer side, I have worked for or alongside big name integrators in the past and seen it happen from that side of the fence.  The possible exception to this is with some smaller buotique integrators, and where you know their resources.
    • Customers need to take accountability for checking resources, and not defer all responsibility to recruiters and SIs.  You can’t spend too much time and effort doing this.  I always have the philosophy that if you spend the appropriate time getting the right people in the door to begin with, it will save alot of pain and suffering down the track. An example where I once saw this was not done was a support manager who had two support developers to interview.  He interviewed the first and said ‘you are adequate’ and didn’t even bother to interview the second.  And this for a resource that would be working for him for a year. 
    • I always look for face to face interviews rather than phone interviews.  I have made some contractor recruiting mistakes in the past.  The two examples that were most obvious to me were both phone interviews.  Basically I have found that face to face is much more effective.  That said, where I work in the Melbourne market that is more viable, unlike in the US where candidates could be in other cities or locations.  Having said that, I am wondering whether we should all be using Skype video to interview people in other locations?
    • The interviewers should include people with good domain expertise.  This is unfortunately where many customers have difficulty.  After all, if they already have the skills and knowledge then why would they be recruiting for it?  It is a difficult one to solve.  Where I work we are lucky to have a strong inhouse SAP COE, so we tend to bring in SIs to address issues of resourcing capacity.  I am wondering if there is a place for customers to have access to independent ‘buyers advocates’, ie. people who can cross check candidate expertise on behalf of customers?  Of course this becomes a slippery slope into the world of recruiters and certification. 

    Great discussion, as usual!

    Cheers

    John

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    1. Jarret Pazahanick Post author

      Thanks for the excellent and detailed comment Jon and I couldnt agree with you more.  In a perfect world customers could trust their partners to ensure every consultant was reputable and had the necessarily skills but we all know that is not the case. If you have the bandwidth I would encourage you to use your comment as the foundation for a blog as it will get more exposure and is great insight for customers.

      Part of the issue is awareness, part is the steps need and the last is the willingness and understanding of the long term value to careful ensuring you bring on good consultants if you need them.

      One last point is that poor consultant and good consultants typically have a very similar end cost so customers owe it to themselves to get a good one.

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  11. Varkey George. K.

    I have read the comments of John Moy.

    Jarret Pazhavnick has actually stepped on a land mine. I feel all SAP Customers & Partners would have their own experiences to share on this subject as I feel almost all would have had some unprofessional elements in their SAP Projects.

    I do not agree with John Moy on the point that the buck stops at the Customer. I have had worst experiences as a Project Manager on the Customer side where we had very little prior SAP experience or expertise to grill a candidate before taking him/her into the Project. We had only knowledge of what is needed in the Business Process. We depended on the SI for the Project delivery & expertise of Consultants was their domain. However, we had to be ruthless in terminating some consultants after a few weeks ( some times days) of actual interactions.

    In the nutshell, all the SAP Customers & SI alongwith SAP or even without SAP have to crack this menace.

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    1. Jarret Pazahanick Post author

      Thanks for the comment and I got a chuckle out of “steps on a landmine” as I seem to do that every once in awhile on my blogs mostly on purpose though πŸ˜†

      The buck SHOULDNT have to stop with the customer but unfortunately we dont live in a perfect world where the SI’s and recruiters can always be trusted to do the due diligence so customers must be aware and take responsibility if they want to ensure they are getting a good consultant.  It is not different than if I hire a financial adviser to invest my money…..the responsibility is mine to find the best one, do an interview check references and once hired actively monitor the performance.

      It is great to hear you were ruthless on terminating some consultants as I talk about that in my Signs you Should Not Trust your SAP Consultant and as far as the technical interview I mention that in my Seven Tips to ensure you hire the Right Consultant where I say

      Set Up a Technical Interview Doing a technical interview can often be a daunting task, since the reason you are hiring a consultant is because you don’t have internal SAP expertise in the specific area. Here are a few basic steps you should follow:

              a. Involve business and IT members on your interview team.

              b. Set up an internal pre-interview meeting, lay out the specifics of the engagement and offer a script for everyone to follow.

              c. Involve a technical IT resource or consultant that you trust to ask some specific SAP technical/functional questions.

              d. Only ask questions that you have an understanding of the right answer.

              e. Ask how they would solve an actual issue that will be part of the scope of work.

              f. Never use any of the SAP interview questions that are easily found on the internet.

      Bottom Line: The goal of the technical interview is to get a comfort level that the consultant has the necessary SAP technical skills and business understanding to be a valuable team member.

      At the core I agree that the responsibility should only partially be on the customer but in order for this to get fixed I think the awareness and pressure has to come from the customers in order to effect longer term change in the industry.

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      1. Craig S

        Another option for a customer is to include a freelancer to help with their interviews.  Most customers have at least one SAP savvy person.  That person should be able to use a site like SCN and be able to figure out the major players in the major spaces. I’m sure quite a few of them, while not able to be available for hire, could maybe be conned, I mean, convinced, to sit in on a couple of phone or video interviews remotely and help grill or interview the applicants.  (for a fee of course).  But it might be money well spent for certain key hires.

        This could also be a nice service that maybe SAP could provide.  I have often thought a good HR person could make a nice little boutique business out of vetting new hires as a non-interested third party hired by the customer.  I know many headhunters and agencies claim to checkout their applicants that they present but very few of them really do.  My guess is some SI’s do even less.

        FF

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        1. Jarret Pazahanick Post author

          I think your suggestion is an excellent idea and it is something that Steve Bogner has talked about from a different angle Achieve Better SAP HR Implementations With Objective Third-Party Consulting as well.

          The first hurdle is making customers aware of the fraud as well as just the down right poor consulting that is out there so they realize the need. The next would be how to identify the expert and I think 10 Ways to tell if you are an SAP Expert would be a great start as well as SCN Top Contributors, SAP Mentors etc.  Where there is a will there can be a way.

          Your point on checking out applicant is spot on as I havent been asked for a reference in years (and I want customers to call my references) πŸ˜† and although I am known in many circles something tells me this is common place as most recruiters are just middlemen for the SI’s who can claim they assume the validation was already done.

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          1. Steve Bogner
            Getting that independent, third-party view from another consultant and/or firm is pretty cheap risk management for even the smaller projects. When houses are built, there are inspectors; companies have all sorts of quality control processes in place on the production lines; we don’t hesitate to get a second doctor opinion for the big, important things. SAP projects need that sort of QA check/process too.
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            1. Jarret Pazahanick Post author

              Very well said and true Steve. The biggest challenge is the same one it has been for years in getting customers to realize this “risk management” is something they need.

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  12. Laeeq Siddique

    A really good blog. While these kind of fake candidates are open risk for the project they are bad also because they most of the time are willing to work for less.. Some customers think that they can keep two “light weight” resources instead of a single “heavy” one..While things like this can look good on paper initially but they find out in long run that that was a mistake… So it is not just those “candidate” there is a mentality behind this business which needs to be changed. I can share more about how we can eliminate or at least narrow down this practice in details when I get some more time.. Again a good share for everyone.

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    1. Richard Jabbour

      In reality it goes like this….Sales and Distribution Order management low cost resources….basically knows how to copy an order type…cannot possibly tell you how to make a sales order REQUIRE a contract by not doing mass copy….then they need a pricing specialist…then they need a delivery person…then a warehouse person…for essentially ONE SINGLE FOOD CHAIN…that a heavy wieght resource can do…SALES TO CASH…I agree with your posting but the magnitude to customers that they have not figured out yet is it is 4 or 5 to one…and it is 65 per hour for each low level silo configuration and process specialist…and less that 4 or 5 times 65 for one solid resource…not to mention the time to value!!!

