Your CV/LinkedIn Profile is your ‘Brand’

Other day, I was interviewing an aspiring SAP Consultant. She was SAP Certified but without any SAP Project experience. Her earlier functional experience was very good and her communications skills were also good. We were somehow getting a feeling that she has a bit of casual attitude. The interview panel had shortlisted her. The only thing which the panel found not up to the mark was her CV. The feedback was given to her and then we just looked at her LinkedIn profile. It was just giving name, college name, qualification and the name of company where she was working prior to SAP training…

HR representative promptly raised a question – Do you think we can present this candidate as SAP Consultant who cannot prepare a professional CV or maintain own LinkedIn profile?

In a second incident, I got an email about SAP Career guidance and the candidate gave a very brief professional background. I just thought about checking his profile on LinkedIn for more details and was surprised. His LinkedIn profile was briefer than what he had written to me in email!!

Your profile is your ‘brand’ and do take efforts to make it up-to-date and professional. I am again repeating below my earlier write-up on how to keep your LinkedIn profile updated

Keep your LinkedIn Profile Updated

In today’s world your presence on FB, LinkedIn, Google is used by many to understand you as a person, as a professional. Professional profile on LinkedIn is referred by Recruiters, HR Managers, and your colleagues/Superiors.

In spite of knowing the above facts, many people do not update & maintain their profiles correctly and in turn loose some of the opportunities..Somebody who is looking for a job, prepares his/her CV taking lot of efforts but many times ignores LinkedIn profile. Here is a simple way to ensure that your CV & LinkedIn profile are in sync and are updated.

  1. Keep your latest CV for reference with you.
  2. Once you have logged in on LinkedIn, go to Profile..
  3. Click on Drop down Arrow next to EDIT and click on “Export to PDF”
  4. This will generate a .pdf file with your name as file name..This contains your profile title, Summary, Specialities, Experience, Skills & Expertise, Education etc….In fact its your CV.
  5. Save the file on hard disk.. This also works as your back up for your LinkedIn profile.
  6. Do a cross check and ensure to update any missing details on LinkedIn profile..

 

From System R to the SAP HANA Enterprise Cloud

When SAP was founded in 1972 nobody would have known what cloud-computing would mean. One might have guessed it was related to space travel, as mankind had been visiting the moon for some years with huge rockets.

Since its beginnings SAP has helped businesses run better through world-class software solutions that solve complex problems to help invent, commercialize, and mainstream the products and services of the global economy. Today SAP is the world’s largest provider of business software. As a result of customer-inspired innovation SAP’s portfolio of solutions is currently used by more than 248,000 of the world’s best-run businesses, touches more than 74% of the world’s financial transaction revenue, and impacts more than 500 million people.

In 1972 nobody would have imagined to which extent computers would affect the lives of most people four decades later. Estimates at that time predicted only some hundred computers worldwide to exist in future. The understanding was that only large companies and governments would be able to afford such costly technology.

Today we know it turned out otherwise and since its beginnings SAP stood to benefit from the technological advance in computer science.

Real-time and Standardization

The first programs that were written from 1972 onwards emphasized the aspect of real-time. “System R” used data entry via screen and keyboard rather than punch-cards. Thus data was immediately available to support business processes and their evaluation.

The aspect of real-time was kept in focus since then whenever new software was developed by SAP.

“System R,” later called R/1, was developed on customer-owned hardware, but thanks to the ongoing miniaturization of computers the quickly growing company SAP could soon invest in its first own hardware. The next evolution of real-time software, the mainframe software SAP R/2, became a huge success during the 1980s. It supported not only instant availability of data but provided an integrated view of all relevant business areas.

A second important attribute of SAP’s software is standardization. Standard software addresses many customers’ needs with a basically identically coding using a standard set of customizing options. This has many benefits: software development can be streamlined, upgrades can be better planned, customer support can be more efficient and it facilitates forming a stable network of partners.

Evolution

Keeping the core features of real-time and standardization SAP profited from the newly emerged personal computers and invented a client-server version of its established SAP R/2: SAP R/3 which was released in 1992 and became not only an even bigger success but an industry standard in its own.

