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.

 

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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/

 

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 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 https://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..

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.

 

Starting SAP Career

How to start SAP Career?

One question which is commonly asked to me is How to start my SAP Career?

There are many professionals working in Non SAP area who are interested in moving to SAP consulting for various reasons. The reasons for change and attractions for SAP career need to be well thought off by individual before jumping into SAP career..These will vary from individual to individual and will be met at different levels with Career change. One must be very very clear what he/she wants to achieve with career change to SAP.

What are those many reasons perceived for change to SAP career:

  • Good opportunities for SAP Consultants
  • There is always demand for SAP consultants as compared to other IT professions
  • Its combination of Non IT profession with IT profession
  • Want to explore IT Consulting as compared to routine work in my domain
  • It will give me opportunities to work abroad
  • Want to earn much more than what I get today
  • Want to work in Consulting organization and not in Manufacturing/financial organizations
  • Want to be in IT as it has many advantages
  • Was SAP user and know much more than those Consultants advising my company
  • Am already Project Manager in IT company but want to manage SAP projects
  • There is Growth in SAP consulting as copared to my profession

One can get many more but I have put very frequently quoted reasons for planning a move to SAP career..I have been interacting with many of those aspirants and have found that most of the times they do not have complete picture of SAP Career & Consulting..Morever many of them are carried away by the opinions of friends/colleagues..In many cases the peer pressure is the only push for planning a move.

Any career change has to be planned well after understanding the new profession, its requirements, own expectations, additional skills/efforts required for career change, support required etc..

It should be planned & executed very well as it affects your Career and affects you…