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      1. Craig S

        Add to the fact that many of your “heavyweight” resources will be either direct pays or through one preferred vendor versus the lightweight who might be billed through multiple agencies before the customer gets the final bill and the difference is even less.  For every ten dollar difference per hour you’re talking about a 16K per yr savings. If it is a $30-40 hr difference it’s no more than about 60K max a year.  Seems like a lot but not since most projects aren’t a year in length anymore, and most projects have budgets in the millions.  It’s not a huge savings for the risk you are take.  You can easily lose those savings just by being a week late on the delivered project.  And what if you were actually prevented from taking orders for just one day?  Or shipping orders out for one day?  Or delivering orders late to a customer?  What would that cost be?  60 K might seem pretty small in comparison.

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        1. Jarret Pazahanick Post author

          Great point and spot on plus on some of the roles there is not even any upfront savings as customers are paying for a heavyweight and because the due diligence upfront got a lightweight while several non-value added middlemen/women have a big smile on their face.

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        2. Laeeq Siddique

          You are right! I think one thing client can do themselves.. rather then totally relying upon vendors to find the right candidate (off course they interview but as we have already discussed telephonic Interviews can be fake) is to do a little search on social media. It is very difficult if not impossible these day to maintain a fake LinkedIn profile with updated references and all for those “fake” candidates.

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          1. Jarret Pazahanick Post author

            I always check Linkedin as a first step to see if it matches the resumes as well as to see if we have any common connections I can reach out to validate the individual if I dont know them personally.  If they dont have a Linkedin profile I take that as a HUGE red flag for a SAP Professional. 

            As far as social media such as Twitter I dont check that but believe that years down the road it will play a bigger role and am a big believer in it.

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            1. Frank Koehntopp

              That is probably the exact reason why I receive several LinkedIn request per week by people who read the word “SAP” in my profile.

              I wouldn’t trust LinkedIn for anything, I despise their “get everyone on board” spammy attitude, I already considered deleting my account there. Then again, LinkedIn isn’t as relevant in germany as it is in the US, I guess.

              In my opinion, if you hire Consultants and don’t know how to vet them the problem is on your side. Sure we can come up with all kinds of ways, but if customers don’t bother educating themselfes there’s really not a lot _anyone_ can do.

              Consulting is people business, period. If you understand that simple truth you’ll use people related tools instead of resumes anyway. Certifications, phone interviews and social networks can only get you so far. A recommendation by someone you trust beats that every time.

              Having said that, I think SCN could really move into a better tool to be your official SAP profile, for example by verifying identities of users and then adding their SAP acquired credentials, like certifications and courses taken. Add recommendations by fellow SCNers and this could really get you somethere.

              From the SCN profile, go and look what people do and how they behave (do they only ask or do they also help, do they come up with original content, what does their attitude come across like). That _might_ give you an indication. You could still dig into the consultant’s network then and ask for opinions/recommendations.

              Frank.

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              1. Jarret Pazahanick Post author

                Excellent comment Frank as I am a big believer that a recommendation from someone you trust should go a long ways as well as SCN & the SAP Education team could be doing a lot more.

                On a side my plan is to continue to try to educate customers that fraud is happening and it should be buyers beware out there.

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              2. Jason Scott

                I agree with you and think LinkedIn is total rubbish. I don’t understand the point of why people rush to get as many “friends” as possible… Then what? The recommendations side of it is also total rubbish and not to be trusted.

                SCN is probbaly a better place to build up your profile – but I certainly would NOT put any weight on SAP courses nor certification.

                From my personal experiences most of the SAP courses I have done have been taught by someone that only did the course themselves the week before which is a major let down. And Certification is a total joke and proves nothing. Plus there seems to be all sorts of dodgy providers claiming to provide SAP training that I often see on CV’s.

                Before I ever do an SAP course again I want to see the experience of the teacher.

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                1. Jarret Pazahanick Post author

                  Hi Jason

                  Thanks for the comment and I think there is some value in Linkedin on a few levels. It can be your public resume as well as a tool to help keep you in touch with people in your network. Customers can use it to look up consultants to see if their resume matches linkedin as well as to see if they have any common connections. I am a big believer that getting a recommendation from someone you trust on a candidate is a great first step and make no mistake the SAP ecosystem can be very small at times.

                  From an SCN side it is good to look if candidate are asking or answering questions especially if you are a customer looking to bring them in as an expert on your project.

                  SAP used to have consultants with field experience conduct their training but I believe they have moved more to a model of full time trainer and it is hard for students to get maximum value if the trainer doesnt have that.

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    2. Jarret Pazahanick Post author

      Thanks for the comment and kind words Laeeq as you bring up a good point that this unethical behavior can drive down rates and ultimately cost the customers a lot more than meets the eye.

      The scary thing is I have seen this fraud on higher end roles as well where people interview for high $ roles and figure they will try to learn on the job.  I have interview 51 people of a real niche area of SAP HCM over the past 4 year and have had 44 varying degrees of fraud most saying they had experience in an area they could barely spell and several without the necessary communication skills to be client facing in the US.  We have hired 1 but I have no doubt a majority of them are employed in some capacity today.

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  13. Richard Jabbour

    Not surprising at all.  How did this all come about?  … the answer is simple.  You want fast implementations then that might not mean going and encouraging vast numbers of people to think that 30 dollars an hour yields a good SAP candidate.   Having interviewed SAP people for years we over complex the interview process.  FICO Expert you say?  I have one question to find out if that is true…and that is all I need….MM same thing….it is easy to find people the old fashioned way….Have years in the business and use people you know….all the other recruiting concepts are “low cost” resource augmentation pretending to be SAP implementation services.

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    1. Jarret Pazahanick Post author

      Great point and very much agree.  I always use my network as the first source to help vet a prospective candidate and often sit in on technical interviews even in areas I have no expertise as once you have a base level of experience it is not hard to see through the pretenders.

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  14. Marssel Vilaça

    Sometimes I receive e-mails from community members who ask for interview questions.

    Are they people without self confidence, or professional fraud? Anyway, my answer is always the same: you do not need questions, but answers.

    Thanks for the blog Jarret.

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    1. Jarret Pazahanick Post author

      Thanks for the kind words and comment Marssel as although the SAP SCN is an excellent resource it also helps enable some of this by making it easier for unqualified consultants to learn on the job.  I highlighted that in my Signs you Should Not Trust your SAP Consultant saying the following:

      SAP Community Forums – The SAP community forums can be a great tool and being a moderator I highly encourage the interaction but often see things that are very troubling. They include consultants asking for a “full blueprint”, configuration documents, “help resolve urgent client issues” or extremely basic questions that show they have no expertise in the area they are “consulting”. It is important to note that in many of these cases SAP customers have brought in outside expertise and very few would be happy if they knew there were in fact counting on strangers in forums who are getting paid “points” for their answers.  Imagine if after I brought in the contractor I noticed in a home improvement forum they were asking “how to build a outdoor patio”, “how much wood do I need”, “what type of wood should I use”  and “can you provide me a specific architectural plan

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  15. Rana kumar

    Great thought and inputs from everyone.. I would like to add my exp and comments on this issue from my last project which ended in first QTR of 2012 with one of the BIG five companies in a small town in OH which manufactures Tires. I was the only contractor on the team in whole jungle of FTE of the Big 5.

