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SAP Consultants and the Clients We Help – A Symbiotic Relationship

As an SAP consultant, every engagement I work on is unique. Each one is vastly differing from the next in scope, complexity, SAP solutions used, project length, and geographic location. In addition to various project details, each engagement is distinctive in the value it can provide, not just for the client, but for the SAP consultant as well. For instance, a consultant who is staffed on a high-visibility POC is given the opportunity to prove him/herself as someone who can deliver in crucial situations. Long-term engagements offer consultants stability and a high utilization. Alternatively, being placed on the right project team can allow for the chance to network with invaluable resources.

     Having worked at SAP as a Business Analytics Consultant for over two years (initially with the EIM team andcurrently with the DTS organization), I have been fortunate enough to experience each of these beneficial scenarios firsthand, and each one is a reason to celebrate. For me personally, however, the value in each engagement is not derived from how much it will increase my bonus or how many key players’ business cards I can collect. What I truly thirst for on each project is the opportunity to use my knowledge to help the client optimize its data and genuinely improve the way it runs its business for years even after I’ve gone. In consulting, my greatest reward is the reward that I can provide the client.

     I was recently staffed as the lead HANA Developer/Modeler on an engagement for a formidable financial services corporation located in the greater Chicago area. The client is a multi-billion dollar firm with countless clients of its own. Needless to say, the firm was top-notch. The firm’s data and reporting solutions, however, were quite the opposite. It was almost intimidating at first; an extensive cross-section of detailed financial reports lay strewn throughout a compilation of crowded Excel sheets. In this form, the financial reports were difficult to read and nearly impossible to ascertain information from at a glance. As the old (and slightly modified) expression goes, “a chain (or, company) is only as strong as its weakest link (or, data analytics/reporting solutions).” Equipped with my team of experts and an insatiable hunger for a challenge, I eagerly dove into the project.

     The firm’s data contained complex hierarchies that were virtually impossible to model in their current state, so our Business Objects Data Services resource worked tirelessly, flattening each hierarchy in turn while our SLT consultant modified table structures and populated our HANA Studio (Revision 62 – SP06) schema with the required tables while I modeled in parallel. Despite frequent client meetings, roadblocks, and time dedicated to make sure the client received a full knowledge transfer, my team and I finished the four data models before the deadline. The modeling was complex (models needed to be consumable by the BI side for multidimensional reporting) and included difficult logic to maintain the integrity of the data while incorporating calculated attributes/measures, currency conversion, and, period-based calculations while making sure that performance was always efficient.

     By the time the engagement concluded, the client had four flawless, dynamic, interactive reports run on WebI and Business Objects Explorer. The four reports neatly provided all the information that had previously been expressed via 40+ Excel sheets. Whether the client is in Germany, Canada, or right here in the U.S., it doesn’t matter. The variables will always change, but my mentality is the same: it doesn’t matter to me how many points my utilization percentage rose during this project or how many projects I earned myself as a result of this success. My prize is the confidence that I helped make a business smarter and stronger. Now that’s a reason to celebrate.

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