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Hello Friends!

I am Sundaresan working for MNC company having experience of 13+ years in SAP functional consulting in logistics areas like Materials Management and Warehouse Management. I had been a part of many SAP implementation / roll out projects in various industry sectors like “Consumer Industry” and “Automotive Industry”. Having strong 15 years domain experience in various disciplines starting from “Tool Manufacturing”, “New Product Design & New Product Development”.

So, what is this blog all about? Basically, I want to address or provide insight about “SAP Consulting Role” for new entrants or aspirants who are looking for consulting role and answer many of their questions like

What is consulting?

Which consulting do I have to begin?

What is required to begin consulting role?

What is SAP consulting?

Why should I get into SAP consulting?

How do I get into SAP consulting?

At the end of this blog people will have fare idea about SAP consulting and based on which they can decide their career and proceed further.

What is consulting?

Consulting means providing appropriate solution to the problem in right time.  The problem could be either individual’s problem or business organizations’ problem.  The word ‘appropriate solution’ is very important.  There may be plenty of solutions to single problem. Among them, deciding which one is very much suitable is cache point by considering various parameters like the expected result, time, money, effort, expertise, easy maintenance, etc.

It is like a doctor is deciding what medicine to be given to patient for his issue or decease.  A doctor must diagnose the issue in various ways, find the root cause of the issue, decide the approach and finally suggest the appropriate medicine to patient.  In some case medicine is not required and simple counselling will solve the issue.

We must understand one thing here that clients are coming for consultation merely because they are not expert in that area and seeking appropriate remedy for their problems.  Genuine consulting indeed makes your career best!

Now let us get into deep dive.

Which consulting do I have to begin?

Being understood on consulting role, next question is to decide the area in which I must begin my consulting? Most of the beginners have confusion or vague state to decide on this. There are various factors to decide this.  Answer the below questions.

  • What is my career ambition?
  • What is my core area of interest?
  • What is my core strength?
  • What is my current qualification?
  • What is market requirement?
  • What is current trend in the market?
  • What is my current experience?
  • What exposure do I have from my family background?
  • What is my earning expectation?
  • Finally, what is my affordability?

Knowingly or unknowingly we begin this activity during our pre-college studies where we decide which stream we will pursue?  Next some extent we will decide during our early years of graduation to choose the area of specialization.  Finally, in beginning of last year of graduation, people must plan carefully on their career plan and start acquiring the required skill.

What is required to begin consulting?

Once decided upon the area of consulting, next question comes to our mind is what is required to beginning consulting activity.

  • Obviously, no doubt to begin, first the strong subject knowledge on given area.
  • The soft skills what we acquire.
  • The experience in specialization area.
  • Vast exposure in relevant field across the globe will add advantage in our career.
  • Finally, the affordability to start startup company or acquire required knowledge / training / etc.

Based on my experience anybody can acquire above aspects easily provided there is a strong will or commitment.

What is SAP consulting?

Before getting into “What is SAP consulting?”, people should know something about ERP and software which are used to manage ERP etc. to have better understanding.

Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP).

ERP means managing all enterprise resources effectively which includes man, machine, labor and entire business activities.  Basically, the software system which is used to plan, track, transact and control the entire business processes in seamless manner at centrally and hence all the data is available in central data base and all the functions of the business can access the same data for their activities.

There are many software products which are used for this purpose like, people soft, oracle etc.  But all those software were having some limitations in terms of integration among the business functions like procurement, quality, warehousing, production, sales and finance. Each product was specialized in specific area of business function.  Hence there were some gap in terms of complete integration.

What is SAP?

SAP is an Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) system by SAP AG, company based out of Walldorf in Germany.

SAP stands for Systems, Applications and Products in data processing.  SAP is a global market leader in ERP software products.  The SAP R/3 system is a business software package designed to integrate and control all business areas starting from business planning, procurement, production, quality management, ware housing and finally sales and distribution of a business.  All business processes are executed in one SAP system and sharing common information with everyone.

What are all SAP consulting roles?

As this software is designed to manage all enterprise business activities cutting across different functions, predominantly the following consulting roles are available.

  • SAP functional consulting

Functional consultant gathers business requirement, analyze the business processes and configure the system based on the client requirement.  Here depends on business function, there are many SAP functional consulting such as SAP FICO, SAP Production Planning, SAP Materials Management, SAP Sales & Distribution, SAP Warehouse Management etc.  Depends on their interest, knowledge / experience they can choose their area.

  • SAP Technical consulting

Technical consultant develops a program or software package based on functional requirement.

  • SAP Basis consulting

SAP basis consultants are who manages the system.

Why should I get into SAP consulting roles?

Before deciding how do I get into SAP consulting, people must convince themselves on why should I get into SAP consulting.  The answer is simple.

  • SAP is global market leader in ERP software and most of the companies across globe have implemented SAP as their ERP software. Hence the need for consultants are also many fold.
  • The demand for SAP consulting role is huge as it is global in nature.
  • SAP is consistently either enhancing their products or developing new software systems to meet the current market requirements.
  • The remuneration for SAP consulting is decent as per market trend.

How do I get into SAP consulting roles?

First people must decide what kind of SAP consulting role they want to be.  Because each SAP consulting has got different pre-requisites, set of knowledge and the soft skills which require.

For example, SAP functional consultant requires strong business process knowledge in respective business functions viz. materials management, production process, sales & distribution, finance and control etc., skill to analyze the different business requirement and good communication skill.

