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Importance of Soft Skills in SAP Consulting

I have been in SAP Consulting world for 12 years, I feel that we need to emphasize more on the soft skills of candidates. Given that the project deliveries are happening with teams located across the globe. It increases the ambit of soft skills for a successful project delivery. It also helps in maintaining a cordial working environment for the diverse teams.

It becomes critical for us to understand what constitutes a soft skill. “Wikipedia” gives a very broad definition of soft skills as

“Soft skills refer to the cluster of personality traits, social graces, communication abilities, language skills, personal habits, cognitive or emotional empathy, time management, teamwork and leadership traits.”

Below is a list of “Top Ten Soft Skills” compiled by Eastern Kentucky University

  1. Communication – oral speaking capability, written, presenting, listening, clear speech & writing.
  2. Courtesy – manners, etiquette, business etiquette, gracious, says please and thank you, respectful.
  3. Flexibility – adaptability, willing to change, lifelong learner, accepts new things, adjusts, teachable.
  4. Integrity – honest, ethical, high morals, has personal values, does what’s right.
  5. Interpersonal skills – nice, personable, sense of humor, friendly, nurturing, empathetic, has self-control, patient, sociability, warmth, social skills.
  6. Positive attitude – optimistic, enthusiastic, encouraging, happy, confident.
  7. Professionalism – businesslike, well-dressed, appearance, poised.
  8. Responsibility – accountable, reliable, gets the job done, resourceful, self-disciplined, wants to do well, conscientious, common sense.
  9. Teamwork – cooperative, gets along with others, agreeable, supportive, helpful, collaborative.
  10. Work ethic – hard working, willing to work, loyal, initiative, self-motivated, on time, good attendance.

While hiring a candidate or assigning a resource to a Project, we should check for the above mentioned traits in addition to asking on “How Scenarios can be mapped in SAP”? 🙂

The technical skills can be acquired over a period of time, but making changes in soft skills require a concerted effort.. It’s not as easy as it seems to be..

Take for example a case where a Candidate needs to work upon his communication or presentation skills.

The person has to invest a lot in himself, as firstly he has to acknowledge that there is a problem with his communication and then he needs to get expert help..

Out of the top 10 in my own experience I think, clear communication, work ethic and positive attitude are must have traits for hiring a new resource.

Got three more skills required in our SAP world from my SAP Colleague

1. Efficient multitasking
2. Effective networking skills
3. Willingness to work at a standing desk in workplace. 🙂

Let’s hear from the SCN community which usually helps in up-skill of “Hard Skills “of future consultants..  🙂

Cheers – Sammar

9 Comments
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  • Customers determine everything in the market, and while they do list out “must have good communication skills” on their requests frequently, I’ve found that they only focus on 1) rate, and 2) experience. It would be great if they genuinely cared about soft skills, leadership, and professionalism to the extent that it impacted who they hire… but they don’t.  Just like certification, they often request it but it doesn’t seem to matter in the end.

    • Hi Nathan,

      I agree with your analysis. It definitely boils down to who provides the cheapest and fastest delivery for solutions required by the Industry. But people to people interactions in projects or bids/proposals requires one to have clear communication skills..

      On certifications, I agree, these are just a filtering criterion used by hiring managers to exclude some candidates over others.. 🙂 In the end its your hands on experience which counts in real project then the number of certifications you have..

      Cheers- Sammar

       

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      🙂
  • Good one Samar. Most of us will understand it as Communication skills only. And here we see much more.

    Not sure if “Eastern Kentucky University” ranked “Work ethics” at the last. I hope not. However, I see you clearly prioritizing it.

  • Nicely put, Sammar ! You bring up a very important aspect of consulting which many tend to ignore. Totally agree with you on that improving soft skills require a concerted effort and it is not as easy as passing a certification exam or learning about a new product.