MySAP Career: HCM Functional Lead Consultant

I am giving SAP career Progress of experienced SAP Practitioners as MySAP Career  in my blog. The intention is to get a SAP Career summary of successful SAP practitioners in brief. I am sure this will help candidates who are planning to start SAP Career as well as those who are already working in SAP Consulting area..

MySAP Career: HCM Functional Lead Consultant :

  1. What is your current position/position last held?

Functional Lead (Human Capital Management Module)

  1. Your Qualification

Commerce Graduate with three Post Graduations. All from Pune University

First one in Commerce, another one in Computer Management followed by Business Administration.

  1. How long you have been working in SAP Consulting area?

Started working in SAP area since May 2013. Its 2.5 years now.

  1. What was your professional experience before you moved to SAP area and how long?

I was working as a recruitment professional for 10+ years with top IT companies. I have handled Campus & Lateral Hiring and Recruitment Analytics in my past stint.

  1. How you started your career in SAP?

While working with all these top IT companies, I realised that Online HR systems and good reporting helped management and HR function specifically to do a lot of Analysis. This Data Analytics further triggers good support for HR decision-making.

Strong ERP system like SAP helps achieve this via a central database globally.

I joined one of the top engineering services company as a Functional Lead for HCM module.

As my core area of interest and domain was recruitment, I was assigned for SAP eRecruitment Module.

  1. How you got your initial SAP training?

I got trained through SAP Authorised Training partner at Pune. It was online training as I was working at the same time. Online Training had the flexibility to attend the training anytime during the day and late evenings as well from Training partner’s location.

  1. How you started working on your initial SAP Projects?

After joining this Organsiation, I started supporting different HR sub modules and simultaneously started working in functional role through small enhancements required in system.

  1. Have you done SAP Certifications?

Not as of now. This is in process and will be completed shortly.

  1. What are subsequent SAP trainings which you did for your SAP career?

Within our organisation I got trained on Training and Event Management and some custom modules.

  1. What are the important/Critical points one should keep in mind for SAP Career progress?
  • Good Domain Knowledge
  • Patience to learn and grow in Organisation
  • Connect with SAP via SCN and SDN websites and building good network outside organisation as well.
  • Constantly in touch with Latest Info via release notes from SAP.

I want to work as SAP Pre Sales Consultant.

I want to work as SAP Pre Sales Consultant.

There are many SAP Consultants who want to shift their career from Consulting to Pre Sales or Sales function. I meet many SAP Consultants who are working in SAP Projects who feel that they want to move to Pre Sales area. Many of them are not aware about the role, the pre-requisites and the responsibilities associated with a Pre Sales job in SAP practice.

The Pre Sales function in SAP Practice, in any Organization depends on the size of SAP practice, the various products/services offerings and the size of the projects, the practice is handling. There may be other criteria also.

In many organizations the Pre sales function is part of Sales function or in some cases is part of Delivery organization. It depends on the organization and will vary from org to org.

Now let us understand the Pre Sales Consultant profile in a general:

  • The Pre Sales Consultant is expected to possess an expert level knowledge of SAP product and the various solution offerings. In most of the cases, he is part of Sales team formed for an opportunity in sales process.
  • Th Pre Sales Consultant normally gets involved in meetings with Customer to understand Customer requirements, expectations from SAP product solution.
  • He gets involved in Product/offerings presentations and demonstrations if required.
  • He is considered as Solution expert and if required, will get further inputs/support from delivery team.
  • He gets involved in proposal preparation and subsequent discussions as & when required till closure of the deal.
  • Gets involved in post sales support for project delivery initiation. He is the link between the Sales cycle and the delivery execution.
  • Depending on size of organization and the sales opportunities, he may get involved in multiple engagements.

If the SAP practice is large enough then many organizations have a large team of Pre Sales and there are various roles within the Pre sales team. These are Pre Sales Consultant, Expert Pre sales Consultants, Solution Architect etc..

Looking at the above, it’s very clear that unless you have a good understanding/knowledge of SAP product/solution offerings of your organization, it’s very difficult to perform as Pre Sales Consultant.

 

MySAP Career: Senior level SAP Practitioner

MySAP Career :

I am now giving SAP career Progress of experienced SAP Practitioners as MySAP Career  in my blog. The intention is to get a SAP Career summary of successful SAP practitioners in brief. I am sure this will help candidates who are planning to start SAP Career as well as those who are already working in SAP Consulting area..

Please do give your feedback about this new section..

