In a guest column on SearchSAP.com today, Jon Reed discussed many skills that will be important for SAP consultants in the future. As is sometimes the case, not all of Jon’s thoughts could fit into the piece. But, he had some interesting thoughts on industry specialization, so here’s a bonus piece of advice from Jon for SAP consultants going forward:
Hopping from industry to industry will be risky business. Up until this point, consultants with solid implementation skills could jump from industry to industry in search of the best project at the best rate. However, both SAP and its customers are emphasizing the importance of consultants who know a particular industry. I had one SAP product manager tell me that consultants without an industry focus would have a hard time in tomorrow’s SAP market.
SAP ERP 2005 ships with 25 different industry solutions — industry solutions no longer have separate and sometimes confusing release schedules. Consultants who know how to apply an industry’s “best practices” are going to be in demand, which also emphasizes the importance of overall business know-how as opposed to configuration skills.
So if customers are asking for more industry experience right now, why is it a future skill? Because as much as customers want this type of industry background, the SAP consulting market is hot enough that I’m not sure SAP hiring managers will always be able to hold out for industry-focused consultants. But in the future, consultants with a consistent industry focus are going to have a big edge and it may eventually become a non-negotiable requirement.
We’ll plan on running the second installment of Reed’s piece (“The present”) tomorrow and the final chapter (“The past”) on Friday.