    Every consultant from this company on this team were designated “Manager”. Imagine the ZOO.

    I met at least 20 FTE people who had come to this team,

    3 consultant who came on broad don’t even know how to log onto SAP and since they are from the Big 5, they started learning about SAP and SAP HCM… One guy who titled himself  as (Dumbest) payroll guru and said he had done the implementation @ a beer company in midwest for 3 years. As I was working on Time, He comes to me and says that he needs Planned time to be generated for SE employees, and I took up the case to B 5 & client. The B 5 company leadership convinced the client that it is needed to get paid  and I ended up modifying the standard delivered rules. Right before Par 1, they came running to me stating that it is paying double Salary for SE.(Royally screwed). Next measure was to undo the changes….

    The payroll was screwed and it was all BS.  The client is still having issues with Payroll and hired a third party company to support the process. This guy is hired by another Big 5 company πŸ™‚

    I do have many wonderful exp with this client and Big 5 company who is implementing this project.

    Do you think its just the Resumes  or the BIG 5 companies who do fuel the fraud. Most of you might have heard about B1 visa fraud and there are news about an Indian company “infosys” regarding the fraud.

    The Big 5, also do practice the same. They bring a consultant from India on B1 make them work for the project and send him back after 90 days. If these fraud are stopped then there would be more jobs created in US and generate tax dollars. πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚

    No offense towards anyone or thoughts.

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    1. Jarret Pazahanick Post author

      Thanks for the detailed comment and kind words.

      I my experience the large SI’s model is geared toward staffing larger project with managers and more junior level resources (2-5years) and if you are talking outsourcing it might be as little as 12-18 months. On big complex project this can cause some serious issues and I would classify this as overstating consultants skill than outright fraud and this Deloitte case is a perfect example (but there are hundreds like this)

      http://www.computerworld.com/s/article/9226164/Judge_dismisses_one_Marin_County_suit_versus_Deloitte

      I found your Infosys reference interesting as there is a LOT of visa fraud as this was in the New York Times last weekend.

      http://www.nytimes.com/2012/04/13/us/whistle-blower-claiming-visa-fraud-keeps-his-job-but-not-his-work.html?_r=1&pagewanted=all

      Being in HR for 14 years I know the two companies you are speaking about and that is sad to see.  The customer has to take ownership to interview each of the consulting team members and ask for and check at least two previous CUSTOMER references. If they cannot provide that I wouldnt even bother with a technical interview.

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        1. Jarret Pazahanick Post author

          Deloitte has had several high profile SAP failures and it is one of the reasons that customers should interview EVERY single consultant on the team as well as check at least TWO customer references. as this is a very common practice. This jumped out at me in the link above “staffed the project with inexperienced consultants” as this is a very common practice and my guess played a large role in the failure.

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          1. Rana kumar

            Other company which I came across is Accenture and Visa fraud.

            Accenture is the best one for this fraud, They call inexperienced persons as Senior Manager. so compared to the fraud by small organizations or individuals, it is immensely huge. 

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  16. Alan Smith

    I do interviews for my company and was asked to assess a potential candidate – his CV was sent to me by email. When I opened it, I noticed it resembled my CV word for word, excluding the name and the customers worked for. Looking at the CV properties, it still had my name against it. I contacted the candidate asked where he got my CV from. After some arguing, he admitted he bought it off a recruiter site, and as he had all the skills I had, he just changed the customers and dates. Needless to say, he did not get a job. Have also had the misfortune of doing telephonic technical interviews with people who were not the people whose CV I had – one lasted 3 weeks in our company before being found out. Sad to see this happening. I especially agree with the comments about outsourcing.

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    1. Jarret Pazahanick Post author

      Thanks for the comment and  I experienced the same thing first hand which I shared in this article a few years backhttp://it.toolbox.com/blogs/saptraining/sap-certification-does-it-matter-32968 and has gotten to the point where I am hesitant to share my resume until I am sure it is absolutely required.

      Speaking of fakery, Jarret Pazahanick, an SAP HCM consultant, told me this little gem:

      “Last year I got a call from a friend that works at SAP America when they noticed that a candidate they were reviewing had worked at some of the same clients I had and he wanted to get my thoughts. It turns out someone had taken my resume and changed the name and they were in the final stages of getting a job with SAP. Needless to say I was very surprised.”

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  17. Steve Bogner

    None of this is new info for those of us who have been in the industry for a while, but my goodness – seeing it all documented here on the page is pretty sad and sobering.

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    1. Jarret Pazahanick Post author

      It is extremely sad as it seems like everyone has seen this fraud first hand which gives you a sense of what a problem it is in the industry. What is even sadder though as I dont think this issue (or poor consulting) has the proper level of visibility with who it affects the most which is customers.

      I think all we can do is to continue to bring cases like this public and hope customers become more diligent on their hiring as I am a big believer that doing several small things up front can help them avoid being a victim with the most important is call at least 2 CUSTOMER references regardless if you are dealing with a new resource from SAP, Big 5, preferred vendor or independent.  If that cant produce that they should move on as there will be a candidate who can.

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  18. Paul Hawking

    Good blog

    SAP attempted to address this problem through Consultant Certification.  Now I know what everybody is thinking and I agree. A lot about certification is about SAP making money.

    SAP introduced different levels of certification ie black, brown belt or something similiar.  Most people are familiar with the traditional SAP certification (associate).  However the higher levels of certification require years of experience before being allowed to undertake the exam.  Yes people will lie.  But the exams are based on scenarios and knowledge which can only be gained from experience.  A SAP trainer with many years of experience who has taught many partner certification academies attempted two exams for the higher level certification and failed them both.

    The different levels of certification were designed to assist customers and partners to obtain the best skills.  The problem is that the community did not embrace the idea of different levels of certification.  I have been trying to get the numbers for each level globally and or Australia but SAP is not keen to provide them.  I have asked at numerous SAP events if anybody has undertaken theses certifications but nobody has done them or admit to it.

    IF these higher level of certification is of value then the SAP community should be pushing for this qualification to be a requirement for new staff.  Maybe customers should get one of their ore experienced staff to undertake the exam to determine their worth.

    I would like to hear if anybody has done the higher levels of certification and their impressions.

    Just a sideline.  We teach SAP related content at the postgraduate level around the world and also offer a broad range of SAP Consltant Certifications (associate level).

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    1. Jarret Pazahanick Post author

      Thanks for the detailed comment Paul and certification always opens up a can of worms as many of the very experienced and well know experts including SAP Mentors are not certified and at the core do not see the value in going through the process especially since customers are not demanding it.

      I got two certifications when I started my SAP career in 1998 and I have always wanted SAP to raise the value of certifications in the marketplace instead of treating it like a profit center. How sad is it that SAP doesnt even have an official transcript process so anyone can claim they have any SAP certification and there is no way to check. Make no mistake there is a lot of people claiming certification that dont really have it. If you look in the comments of this blog I wrote last year you will see VP of Education Sue Martin promising to have an official transcript process in place and communicated in 1 week and 13 months later nothing.

      SAP Certification Sale is Bad News

      Many people get their basic certification being promised it will be their entry into a lucrative SAP career and there is a thread in one of the Linkedin groups called “How come I cant get a job after being certified” and it has 1600 comments.  How many of these folks after not finding a job became unethical and did some of the things mentioned above as the false advertising of certification is one of the root causes of eventual fraud.

