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.
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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..

 

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)

Different Ways for Career shift to SAP:

“How can I get into SAP?”

This is a common question asked by most of the people who want to move to ERP/SAP career from their non SAP career. As discussed in earlier posts, it depends on your professional qualification, your domain/technical experience, Soft skills, your training in particular area and the most important is the Opportunity you get for this career move..

Assuming that you have the required professional qualification & experience, let us understand the different ways people have followed to enter SAP career.

 

  • Get involved in Implementation in your Organization:
    • Your current organization decides to implement SAP and you are one of the most competent employees selected to be part of the SAP implementation team. In most of the organizations, such employees are shifted from their current roles to the Core implementation team.
    • You may not be lucky as above, but are selected as a key user in a particular module. You get involved in process finalisation discussions, user testing/acceptance, even in end-user training also…
    • For both the above scenarios, employees are trained as per requirement level during the project.
  • You are one of the end-user of SAP in a particular function/module.. You have become familiar with SAP usage and know the business processes in your area.
  • You are already working/using another ERP and get an opportunity to move to SAP
  • Many people decide to pursue a career move to SAP and get trained in SAP
  • You are already in IT/technical area and get an opportunity to support SAP as part of IT team
  • You are in IT/Technical area and decide to pursue a career move to SAP and get trained in SAP technical area.
  • There are many IT consulting organizations, who recruit graduates, MBA, post graduates and impart them SAP training. This is part of their induction training and subsequent to training the employees become part of ERP/SAP team.
  • There are opportunities for Domain experts recruited by IT/Consulting organizations and trained in appropriate SAP Industry solutions..

I have listed some of the paths followed by people for moving into SAP.  The most important things are always Professional qualification, domain experience (functional/technical), good training, Certification, Soft skills and use of all these to ensure value addition to Organization.

The above different paths will give an opportunity to move into SAP and one has to work hard to become a successful SAP Consultant. This need to be planned & executed very well as it affects your career.

 

Moving to SAP Consulting – FI/CO

 

 As mentioned earlier, good demand for FI/CO consultants motivates many people to try & get into SAP FI/CO..There are many who want to quickly become SAP FI/CO consultants and feel that it must be easy to pursue this career option. There is demand for SAP FI/CO consultants and the demand exists ONLY for good knowledgeable FI/CO consultants!! The normal question asked is can I become SAP FI/CO consultant?

 Let us summarize the requirements:

 

  • 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.
  • 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…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..
  • With most of the above requirements fulfilled, you will require a good training and hands on project experience which will put you into SAP FI/CO consulting..