Senior level SAP Practitioner:

 

  1. What is your current position/position last held?

Currently I am working as Freelance Consultant providing SAP Advisory Services and SAP Career Guidance and Mentoring. Before this I was CIO of a large IT company predominantly using SAP apps.

  1. Your Qualification

Engineering Graduate with Post Graduation in Management

  1. How long you have been working in SAP consulting area?

Started working in SAP area for about 15 years back.

  1. What was your professional experience before you moved to SAP area and how long?

            I worked mainly in manufacturing areas for few years and then moved into Information               Technology. Worked in IT for few years mainly in system developments in Manufacturing         areas and then got a break into SAP consulting area.

            No. Of years spent prior to start of SAP area was @ 10 years..

  1. How you started your career in SAP?

Start of  my career in SAP:  I got selected in an organisation using SAP to manage their systems in-house. The selection into SAP area was due to my professional experience which combined Domain experience in Manufacturing and IT experience of system development/managing large systems.

  1. How you got your initial SAP training?

The organisation which I joined provided SAP training. This training was extensive and as per the guide lines of SAP Ag. There were examinations conducted and due to my position of managing SAP services, I was given training in more modules.. Also overview training in Technical areas was provided.

  1. How you started working on your initial SAP Projects?

As I was selected in an organisation using SAP, I started working on in-house SAP projects. These were both Support/Enhancements and Implementation projects.

  1. Have you done SAP Certifications?

Yes, It is always beneficial to complete SAP Certification.

  1. What are subsequent SAP trainings which you did for your SAP career?

The subsequent SAP trainings were based on job/project requirements.  I did no. Of trainings – Integration, ASAP Project Management, Delta trainings for Version upgrades, SolMan, Industry Solution and no. of Technical Trainings given by SAP Technology partners etc….

  1. What are the important/Critical points one should keep in mind for SAP Career progress?
  • Good Functional knowledge or Technology (if you are a Technical Consultant)
  • Become expert at least in one of the Module
  • Good knowledge in related modules/Integration aspects
  • SAP Technology awareness if you are a Functional Consultant
  • SAP Project Management Methodology
  • Excellent Soft Skills
  • Team Management and above all

Be passionate about your Career Area you have chosen (SAP)

SAP Consulting Career Path

There is always an anxiety about Career path in SAP Consulting and its more true for those who are switching Career to SAP.I always come across a question about Career Progress path in SAP Consulting.

Let us understand the different roles available in a typical SAP Consulting organization. The three broad streams normally available are Consulting, Technical and Project Management/Program Management…One can continue in the first two to become Expert in the area chosen or after a good experience move into third with additional skills..

The Career Paths normally are Junior/Trainee Consultant, Consultant, Sr. Consultant, Project Lead/Manager, Program Manager/Principal, Practice Head/Director…The titles may vary from organizations to organizations but roles will be similar..Many companies call these as K1, K2…..K6 level Consulting and the Billing rates are normally linked to this level.

Let us see briefly the different roles in SAP Consulting:

Project Trainee: Many companies recruit Project Trainee for student’s college Project term. The students are working on internships for a defined period with consulting team and are given a defined work assignment.

Junior/Trainee Consultant: This is an entry-level for aspiring Consultant/Technical team member who has no previous experience.. Most of the companies recruit Technical team members in this category and give them Technical training and provide opportunity to work under Senior team members. These are typically ABAP Developers, Basis persons..Normally it takes 2 to 3 years to move to a Technical Consultant position for these Junior Consultants.

Consultants: Consultants are the key team members on Project Team for deliverables. Functional Consultants are normally having a 3 to 5 years of Domain/Business Process knowledge experience in their area. This is followed by formal training in SAP in the relevant module and SAP Certification. The Consultant will be working as a team member under the guidance of Senior Consultants.

Senior Consultants: Senior Consultants normally have 3 to 7 years of SAP Consulting experience. A Senior Consultant is responsible for a functional area in the project and generally manages project sub teams for his/her area. There is a larger role of Client interaction for these people and some time they may be managing a small project.

On the Technical side, Senior Consultants normally will be managing a Development Team and will be responsible for defined Technical deliverables.

For detail of role of a SAP Functional Consultant pl. see my earlier post here  http://wp.me/p2uGi4-1l

Project Lead/Manager : Manager normally will have at least 7/8 years of SAP Consulting experience. They are leading Project Teams which may consist of Functional and/or Technical team. Manager will be responsible for Project deliverable and is Consulting companies face to Client. Project Lead/Manager is responsible for overall project and oversees Budget, Cost, Deliverables. They are expected to be knowledgable about SAP project management methodology.

