What qualities do you need to have to become an SAP consultant?

Dmitry Kaglik

December 2, 2012

SAP

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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!

Search

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!

Experiment

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.

Flexibility

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?

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17 Comments

  • anwar on December 11, 2012

    Dear Sir ,

    I’m actually in SAP field since three months as real time experince with one of big company runs sap .

    My question to you is that , being a certified consultant in two different module ( BASIS + BI ) .

    avtually i’m a little bit confused about my future should i complete my current job as security consultant or shift to BI , as i heared BI is has got good future .

    Your guides will be high appreciate it .
    Regards

    • Dmitry Kaglik on December 11, 2012

      Anwar,
      BI and Security are two absolutely different areas of SAP. Both are in high demand. Your heart should decide which one is closer to you.
      After 3 months in a role, it is still not too late to switch from one to another.

  • […] career advice from a SAP expert The recent post about the qualities of a SAP consultant was greatly welcomed in the SAP community. SAP expert started to receive lots of questions after […]

  • Namrata Patil on December 17, 2012

    Dear Sir,
    i want your guidence in my SAP Career.
    i m having 5+ yrs of experience in SAP MM/WM module as an end user. then i completed my certification training in SAP MM from Gennovate and currently working as SAP MM Consultant in support project since Dec 2011.
    Now due to my pregnancy i have to quit this job and have to take break for atleast 7/8 months.
    will this gap affect on my career? what should i do?
    pls advice

    • sapexpert on December 19, 2012

      Namrata,
      Usually employers are tolerant to short-term and explainable gaps in the career, as pregnacy and baby-related leave. I don’t see any issue here.
      Doesn’t your company offer statutory leave for this matter?
      PS. I wish all the best to you and your future little one!

  • Sachin on January 16, 2013

    Hello sir,
    Please accept my greetings.

    Presently i am working in Manufacturing domain of a Defence PSU for last 11 years. During my job i completed my MBA in operations and Recently i cleared PMP. Now, I want to switch to a project management career. And i know that is not possible within my present organisation.

    I am thinking of moving to project management profile through SAP channel. i have used SAP as an end user especially its Production planning module.

    >>My queries are:

    1. which module i should go for.
    2. Is it worth investing in SAP training from career switching point of
    view, as its a costly training and i shall have to self sponsor it.

    Regards
    Sachin Madan.

    • Dmitry Kaglik on January 16, 2013

      Sachin,

      Thanks for your very interesting question.
      If you want to continue your Project Management career, you do not need any specific SAP modules. There are 2 types of PMs I know. First grow from technical consultants of different modules, even ABAP developers. Second come externally with PM experience. Both these types can succeed in PM career, or can fail.
      As for SAP course, I think you should familiarize yourself with ASAP-related courses, as they tell you about SAP standard implementation methodology and tools. However, there are many alternatives to ASAP, different companies use them successfully.

      Hope I helped you a little.

  • saravanan on January 28, 2013

    Presently now i am works as a material cataloger(Material coding and cataloguing For Industries),But my interest is Now going to SAP area,which module is Comfortable for me and in which institute is better to study .And also i am the end user of SAP now, will i get any direct job oppurtunity……..Kindly help me

    • Dmitry Kaglik on January 28, 2013

      Sachin,

      Some SAP projects have specific people responsible for Master Data. There is even separate system called Master Data Management. This can be your area of development, as per your domain knowledge. Alternatively, try looking into MM functionality.

      Unfortunately, I am not acting as a recruiting agency and cannot tell you about any openings.

  • Jerry on April 29, 2013

    I am a Graduate Mechanical /SAP end user for 3 yrs. Currently I am going for a MBA in finance. I got really interested in SAP PM while I was working on it along with my shift works. If I change to a SAP Fico job would i get the same satisfaction? which would be better for my profile.? SAP PM or Fico? I dint take the SAP module class until now. should I stick with PM or go for Fico? I am a bit confused since I heard Fico environment would be a high pressure one and it is difficult to handle. Is it like that? Since I am only an end user I am also unaware of the SAP PM working environment. But when I asked to people who are in this field they said like this. Give me a proper guidance.it would really be a help for me.

    • Dmitry Kaglik on April 29, 2013

      Jerry,
      You already know PM business processes. I’d stick with PM in this case.
      Benefits of FICO are that it is wider used than PM, but on the negative side, there are much higher competition on the market of FICO skills.

      I am not sure about higher pressure on FICO consultants. Of course, when you work with PM key users, they are different from FICO key users. They are closer to real business, real equipment, rather than to financial reporting and numbers on spreadsheets. You may bear that in mind too.

      Good luck!

  • Neeraj Bansal on April 30, 2015

    Dear Sir,

    Currently I am working with a MNC as a sales manager from last 5 years. I want to enter in SAP world as a SD consultant but dont know how to do it.
    Please Guide.
    Regards,
    Neeraj Bansal

  • SAP BI Jobs USA on May 4, 2016

    I read your blog and must say it is interesting. Like you said, I also believe one should have sufficient Knowledge of SAP Trends and Tools which can be obtain with our own searching skills. Also at least a bachelor’s degree in IT and good Communication skills can help being a SAP consultant. The points you have covered in the blog will really help in deciding whether to choose a SAP career or not.

  • Vusi on October 6, 2017

    Hi There.

    I have been a SAP ABAP full time Developer, on a permanent basis, for the past 3 years. I’m Certified in SAP ABAP with Netweaver 7.4 and a SAP ABAP for HANA 2015. I have always been a kind of professional who thrives under pressure. I believe that working as a consultant presents the perfect high-pressure environment I enjoy so much. However, I would love an opinion from an experienced expert. Looking at my short story, do you think I should leave my comfort-zone and go into consulting?

    Thank you in advance,
    Vusi.

    • Dmitry Kaglik on October 6, 2017

      Consulting <> non-permanent employment. You can be permanently employed by a consulting company. You can leave your comfort zone, but ensure you have a job offer before leaving your existing employer.

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