If you try to categorize SAP practice of any SAP partner irrespective of its scale & size, without any statistics or data, broadly there are 2 categories:
– SAP Implementation
– SAP AMS i.e. Application, Maintenance & Support.
What AMS practice meant for SAP Partner Company?
If you take example of any SAP partner, you will find one universal phenomenon which is very common across all geographies, revenue from AMS contribute more as compared to revenue from implementations. The reason is very simple & understandable, after implementation process which is spread over the tenure of 6 to 12 months; support for the same project goes on for several years. In this process support revenue surpasses implementation revenue.
Moreover, macro analysis of any matured markets like US or European Union reveals that SAP implementations for the most of the major corporations have already taken place in the past hence majority of SAP projects/business received by SAP partner companies are support(AMS) projects.
Above articulation clearly states that AMS practice is backbone of entire SAP Eco-system.
For a consultant who is planning to work for AMS practice or already working in AMS practice, do you feel some special skills are required apart from regular technical skills? The answer is yes.
Please refer following skill sets which are much required for SAP consultant working in AMS practice. Through application of these skills a SAP consultant can definitely achieve difficult task of “Customer Delight” which is beyond “Customer Satisfaction”.
1) Ticket Creation in Project Management Tool: Several AMS practice, the process of ticket creation is automatic through use of SAP solution manager where customers directly log tickets into the system but there are several companies where issues are communicated through medium like telephones or emails or messages. In this scenario the first job consultants need to do is to create ticket in project management tool you have & generate ticket number for the same. Once ticket number is generated, communicate the same to customer.
2) Correct Effort Estimation: Incorrect effort estimation always leads to misunderstanding between consultant & client co-ordinator. Effort estimation is sensitive topic because it is directly linked with the cost of the given assignment hence consultant need to be more vigil while providing effort estimation. In case consultants have any doubts, he can always approach his superiors & project managers & get correct effort estimates. For example for task of z report development consultant should proactively provide effort estimation in detail like Total Hours(8)=Functional(3)+Technical(5)
3) Acknowledge: Once you receive ticket, first job of consultant is to acknowledgement of the issue. In an acknowledgement mail, you can include information like Ticket Number, Effort Estimation, Thanks note anything. Consultant should set a norm for acknowledgement like deadline of 2 hours for acknowledgement of an issue.
4) Do Not hesitate to Call: After receiving client’s requirement, if you feel any single ambiguity regarding requirement, do not hesitate, just pick up the phone & call the customer. Through telephonic conversation you can get answers for all W’s (Why, When, Whom).
5) Probing: Believe me friends probing is an art. Probing is widely used skill especially in the area of sales & marketing to understand customer needs & requirement. Probing means asking subjective as well as objective questions in order to understand the requirement. Example – If customer have asked you to prepare Z report for pro forma invoices, then at least you should ask following questions:
- How many columns do you require?
- Do you have any excel format for the report with column names?
- Which billing document types should be covered?
- What would be the volume of the data?
- Automatic report execution in back ground facility is required or not?
6) Learn to say “No”: Several times we came across strange situations which requirement cannot be mapped through system or no work around is available. In this scenario, after exploring all the possibilities, you should have courage to Say No in a very polite manner. If something is not possible, there is point in lingering around the issue. Better you end the topic & move ahead.
7) Ask for “Help” (even to customer also): I had seen so many SAP consultants who are very reluctant to ask for help. Why to fear? If you did not understand the issue properly, be open to ask customer twice, ask for test cases where issues are not clearly visible. You will not become inferior if you asked help from your client. After all you are trying to help him out. Even in case you are preparing test case for customer invoice but due to some reason you cannot post goods issue. In this case you should simply call to customer & give him order number & ask him to post goods issue. At the same time never be reluctant to raise issue to SAP if issue is relevant & its a product error.
8) Offer Complete Solutions: Again its a big deal in entire support processes i.e. solution offer. Please ensure solution you are offering should be perfect & in line with the customer requirement. Solution should be equipped with:
- Test cases(Positive testing as well as negative testing)
- Required screen shots
- Change request with its description
- End user manual,
- Impact analysis document,
- Configuration changes document.
9) Always keep back up of original setting: Before doing any changes, please keep back up of original setting. This back up will act as recovery plan in any critical situation. SAP is closely interlinked ERP. Changes in SD might impact other modules FI or CO. Hence in case something goes wrong against expectation, this back up can be used to bring system back to normal status.
10) Business stoppage-Forget your working hours: Due to system error, business stoppage had been taken place, so my friends our first duty would be to resolve the issue at the earliest. Then for that no matter you have to stretch yourself beyond working hours. There is very simple principle – “Show Must Go On”. Support teams are paid for one simple reason & i.e. Business Continuity.
I have tried to encapsulate all my SAP support experience under the title “10 must have Skills for Consultants working in SAP AMS Practice”. I hope this blog will serve purpose of each SAP consultant who wants to grow & excel in SAP AMS Practice.
Extension Blog written on 14th May 2019 – Changing landscape of SAP AMS
Senior SAP Consultant @ Infosys