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SAP consultants see job market rebound
By Robert Westervelt, News Editor
14 Jul 2005 | SearchSAP.com
The job market is rebounding for many SAP consultants, but employers are still carefully scrutinizing who gets the most lucrative positions, according to a career expert who specializes in SAP-related skills.
It's always good career advice for SAP consultants to attempt to mimic in their own skills where SAP is going technically as a whole.
SAP careers expert
Skills relating to Web services, radio frequency identification (RFID) and customer relationship management (CRM) may be among the most desirable in today's market, according to career expert Jon Reed.
But Reed is warning against jumping to any one skill.
"A lot of people are obsessed with what is hot and what pays the best, and I've got nothing against maximizing your rate," said Reed, who serves as career expert for SearchSAP.com. He also manages his own site on SAP-related skills, serving as vice president of SAPTips.com.
The job interview:
Getting desirable SAP skills often means being involved in an upgrade project to the latest software versions. When interviewing for a job, get a feel for how a company approaches its enterprise resource planning system, according to SearchSAP.com career expert Jon Reed..
Some companies perceive an ERP system less as a transaction system and more of a system that can be leveraged for business intelligence purposes by integrating its various parts with Web services. That perception is often described as "transparency" across the enterprise. Most consultants should avoid companies with no desire to expand ERP beyond a basic transactional system.
"Businesses are starting to give their customers and their partners a window into the information they need without making them understand the technical infrastructure," SearchSAP.com expert Jon Reed said. "Look for companies seeing a business value in that. "In this day and age, companies are not going to do something they don't get business value in."
"Just because you have a certain skill these days doesn't mean that you can write yourself a complete ticket," Reed said. "There are a lot of different components, including a desire for self-improvement and self-education and a passion for SAP."
SAP is touting its enterprise services architecture and plans to roll out a completely services-based software suite by 2007. But the transition to a service-oriented architecture will be gradual for most enterprises, and consultants would be wise to focus on skills surrounding the architecture, Reed said.
"It's always good career advice for SAP consultants to attempt to mimic in their own skills where SAP is going technically as a whole," he said. "But new technologies are mostly adopted by big SAP clients that can afford to do sandbox projects, and those jobs are few and limited."
Help wanted: SAP BW skills
For example, an SAP consultant with SAP Business Warehouse skills would be better off expanding his or her skill set to include Strategic Enterprise Management (SEM), Reed said.
SEM is SAP's advanced financial management suite that includes five different components and is beginning to gain traction in the market. While BW is widely used and jobs are currently available, a consultant with additional SEM skills would be more desirable and wouldn't be straying too far from their core BW expertise, Reed said.
Help wanted: SAP Console expertise
Consultants currently specializing in warehouse management or supply chain management would improve their attractiveness in the job market by picking up skills relating to RFID, Reed said.
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Most companies conducting RFID projects are looking for expertise in SAP Console. Introduced in 1999 to support radio frequency collection devices, SAP Console is also combined with wireless LAN network expertise, mobile and logistics management skills.
Many RFID projects are currently with consultants connected with SAP America. But RFID, which tracks products and goods in the supply chain with a tiny chip, is projected to grow over the next decade.
Help wanted: CRM, SAP Sales and Distribution experience
Consultants with experience in sales execution should look at CRM implementation skills. Expertise with the SAP Sales and Distribution module is important.
The number of enterprises conducting CRM integration projects is rising, according to Reed. While companies using the mySAP Business Suite have mySAP CRM functionality, many choose to use a best-of-breed product.