SAP enhanced SAP R/3 with various standard industry variations and closely attached additional software packages until SAP R/3 was incorporated in the SAP ERP Business Suite in 2004.

With real-time enabled standard software SAP was also entering the next steps in software evolution: mobile, big data and cloud.

  • Big data requires efficient ways to deal with data volumes, SAP’s answer to this is its home bred in-memory computing: SAP HANA. SAP HANA will become an integral part of SAP ERP.
  • For the cloud market SAP developed a comprehensive portfolio of various line-of-business solutions and a cloud-ERP (Business ByDesign) and acquired important cloud-players like SuccessFactors and Ariba.

Revolution

“HANA redefines the market for enterprise software – it’s only logical to take it to the cloud,”

said Hasso Plattner during the announcement of SAP HANA Enterprise Cloud (HEC) in May 2013. The goal is combining the power of real time with the simplicity of the cloud while leveraging SAP’s 40 years of application experience with mission critical data centers. HEC will make in-memory computing quickly available for a large customer base in a managed cloud environment that includes a wide range of flexible options.

READ MORE DETAILS AT

http://www.sapdatacenter.com/article/cloud_sap/

 

Time Line- From System R to the SAP HANA Enterprise Cloud

Many aspiring SAP Consultants do not know how SAP as a company has developed its ERP software.

Here is a brief summary:

1972 – 1980

The first software of SAP, System R, later called R/1 sets the standards: Real-time and standardization. Software that processes data when customers ask it to.
1981 – 1991
Launched in 1981, the new mainframe software, SAP R/2, integrates business functions.
1992 – 2003
The era of SAP R/3. Real-time reaches the desktop with the client-server version of the standard application software.
2004 – 2010
Real-Time anywhere and anytime: the SAP ERP Suite is launched and real-time moves to the Web and beyond: cloud and mobile, open up new horizons.
2011 – Today
SAP HANA re-defines the meaning of real-time for big data and becomes the basis for all SAP products.
The SAP HANA Enterprise Cloud is announced in May 2013.

SAP Company Information…

SAP at a glance: company information

SAP is the world leader in enterprise applications in terms of software and software-related service revenue. Based on market capitalization, we are the world’s third largest independent software manufacturer. Browse company facts and information below.

  • More than 251,000 customers in 188 countries
  • More than 66,000 employees – and locations in more than130 countries
  • A 41-year history of innovation and growth as a true industry leader
  • Annual revenue (IFRS) of € 16,22 billion
  • Listed under the symbol “SAP” on stock exchanges, including the Frankfurt Exchange and NYSE

http://global.sap.com/corporate-en/our-company/index.epx

I am having experience in Testing in an IT Company & want to shift to SAP Career..

Recently I have met lot of people who are working as Test Engineer/Testing Manager in IT companies and who are looking for a shift in career to SAP. Most of them are not aware about what is Testing Career in SAP consulting and they assume a role similar to their existing one to be available in SAP.

One thing which was common in most of the interaction was related to the role they will have to play/available to them in SAP consulting.

I always suggest them to first understand the following before deciding on SAP Career shift :

  • What is an SAP Project.. whether it is implementation, support, upgrade etc…
  • What is the role of Functional,Technical (ABAP,Basis…)Consultant in SAP project
  • Then try to understand what is a typical Testing job available in SAP.

There is no role as a General Tester in SAP project , but it will be always a testing role for a particular module. It can also be a testing role for ABAP, Authorization control testing, Performance Testing etc…Thus the pre-requisite will be always the knowledge about that module, technical area.

Let us take an example of a requirement for SAP SD Testing job:

Minimum xx to xx years of Testing experience in Order to Cash Process of SD

Strong functional knowledge of SAP SD processes

Working knowledge of SD is preferred

….

Strong knowledge of Testing Process, Testing Tools and Quality Policy/Processes

OR see another senior level HCM Testing job requirements:

QA Lead – IT(SAP HR/HCM )

  • testing experience on SAP HR/HCM (PA, OM, PT & PY).

  • testing experience on interfacing applications like SuccessFactors, Kronos & Taleo.

  • experience in test plan, test execution strategy, status reports

  • Strong understanding of project management or software development life-cycle methodologies (ASAP, Waterfall & Agile).

