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I have talked to many SAP HCM consultants. Most of them are aware of the changes and confused. SAP has always been about integration but now we hear about hybrid solutions. For example: store the core employee data in SAP HCM and interface with SuccessFactors’ functionality of on-boarding, talent management, compensation management. Some companies integrate SAP  finance, production planning, material management, human resources and other functions but what will be the impact of hybrid HR solution. There are many thoughtful questions but few good answers as things are still evolving. Cloud computing is a disrupting technology and has changed HR solutions and in turn the SAP HCM consulting. The consultants need to keep calm, carry on with their current work and understand the new normal proactively

  1. Networking – LinkedIn.com provides a good way to stay connected to your contacts. Your connections can offer insight and information that can help you. You can also reciprocate the same.
  2. Learning – Twitter.com, Facebook.com, SAP.com and other sites have a lot of information. You can follow industry experts and companies to learn about the trends as well as new detailed information.
  3. Certification – Certification is not always required but it can come in handy. Though it might not always be obvious how useful they might be, there is definitely no harm in getting certified.

SAP HCM Consultants (Functional)

The good news is that there are many transferable skills.

  1. Leadership, Team work and communication These skills are transferable.
  2. Project management This is also transferable with some knowledge of the new system that you are implementing.
  3. Documentation and testing These skills are transferable though a little system knowledge might be helpful.
  4. Business analysis – This skill is transferable. Cloud solution also requires HR processes analysis and requirements gathering.
  5. Gap analysis and configuration – This requires the knowledge of the new system. Understanding the cloud based solution is the key. If you plan to switch to the cloud, then you should take up some training or be a part of a cloud project. There are no courses available to public and training is only provided to the vendors/ system integrators.

SAP HCM Consultants (Technical)

There are specific challenges to this role as the cloud solution grows but it provides big opportunities. There will be a lot of work in transition and upgrade projects. But as more and more technical work is outsourced, technical consultants might need to add skills (though this might be a boon to technical consultant where the outsource work is going).

  1. Leadership, Team work and communication These skills are transferable.
  2. Project management This is also transferable with some knowledge of the new system that you are implementing.
  3. Documentation and testing These skills are transferable though a little system knowledge might be helpful.
  4. Development (Programming): Though the basic programming concepts might be transferable, the detailed coding will not. ABAP programming is SAP’s proprietary language.
    • You can move to other SAP module if you would like to continue within SAP environment
    • You can also pursue other upcoming SAP technologies like SAP Mobility and SAP HANA.
    • You can move to cloud solutions and learn the new system by getting trained or being part of a cloud project. There are no courses available to public and training is only provided to the vendors/ system integrators
    • You can learn more by following people and companies on twitter/ LinkedIn. I have a twitter list that might help to get your started http://twitter.com/manishcom/hrtech-sap-sf-workday

If you have any feedback, please feel free to give your comments here or email manish.thakkar@adept-consultancy.com. I wish you all the best.

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7 Comments

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  1. Chiara Bersano

    Hello Manish,

    it is a good summary, and it should induce many consultants to take heart. The good news are, it doesn’t only apply to the delta On Premise vs. Cloud in the SAP world, but anywhere; the business acumen, project management and leadership are systems-agnostic and are the longest to acquire; these are truly what make the difference between a great consultant and a technical support.

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    1. Manish Thakkar Post author

      Hi Chiara

      Thanks for your comments. I agree with your comments. The technology is constantly changing. Though not all the skills can be learnt, it would be good to invest time and money in skills that might help for a longer duration.

      Manish

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  2. Luke Marson

    Hi Manish,

    You make some good points about transferable skills and like you suggesting “supersize” the project management skills with PMP. Most process knowledge and experience will still be valid.

    With Cloud there are a lot of new skills required that currently aren’t used by many consultants, such as XML, handling multiple projects, integration, 3rd party vendor management, etc.

    As a combination it will make the “new world order” very interesting 🙂

    Best regards,

    Luke

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    1. Manish Thakkar Post author

      Hi Luke,

      Thanks for your comment. You are correct that we need to learn new skills but its hard to know which ones. I might title one of my article ‘ New World Order for SAP HR consultants’ to keep an ongonig list of skills that might be needed as things evolve.

      Manish

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      1. Luke Marson

        Hi Manish,

        You should reach out to some SuccessFactors and get their opinions. It could be similar to the way that Jarret wrote his blog that he mentions below.

        Best regards,

        Luke

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  3. Jarret Pazahanick

    Great to see you blogging Manish and while I agree that some skills are transferable it is important to note that SuccessFactors is a total different technology than SAP HCM and many customers are still looking for technology experts in their consulting resources. Obviously having the soft skills, business knowledge etc will make the transition to any technology easier but there are several barriers to entry in the SF world that will make it challenging for SAP folks.

    On a side note a groups of recently collaborated on this article The Future of SAP HCM and SuccessFactors Consulting – 2013 as were were getting many of the same questions you have been.

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    1. Manish Thakkar Post author

      Hi Jarret,

      Thanks for your feedback and links to the related articles. To make a true and detailed comparison between SAP HCM and Cloud solution (SF/Workday), we would need a lot more information about cloud solutions. SAP HCM details can be as easy to find as help.sap.com but it’s difficult to get documented information or project based information. Cloud solutions only publish favorable things like color screens and easy name changes. I haven’t seen anything that shows how they handle global assignees or union step increase. It’s not be say that it might not exist or in not comparable to SAP HCM. Customers like clear answers, but I think they are learning the new terminology (hybrid, enterprise cloud ?!?!)and finding the right questions to ask their technology consultants.

      Manish

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