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      1. John Moy

        Oops.  Sorry Jarret, looks like I was typing pretty much the same comment as you.  You beat me to it in posting yours πŸ˜‰

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    2. John Moy

      Hi Paul,

      One of the areas where I have questioned SAP’s commitment to the certification side of things is there is no way to my knowledge you can check online or even through private channels with SAP if someone claims to have certification, that they actually do (leaving aside any discussions about the relevance or not of the certification exams). A few years ago I interviewed someone in a different country.  They had claimed certification.  I asked SAP how I can check this, and there was no process.  I was told there are legal reasons why SAP can’t make this available (funny how so many of our concerns go back to the legal team – maybe SAP need to get that team to run faster than ever before).  Anyway, from the perspective of an employer, that diminishes the value of the certification process if you cannot check validity.  People can put anything on a resume.  And a faxed copy is easy to fake.  I even heard a friend tell me about someone using Google to try to find a fake certification they could purchase (seriously???) over the internet.  Not saying in my example there was any fraud involved, in fact I think there was not. But if SAP is serious about the worth of certification, then one (of many) things that should be tackled is the ability for employers to cross check claimed certifications. 

      Cheers

      John

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      1. Jarret Pazahanick Post author

        Great minds think alike and until SAP has an official transcript policy for customers, which in today’s day and age for an software company should be simple, it shows how little they care about reducing fraudulent claims of certification which longer term hurt the overall perception and value.

        I wrote this article Respect SAP Certification awhile back as I was upset SAP wasnt offering a logo on older certifications only to do a quick Google search and be able to find this “official logo”

        SAP has shown no interest in making major changes with one of their big profit centers and until people stop taking certification they dont seem to have any incentive.

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        1. Paul Hawking

          I understand the frustration about accessing certification details but that should be a relatively easy fix with candidates agreeing for their details to be published.  My experience is that certification st the asociate level is of minimal value in isolation.  I have completed certification in 3 different areas.  In the early days i completed BI certification before i had any experience with BI.  On completion I was offered a lot of money to work in the area but I was too embarressed about my lack of knowledge to take the job. Certification at the associate level is all about memorising the content of the manuals.

          I am more interested in determining the value of SAP Certification at the Professional level and if it is of value then what needs to be done for it to be accepted by the ecosystem as a standard.

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          1. Ethan Jewett

            Hi Paul,

            I think the fact that SAP has been unable to fix it indicates that it is not an easy problem to fix, at least within SAP’s organizational structure. Personally, I was frustrated enough by the response to Jarret’s blog 13 months ago that I now have little interest in expending effort on SAP’s certification program. SAP knows what needs to be fixed but has shown precious little progress and almost no interest in establishing credibility with the public community. If SAP wants to take another shot at engaging, they can get on SCN and talk seriously and truthfully about the problems of SAP’s certification program and what they are doing to address them. Claiming (falsely, IMO) that SAP’s certification is industry leading, like a recent blog I saw from SAP, does not help its cause with the community.

            With that in mind, I’ll get the the reason my tone is a little adversarial here πŸ™‚ Above you said, “The problem is that the community did not embrace the idea of different levels of certification.” I’d like to know what makes you think that the problem is on the side of the community here. As far as I have seen, the idea of higher level certifications was embraced by the community as something that could provide significant value *if* SAP addressed the existing problems in the market around recognition of certification and certification fraud. SAP hasn’t done this, so I wouldn’t be surprised if there wasn’t a lot of participation. But it’s a bit rich to lay the blame at the feet of the community, which has limited ability to influence SAP to do the right thing when it comes to things like certificate verification.

            Cheers,

            Ethan

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            1. Jarret Pazahanick Post author

              Excellent comment Ethan and I could not agree more.  SAP has shown how little it cares about the overall credibility of certification in the marketplace by not even being able to roll out what on a surface is a simple transcript process even when know certification fraud is rampant.  The blog I referenced above was extremely high-profile at the time with 100+ comments and I got several “fun” backchannel emails so it isnt like SAP didnt hear plus Sue personally commented she would take care of the transcript process and it is frustrating nothing was ever done.

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            2. Thomas Dulaney

              If only there was a company that make a Learning Management Solution that has a strong Talent Management module… Or maybe a Software-as-a-Service solution that could be used to ensure certification compliance… Or maybe a company that made an eRecruiting system that kept track of a qualified, global pool of internal and external talent. 

              I know, I know. That’s just crazy talk. A web enabled certification system is waaaaaaay more complicated…. Isn’t it?  πŸ˜‰

                 –td

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              1. Jarret Pazahanick Post author

                Funny stuff Tom and it really drives home the fact that SAP wants people to get certified to make money but doesnt want to take the next step to limit fraud and provide an easy way for customer to verify people have the certifications they say they have.  Without that in place it is going to be hard to take any advanced certifications seriously.  Is it any wonder that less than 1% of customers have SAP certification in their job postings

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          2. Jarret Pazahanick Post author

            In my opinion it would take years before SAP has enough credibility with customers around the value of a more professional level certification that they would start to request it and ultimately get the higher caliber individuals to start taking it.

            As a fellow mentor would it surprise you that a high percentage do not even have the associate certification. It would seem the education group could start by embracing that group and a few months back I asked in the private mentor forum “would you get certified if it were free” and many mention they didnt even see enough value to justify their time.  As community evangelists you would think the Education group would want to reach out and I know they are doing stuff with the C5 but the speed of change has been extremely weak and that is putting it lightly.

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            1. Paul Hawking

              Hi

              Don’t get me wrong about defending SAP Education and certification.  I recently pushed for a ridiculous statement about certification to be removed from SCN Univeristy Alliances  page.

              A lot has been said about the “new” responsive SAP and the “old” blinkered SAP.  There is no doubt where SAP Education sits.  There is a problem in the ecosystem in regard to validating skills.  SAP’s traditional approach to certification has not worked even if certification details were available.  It appears that SAP is paying lip service to the issue.  The Certification 5 captured many of the issues.  This momentum resulted in SUGEN getting involved.  But nothing appears to have changed and something needs to change.  If Professional certification requires experience to enable a person to pass then it may contribute to  part of the solution.  However SAP’s credibility is so poor in regard to certification that it can not get buy in to what might be a valuable proposition.

              Hopefully somebody from the “new” SAP with influence will be reading your blog and comments and cause something to happen.  The momentum of negative comments about SAP certification is increasing and it is just a matter of time before the revenue stream will be impacted and then SAP might do something.

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              1. Jarret Pazahanick Post author

                Spot on Paul and my guess (hope I am wrong) is that until it impacts revenue nothing will be done as there is no way they are not hearing or aware of the issues. When I read recent articles like this

                http://en.sap.info/education-datango-acquisition/65034/3

                and comments like this

                “The program has developed a great deal over the past two years, and I would say we are very much on par with certification providers such as Cisco or IBM”

                It is tells me there is not a good faith effort to truly make the changes need to raise certification up in the marketplace which makes me sad. 


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  19. Kavindra Joshi

    This type of fraud has been going on would be going on. Often I see blogs on candidates who fake , exaggerate on skills and experience. This is pathetic and speaks of ills in the industry. Deeply deplorable and should be avoided by people and vigilant HRs and interviewers.

    But one thing no one writes about the exaggeration by companies in there job posts. That is also prevalent in the industry. Sometimes you go for the interview reading the Job Description but the interviewer digs around other areas never mentioned in your resume and not even in the JD. And once you cross these hurdles then the positions are either filled already , put on hold or you never hear from the HRs. When you try to follow , you get no response from them. This is also an ill which no mentor has ever picked up. May be no mentor faces such issues but lots of people on this SCN would actually agree with me.