Whereas SAP technical or basis consultant should have strong technical expertise, analytical capability to develop the software products and manage it very well.

Probably as we discussed earlier, they can analyze various parameters which are mentioned in section ‘Which consulting do I have to begin?’ to decide their career path.

Post to their decision they must chalk out their plan to acquire required skill / knowledge.

How do I begin SAP consulting roles?

Post to their decision and plan, people can acquire their knowledge in either of the below mentioned way.

  1. SAP Certification through SAP Learning Hub.

SAP Learning Hub is a cloud based learning system which is maintained by SAP.  Here you can find plenty of learning materials, virtual class room videos, online training, hands on experience and finally collaboration among various SAP consultants for their guidance.  Once learning is completed, people can opt for subscription of “SAP Certification Hub” for cloud based SAP certification.  Since it is cloud based solution, people can learn anywhere in globe and participate certification exam.

  1. SAP Certification through SAP Learning Centers.

SAP is also having their own learning centers across the globe for training and certification.

  1. SAP Certification through SAP Authorized Learning Centers.

SAP is also authorized to institutions to conduct SAP training and certification.  Bit economical compare to above. Example ATOS.

  1. Learning through local institutions.

Local institutions are also providing SAP training and they can’t conduct exam for certification.  This is very economical.

  1. Learning through existing organizations.

Probably people who are current working can also learn SAP consulting in their present organization where SAP is already implemented based on their internal training.

Once got required knowledge on specific area of consulting, people can search for entry level SAP consulting jobs in various organizations.

Hope you would have got fare idea about SAP consulting and probably you can decide either of SAP consulting role and plan your career successfully.  If you find this information is useful, for the benefit of others, request you to share this in manifold and let everyone benefited out of this information!

Feel free to provide feedback, comments and inputs!

 

Thank you and meet again in another blog on SAP.

 

Sundaresan.K

Senior SAP Functional Logistics Consultant.

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7 Comments

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  1. Michelle Crapo

    Wow – long blog.   Interesting to me as I’ve done both consulting and in-house.   Currently I’m in house.

    “We must understand one thing here that clients are coming for consultation merely because they are not expert in that area and seeking appropriate remedy for their problems”

    Um – no.   That’s not exactly right.  A lot of the time the consultant is hired to do work.   Certain work.  I may have an FI project that needs to be completing without enough staff to do it – so I look for a consultant with the skills to complete the job.   I might however, have an expert in that field.   I would expect that you are a good communicator and know when the client really is right.

    Certification – this may be a different thing in different areas of the world.   I’d take someone who has basic skill solving skills over someone who has a certification any day of the week.

    And now after typing what I don’t agree with.   I fully understand that a new person would have to have the knowledge to get into an SAP job.   Internships are always a great way to start.  But you have to know the basics first.   Your college, outside training comes in here.

    Consultants vs. in-house resources.   To me there isn’t a huge jump.   It is nice when someone is bringing you in because they don’t have a certain skill set.   Then it makes the job of the consultant that much easier.   They can go with what they know works.

    I sometimes laugh – and this is not true of about 90% of consultants out there – because a consultant does something and then leaves never having to know if it worked correctly or not.   If I’m the one supporting what you’ve just done, you better believe I will ask questions.   Step into a time machine with me – way back to 1998 – people needed consultants everywhere and we didn’t (at this point I was in-house) know what we were doing.  We just had boot camp skills.   When our system came up we quickly realized they didn’t know what they were doing either.  It was a hard lesson that I’ll never forget.

    So to add:

    A consultant must expect to be questioned.   Be understanding and describe why you think what you are doing is best.

    A consultant must share the knowledge.   When he/she leaves at least one person needs to know what they did and how they did it.

    A consultant should be really good at writing up documentation for their solution.  And of course have great communication skills.

    Oh boy.   I wrote a blog in my comment.  Just adding in some points that are near and dear to me.

    Great blog, and interesting.  Very interesting considering my long reply.   Keep in mind, I am one of many… And you will probably get a different answer from each of us.

    Michelle

     

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    1. KRISHNAMOORTHY SUNDARESAN Post author

      Hi  Michelle,

      Thanks for your patience to go through this and detailed feedback.  Certainly I noted your points.

      It is good to note that you have added some critical points which I missed.

      Once again thanks for your time.

      regards,

      Sundaresan

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      1. Michelle Crapo

        Loved your blog – so many times we all get the question on how to get hired.  It is very valuable.   I’m sure many of them have read this, and just didn’t feel the need to comment.

        Michelle

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  2. Faisal Iqbal

    Sundaresan, your blog could serve as a FAQ on Consulting roles, as it answers commonly asked questions. Thanks for summing them up in a blog : )

    Being in the field for last 16 years, I have seen many changes in SAP Consulting practice on both ends; the way services are 1) sought and 2) provided. And therefore Consultants have to keep themselves up-to-date with the needed skills, through the learning avenues you’ve rightly mentioned. There’s a lot to be learned to stay ahead of competition. I shared my thoughts on the subject at Skill Set a SAP Consultant need to have, to succeed.

    Hope to see more of your blogs!

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  3. Former Member

    Hello Sunder,

    Excellent article! Provides good guidance to beginner on SAP consulting.

    Expects more such articles from you.

    Thanks & Regards,

    Palanisami ST

     

     

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