ANYONE WHO LIKES OR COMMENTS ON THIS POST. TWEETS @POSTGRADSAP OR E-MAILS ME AT TRACYMLEVINE@GMAIL.COM WILL BE ENTERED INTO A RAFFLE TO RECEIVE A FREE COPY OF “THE ESSENTIAL SAP CAREER GUIDE”. I WILL MAIL YOU THE GIFT DIRECTLY FROM AMAZON.
A consultant friend/acquaintance/fellow post-grad of mine, Tanya Duncan recently published her first book, The Essential SAP Career Guide. Talk about over-achiever and by over-achiever I mean role model. She has a blog, a husband, a dog AND a book… clearly she’s doing something right. I can’t complain though 2/4 for a 20-something will placate me for at least the next 365 days. Before I review her book however, I HAVE SOMETHING SERIOUS TO CONFESS… ***achem spoiler alert*** The reason my blog exists is because of Tanya. My manager happened to stumble across it one day while surfing the virtual world and passed along the link. The rest is history. Did I mention that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery?
Ok, now that I got that off my chest, back to the book. THE BOOK. THE INCREDIBLE BOOK. In the preface, Tanya touches on the reason why she began writing an SAP career guide and it makes total sense. There is nothing like it out there. Beginning your career in SAP is incredibly overwhelming, not even a senior consultant can know it all, which it makes it very difficult to know where to begin. I would recommend Tanya’s book to anyone starting out in SAP consulting, in the industry, or any SAP partner that is looking for a valuable resource to provide to young consultants within their organization (or training program, like the one I started in).
Tanya’s book is separated into 5 main units. I thought the information was presented in a clear and concise manner. As someone who has been in the field for over 2 years, I even learned a thing or two (or 64)! Below are some of my thoughts on each of these sections… my two (or 64) cents if you will.
- Introduction to SAP: One of Tanya’s key points (that I 100% agree with) is that the biggest success factor as an SAP professional will ultimately be your ability to articulate SAP in terms of functional business processes. The section also touches on SAP in today’s market, competition in terms of other ERP software solutions and the business impact of utilizing such software. SAP consultants are also required to have inherent leadership qualities and verbal and written communication skills.
- Starting your SAP Career: Tanya did a great job detailing the differences between a consulting gig vs. a career as an industry professional. I will say that one of the unique aspects of my position in SAP is that unlike a lot of post-grads I can confidently say that I have found a career, not just a job. Furthermore, one of the biggest “pain points” that people identify with Generation-Y is, for lack of a better term, “the ADD mentality.” Ultimately, most Gen Yers don’t believe in company loyalty and like to change things up now and again. If this is you, then a career as a consultant may be very fitting, as it will give you the opportunity to work on many projects with many clients. Tanya also discusses the traditional SAP consulting career path from intern or analyst to partner as well as the benefits of a small vs. large firm. As someone who works at a consulting firm that would be deemed “mid-market” by standard industry terms I want to offer some additional tidbits about why some might find a small firm more appealing. Primarily, although the career path at a large firm is mapped out from day one, sometimes large firms have an “up or out mentality.” It’s not always possible for someone who is comfortable in their current position to remain in that role. Second, diversity is of the utmost importance at a small firm. For example, if you are a FI/CO consultant, you won’t get pigeonholed into only A/R configuration during an implementation. Your efforts will be focused across all aspects of the business process as well as key integration points. In this section, Tanya also highlights the benefits of independent consulting, functional vs. technical roles and how one can transition from an industry to a consulting role and vice versa.
- How to find a job working with SAP technology: I fell into SAP consulting by chance, so this wasn’t as applicable as the rest of the book, however, this chapter discusses everything from interviewing to resumes, which are vital skills to review if you are consultant who is preparing for a client meeting. One point of contention (sorry TD), I personally believe it’s imperative to discuss compensation during the interview process especially if the interviewer specifically asks you for a range regarding expected salary.
- SAP Terminology, Tools and Methodology: SAP Terminology… hallelujah! Boy, do I wish there was something like this when I was starting out. My friend, Evernote, and I have started quite the little dictionary ourselves. Deployment methodologies, common SAP tools (ie. Solman), this is where things got a little dicey for me. AND ALSO WHERE I LEARNED A LOT. I realized that we all have a lot to share about our strategies and the tools that we find most beneficial. I found this section incredibly worthwhile. Tanya did an excellent job in articulating the concepts behind Business Process Redesign and how SAP can be a challenge when business requirements dictate a need for change, either in regards to the business processes directly or in relation to customization of the SAP landscape.
- Important SAP Skills and Concepts for Beginners: Some things cannot be learned nor taught. The same can be said for professional skills. I truly believe that anyone who possesses the professional skills, is smart and has a willingness to learn can be an SAP consultant. The technical skills are those which can be accumulated over time, no SAP professional is ever done learning. Tanya’s guide provides young professionals with the tools and information to begin navigating the system on their own and understand the key technical requirements to make changes within the system.
My 10th grade HONORS (I swear, check my transcripts!) English teacher used to preach to us that whenever we write we should always aim to keep things “mini-skirt length.” That is, “long enough to cover the details and short enough to keep it interesting.” Kudos, Tanya Duncan, on an SAP book that didn’t bore me to tears and yet, still had depth.
About the Author:
Tanya Duncan is a SAP Finance & Controlling Consultant with Deloitte, the world’s largest private professional services firm. She has 3 years experience on global SAP deployments as a Controlling and Product Costing lead. Tanya currently reside in San Diego, CA with her husband, Joel, and poodle, Maddie. Her client-service work has taken her to Europe and around the United States. Previously, Tanya worked for Owens Corning, a Fortune 500 global building materials company in Toledo, OH. A graduate from Grand Valley State University in Grand Rapids, MI, Tanya received her BBA in Management Information Systems. For further questions or more information about Tanya, please visit her blog or reach out to her via e-mail: Tbedro@mac.com.
The Essential SAP Career Guide is is now available on the following e-book sites:
- Amazon – for the Kindle
- Barnes & Noble – for the Nook
- iTunes – for your Apple device(s)
- Kobo – for your Kobo e-reader
The guide is also available in paperback on Amazon.
REMINDER: ANYONE WHO LIKES OR COMMENTS ON THIS POST. TWEETS @POSTGRADSAP OR E-MAILS ME AT TRACYMLEVINE@GMAIL.COM WILL BE ENTERED INTO A RAFFLE TO RECEIVE A FREE COPY OF “THE ESSENTIAL SAP CAREER GUIDE”. I WILL MAIL YOU THE GIFT DIRECTLY FROM AMAZON.
Here’s to the newbies,