    If you are critical of candidate’s faking ( deplorable i would say) , please feel free to criticize the companies and the recruitment process.Honesty is never recognized in the recruitment process. If you go for specialized skills and you have lesser work experience , people turn a blind eye to your other skills sets as if they would never be put to use. Even if you answer most of the questions , you are never considered for that opening.

    I would summarize by saying

    a) Mentors should also comment on so called companies who would hire any body at price when they have demand.

    b) Recruitment process never tests your attitude and learning capabilities but only focus on knowledge on one area. If you ever work in a project , attitude and learning capabilities are equally important. This has never found mention any where.

    c) After you have successfully cleared all the rounds of interview, offer is not released. Never ever mentors comment on this.

    d) No body said world is fair. Many times candidates play the game and many times the companies. Its just that market dynamics rule that.

    Don’t know if any mentor would pick this topic up : πŸ˜†

    Regards

    Kavindra

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    1. Craig S

      a) Mentors should also comment on so called companies who would hire any body at price when they have demand.

      Not sure what you mean here… they will take anyone if the price is low enough?  Or they don’t properly check skills when they have a demand?  I would agree both of these might be true of the middle layer SI’s and consulting houses, not the actual end client however.

      b) Recruitment process never tests your attitude and learning capabilities but only focus on knowledge on one area. If you ever work in a project , attitude and learning capabilities are equally important. This has never found mention any where.

      Disagree here.  If a CONSULTANT or PROGRAMMER is being hired they should know these skills.  Why should a client have to train someone to do these?    Attitude and learning capability is only important as it relates to the clients specific industry or problem.  Don’t try to sell yourself as a programmer but then ask to be trained as one!  There is WAAYYYY to much on the job training in the SAP world.  If you need the expereince you have to be honest and expect to be at the bottom of the barrel for a while.  I know it’s a catch 22, you need the experience to get the job, but you need the job to get the experience.  That’s why it’s called “The Big Break” and every successfull SAP consultant has one.  Usually its because they made the most of it when it came and often times they worked their butt off to make the break.  But they didn’t lie on a resume.

      c) After you have successfully cleared all the rounds of interview, offer is not released. Never ever mentors comment on this.

      I would offer that this is not the end customer’s fault.  This is due to SI’s, consulting houses and recruiters not really caring about the applicant’s and so they never tell them anything.  Customers rarely contact the applicant direclty, they tell the agency.  I also beleive a lot of SI’s and consulting firms just keep their ads up and interview people.  They don’t actually have  a position but if they find a good candidate will find a position for them or they might contact them months later when a need arises.  I doubt if you’ll find actual SAP end customers making offers, interviewing and then not filling the offer.

      d) No body said world is fair. Many times candidates play the game and many times the companies. Its just that market dynamics rule that.

      End clients and customers are rarly ‘playing a game”.  But they foot the bill for those that are.  Many middle men such as recuriters, headhunters, SI’s, consutlng houses are.  And I somewhat understand why some do.  That doens’t make it right.

      FF

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      1. Jarret Pazahanick Post author

        Very well stated Fire Fighter and while there are WAY to many games played at the recruiting/SI level very rarely are they done by customers even though they ultimately pay a huge price for the additional & in most case non-value added layers.

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      2. Kavindra Joshi

        I think we have a difference in world company. SI & end customers are companies for me. But my perception is shaped as I come from India where more SIs are based out of.

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    2. Jarret Pazahanick Post author

      Thanks for the detailed comment Kavindra as I do plan to have some blogs this year to help educate customers on how recruiters often add additional layers cost as well as have processes in place that ensure the best candidates will NOT be interested in the role.

      When the client is offering to pay $200 an hour for an SAP consultant and the role is being advertised in the marketplace for $80 which is very common place you can tell that there is a real problem (as well as that SAP consultants are very overpaid) πŸ™‚

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  20. Navaneetha Krishnan

    I would say that the fault lies with the prospective candidate and the imposter only partly. The organisations are also completely unrealistic in the profiles they expect. It is normal to see job openings for consultants with 5 years of experience having atleast 2 implementation experience with a PMP certification and real time knowledge about CMM5 compliance. The adv doesn’t forget to stress the importance of team management skills, excellent communication, knowledge on cross module integration, CATT, LSMW and whatever is under the sun of SAP world. This happens due to poor knowledge levels of the organisation or lack of Role clarity.

    Unless these problems at the organisational level turns realistic, scams thrive in this market

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    1. Jarret Pazahanick Post author

      Thanks for the comment Navaneetha and curious how you think customers could become more realistic in their profiles.  One idea I have seen mentioned is hire a well connected and known Subject Matter Expert to help them conduct their search which makes a lot of sense.

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  21. Jason Scott

    Its a worry that I have personal experiences with allot of the responses to this Blog… What really irratates me is that when a customer realises that a new starter is not what they were sold they just don’t get rid of them. Managers seem totally gutless and will just let the contract ride out. I can’t believe this and it pisses off allot of good consultants/contractors/employees that see it happen – all the time!

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  22. LOKESH NANDULA

    Good one Jarrent. Very nice that someone could finally write something on this topic in official SAP site. I would be surprised if someone claim that they are not aware of such incidents in SAP. Even SAP and its leaders would be fully aware of the happenings. Its tough to stop this cancer from spreading now but some controls and actions can be put in place. Disturbing part is such fake resumes are impacting the career of genuine candidates and many companies/clients are supporting it knowingly.

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    1. Jarret Pazahanick Post author

      Hi Lokesh

      Thanks for the comment and there is no doubt SAP is aware this occurring but in their defense the SAP ecosystem is so large it would be hard for them to police it. That said I think SAP could use their tools (ie newsletters) to alert more people that this is happening as education and potentially certification (longer term) could go a long ways in helping reduce this issue. 

      It has been great to see Mark Yolton who is VP of SAP SCN comment and promote this topic via social media and at the core having a platform like SCN is a great avenue to provide information that benefits the entire community. 

      Jarret

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  23. Andy Silvey

    Gentlemens,

    I added this comment in a different thread but I think it is valid here too….

    this is why I was wondering if there shouldn’t be more to do with being certified and a certified community and not just training as a cash machine for SAP, but a certification programme to protect potential Customers from unqualified technicians, it would then be down to the Customer if they went for the premium certified consultants or the wild west uncertified consultants.

    This would take a huge change of behaviour because today, the majority of SAP consultants are not certified and so this would need to be done in such a way as to get momentum and get the community to buy in to be certified and getting certified.

     

    SAP could even say, if a Customer’s SAP human resources across all areas of SAP do not contain a certain percentage of certified people then the price for support is 20% higher – because for sure there must be a relationship between the standard of SAP human resources in a company and the number of OSS messages opened.

    Petr.

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    1. Jarret Pazahanick Post author

      Thanks for the comment Petr and I havent seen any indication by the SAP Education group to do the things necessary to raise the standard of certification although at the core I think your idea is excellent.

      As someone who has two certifications (gotten 13 & 14 years ago) I find it sad how far certification has fallen and while I think there is an opportunity there change is coming way to slow around transcript verification, advanced certifications and doing the things needed to change the perception in the marketplace.

      Saw an article last week about how there are 620 certified HANA consultants and 5K people trained yet 18 live projects worldwide…..which says a lot right there if you read between the lines.