  • Excellent knowledge of HP Quality Center test management tool and the structure of test artifacts (test cases, scripts, results and defects) within the tool.

It is very essential that, they first have to get into one of the SAP module or Technical area and then specialize in SAP Testing .

The module or Technical area to be decided based on individual qualification, experience & liking etc….(Pl. Refer to my earlier posts)

I am having experience in Project Planning, Purchasing & Production. Which SAP module should I select for training?

I met an aspiring SAP Consultant who was having total 7 years of experience in manufacturing industry in various functions. Let us call him Rajesh. He had started working with the company as Trainee Engineer and has worked in Production department initially before moving to Purchasing function. Subsequently he changed the job and got an opportunity to work in a multinational company. His job profile in this new company was Project planning & execution for setting up the new manufacturing plant.

He had made up his mind to move to SAP Consulting after doing a detail evaluation. He was not clear how to choose a particular SAP module for his training & career change. He has met couple of training centres for SAP training and each of them advised a different module- either PP or MM or PS.

Let us look at the key points Rajesh must consider while choosing a SAP Module:

  • Good Qualification: Rajesh is an Engineering Graduate from a reputed college/university and got his first job thru’ campus placement.
  • Considering his professional experience, he has to be in Logistics/SCM area and he can use his functional experience to the best level in this area while working in SAP. The domain experience in your chosen SAP Module provides you to understand SAP in a much better way. The preferred experience level is about 3 to 4 years & Rajesh has varied experience covering Production, Purchasing & Project Planning.
  • The experience level mentioned above has provided Rajesh with good understanding of day to day function in manufacturing and Project planning & execution. Rajesh has spent first 3 years in Production + Purchase function and subsequently has spent about 4 years in Projects function. The initial period gave him good manufacturing exposure and it has been used during the Projects planning & execution period to set up manufacturing plant. He can get into MM/PP/PS very easily based on his experience.
  • As part of Projects function, Rajesh was using MS Project for all planning & monitoring of execution activities. He has now a reasonably good exposure to Finance, Costing for his Project function.
  • Good exposure about various systems used for reporting in manufacturing and/or Projects..
  • Rajesh has above average Computer proficiency-.A very good hands on in MS Office, Projects..
  • Very Good Soft Skills.. One of the areas where many aspiring SAP Consultants lack is the Soft Skills area. As Rajesh has to communicate with people at all level, he has developed good written, verbal communications. He is also having an excellent proficiency level in preparing & making presentations.
  • Awareness about systems in general and ERP in particular. The company where he worked initially was using a home grown ERP system & Rajesh was using it..
  • Rajesh finds the Project Planning & execution function much challenging and he has become passionate about it.
  • The demand for SAP functional consultants in the areas of his interest was analysed using few job portals. This is not the most important decision factor but input about it is required.
  • After analysing & putting down the above key points, Rajesh himself was convinced that he should get into Project System module of SAP.
  • With most of the above requirements fulfilled, Rajesh will require a good SAP training, Certification and hands on project experience which will put him into SAP consulting..

I have just completed my SAP Training.. What should I write in my Resume?

Good demand for SAP consultants motivates many people to get into SAP and complete SAP training in a particular module.

Once they complete their training & start looking for a job in SAP area, many of them face a dilemma about writing their resume. Most of them are confused about how to project their profile for SAP consulting role.

The normal question asked is, what should I write in resume for SAP related role?

( I am assuming a candidate who has Functional/domain experience & has completed SAP training & Certification)

Always remember that, your resume has to give you an opportunity for an interview..Then during the interview, you have to show your competency in your functional area & your SAP knowledge. Also see http://suhasagashe.wordpress.com/2013/03/07/what-is-the-typical-role-of-sap-functional-consultant/ for understanding the SAP Consultant Role & prepare for your interview.

The Resume format can be chosen by individual, as per his/her choice but MUST cover the following:

Profile Summary:

  • Your Name, Email & phone contacts

  • Profile Summary which highlights your Domain Experience prior to SAP training, SAP training & Certification done , & your SAP project experience.

  • Your basic & professional Qualifications., Certifications Completed.

