My SAP Ariba certification: Some useful tips
I have been in SAP consulting since last 8+ years and from SRM now to Ariba seemed like a natural progression. I have worked on Ariba projects back in time when it was not an SAP company and now again when it an SAP company and is greatly pitched by SAP to its clients so may be of an interest to all those working in the P2P area.
I would like to share my experience of preparation for the Ariba certification so other who are looking to do the same can benefit. In all, the content which was provided gives you a fair idea on what the Ariba software does and how you can leverage and use it for your customers. I have alongside worked on Integration and implementation of Ariba solution to the existing SAP systems and that also helped me a lot and is recommend if you would want to maximize your learning but is not mandatory as the documents provide you a good enough understanding to clear the exam. Below are some of the links I found useful.
Certification details and Cost :
Ensure you download the practice exam PDF from the link above. The exam covers the basics of
- Contract Management and compliance
- Ariba features
- Managing Invoices
There are 3 main books 510 , 520 and 530 which are available as handbooks as well as E Books in learning hub. However the books just constitute around less than 24% of the course. Hence it is important that the entire learning room map be carefully read to cover the entire syllabus
What do you gain practically?
It’s always good to be certified but sometimes you do not quite understand the actual benefit of the tool and product that you are going to study. In order to gain a good understanding of the certification it will be helpful if you have worked on an Ariba implementation/ Support project which will make more sense to you when your browse through the material. However most of the people who give the certification are hoping to get some opportunity after they are able to clear the exam. So the best value of getting certified is when you have actually managed to be in a project or if a certification can land you a job in doing Ariba implementation or as a pre-sales consultant.
Current certification in P2p though will give you a basic know how is not essentially a deep dive of how a system admin will manage the system. Being a cloud product, it surely limits the ability to allow for customization and development when I compare it to its complimentary product SAP SRM. As mentioned in the SAP page it says ‘This certificate proves that the candidate has an overall understanding within the SAP Ariba Procurement application consultant profile and can implement this knowledge practically in projects under guidance of an experienced consultant. It is recommended as an entry-level qualification to allow consultants to get acquainted with the fundamentals of Ariba Procure-2-Pay.”
Difficulty: On a scale of 1to 10 I would rate this certification as being 6 /10 (even though I cleared it in 2nd attempt) as its not a difficult exam and consists of basic concepts that you come across in a P2P scenario. If you miss out some of the facts and figures from the documents in the learning room you will be surprised as a lot of actual numbers and basic questions are picked from that section.
How did I prepare?
In general for any certification I read recommended books from the learning hub which was all 3 Books 510,520 and 530. The first time you may find it an information overload but just continue with it.Once you complete all 3 books the first time then it will be a lot more quicker to the same thing the 2nd time and you’ll realize a lot of the topics also get repeated in many of these books. By now ensure you have condensed form of notes which you can refer to incase you need to revise the content again. Now, Start reading the learning map documents. Read all the content once from the learning room and make notes of important thing you need to remember.
How much time it takes to complete the course?
Each of the book 510, 520 and 530 can be completed within a 1-2 weeks time as it should not take more than 20 hours to go through all these books in the first attempt. Then coming to the learning room contents where it took me approx. 35 hours or so to complete all the content from the learning room. My notes from the learning room document is as below which might be useful. So, in total it took me 3-4 weeks to complete the certification study guides and then I booked an online proctor using the certification hub and was able to clear my exam in the 2nd Attempt. (In the first one I ignored all the learning content room thinking its too generic to be asked). Online examination was a fun thing to do and yes absolutely hassle free. Then you can download the credentials and a logo as nice as below after you cleared the exam.
Learning Map course details
Ariba software knowledge: [Reading time approx. – 3.5 hrs.]
- 01*[PDF Document]: Ariba Solutions Description – For purposes of the certification, focus on the Ariba Procure-to-Pay Professional section. Ensure you pick the latest version of the document mentioned in the comments section. Only Page 149 to 160 is what has been mentioned needs to be read (1.5 hrs)
- P2X parameter Table- These are the configurations provided by the software its good to know them just do a quick read through but difficult to learn from an exam perspective. The ones which are important are anyway part of the other documents. So I did not focus on this one a lot. (1 hr)
- User and group overview: I did not read through this a lot just a glance through. (< 1 hr )
End of Section Ariba software knowledge . Remember this section along with the 3 books constitute 12%of the course so you would not want to waste a lot of time on this.
Consulting Activity [Reading time approx. – 7 hrs.]
- Federated Process control documentation: For certification purposes, focus on the Overview chapter. (<1 hr)
- Functional discussion document and Functional design document: Glance through More useful in an actual project implementation but from a certification perspective its just good to read through once but I did not rem anything as such from this (3 hrs)
- 07*[Others]: Value Proposition of Ariba to Sellers: This document has some outdated numbers is what the owner of the document says. There are some question and answers at the end which were important from a certification perspective (1 hr)
- On deployment technical deployment methodology: One of the important ones in this section needs to be covered in detail. (~ 2 hrs)
Procurement Knowledge: [Reading time approx. –3 hrs.]
- Catalog Kick off: Read details about the CIF format and other details (1.5 hrs)
- P2X narrative ordering: understand the transmission mechanism (1 hr)
- P2X process flow: Just one diagram nothing to read (10 mins)
Integration: [Reading time approx. –7.5 hrs.]
- Introduction to downstream integration: Has important details which covers the basics of integration concepts (1.5 hrs)
- P2X Integration overview: Contains integration aspects with different documents (2 hrs)
- Creating form templates: For certification purposes, focus on the module “Flex Master Data.”Page 60-79. (1 hr)
- Suite integration: This has details on how the data flows in upstream and downstream solutions (1 hr)
- Upstream functional training: Read about the ITK details (<1 hr)
- Technical specification: This is more related to the technical aspects and make not make a lot of sense unless you have done an implementation/ integration project (1 hr)
- On Demand Technical deployment (Repeat from the previous sections )
Ariba process knowledge: [Reading time approx. 5 hrs.]
- Introduction to downstream integration: Repeat from previous section
- P2X integration overview: Repeat from previous section
- Project Kick off: understand the responsibility of Ariba team and customer in detail. (1.5 hrs)
- Catalog Kick off: Repeat from previous section
- Ariba Network 101: Details on supplier onboarding and other areas are important (1.5 hrs)
- P2X technical and functional configuration: general Guidance template. I did not focus on this one a lot (>.5 hr)
- On Demand Technical deployment: Repeat from previous section
- Working together for customer success: Read concepts of consulting and shared services (1 hr)
Best practices: [Reading time approx. 7 hrs.]
- P2X delivery guide: Important document for certification ( 1 hr)
- Test Plan template: Understand the responsibility of the client and Ariba team for testing(2 hrs)
- Ariba catalog introduction: Understand the different catalog types and their differences( 2 hrs)
- Ariba network 101: Repeat from previous section
- P2X parameter Table: Repeat from previous section
- P2X best practice summary: Understand the default configuration of template realm (2 hrs)
Let me know if you find the content useful. Thanks for taking time to read my blog. I may include more details of what I learnt by working on Ariba implementation projects soon.