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      1. Jason Scott

        Approx 10 years ago I did the abap certification (version 4.0b). I swore never to do another certification again as it was total rubbish. SAP have had 10 years to get it right and haven’t so either they don’t want to (and its just a money earner) or they are not capable of it in my opinion.

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      2. Andy Silvey

        Hi Jarret,

        Jarret Pazahanick wrote:

        Saw an article last week about how there are 620 certified HANA consultants and 5K people trained yet 18 live projects worldwide…..which says a lot right there if you read between the lines.

        I read that very same article, and shall we say, to blog that so candidly did raise eyebrows amongst everybody whom I know in our business.

        The blog in itself was very strange, it was more like an annual  presentation to Sales Director, to say, look how many courses we sold this year and look how well Education Services is doing as a Business Group in the Organisation.

        Very strange that it should be blogged here.

        Anyway, back to your point, oh how I laughed when the author said there are 5000 trained Hana consultants (already) and 620 certified Hana consultants !!!

        One has to wonder, where oh where in the world are they all coming from ?

        Like you I don’t see things changing in this area, change needs to be driven by SAP, the Customers won’t drive change because all they want is much cheapness, and if resources are really really not acceptable then Customers will simply say to their suppliers send me another.

        But I think for any of us who have been in the game and are in our mid thirties plus meaning we’ve been doing this for over ten years, I think there will always be work for us because these big companies will always needs a core of strong resources and each year our number is getting less and less. So really for those of us who want to continue in this work the future is secure which is really a positive.

        For those interested the blog we are referring to is this one:

        http://scn.sap.com/community/training-and-education/blog/2012/04/25/incredible-over-5000-students-already-trained-worldwide-in-sap-hana

        The titles sums it up, ‘Incredible !’, the author says and he is indeed correct incredible it is πŸ˜‰

        Another interesting article on the subject of cashing in on SAP Education…

        http://www.cio.com/article/694655/SAPs_Innovation_Plans_May_Lead_to_Skills_Gaps_Says_Sheffield_Hallam

        What to say,

        Petr.

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        1. Jarret Pazahanick Post author

          Thanks for the detailed comment and you know SAP missed the intended mark with their SAP HANA Certification “advertisement” when most of the senior people reading it had one of two emotions (upset or humored).

          You would think with 620 (and growing) Certified HANA consultants it would be included in the things needed to implement HANA but of course we know that certification without experience is not something customers are interested in.

          http://www.sap.com/services-and-support/in-memory/implementing-sap-hana.ep

          On a side note I left a detailed comment (as did SAP Mentor Jon Reed) which I have enclosed below and surprising the author did not have the common courtesy to respond.  I guess the goal was the BLAST THE MESSAGE and not care about a constructive dialog.

          Jarret Pazahanick Apr 26, 2012 8:34 AM

          It is obvious by the numbers how many people want to become knowledgeable about HANA as I saw some article last year equating it to a “gold rush”

          I would be curious to have SAP survey those 600+ people who are certified to see if they have been able to combine it with any practical experience as my understanding is that SAP and Partners have done most of the actual projects. Are customers asking for certified consultants or ones with experience and how many of those 600 had false expectations that a HANA certification would easily open doors for new implementations.

          I would also ask if a customer is interested in verifying that an individual is actually certified in HANA given all the fraud in the marketplace what is the official certification transcript process they should follow in the United States.

          Edit Delete Reply

          • Jon ReedJon Reed Apr 25, 2012 5:34 PM (in response to Jarret Pazahanick)

            Jarret you raise some good points. I do give SAP Education credit for probably the fastest rollout of a new skill certification in the history of SAP, but I am concerned that some of these certified folks who invested in this training will be discouraged when they have trouble finding HANA projects. In the past I have seen many consultants get frustrated by thinking certification means a quick job when in fact you need widescale adoption of a new application of a technology before the job demand occurs. I hope these students expectations were managed accordingly. If I’m an SAP customer doing a HANA project I want that project staffed as much as possible by those who have already done a HANA project before. Of course, that means doing business with either SAP or a handful of HANA partners. Whether those consultants are certified at the Associate level is not a big concern at this time. At a later point, it will be. One thing that would genuinely get me excited, maybe not to the point of using an all caps blog headline, but still excited, would be a rigorous HANA Professional level certification with a field experience evaluation component or some other field-validated criteria, not just multiple choice. Now that I think would be a real achievement for SAP Education and a certification I could see many SAP professionals aspiring to.

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        2. Christopher Solomon

          The HANA comments reminded me…some of this is just as driven from the “other” side as well. I got an email from some recruiter this week that listed off a number of skills and along with them “5 years of HANA and/or BObj experience”. I got a good laugh from that. I do not know what fantasy land that project is in. haha

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  24. Luke Marson

    Amazingly I saw an experienced consultant claim to have a non-existant certification recently. Just shows it’s not just newbie’s that do it, but also experienced consultants.

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    1. Jarret Pazahanick Post author

      Hard to believe an experienced consultant would claim a certification that didnt exist yet I have seen it first hand as for many years people claimed to be SAP Payroll certified while SAP didnt even offer a certification (I helped with it) until last year.

      As far as I am concerned if you are experienced it either says something about your overall credibility if it was planned….if by the odd chance it was an accident it tells me that you are sloppy and dont have the attention to detail which is often a core part of being a successful consultant.  Either way it doesnt look good.

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    1. Jarret Pazahanick Post author

      Thanks for the comment Harshal as I have been following that as well given how high profile it is. Imagine if SAP customers started checking references/education/certification (or someone offered a service) and consultants were immediately called out publicly like the Yahoo executive it sure would go a long ways in cleaning up the problem.

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  25. Jason Scott

    I don’t believe new entrants (freshers) should have an easy route in at all! That’s probably half the problem. I think training/education should be easy to access, but they must do the hard yards first to gain some experience and not just jump in to sap for the big contracting money, etc.

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    1. Christopher Solomon

      I don’t know how along the way things changed. For me (and most folks that got into SAP during the 90’s), I was employed by a SAP customer. We were implementing SAP and that’s how I “cut my teeth” with it. Then I had about 2 years of experience with it in a production environment. I would not have dreamed of just getting into it without “real world experience” with it. I didn’t get into consulting until after that point….and even then, each project was a big learning experience …..ie. different industries, different business processes and requierements, and vast and varied ways of doing it all with SAP.

      Now however, it seems people have this belief that you can just “pick it up” and be right in there as a consultant. To expect to just “walk in off the street” into SAP, was, is and always will be completely laughable to me. I believe as they say, “you must pay your dues first”.

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      1. Craig S

        So true Chris.  I think the thing is that “back then” no one really knew about SAP and most consultants got into SAP in a similar manner as you.  Today, the newbies are viewing SAP simply as “just another software package” and you can learn it like you do a progamming language.  Once you learn the “switches” why shouldn’t you get paid like any other consultant.  They fail to realize that being a consultant for SAP software isn’t just about throwing swithces but should be about redesigning business processes along with the installing the software.

        FF

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        1. Jarret Pazahanick Post author

          Very well said Chris/FireFighter as what makes a “newbie” think that after talking some SAP Training that they are qualified to be a “consultant” as they really dont know SAP, the Business (in their area) or how to be a consultant.

          I tell everyone the best way to learn is to take a job with a SAP customer in any role as it will be a great learning experience if longer term you have a desire to jump into consulting but to try to start as a consultant it is hard to see the value you will be bringing customers.

