CAREER PATH

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When you begin to think about your ERP/SAP career, you can start by deciding whether you want to be an ERP/SAP functional consultant or an ERP/SAP technical consultant. There can be some crossover between these two, and ideally, you will have a mix of both, but careers in ERP/SAP are about focus. Your focus is dictated by two things: the overall background of your experience, and where you want to be headed from here. Those ERP/SAP professionals with a functional background in areas such as finance, supply chain management, or customer relationship management, will likely focus on the functional side of ERP/SAP in their consulting careers. On the technical side, there is a distinction to be made between two main career paths: ERP/SAP developer and ERP/SAP Netweaver Engineer

Functional

Also known as: configurer, configurator
Specialize in the business processes (Financial, Controlling, Human Resources, Materials Management, Production Planning, etc)

Background: business undergraduate and/or MBA degrees, BCom, BSC, MCOM, etc Additional certifications (CA, CWA, CS CPA, CPIM, etc) are also helpful.

Job duties: conduct workshops to gather requirements, present options, assist in the decision making process, then translate business decisions into SAP configuration. Functional specialists also write functional specifications and design rationales.

Required skills: good social skills, strong written and oral skills, good with public speaking, strong knowledge of functional processes

Technical (Development)

Also known as: developer, ABAPer.

Use programming to fill gaps in the business process. Create Workflow, Reports, Interfaces, Conversions, Enhancements, and Forms (WRICEF)

Background: B.SC, M.SC, MBA, Btech, Mtech, programming classes or experience required.

Job duties: Translate functional specifications into technical specifications. Translate technical specifications into code.

Required skills: strong analytical skills, programming experience

Technical (Basis)

Also known as: Basis, Netweaver System Administrator, SAP Admin

Administer SAP systems: installation, infrastructure design, backup & recovery, high availability, networking, etc

Background: BSC, MSC, Operating System and/or Database certifications helpful

Job duties: Gather technical requirements, present options, assist in the decision making process, then translate technical business decisions into SAP infrastructure. Required skills: Strong written and oral skills, strong analytical/troubleshooting skills, ability to work under pressure

Technical (Security)

Also known as: Security, Information Assurance specialist
Design security, create and administer users

Background: undergraduate degree. Experience with OS/DB user administration helpful.

Job duties: Gather security requirements, design segregation of duties strategy, then translate security decisions into SAP security configuration.

Required skills: strong written and oral skills

Project Management

Also known as: PM, Team Lead
Manage scope, cost, schedule, risk, quality, resources, and communications.

Background: Business undergraduate and/or MBA degrees. Often start as Functional. PMI or other Project Management certification helpful.

Job duties: Manage scope, cost, schedule, risk, quality, resources, and communications.

Required skills: Excellent social and negotiation skills, strong written and oral skills, good with public speaking, strong knowledge of project management theory and practice

Testing

Also known as: testers, Quality Control

Test the processes either in an automated or manual fashion. Report the results to project management. Coordinate issue resolution with necessary configurers, developers, etc

Background: undergraduate

Job duties: Organize testing, conduct testing, report test results, follow up on test resolution.

Required skills: strong written and oral skills, strong detail orientation

Implementation vs. Support

Implementation

Implementations involve gathering requirements and implementing those requirements. Folks in implementations deal with massive change to an organization. Stress level is high, especially near go-live. Implementations often have to work at a high stress level in a high risk area. The expectation from the client is also very high, it is a very high risk with high reward. This job demands an excellent depth of functional and technical knowledge.

Support

“Business as usual”, Production Support Limited change, usually modifications to existing processes. Support does involve change, however, as change requests are made and approved. Since the system is live, production problems have extremely high status. Hence the learning capacity is very high. Also you could learn from the experience of the project already done.

All of the specialties from the first section are typically present, but sometimes greatly reduced as compared to implementation (for example, project management team, testing, and training team might be much smaller post-golive)

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