Tanya Duncan: SAP, career, travel

SAP Expert likes to engage with other people in SAP world, being they consultants, end users or… writers!
Couple of weeks ago SAP Expert wrote about a fantastic book, which should be “the must” on the bookshelf of every person starting or planning an SAP career. Today SAP Expert is happy to introduce you the person who wrote the book.

Please meet: Tanya Duncan!

SAP Expert: Hello Tanya, thanks for agreeing the interview! Could you please introduce yourself to the readers of SAP Expert?

Tanya Duncan headshot
Tanya Duncan

Tanya Duncan: Hi, I’m Tanya Duncan, a SAP FICO Consultant with Deloitte Consulting and author of The Essential SAP Career Guide. This is my first published book, hopefully not my last, and it’s a career guide to SAP for students and beginner professionals.

SE: How long are you in the SAP world now? How did you come into SAP?

TD: I graduated from Grand Valley State University, a SAP Alliance school in Grand Rapids, Michigan. I first learned about SAP during a required ERP course for my business degree. I started to realize how many companies use SAP and the career opportunities available. I’ve been working full time with SAP for just over 3 years now, but I started using SAP in school a few years before that.

SE: What was your first impression when you saw SAP in work?

TD: Since I had exposure to SAP while in school, I was glad to see many familiar screens, terms, acronyms, and I felt more comfortable than I’m sure most people. Your first SAP project can be overwhelming, and even with exposure in school, there was a lot to learn in my first job. Most of the difficulty is learning project and company specific terms, acronyms, and procedures.

SE: Do you consider your own career in SAP successful?

TD: Everyone measures success differently; I measure it by achieving short term goals and making strides towards long term goals. I graduated college a year early so I had a jump start on my career compared to my peers. I feel that I’ve had a lot of success in my career so far, but I recognize I am just beginning.

SE: Where do you see yourself in a mid- and long-term perspective?

TD: I am really enjoying consulting in the mid-term… seeing how multiple clients function, solving complex challenges, working with large project teams, and enabling clients to use SAP to perform their every day jobs. Any guess I make now about my life long term will be completely wrong. Ideally, I would love to own real estate business or franchise with my husband in the future. My end goal is being financially independent and not working for someone else.  That’ll take a lot more books to get there!

SE: Why have you decided to write a book about SAP career?

TD: I wanted to write a book that I would have read had it been available. I would have really benefited from a book that explained how to find a job and start a successful SAP career. SAP is a really unique field, even from other software technologies, so I thought it was important for a SAP career book to be available. Unlike other career books, this book gives you the details you need to succeed like SAP technical and project terminology, different phases of projects, how to write a functional specification, and how to search for data in tables.

SE: Why have you chosen the topic of SAP career, not something more “classic” like SAP’s how-to’s or implementation guides?

TD: There are so many books about implementation, reporting, and business processes. I wanted to write a unique book and something that I knew in and out. This isn’t a traditional SAP career book either because it is really focused on students and beginners that are starting their career. I was in the shoes of my readers just three years ago. I experienced the job searching process, the struggles in adjusting to your first project, and whether to go in to consulting or end-user work. I feel like that makes this book really relatable because it’s more like a peer giving the advice.

SE: Was writing a worthwhile experience?

TD: Definitely. I have always enjoying writing in school and for fun. Writing a book was something I dreamed of doing and I did not expect to have the opportunity so early in my career. The most exciting part is writing the outline and picking a place to let the words flow. The toughest part was editing and deciding how to order things to make it flow.

SE: How can people buy your book?

TD: The ebook is available on Amazon for your Kindle or Kindle-compatible devices, including Kindle Cloud.

SE: Do you plan to release a printed version of the book? When and where will it be available?

TD: A printed version will be available in the next few months through Amazon print on demand. I’m excited to have a copy on my bookshelf! Some people really prefer printed copies of books still, so it will be nice to be able to offer both the ebook and a hard copy.

SE: Where can people monitor the success of your book or learn news about it, such as release of a printed version?

TD: You can follow the Facebook page.

SE: Looking back at the author experience, do you want to write yet another book?

TD: I definitely would like to write another book. I want to give myself the summer and fall to focus on marketing this book and take some time to relax.

SE: Any ideas on what this new book could be about?