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  26. Sap Guy

    One of the comments said: “A recent US based example was the client had a budget for $200 per hour for a specific SAP role……the SI offered the role to several recruiters at $140…..they went to market between $90-$110 and most of them just do a Linkedin search (is that worth $30-$50 a year).  The sad thing is the customer was paying a lot more than the caliber of candidate they were going to get.”

    http://www.collaborative-freelancing.net/index.php/myhiddenmenu/9-the-network-of-excellence-story might be the solution to this issue.

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    1. Christopher Solomon

      This is pretty much how the “chain” works as job reqs. get passed from first tier through “n” tiers. When I see an email come that says they basically want a super star Webdynpro ABAP developer with some vast range of skills for $65/hr and they claim “direct client”, I just laugh….actually, I reply back and make fun of them usually but that’s when I am feeling a little feisty. haha

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      1. Jarret Pazahanick Post author

        The bottom line is that non-value added layers are a real problem in SAP consulting that ends up costing customers in a lower caliber employee.

        I wish there was a solution but there isnt much incentive for change as unfortunately it would have to come from SAP Customers.

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        1. Richard Jabbour

          Until SAP Customers understand Value Stream Mapping and are willing to admit that Cycle Time Increases cost money we are stuck.  No one at the golf course brags about a $200 per hour consultant that delivers 10 times faster than an “Offshore” resource.  The bragging is “hey I only pay $45 dollars per hour for my SAP resources”  Does not matter that they pay for 5 times as many of those and 7 times the cycle time to “GOOGLE CONFIGURE” SAP business processes.   This is at the core of the problem.   We all know it…..Customers Dont want to admit it because then the CIO or CFO or IT Manager will have to own the mistake of paying $450 per unit of delivery instead of something less if using qualified resources.   Meantime he / she can hide behide Service Agreements at $45 dollar per hour and even $27 per hour rates per person and pretend they have saved money….all the while SAP as a product may be good but if it cannot be implemented properly then as a product it may not really be good….the whole product is the entire eco system!

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          1. Jarret Pazahanick Post author

            Thanks for the great comment and it is spot on. Any thoughts on how we can fix the problem as both SAP and the customers should have a vested interest in helping clean this up.

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            1. Richard Jabbour

              Yes.  PAY MORE/EXPECT MORE

              The fact is a good consultant with experience in business and in SAP process modeling and configuration can in a simple quick tour of your plant probably design a working prototype of your requirements in a matter of a few days!!!   Whats up with the endless BLUEPRINTING???????

              Customers – Get over yourselves – YOUR PROCESS IS NOT UNIQUE.  Almost everything has BEEN THERE DONE THAT and if it does not really work for you then you most likely need to CHANGE WHAT YOU ARE DOING not the software.

              Customers – When Asking for an SD consultant for example, expect one that can configure orders, understands variant products, can create pricing procedures, knows copy control, can do the accounting, understands warehouse management picking, can do customer specification material search based on QM in the warehouse for pick list…need I go on to make my point…and this person probably should have an annual salary of over $210K or an hourly rate NET to him/her of at least 185.  Oh Yeah…and can do all of this after talking to you for about 15 minutes NOT THREE MONTHS…..

              SAP/Others.  If you go fishing to MARK UP CONTRACTORS 300%!!! as you do then you will go fishing for NET PAY rates of 80 per hour in the US or 125 per hour in the US.   GOOD LUCK WITH THAT!!!! You will get Junior Resources by definition!!! Or people that Just want to hang on 10 years with a green card by any means necessary!!!!   A well qualified consultant knows the math on the above rates does not work!

              SAP stop letting people intimate you the details, revert back to you today night and do the needful…because they are killing your software!!!

              SAP – Whats wrong with actually releasing a product that does not immediately required 150 support packs and notes????????????? can we get to a 6 sigma release????????????????????

              Do we really want people that we pay about the same as those that flip our hamburgers creating our software or “running” our business or DESIGNING our business processes???? DO WE???? Really???? ya think?

              The evidence is in if you just look at the evidence.

              So could I be more constructive?  Of course…..but trying to be instructive has failed.   Market bullying to remove posts or to remove opinion does not get you where you want to be…..

              As for me I have found in my years 1 in 50 customers is ready to work at this the right way……so I am still searching for those customers and to this point in my career I have found FOUR!!! count em FOUR and am happy to say I still work for them all.    Those that don’t like my approach I leave to others….those that like my approach get good results.   

              Strive to find customers that want good results and understand net trade cycle, cycle times, time to value …. and that three women walking hand in hand cannot make one of the women have a baby in three months!!!!!

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              1. Harshal Soni

                Richard,

                You make good points… but lets face the reality… How many customers will you find who will follow what you said… Totally agree with the 6 sigma release approach for SAP…

                But as the earlier post suggest… its all about bragging on the golf course about what you pay (per hours) for the consultants…

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                1. Richard Jabbour

                  I agree – How many customers will you find that will follow what I say….1 out of 50 maybe….1 out of 50……..the rest of them are too busy playing golf

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          2. Jason Scott

            This is the best comment yet and I 100% agree. IT management hiding behind SLA’s is so true. SLA’s are rubbish and a purely quantitative measure and those are usually useless measures as well – never anything about the experiences or capabilities of the people. GOOGLE-config. Ha-ha. So true – just look at half the questions (blogs now) on sdn: how do I create a material? Whats the transaction code for the img? SPRO – ooh lets award points! etc etc.

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  27. Harshal Soni

    Jarret…

    May I ask… why did you initiate this blog… This SAP consulting fraud has been going on since I can remember… any may be even more…

    Cheers,

    HS

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    1. Jarret Pazahanick Post author

      Hi Harshal

      Sadly,it has been going on for a long time and my goal in writing the blog was to try to educate customers as I am seeing more and more blatant examples in the marketplace.

      Guys like Bill Wood have been publicly out in front for years but anything to help spread the message is a good thing as this type of thing hurts customers, SAP and honest consultants that actually have the experience they claim.

      The great news is that this article got 11K views and spanned some videos, articles that got another 6K views so people are becoming more aware which is a good thing.

      Just curious do you think I should have chosen another avenue/means to bring attention to this and on a side it is one of the first article on consulting fraud that I remember on SCN (which is strange)

      Thanks,

      Jarret

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      1. Richard Jabbour

        Jarret  Just be happy that the SAP Social Media police have not contacted you to remove posts here or there…!  Playing it politically correct does not get you more cash…neither does playing it honest……but I call  em like I see em and Fraud has its source.   Or Resume Pasting as I call it…has its source and the source is….No one expects things to be done right anymore!! NO one!!

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        1. Jarret Pazahanick Post author

          SAP Social media police….dont scare me Richard πŸ™‚

          You bring up a good point regarding politically correct vs honest but I have tried to focus on being a customer advocate as that is who pays my bills. SAP doesnt always like what I say but know most of it is coming from what I am hearing on the ground.

          On a side I expect things to be done right…..and know in discussions with you in the past you are in the same vein. Lets hope that awareness helps at least a couple of customers as if so it will all be worth it.

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            1. Jarret Pazahanick Post author

              Good comment Richard and my take is if you are in business for the long term doing things the right way will always pay off but sadly to many in our industry are short sighted.

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    1. Jarret Pazahanick Post author

      Andy…I hope it ends with more customer being aware of the dynamics in the industry and if they need outside consulting help they do the things needed to ensure they get what they are paying for.

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    1. Rana kumar

      Hey Jarret,

      Since my last post regarding fraud.  Its the client who is encouraging this fraud. Wouldn’t it be great to speak out the names of the consulting companies, who encourage the fraud. I had the opportunity to help a client and steer them to safe shores, who were in the final stages to award the contract to A big five consulting firm and I had shared a few exp from other consultants who had been working with this firm and the firm lost the contract.

