Consulting can provide an engaging and challenging career which is unlike any other. I have been employed as a consultant in the North America Services since June 2011.In this short time frame I have worked on over 20 billable engagements, providing expertise on SAP’s next generation Mobile Solutions to customers in North and South America (check out this recent SAP video about my consulting experiences).
Learning new processes and products to provide success
As I am writing this blog I am on the tail-end of a two week engagement with a large Venezuelan consumer goods company based in Caracas. The processes for which I provided support directly impacted the customer’s business model, allowing for employee schedules to reflect changes in sales and inventory. A huge benefit of being a consultant is that we get an insider’s perspective into key businesses processes. While I was in Caracas, I was introduced to the customer’s corporate policies driving consumer goods sales and distribution. Understanding the customer’s business processes is key to providing support and ultimately creating value through SAP’s products. Once I was introduced to my customer’s business processes I worked with my customer to create a plan for deploying an SAP mobile app to increases their sales force’s productivity in the field. By understanding the customer’s culture and business requirements, I was able to create value and help the customer unlock the power of SAP.
A typical engagement for me will last two to five weeks and includes a host of activities such as providing technical expertise, educating the customer’s workforce on our solutions, and completing high level end to end architecture discussions with members of multiple teams. As a consultant, I am also required to be flexible and adaptive during engagements and able to respond to changes on both the customers end as well as SAP’s.
As our roadmap changes, customers are always inquiring about SAP’s newest products – they want to know how they run and how these new products can help them to innovatively adapt and modify key business processes. As we are on the front lines and interacting with customers on a daily basis, consultants are normally required to provide this information. A major function of the consulting lifestyle is staying up to date with technological developments and understanding how these developments relate to our needs in the field.
Recently while on a project in Toronto, I worked very closely with a large telecommunications company that was reselling SAP’s software. In this specific engagement my role was to enable the customer to use SAP software and educate the customer on the roadmap that was being developed. This role required me to understand the product portfolio and the roadmap for new products well enough to advise my customer on the impact of these new
technologies on their infrastructure. I was able to successfully do this by taking part in workshops and performing constant self study by completing installations in sandbox environments while working with my colleagues. My product understanding then provided the customer with the guidance they needed to resell our software and create value for their customers.
Understanding the world of business in the context of the world outside
By understanding the cities that our customers do business in, I have been able to better understand the culture that drives our partners and customers to succeed. Every location is unique, as are the people that make up the customer’s work force. On any given engagement, I typically have one to two evenings during the week in which I can venture out into a city to explore. For example, during an engagement that placed me in Oklahoma I saved two
evenings to visit the beautiful Oklahoma City Memorial and watch Game 3 of the NBA Western Conference Finals (2012) between Oklahoma City Thunder and the San Antonio Spurs. During an engagement that placed me in Montreal for three weeks, I took my customer’s advice to visit some of the chic restaurants in old Montreal and subsequently had a great meal. Every customer I have visited has been glad to point me in the right direction for good food and cultural sites – taking their advice can lead to a trust which is then transferred to the workplace.