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Update Friday 7th February 2014

If you are interested in this subject, please come and vote in this      poll.

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Standards for Human Capital in SAP Delivery

We work in companies where the development and delivery of near perfect products and
services is governed by industry standards such as Six Sigma.

We work in companies where projects are managed according to certified practices and
methodologies eg Prince, PRiSM, Agile.

We work in companies where the SAP IT systems are installed with quality standards and
approaches, documentation and validation and verification.

We work in companies where the SAP investment can be a significant percentage of the
organisation’s profit, where failure of a SAP system can affect profit, where failure
to run a SAP system in a qualified way can cost fines (FDA/Pharma).

We work in companies where pretty much anybody, any Human Capital can come through the
door and run these systems if they can make a strong enough case that they are qualified
to complete the task.

The question of determining the qualification of Human Capital in SAP Delivery is one
which has been around for years and more than ever needs addressing.

In today’s world it is more difficult than ever for Hiring Managers, Project Managers,
SAP Delivery Managers to ascertain the quality of resources being presented for roles.
Face to face interviews are less and less, because of circumstances there is not always
enough knowledge on the interviewer side to make the technical and project experience
judgement of a candidate. With the internet and the wealth of information available it
is more easy than ever for potential candidates to fill gaps and recalibrate knowledge
and experience. Interviewers are often interviewing somebody on the other side of the
world. Even in large organisations, it is often people who are not from a SAP background,
the HR Team who are providing the service to the organisation and making the initial filter
of potential candidates.

How to improve this ?

There can be only one way, internationally trusted, internationally validated, minimum
basic standards for SAP Human Capital, that is,

      SAP Education and Certification

Our industry needs to standardise measuring SAP Human Capital minimum standards of knowledge
using SAP Education and Certification as the bench mark yard stick.

Using SAP Education and Certification as the minimum bench mark yardstick across the world
will make everybody’s lives easier across the whole process of sourcing and delivering
SAP Human Capital.

Admittedly, Certification is not and will never be the only measure of a person’s skills and
knowledge, we all know that, but it will provide, a minimum standard with which to filter
candidates making the task of filling roles much easier and creating an accepted level
playing field for SAP Human Capital.

As an example, we all know, there can be good doctors and there can be not so good doctors,
the not so good and the good doctors are all qualified and certified. If they weren’t they
cannot be doctors. Would you ever go, or send your children to a doctor who is not certified ?
Big companies do the same with their SAP systems every day, big companies allow uncertified

SAP Human Capital to work on their systems ! Why ?

In practice, how would filtering candidates on certification work ?

First Stage if the Selection Process:

Initial filter of potential candidates – Certified or Not ?

Simple yes of no. Certified candidate goes to the next stage of the selection process,
not certified candidate is disguarded.

Second Stage of the Selection Process:

Candidate’s professional experience etc etc

Therefore as can be seen, certification is not the be all and end all, certification is not
the only tool to be used when selection candidates, but, it is the highest level filter,
the first layer of the selection process, the Industry Standard for selection SAP Human Capital.

Anybody who says they are certified by experience, as I too have been an advocate in the past,
if we’re so qualified by experience then in a lot of cases, we are able to go to our local
SAP Education Center and pay to sit only the exams we want to sit and not necessarily follow
the whole curriculum, although following the curriculum would be the most productive path as
it would give all certification candidates the full picture from the official SAP perspective.

As I have previously recommended in other discussions on SCN, SAP themselves need to be leading
or as a minimum pushing this direction, SAP can help this goal be reached in may ways, not
least by using their position to:

. Incentivise Customers to have a certain percentage of their SAP Human Capital
certified, perhaps in return for discounted support, because one would have thought
that if Certification is used as the _first layer_ for filtering candidates then
there will be less support calls to SAP from the Human Capital running the
Customer’s SAP systems

. Partners are already incentivised to have a certain percentage of certified
consultants, but Customers are not, and balancing and correcting this will be one of the
steps of the strategy implementation

. Running campaigns to promote certification as the SAP Industry standard for hiring
SAP Human Capital

. Leading Customers to resourcing SAP Human Capital using SAP Certification as the
baseline industry standard, this would mean promoting this strategy to Customer’s
HR and IT streams

. Leading by example

Such a strategic change will not be overnight, but will gain momentum and critical mass.

Ultimately everybody will benefit from SAP certification as the tool for the first stage
of the selection process of SAP Human Capital, and in the end there will be  no reason not

to be educated  and certified by SAP.

