Specialty skills and knowledge are in high demand when it comes to products like enterprise resource planning (ERP) software. Businesses that are still in the process of modernizing their assets through ERPs are definitely on the lookout for consultants to help them. For many would-be clients, the ideal consultant is knowledgeable, tech-savvy, resourceful, and good at breaking down seemingly abstract concepts for even laymen to understand. An entrepreneur will only invest in the services of a consultant who knows what they’re doing and who can advise them on how to use the software to achieve specific business goals.
Are you interested in working in the ERP software industry as an SAP consultant? If so, then there’s no better time than now for you to get started on your new career. SAP is one of the most well-known ERP brands in the Philippines, and someone who is well-versed in ERP solutions from the German brand will enjoy a wide clientele of Filipino businesses. On top of being lucrative, a career as an SAP consultant may also be extremely fulfilling. It may be very rewarding for you to guide Filipino entrepreneurs through their digital transformation and to help them become more competitive through the use of SAP ERP software.
That said, you will need to do a lot of hard work and to hone particular skills to achieve success as an SAP consultant. Simply knowing about ERPs and the SAP brand won’t be enough. You must get acquainted with what’s expected of you as an SAP consultant and what skills you’ll need to demonstrate in front of your clients.
To help you along your journey, read on to understand the need for SAP ERP consultants, what duties are expected of an SAP consultant, and what skills a bona fide SAP consultant should practice. Check the list to see if you have what it takes, and follow ANSI Information Systems’ advice on breaking out as a consultant in the ERP industry.
Why Is Technical Expertise Especially Important for SAP ERP Systems?
ERP integration is proving to be quite popular in the business world, with companies from various industries looking to leverage the power of this type of software to streamline their operations and work processes.
The benefits of ERP systems are well documented. For one, the right ERP software suites can save businesses a lot of time and money by automating rote functions in areas like accounting. For another, they can help businesses consolidate huge amounts of data and make these accessible on a 24/7 basis, even outside of company headquarters. Thanks to these, entrepreneurs can concentrate on activities that will bring lasting value to their businesses. These include marketing, strategic decision-making, and forging long-term business relationships with customers.
But entrepreneurs also know that they won’t be able to attain these results with the software alone. ERP systems are complex solutions and require a high degree of technical expertise to roll out on the enterprise level. Few companies would dare buy an ERP solution off the shelf and attempt to master it overnight. Most look for experts to guide their staff as they onboard the solution and integrate it with the company’s overall workflow.
As a result, ERP experts are in great demand, and the clamor is high for specialists in ERP brands like SAP. Though it’s possible for an ERP consultant to be a generalist about their services, businesses are more drawn to certified experts of particular solutions. That’s why it makes sense to build your practice around specific brands like SAP and popular ERP products like SAP Business One.
What Are Your Expected Duties as an SAP Consultant?
Now, let’s get into what’s expected of you as an SAP consultant. When you open your consultancy services to Filipino business clients, you will likely take care of the following duties:
Some SAP consulting services make the distinction between offering consultancy at the functional level or at the technical level. SAP consultants at the functional level can advise clients on particular areas of SAP operation, such as supply chain management, accounting and finance, or customer relationship management and loyalty management. Technical consultants, on the other hand, will likely give their input on matters like the best SAP user interface enhancements, the best decisions to make with regard to product installation, and the like.
It is not uncommon for business clients to look for SAP consultants who are “all-around” in their knowledge and who can help them out with a mix of the two. You’ll be able to get the pulse on what Filipino clients usually want by broadening your experience as a consultant.
How Can You Break Out as an SAP Consultant?
Given how specialized the work is, you won’t be able to make it big as an SAP consultant at the snap of a finger. There are several steps that you need to take in order to build a sustainable career. As an SAP consultant, you will need to have cleared the following steps in your career pathway:
Gain the Right Educational Foundation
An SAP expert needs to have foundational knowledge in the field of technology in order to master the complexities of ERP implementation. At minimum, you should have a bachelor’s degree in computer science, information systems management, or information technology and entrepreneurship.
It would look equally good on your resume as a consultant for ERP systems if you have a bachelor’s degree or even a master’s degree in business administration, with a minor or specialization in IT. The latter case means that you can demonstrate your business smarts to clients as well as your technical expertise with the actual SAP solution.
Undergo SAP Training and Obtain SAP Certification
On top of their knowledge of information systems and business technology, an SAP expert needs certifications from the ERP solution’s parent organization in order to gain credibility with their clients. It will be hard for a client to believe that you can offer consultancy services on SAP without official SAP certifications. Conversely, the more credentials you have with SAP, the more attractive your resume will look to your business clients.
Thus, the next logical step to become a full-fledged SAP consultant is to earn credentials from SAP SE. For starters, get access to SAP’s Learning Hub through its official Partner Portal and go through the consultant learner modules of the SAP Business One Learning Journey. Make use of SAP’s training tools for maneuvering SAP ERP systems and, when you’re confident enough, take SAP’s online certification exam.
Gain Extra Work Experience in the Field
The third step is to grow into the consultancy life by gaining hands-on experience. You can train under seasoned professionals in an IT consultancy firm, or you can work for an IT company that offers SAP business solutions in its portfolio. Either arrangement will give you the chance to familiarize yourself with the implementation side of things.
Frankly, there are no shortcuts for gaining experience and learning how SAP ERP software is used in different business contexts. You will definitely need to rack up the hours to broaden your perspective and hone your problem-solving and implementation skills. If you want to sustain a lucrative career as a senior-level SAP consultant, get to the point where you can stand toe to toe with your boss or your SAP mentor.
