17 August 2020

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© DAS Consulting Australia Pty Ltd (DASC) 2020. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from DASC or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to DASC with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.  

Using SAP vs Configuring SAP 

 

An unfortunate truth in the world of IT is that the projects are very skill specific.  Just because a consultant has extensive experience using SAP does not automatically mean that their skills are transferable to being able to configure SAP.  And when you are working on multi-million dollar projects, nothing will kill your reputation quicker than to be overly confident in your own abilities, and then being unable to deliver. 

 

So, how do you make the change from a Business Analyst who uses SAP to a Business Analyst who can configure SAP?  Well, there is good news and bad news.  The good news is that there is a way to harness your experience as an end user and the skill set of your professional field.  The bad news is that it will cost you the same time and money that it would for anyone looking to pivot their careers.  Still interested?  Then read on to find out what DASC is looking for in order to meet client expectations in large-scale projects. 

 

The first step is to understand your current strengths.  Are you in HR, Finance, Logistics?  Then stick with what you know.  You already have an in-depth knowledge of the processes supporting these, so don't go reinventing the wheel. 

 

The second step is to get the piece of paper to show that you can actually configure the program.  This applies if you are coming across from a competing ERP programs such as Oracle as well.  They are different systems, and so they do things differently.  SAP offer many different training programs, so have a look to see what would help build off your current skill set. 

 

The third step is probably the most daunting for already skilled professionals.  And that is acknowledging that you are going to only be offered junior positions for at least three implementations.  The way it generally works is that you are considered a Graduate or Junior Consultant (if they are being nice then it will just be "Consultant") until you have proven yourself through three projects.  This is not just because of the technical skill, but also because not everyone is up to the time pressures and team work involved.  In the world of SAP consulting, you work to the Program timeline, and more often than not, it is running behind. 

 

This means that you will probably be taking a pay cut from where you are now, not just because of the Junior rates, but also because you are usually paid per contracted day.  There is no paid overtime, and very high performance expectations.  But, if you can adjust to being a part of the overall whole, and work well with the other stakeholders in the project, for three projects, then you can usually start asking for Senior Consultant rates as you now have a proven CV. 

 

If you keep at this, have excellent troubleshooting abilities (of which you will have plenty of chances to practice), and are pretty good with politics, then you may find yourself in a Manager role.  If money is your motivator, then this is where you want to head. However, many SAP consultants prefer to stay as a rank and file, where the money is good as a consultant but being a part of the overall business transformation is a reward in itself. 

 

From DAS Consulting's perspective, most Business Analysts with a solid BA background who are successful in the world of SAP also have good SAP functional skills, which can be met with training, as well as good architectural skills which comes through experience.  Blending these three components takes time and effort, but will put you in a position to provide the best outcomes and value for the client's business, and in an industry where the best are sought through word of mouth, this is invaluable. 

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