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.

 

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..

 

 

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..