What qualities do you need to have to become an SAP consultant?
Have you decided to become an SAP consultant? Welcome to the club!
But are you ready to be a consultant? Do you have the mandatory qualities?
What? You don’t know the qualities you must have to become an SAP consultant? Let me tell you!
You cannot become a consultant if your investigation for the solution to the new customer requirement does not start from search, unless you already know how to implement the requirement, of course.
SAP is one of the most used software products in the world. Many businesses have similar requirements. It means that eventually all the requirements and their solutions emerge somewhere. Be it Internet, use your favourite search engine. Be it SAP standard, use the search in SAP Help.
What happens if you don’t use search? Then you are by yourself. You cannot use the knowledge base accumulated by generations of consultants! It does not mean that you will not get to the solution yourself after some time. But will it be an efficient solution? Will it be a quick solution? Will it be a cost-effective solution? Nobody can guarantee that!
Don’t be shy! Don’t be lazy!
The best way to present a solution to the customer is to show that it works in the system. You cannot present it in all its beauty unless you have already run an experiment yourself. It may not be the final, full-blown solution covering all the possible details and requirements. However, it should be a prototype that covers the most important features.
Running an experiment, you may find out that your solution does not work. Well, a negative result is also a result. Step back. Think again. Find the weak link in your solution. And perform another experiment!
Don’t ask other people for a solution, unless you are ready to experiment! Don’t ask obvious questions that can be answered by a 3-minute experiment! People are patient, and may answer such questions once, twice, but eventually you will lose your credibility, and none of your questions will get an answer.
If somebody says to you: “I want this to be done this way!”, it does not mean that this is the only way to achieve the result. Let’s rephrase the initial question: “I want to hammer a nail using a screwdriver!” Does it make any sense? Not at all!
Ask this person a counter question: “What do you want to achieve?” The possible answers may be: “I want to hammer the nail” or “I want to use a screwdriver”. Both of them are legitimate, but each in its own place.
When you face a similar dilemma in the consultancy, be prepared for a strong confrontation from the users’ side. They may argue that this is the way their business works. They may argue that this has been done for years and years. They may argue that this is their competitive advantage.
Don’t be scared by this extravaganza. Step back. Analyze the requirements, not the proposed way to achieve them. Show your flexibility! Do you see a better way?
Let me give you yet another example. If the customer wants to fly from New York to London, he has at least two options: a direct flight across the Atlantic, or a multi-stop trip via LA, Tokyo and Moscow. Both routes will take him to the right place. But will the second route be more cost- and time-efficient?
SAP is an ERP system, which has been accumulating the best business practices from all over the world for decades! Many people understand that direct cross-Atlantic flight is the best way, and they implemented this as a “best practice” in SAP.
Show the customer that he has two options: either use the world’s best practices, or pay extra cash and waste more time for a flight in an opposite direction. Stand firm!
Attention to details
SAP is a well-documented software itself. Apart from the SAP official documentation, you can find a multitude of information resources in forums or on blogs like this.
What does all the information in the SAP area have in common? It is the approach to the way of giving the information. It is, like the system itself, German-styled: precise and comprehensive.
And you need to use this information the same way: pay extreme attention to details!
If the documentation or forum recommendation says you need to do A, B, C and D, then you need to follow the instructions literally: do A, then do B, then do C and finally do D. Neither ACBD, nor ABD routes will give you the desired results.
If you have not achieved the desired result from the first attempt, don’t despair. It is human nature, especially when working under pressure, to miss bits of information. Re-read the advice again, completely. Then read the first step only. Make this step exactly as recommended. Move to step 2, and repeat the procedure.
If you have not followed the exact steps, then you cannot claim that the guidance is wrong.
Now, when you followed all the steps, and still have not got the proper result, you have the right to ask additional questions. At least, you and other people will have the same denominator: the written documentation.
And now, before you make your final decision to become a SAP consultant, ask yourself: are you ready?