TD: I would like to write a practical guide to product costing. It would include configuration and technical details, but the goal would be to make it readable for a person from any area of SAP at any level. I’ve received good feedback from my product costing blogs because they are easy to comprehend. Many of my colleagues feel like product costing is very difficult to understand, so it would be great to write a book to help people overcome that feeling.

SE: Other than writing a book, you also continue your consultancy work, travel a lot. Not mentioning that you have a family. How do you find time for all that?

TD: No kids yet, just a husband! We do have a dog though that is basically our child. She flies more than most people do in a year! I am still working on time management and trying to balance it all. My mom tells me when you’re not busy anymore it’s time to die, so I prefer to stay busy. Lately my blogging has taken a backseat because of the book and project demands. Travelling is tough, especially when you change time zones every week. I try to make the most of my flights and either sleep or get work done. I also spend time making lists and prioritizing so I have a game plan and don’t get too overwhelmed.

SE: Which project do you find more exciting: writing a book vs travelling & blogging?

TD: That’s a tough one! Travelling and blogging is probably more fun during the process, but it’s a better feeling to see a finished version of a book and know the work that went in to it.

SE: Where have you been recently?

TD: I just spent a week in London with my husband. It was my first time to the UK and I was very excited to see Big Ben, the Thames, the London Eye, and Buckingham Palace.

SE: Would you consider relocation to the UK, the country of SAP Expert?

TD: I really enjoyed visiting London and I could definitely see myself living there for a few years.

SE: What are your future travel plans?

TD: Hawaii and Thailand are next on the list. Hawaii is a short flight from San Diego (compared to flying from other parts of the U.S.) and I can never get enough. We try to plan one tropical vacation and one cultural vacation a year.

SE: Thanks for coming and hope to see you again sometime soon!

TD: Thanks for having me!

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  • Ismail Ganie on July 15, 2013

    Hi Tanya,
    Thanks for a very detailed expose of your life with SAP. I am currently a SAP FICO Business Analyst, but I have been involved in CO, especially product costing, at a Petroleum Company here in South Africa. I would really like to get much more involved in the CO area, especially product costing. When I started as a consultant, most of the config was already in place, and all tables and transactions were there. So when we moved into other countries in Africa, it was quite easy to apply the CO rules for them, as we just needed to build the new company codes, materials and plants, and apply the rules for SD and other areas like MM, etc. However, I have not really been involved in the actual config for both FI and CO. I have since moved into an IT Business Specialist role for FICO, but would really like to know more about the config area for these very interesting SAP modules.

    Thanks again for a very informative interview. I really enjoyed it.

    All the best for your future. You seem to really have a plan in place !!

    Best Regards

    Ismail Ganie
    Cape Town
    South Africa

    • Tanya Duncan on July 17, 2013

      Thanks Ismail for sharing your background! I recommend buying a SAP FICO configuration book (or two) to help build your knowledge on FICO config. I taught myself a lot of the CO config, but I needed a reference book to help get through some of the more complicated topics.
      One of my good friends did a study abroad in Cape Town and loved South Africa. I hope to visit at some point too.
      Best of luck to you and don’t hesitate to post any questions only website: TanyaDuncanBlog.com . I also blog onCO and career topics on SCN, so you might find some of my blogs useful. Take care!

  • Dheeraj on July 3, 2015


    I am SAP MM certified Consultant with 3 years end user experience but
    After completed certification there is lots of problem to find a job in SAP.
    I want ask you why Without Project experience there is no job for freshers ?

    • Dmitry Kaglik on July 6, 2015

      Sorry to hear that. However, you should have studied the market prior the certification, and then make a decision based on your own analysis.

  • […] Expert interviewed Tanya Duncan some time ago, and she shared her views on travel and […]

  • […] Now there is such a book. Tanya Duncan, the experienced SAP CO consultant, has recently published a book “The Essential SAP Career Guide – A beginner’s guide to SAP careers for students and professionals”. This book covers topics such as basic SAP knowledge, the fundamental concepts of the SAP process, and the matter of starting and developing a SAP career. I think this book should be considered essential reading for those who are seriously considering establishing a career in SAP, or who are at the early stages of creating one. Tanya also gave an interview to SAP Expert. […]

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