“Deliver fully integrated solutions to generate real-time information helping every customer become a best-run business.”
The SAP systems deliveries an integrated view of core business processes including Operations (Sales & Distribution, Materials Management, Production Planning, Logistics Execution, and Quality Management), Financials (Financial Accounting, Management Accounting and Financial Supply Chain Management) and Human Capital Management (Payroll, e-Recruiting).
The challenge so far, speedup the data selection and processing to generate this desired information in the right time for the key businesses to make the better decision.
We notice this goal of SAP SE every new ERP release and recently, another step of this mission where SAP has lunching the In-Memory technologies: Run Live, Run Simple. Run SAP (Title of opinion expressed by David F. Carr, Forbes 2016-May-24).
The world has become faster and faster requiring of us the same behavior with our career raising questions about the paths to follow and develop ourselves with the same hurry. The following article is a thought that I developed to do not lose my focus and I would like to share with you, and I hope this can be useful even if you are starting your professional journey or for those who has traced a long way.
Perspective of roles
Every company which runs SAP system has three perspective views of the Information System which are split as below reflecting in the Organization Structure:
The TFB Circles – Technical, Functional and Business
The technical perspective is defined by programmers, server and application specialists, etc. We usually call them by the SAP modules, such as ABAP, Basis, PI and so on while the functional perspective understands how the system works or how to make it works while the businesses are the users who use the system and receive the information behind the data processed in the system.
The communication is the key for business; the company needs to have fast and clear communication, and the communication depends on the good information to transmit meaning achieving understood.
As defined before, the Functional role has understand how the system works, the limitation of standard and delivered solutions and how to setup them and identifies if technical assistance is need or not such as a new program development, server performance upgrade, data archiving, etc.
The TFB Circles Intersection
The intersection of Technical and Business with the Functional role happens in every organizational structure and simply define that the communication and interaction between the Business and Technical IT are handle by the Functional people which has the role to understand the business needs and translating them into system functionalities and transmit a clear specification for technical team to be able to understand that.
Let´s say that the size of each circle define the level of your organization about that role and the intersection between them define how the different roles knows each other, for example:
How your businesses understand the system functionality and How the Functional role understand the business needs and procedures?
How your functional team understand technical background and how the technical team understand the system functionality?
Stepping out of your comfort zone
It´s common to see people who focus on the size of the circle where their role are forgetting to look around and see real points of developments on their career.
In the introduction of this article, we saw how integrated the ERPs is becoming, the Run Live and Run Simple missions are happening and maybe in a near future these interaction will not be a choice, but a way-of-work.
The following interaction isn’t the Mickey Mouse® head but illustrate how many consultant focus only to understand the SAP functionalities and how to configure them and in another hand, the generalist thinking focus to understand everything.
The generalist focus
If you think like that, it´s time to stepping out of your comfort zone even if your really engaged with yourself development following this way, this is not the path.
There are a lot of discussion about the Specialist and Generalist employees analyzing which profile the market are looking for. This distinguish happens all time in the IT market and notice everywhere. I am pretty sure that someone already asked you about your future as a Specialist or a Generalist, Am I wrong ?
Follow the opinion of George Bradt to Forbes to explain better this:
“What’s the difference between a generalist and a specialist? A generalist knows less and less about more and more until eventually he or she knows nothing about everything. A specialist knows more and more about less and less until eventually he or she knows everything about nothing. Being either a generalist or a specialist is useless, and anyone trying to be both at the same time inevitably self-destructs.” (Font: When to Hire Generalists vs. Specialists: Lessons from the Fab Five)
His opinion ends saying that the ideal approach for businesses is probably a blend of generalists and specialists, but each business is different, each business owner needs a different answer.
Every ERP system works and provide information for a business, so, step out of your comfort zone and understand your company or client business.
Expanding your perspective
It does not matter if you are Functional IT, Technical Specialist or Business User, you have to think 360º stepping out of your comfort zone and expand the perspective that you have about the Business and the resources provided by your Information System.
The Mickey Mouse® head is not the way and will not turn you in a specialist, in IT area or any service provider area grows expansively considering Business, Functionality and Technical Resources will make the difference and make you better.
This is how I understand my role in the IT market, it can sound confusing for some people but can help someone in another hand. I really hope this could be useful to someone and I believe that many people had to stepping out the comfort zone and have learning with that, so if you have some experience after read this topic, please share with us and make this post more useful for our SAP community.