Details:

  • Start the detail of your Resume with your experience in SAP area.. (if any). If you have worked on a SAP project as Trainee, give details about it & your role in it. If as part of your training, you have done a Project, do mention it with details. You may be strong or having in-depth working in a particular sub module, do highlight that so as to get more discussion on it during interview..

  • SAP Training completed : Give details about Institute from where you have completed SAP training & the status of Institute. It is always advisable to complete the training from SAP authorized training institutes. You can get the list on SAP’s official website.

  • Anybody who wants to move into a particular SAP Module/consulting must have working experience in that area. The domain experience in your chosen SAP Module provides you to understand SAP in a much better way & is valued by organizations. .Please highlight your Domain experience and the areas in which you have worked before SAP training.

  • If you have some exposure in supporting and/or using any ERP systems, do mention those details.

  • Many people are involved in ERP deployment,testing or working as actual user for their daily functions. This gives them good exposure to ERP systems which is very beneficial while working in SAP area. Awareness about systems in general and ERP in particular will be helpful. e.g.those of you who plan to get into SAP HR payroll, TM, must be knowing the existing systems thoroughly & you must mention this.

  • If you have any exposure to understanding of Codification Schemas followed in your function/systems.

  • Your Computer proficiency-.A very good hands on in MS Office helps..

  • Soft Skills & any special Language proficiency .

    One of the areas where many aspiring SAP Consultants lack is the Soft Skills area. You will have to communicate with people at all levels and that will cover written, verbal and many presentations…..If you were involved in pre-sales, presentations etc. do mention it.

  • The other common personal details such as address, age,…..etc. Etc.

I will also suggest, not to wait till you complete your Training & Certifications. Start preparing your resume when you are nearing your training.. Also browse thru’ job portals of reputed Consulting companies giving profile requirements for Junior SAP Consultants…This helps in modeling your resume.

 

Moving to SAP Consulting – SAP HR/HCM

SAP provided training covers all aspects of Human Resources/Human Capital Management .HR professionals in an organization using SAP or having SAP Services ,are aware about the regular requirements of SAP Consultants and the basic requirements also.. There are many who want to become SAP HCM consultants and feel that it must be easy to pursue this career option. There is always demand for SAP HCM consultants and the demand exists ONLY for good knowledgeable HCM consultants!!

Let us see the requirements to become SAP HCM Consultant:

  • A professional qualification in HR is a preferred option but not mandatory. The qualifications are Basic graduation followed by post graduation in Human Resources. I have come across many excellent HCM Consultants who hold  only graduate qualification. (But most of them are having very strong HR domain experience)
  • Anybody who wants to move into HCM consulting must have working experience in that area. The domain experience in Human Resource function provides you to understand SAP in a much better way..The preferred experience level is about 3 to 4 years for a Human Resource professional before moving to SAP career.
  • It is expected that the experience level mentioned above has provided you good understanding of day-to-day Human Resource function in an organisation, processes followed, Report requirements, good awareness of areas linked to HR function etc. A good knowledge of your functional area and the processes is a MUST. Let me give an example: If you are working in the Recruitment function in the Organisation, you must be having good knowledge about Recruitment systems and processes currently followed in your organisation. Apart from this you must be aware about HR Master Data, Personnel Administration as carried out in your organisation and have some awareness about other functions like Time Management, Payroll etc..The section names may vary from company to company but one must be having a good exposure in those areas.
  • Good understanding of Rules/Schemes as followed in your function/systems. E.g. Organization Structure, Leave management, Compensation Schemes, Resource management etc…
  • Above average Computer proficiency-.A very good hands on in MS Office helps..
  • Very Good Soft Skills.. One of the areas where many aspiring SAP Consultants lack is the Soft Skills area. You will have to communicate with people at all levels and that will cover written, verbal and many presentations.
  • Awareness about systems in general and ERP in particular will be helpful. Those of you who plan to get into SAP HR payroll, TM, must know the existing systems thoroughly.
  • Knowledge about how HR Function interacts/integrates with other functions in Organization will be very useful in the long run..
  • With most of the above requirements fulfilled, you will require a good training and hands on project experience which will put you into SAP HCM consulting..