      Go-live date has been postponed………….,

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  28. Christopher Solomon

    Side note….saw this interesting article today…..

    http://finance.yahoo.com/news/fabricated-bank-adds-chinas-list-fakery-090750025–finance.html

    There is mention of all kinds of “fakes” now. No longer are we talking hardgoods/products but entire institutions (banks, Apple stores, universities, etc) To me ,this part was interesting….

    “Among students, getting ahead by padding resumes or other subterfuge is common.

    Zinch China, the Chinese arm of U.S.-based educational networking site Zinch.com, estimates that 90 percent of recommendation letters to U.S. schools are fake, that 70 percent of the essays are written by someone else and that half the transcripts are fabricated”

    And it goes on to say….

    “Experts point to many reasons for the widespread of lack of scruples, from the need to be hyper-competitive to succeed in an over-populated society to an ancient sage who countenanced lying to achieve a higher purpose.”

    ….as if this justifies it?!?!?! Wow.

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    1. Jarret Pazahanick Post author

      Thanks for sharing Chris as that was very interesting and shows that companies and individuals have to take more ownership in the process.

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      1. Rajarshi Muhuri

        I personally think that one of the prime reason for many SAP implementations not being a success is due to the poor quality of consultants implementing it.  To make it worse , a great percentage of consultants are FAKE, often they have not even given the telephonic interviews themselves.  Infact there is a street in Hyderabad , where you get all SAP Software and training very cheap , and its of no surprise that 90 % of the indians in SAP from hyderabad , and have started their careers from those training institutes.

        And a great percentage of the candidates claim certification , but SAP does not give any method of verifying the certification claims.

        SAP job market is like a racket, with multiple layers of pimps .

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        1. Jarret Pazahanick Post author

          Thanks for the comment and insight Rajarshi. I think everyone understands this is a major problem and I hope this blog increased awareness among customers on the risk they are taking if they dont do due diligence on EVERY consultant they bring on board.

          On a side note I have been meaning to write an article about what a large and non-value-added problem that layers are within SAP consulting (which your pimp comment reminded me of)

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        2. Harshal Soni

          I like your comment about  “SAP job market is like a racket, with multiple layers of pimps.” However I do not agree that the all (self-proclaimed) consultants that are coming from Hyderabad are fake…

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  29. Jarret Pazahanick Post author

    Check out this real world story which is sad and I believe cases like this are extremely common and ultimately lead some people down a path of fraud or embellishing their resume.

    DOs & DON’Ts for SAP Career (Certification) on the basis of my on going journey from an Accountant to SAP FI Consultant.

    On a side note it is crazy to think there are jobs out there where people have to PAY to act as a “consultant” so they can get go-live experience on their resume.

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    1. Rana kumar

      I thought that this thread was closed, Nice to see that people are still scripting down their thoughts, and a few experience.

      I met a HR consultant at one of the clients recently and has 7 years of exp in US, and he still doesn’t know about the product, so while having a chat, he said that he had completed his Masters in May 2012, and it is his first job !!  He is from India, completed his Bachelors and came on F1 to study Masters, Once completed he is done here, gets the interview done by other consultants. Since the customer had provided remote access, his work is being done by a consultant from India, when ever the client refers to a question he would say ” will check the system and come back to you”. The Client is happy with the answer.. too..

      Reading the post by Chirag Shah,I pity the current state of hiring process. But I don’t blame the consultant nor the clients, as it based other aspects too.,

      I would like to make a point about SAP America here.

      Recently I had a luck to meet a person who’s company became a SAP Partner for Success Factors “Congratulations to the company based out of Chicago”.  I am not sure how can SAP America nominate a company who has not even implemented an SAP HR or a part of the HR project nor do they have expertise in Success factors.

      Is getting nominate and recognized as a Partner, such a easy task/cheap or it is because they have a special relationship with SAP.

      best wishes,

      Rana

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      1. Jarret Pazahanick Post author

        Thanks for the comment Rana and it is a sad but true fact that fraud is rampant in the SAP ecosystem on varying levels and customers must be on the lookout.

        As far as the SuccessFactors partnerships I have seen many companies get partnerships that have NEVER done a SuccessFactors project and their staffing strategy is to get their SAP HCM people certified over a few weeks and hope they can win a customer and learn on the job.  It is another area where I am recommending that customer ensure they check references and ensure they are getting people who really have previous experience.

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        1. Christopher Solomon

          From my understanding, Jarret, getting “SAP Certified Partner” status (or whatever it is called now) is as easy as writing a check…albeit a rather large check….but that and some paperwork is about all it takes.

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          1. Jarret Pazahanick Post author

            I do know that being a “Certified Partner” DEFINITELY does not mean that consulting firms have the deep expertise in specific areas and this applies both for SAP and SuccessFactors.  Customer should make a point to do a detailed interview and references check if they are hiring some from IBM/Accenture all the way down to an independent consultant. 

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            1. Rana kumar

              Thanks Chris,  πŸ™‚   πŸ˜† πŸ˜‰

              This is obvious, how this guy got it,He is a body shopper and “DESI”   “Indian owned company”

              Message from SAP to everyone is “Follow the Best Practices” and  SAP doesn’t follow the Best Practices in selecting the Partner. Life is good  πŸ˜†

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              1. Rajarshi Muhuri

                Rana .. like your story .. there are million others .. fake candidates getting the job .. making a mess of the first couple of his jobs and then slowly becoming good himself . Of course the first two projects gets screwed.

                I think SAP themselves should ensure that candidates are not fake , they could do something like .. when a candidate first works on an SAP implementation , he/she should register against the companys ECC installation in a SAP database. On subsequent implementations , he does not always have to register. But whenever a company is hiring him, if the company can check that his first implementation had been done some time back, at least there is a good chance that he has been employed since and is not a fake candidate.

                another problem is SAP certification, there is no way of ascertaining if a candidate has really obtained the certification. Even though certification has no meaning, but if one has done a sap certification 5 years from the present date , it can be deduced that he has been working since that time . Almost always freshers take certification, and also when new technology comes out ( like HANA)

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                  1. Harshal Soni

                    Hi Rana,

                    I am not from 3Core but I have worked with a few 3Core consultants at different clients and I can say that they may not be at a SME level but they are pretty darn good in their field… Just because 1 person was unhappy and they broadcast their fustration does not mean the companyt is bad…

                    I am sure unlike other consulting companies, they too may have a blend of expertise chich keeps their business alive…

                    As far as the rates and payments are concerned… I am sure SAP follows the same model…

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                      1. Rana kumar

                        Hello Harshal,

                        As you know about 3core systems, Ask him how many law suits he has till date. Navin Kandula and Sri were dragged to court and they were trying to compromise on the rate. Since one year they haven’t paid a single penny to the consultant and when a court notice was issued, they came running and paid the amount. for the damage what they have done to the consultant, we should all come together and stop working for these Desi vendors, atleast we can reduce the fraud and the stress for consultants.

                        Rana

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    1. Craig S

      It is if you like.  If you don’t like PM you probably won’t be good.  If you like it you will be good and it will be worth while.  If you are just looking for a lucrative area you might want to be a lawyer instead.

      FF

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        1. Craig S

          Absolutely Jarret…. absolutely!!  Hopefully the earlier commenter will read your blog, all except for the last paragraph… πŸ˜‰

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