Program Manager/Principal: Program Manager leads a large Project or oversees multiple project engagements. Program Manager normally gets involved in full Project life cycle consisting of Pre Sales to closing of Project.

There are Functional/Technical Consultants who do not get into project/man management and pursue a Career Path in their area of expertise. They are the Experts in that area and are typically guiding multiple projects. Such very Senior Consultants are designated in many Consulting companies as Principal Consultants.

Practice Head/Director: Practice Head is overall In-charge of SAP Consulting practice and is responsible for overall Budgets and growth of the practice. In small consulting organizations he/she may be CEO of the organization.

There are many roles & responsibility definitions for the above roles, but with above, one should be able to understand the SAP Career Progress chart available. One need to plan and review the Career Plan & progress on continuous basis.

 

 

Career Progress –Junior FI Consultant

I met a Junior SAP FI consultant and he was curious to know how he can move forward in his SAP Career. His name was Vinay and he is Chartered Accountant and has taken SAP FI training. Subsequently he has been working in SAP FI support project for last @ 2 years. As in such cases, he was worried that he will not make career progress in SAP as he is working on SAP Support Project and NOT on implementation project. There was little chance that his current organisation can provide him an implementation project in near future.

I asked Vinay about his last two years experience and the skills/competency he has achieved in his SAP area, namely SAP FI..I just asked him few following questions:

“Can you say that you have mastered FI module and you know AR, AP, and GL fully?”

“Are you able to resolve most of the issues referred in above areas?”

“What is your competency level for FI integration with other modules implemented in your organisation?”

“Are you confident that you can complete FI module from start to end? You should be confident to do it at least for a dummy project!!”

“What is your comfort level for Master Data- design/migration etc.?”

“What is your exposure to AM, and CO module?”

“ If I ask a Senior FI/CO consultant from your team to assess your knowledge in above areas, will you be judged a competency of K2 in above areas?”

 

Vinay answered most of the questions but admitted at the end that he is not that confident in many areas!! We discussed about his current project and the work he is doing..There are many areas even in his current project that will give him lot of value addition.

 

This thinking that there is great value addition only on implementation project was removed finally. I suggested him “Just concentrate on any of the sub modules AR,AP,GL which you enjoy the most. Become a master in that area and use your knowledge for issue resolution, helping others. Anybody who is stuck up in that area should recollect your name for solution..Become ‘Guru’ for that area in your project..”

“Then concentrate on other areas, Integration, Authorisation controls, ABAP specs writing etc…and for any new upgrade, implementation project you will be selected by default!!”

 

The best way is to use the opportunity available in the environment..Try to add value to the project by acquiring higher skills/competency and you will be making Career progress….

 

 

Moving ahead – Consultant to PM

Other day I was talking to a SAP MM Consultant and he was discussing with me how he can move forward in his career. Let us call him Ajit.

Ajit’s background: He has been in SAP for about 2.5 years and prior to that he has an experience of about 3 years. He was working in Purchase department of a large organisation when the company decided to implement SAP and Ajit was selected as one of the key user during implementation period. After the implementation, he has moved to the SAP Support team in the same organisation. He has been working as SAP MM Support Consultant for last two & half years and now very anxious about his career progress..

There are many people with similar background.  They may be working in different SAP modules or in different Technical areas. These people, like Ajit are not clear about their Career progress and where they will be from 5 or 10 years from today!

 Ajit started talking about his ambition and said “I want to become Project Manager in 3 years and a Program Manager within another 3 to 5 years.. I should be managing a large program/ implementation of SAP and that is what I want to achieve in next 10 years”.  I was happy that he has set a goal for himself. Many people at his level do not think about their career progress itself other than monetary things! We had discussions about his current role and what he thinks about his progress. One thing was very clear to me immediately, that he is totally confused about how he can achieve his set goal. I asked him “ Ajit, are you clear about your Career path in SAP? You can either follow a path to become a highly skilled SAP Consultant (many call it as Principal Consultant) in your module or you can pursue a career path to become SAP Project Manager..The skills, knowledge required to be acquired will vary for these two paths”

We had a long discussion to do a current skill, knowledge assessment, work out a plan how he can progress from a K2 level SAP MM Consultant to a SAP Project Manager..The main things required are:

  • Assessment of current SAP skills and its level or competency
  • What Career path you want to choose and why,
  • A plan to acquire skills, competency for the above Career path and Career movement

And the last important thing is a review & correction mechanism for your career progress..