The 8 Skills Every SAP Consultant Needs
Throughout their career as an expert on SAP products, an SAP consultant will need to cultivate the following skills:
Skills for Communicating Big Concepts as Tangible and Comprehensible Solutions
As an SAP consultant, you’ll need to deal with issues that may arise with your clients’ ERP system configuration or SAP product installation. These situations will require you to demonstrate the skill of coming up with solutions under time pressure, as well as translating them into real and actionable processes.
ERP systems may be difficult for clients to comprehend at first, especially if they do not have a high baseline for tech proficiency among their staff. Find ways to explain abstractions and highly technical concepts in layman’s terms, and you should also be ready to give your clients concrete, context-specific examples of how to use their ERPs.
Skills for Teaching and Instructing Others
In a similar vein, you’ll be expected to instruct your clients and their staff members on the usage of their chosen SAP ERP product. Not only will you need to know the ins and outs of the solution. You will also need to know how to pass on your knowledge to others in a clear in succinct way.
Think of the qualities that make for effective teachers, like patience and economy with words. Emulate your best teachers by imparting SAP and ERP-related knowledge to your client organizations.
Hands-On Skills for Configuring SAP ERP Systems
Knowing your way around your client’s SAP ERP system and being able to change its configuration to better suit their needs will make you very valuable as an SAP consultant. Though your client may not always expect you to have as much practical experience as their chief implementation partner (which, in most cases, is their software vendor), hands-on skill is always a good thing to have.
Having hands-on SAP ERP skill at granular levels will inspire both confidence and trust in your clients. As such, make it a point to cultivate your practical knowledge of SAP products and ERP systems in general.
Effective Communication Skills
It is absolutely essential for an SAP consultant to have good communication skills. They must be able to get their message across to their clients and the colleagues they’ll be working with, especially when it comes to instruction or providing technical assistance for the SAP ERP system’s integration.
As an SAP consultant, don’t be remiss in practicing your verbal and written communication skills. Strive for substance and accuracy in your written correspondence, as well as confidence and articulation during product demos and presentations.
Coordination and Teamwork Skills
Being able to work easily in a team is also a great skill to have as an SAP consultant. Even if you’re the only SAP consultant assigned to a particular client, you should still be able to work with others in an honest and professional manner despite your unique job description.
Many SAP consultants find that their work isn’t as lonely as they may have originally assumed it to be. If you find fulfillment in getting people to work together as a team while becoming proficient with a tech solution, being an SAP consultant will be a rewarding career indeed.
Skills for Continuous Learning
Just like the rest of technology, ERP solutions and systems are constantly evolving and improving over time. A capable SAP consultant should, therefore, have the drive to keep up with the latest trends and updates regarding ERP and SAP technology.
You will increase your mettle as an SAP consultant if you develop the skill to absorb new information as soon as you receive it. Keep abreast of what’s going on in the ERP scene and ensure that your practice as a consultant reflects these ongoing developments.
Client Management Skills
An SAP consultant has a central role when it comes to ensuring that their client’s chosen SAP solution is correctly installed and configured according to their needs. Knowing that, you should learn skills for effectively managing your client’s concerns during your time with them.
These client management skills may include setting their expectations for what their SAP solution can and can’t do, as well as sorting out one client’s needs from another’s. It may be difficult to balance different clients’ expectations, but mastering this skill will make you a versatile SAP consultant.
Efficient Documentation Skills
Finally, as an SAP consultant, you should develop a habit of keeping efficient project documentation. It should be like second nature for you to keep a complete and organized paper trail per SAP consultancy project.
Good project documentation is a highly valued skill in SAP consultancy, as project docs can help your client manage their chosen solution more easily. Your docs can also facilitate efficient reviews of specific SAP ERP system details whenever the need arises. Expect to be in high demand as an SAP consultant if you can showcase this particular skill in your repertoire.
Additional Tips on Becoming Your Client’s SAP Consultant of Choice
Possessing the skills mentioned above will increase your chances of clinching high-value SAP consultancy gigs. But you can become your client’s SAP consultant of choice, and their recommended SAP consultant for their other business contacts, if you do the following:
Build Your Portfolio and Professional Network
Give yourself room to grow in your career and stack your portfolio with a variety of consultancy projects. Moreover, make it a point to associate with reputable people in your industry. Work experience with trustworthy software vendors and other ERP industry professionals can give you additional leverage over other SAP consultants.
Learn About What Works for Particular Industries
The best SAP consultants know that they can’t deploy the same approach for every single client. Aim to offer bespoke consultancy services to each of your clients, using SAP strategies that are tailor-fit to each individual organization’s needs. Adjust your approach based on factors like the industry your client is involved in and what stage of growth they’re ready to enter.
Craft Appealing Consulting Service Packages for Your Clients
Lastly, make it clear to your SAP consultancy clients that they can come to you for the best deals. Give them the opportunity to get to know your approach by opening up free initial consultation sessions, and consider offering more affordable consulting service packages for extended engagements.
In summary, if you plan to have a long-term career in the ERP industry as an SAP consultant, make sure you know what the work entails and cultivate the skills listed above. This is the best way to establish yourself as an expert in SAP products and systems and to break through in the highly competitive ERP industry.
If your SAP clients are looking for a trusted provider of SAP solutions in the Philippines, be sure to refer them to award-winning software vendor ANSI Information Systems Philippines. ANSI is the premier authority for ERP solutions in the country and is a verified SAP Gold Partner. Get in touch with us right away to learn more about enterprise-grade solutions like SAP Business One. Partner with us, and introduce your SAP clients to the SAP features and functionalities that can truly modernize their businesses. We are happy to work with you and to cement new relationships with up-and-coming professionals in the field of ERPs.