 

 

What is the typical role of SAP Functional Consultant?

What is the typical role of SAP Functional Consultant?

Every candidate who is considering Career shift to SAP has an anxiety about role of SAP Functional Consultant. Many of them are having Functional experience as part of their career and want to understand what they will be doing post SAP training & Career shift to SAP. The role of SAP Functional Consultant will vary based on the type of project he is working. The Project may be SAP Implementation, SAP Support (post implementation), Upgrade, Roll out etc….

I have given below the responsibilities of a SAP Functional Consultant for SAP implementation project. These will vary based on Project size, scope etc. but I have tried to cover the main responsibilities.

  • Provide expert advice on SAP functionality. The Consultant is supposed to be expert in his SAP module and should be able to provide in detail the functionality available in SAP. He should advice customer on how to use the best business processes as provided in SAP.
  • Collect & analyze customer requirements on the following:
    • Business processes and parameters: This is important for business processes to be covered in SAP and compile the various parameters required for subsequent Configuration.
    • Assist in data transfer mapping: Data is required to be transferred to SAP from the legacy systems (e.g. Master Data like Material Master, Customer/Vendor master etc..)
    • Determining reporting requirements: Standard SAP Reports and any Customized Reporting required.
  • Determine printed forms requirements
  • Suggest solutions to customer based on best business practices so that Customer gets Business benefits by following these SAP processes.
  • Assist in the development of business process descriptions
  • Conduct implementation & training workshops: This is particularly required for SAP Power users and then guidance for end-user training. Most of the implementations follow ‘Train the Trainer’ approach..
  • Provide guidance on end-user documentation.
  • Provide guidance on test plan. : How to test SAP functionality for the required Business processes and ensure that all scenarios are covered.
  • Conduct unit tests based on customer defined scenarios
  • Coordinate with other module SAP Consultants for Integration requirements.
  • Provide Functional Specifications to Technical team for any Customized developments..

I am having experience in Finance/Costing function. What are the requirements to make a Career change to become SAP FI/CO consultant?

If you are considering Career change to SAP then you must understand the prerequisites to become SAP FI/CO Consultant. I have summarized the requirements for SAP FI/CO Consultant:

  • A qualified Chartered Accountant is a preferred option but not mandatory..The other qualifications are MBA-Finance, Commerce graduates /post graduates, Cost Accountants. I have come across many excellent FI/CO Consultants who hold a technical qualification.
  • Anybody who wants to move into FI/CO consulting must have working experience in that area. The domain experience in your chosen SAP Module provides you to understand SAP in a much better way..The preferred experience level is about 3 to 4 years for a Finance professional before moving to SAP career.
  • It is expected that the experience level mentioned above has provided you good understanding of day-to-day accounts function in an organisation, processes followed, Report requirements, good awareness of areas  linked to Accounts function etc. A good knowledge of your functional area and the processes is a MUST. Let me give an example: If you are working in the Accounts Receivable function in the Organisation, you must be having good knowledge about AR systems and processes followed currently in your organisation. Apart from this you must be aware about Accounts Payable, Internal Audits, GL functions etc.. The section names may vary from company to company but one must be having a good exposure in those areas.
  • Good understanding of Codification Schemas followed in your function/systems.
  • At least average Computer proficiency-.A very good hands on in MS Office helps..
  • Very Good Soft Skills.. One of the areas where many aspiring SAP Consultants lack is the Soft Skills area. You will have to communicate with people at all levels and that will cover written, verbal and many presentations…I still remember an excellent process followed by leading IT/Consulting company for recruiting Trainee FI/CO consultants. Once all the qualifying criteria’s are met, the Candidate used to be asked to present any project/process of his choice for 10 minutes followed by 5 minutes of Q & A..
  • Awareness about systems in general and ERP in particular will be helpful..Awareness about other functions in the organization helps when one is considering move to SAP. This is particularly useful for understanding Integration aspects in ERP.
  • With most of the above requirements fulfilled, you will require a good SAP training and hands on project experience which will put you into SAP FI/CO consulting..
  • It’s recommended to get SAP training from SAP authorized training institutes and complete the SAP Certification.
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