SAP is actually an enterprise resource planning software introduced by a German organization called SAP SE. The software fundamentally incorporates all the significant business functions of an organization. Most updated version being SAP ERP 6.0 is available for use since 2006 and it’s most advanced Enhancement Package i.e. EHP7 was released in 2013. A various business processes which has been included in SAP ERP encompasses Financials (Financial Accounting, Management Accounting, and Financial Supply Chain Management), Human Capital Management (Payroll, e-Recruiting) and Operations (Sales & Distribution, Materials Management, Production Planning, Logistics Execution, and Quality Management). It is one of the edge taking and leading provider software for business implementation specifically in industry specific Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) solutions. It is seen to be applied in approximately every 9 out of 10 fortune 500 organizations, which is a huge success for software, as a result SAP consultants and professionals enjoy premium remuneration as compared to their IT counterparts working on different technologies like Java, .net and so on.
Distinct types of SAP consultants are:
1) Business/Sales Consultant – They basically acquire client projects on their end and are not exposed to core knowledge of SAP.
2) SAP Functional Consultant – These consultants carries out the responsibility for customizing SAP as per customer demand. They collaborate with developers to code custom ABAP programs in accordance with the client requirements.
3) Developer Consultant – They actually code the ABAP/Java programs.
4) SAP Basis Consultant – They assist in installation, performance tuning and maintenance of SAP servers and databases.
Skills to be acquired
This totally depends upon the kind of skills a professional has at present. Most professionals already working as SAP consultants recommend focusing on certain SAP modules and becoming an expert in a specific one. They quote it as “The more experience is acquired in a specific arena, the more valuable a professional becomes”. There is a wide range of 25 SAP modules to learn from, but learning (and specializing) in one or two of the most popular modules will make you more marketable. Some of the most popular ones: SAP Basis, SAP SD, SAP PP and SAP FI. Then there are some add-on modules like SAP CRM and SAP BI (Business Intelligence) which are also popular. One should conduct thorough research about each of the modules and determine which best suit your experience and educational background.
Initial expectations while starting off with SAP
SAP consultants, specifically fresh graduates who are just starting, will have a busy schedule so be prepared for long hours as seen and told by SAP consultants already placed at reputed positions in organizations. “It has been found in larger companies, that SAP professionals will often work long hours. Employees who have worked on projects confirms that the ‘new grads’ have had 80-plus hours a week at busy periods (weeks at a time) and will often have to take various intensive training courses if you get something new to work on. Yes, the hours can be long at the start and the training is vital, but there is a light at the end of the tunnel. “Once you are able to master that specific process in SAP, you can take that process and you’re able to use it at almost any business.
What additional can be learned apart from a SAP module?
Apart from getting profound in SAP modules, soft skills are becoming more sought after in many IT positions, and SAP consultants are no different. “Communication skills first, second, and always,” says company experts. The ability to listen, analyze and communicate effectively are skills you’ll need to present your value as a consultant. Another important skill in SAP is business writing; creating clear, concise reports plays an important part of the position.