The final note being, would you send your child to an uncertified doctor ?  In the same respect
why are big corporations allowing uncertified people to run their SAP investments ?

I look forward and welcome all feedback to this discussion, it will be an opportunity to openly convert

the nay sayers 🙂   Inheriting and extending from Highlander, there can be on one _way_, and

that way is certification and until there is some coherent action taken on this subject, lead by SAP,

the question will pop up, and pop up again and again.

All the best,

Andy.

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16 Comments

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  1. Jen Cohen Compton

    Great article and viewpoint, Andy!

    Absolutely agree that certification creates merit and it makes sense to publicize this so others are away that they are “in good hands.”

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    1. Steve Rumsby

      The way to do that would be to hit the “Like” link up at the top, on the right-hand side, or rate the blog using the stars just above the comments here, or both…

      (0) 
  2. Ravi Sankar Venna

    Thanks Andy for bringing up the useful point.

    I would surely expect a consultant to have minimum certification criteria. Many people does this that certification is just a piece of paper and anybody can do it. Probably, they might have failed in the past or not intended to spend money. Some of the SAP Certifications, definitely test the water levels in the brain of the consultants. It would be a good practice, where there are many fake CVs are floating around, your suggestions would probably help the industry. Good point to be noted and well agreed.

    Kind Regards,

    Ravi

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    1. Andy Silvey Post author

      Hi Ravi,

      if we can all agree, our industry across the world needs standards, in a similar respect to medicine, or law, then the next step is to agree that those international standards are based around SAP Certification, which is a world wide standard.

      Best regards,

      Andy.

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      1. Ravi Sankar Venna

        Thanks Andy. In an idealistic world, I would agree with your words. But, in the realistic world, not sure whether the good thoughts would ever crystalize. However, it is a good start to think in that direction.

        Kind Regards,

        Ravi

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        1. Andy Silvey Post author

          Hi Ravi,

          I wouldn’t say this is idealistic, I’d say the question is realistic.

          Until, such time as there is a concensus that standards in the SAP IT Industry are necessary, or not, then the question of education and certification will perpetually go around in circles.

          I’ve put a poll here, it’s a simple question does the SAP IT Industry need standards or not ?

          That is the first question.

          Best regards,

          Andy.

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  3. Yves KERVADEC

    Hi Andy

    That’s an interesting subject… I might be partial as I don’t own any certification. I went to some training but never had the time & the will to get certified. I mostly learned by myself, learned to search, find the documentation (a real challenge with SAP, information is spread over so many places), test…

    From my point of view the main point against certification is that everything is changing too fast and sometime even the courses are not up to date…

    >> uncertified doctor…

    A doctor cursus is many years long with some long internship sessions , not possible to compare with a 3 weeks SAP academy.

    Further more the knowledge, procedures, medicines are not changing as fast as things are changing in the SAP / IT area. Hopefully there are not (yet?) consulting companies in the health business that hires cheap fresh consultants to make big margins…

    If I have to find someone to administer an SAP system I won’t care about certification, the main point will be the amount of experience, and the state of mind of the candidate… I’ve seen too many certified consultants who think that a diploma provides the expertise.

    An other main point is that SAP customers are very different in term of size and not able to spend the same amount of money for system administration. Certified practices are quite expensive to follow, I mainly work for midsize companies that are able to run there SAP system with minimum resources and cannot afford complying with them.

    I’m afraid that, if international procedures are setup they might not be based on simplicity and efficiency. They might be defined by platinum partner consulting companies for big SAP clients… and might even be integrated into solution Mger !

    That’s perfect for fortune 100 companies, but won’t help any of my customers.

    My ultimate guess, these standards & procedure might be more useful when all the complexity will get hidden in the cloud…

    After all procedures needed to be complex because SAP applications are getting more and more complex (sorry I’m currently working on BO and I missing my good & reliable old Abap stack).

    Regards

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    1. Andy Silvey Post author

      Hi Yves,

      I hear what you are saying and understand these thoughts, and have come to the conclusion in the absence of leadership from SAP this discussion will last until the end of time and going around in the same circles.

      To that end, I prepared a poll, simply to see what the concensus is, and maybe once the poll has critical mass of votes the results might be interesting for SAP, have you cast your vote

           Does the SAP IT Industry need International Standards for the Practice of SAP IT

      If not, please do.

      Kind regards,

      Andy.

      (0) 

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