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Note that Jon blogs and videocasts on a variety of SAP and enterprise web sites. The easiest way to track all his content is through his JonERP Feedburner feed, which you can subscribe to via RSS or email. There is also additional video content to subscribe to on JD-OD.com. Jon also posts audio versions of much of his content on his JonERP iTunes Feed. To pose questions to Jon directly find him on Twitter.

What’s the Latest on SAP Certification and Who are the Certification 5?

Newsflash: Check out the analysis and results of the Certification 5 SAP Certification Survey

Have you ever wanted to see if a band of individuals united around a common cause could have an impact, move a mountain, get an institution much larger than you to change its tune? I know I have – I’ve been rockheaded enough to try it many times over my career, with admittedly varying degrees of success. The most recent such attempt, involving SAP certification, is a story that goes back about nine months, from the first meeting of a group that has come to be known as “the certification five.”

SAP certification is a hugely popular topic for JonERP.com readers, so this post is a chance to say your piece. Right now, on the SAP Community Network, you can read a blog post where the certification five lay out our viewpoints on SAP certification. There is also a link in that post to our complete 55 page white paper, which goes into detail on our positions and also includes feedback from SAP’s Sue Martin, providing SAP Education’s responses to our current stances. If you have an opinion on SAP certification, and I know many of you have a strong one, please hop over to our SCN blog post and comment there.

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SAP Certification and SAP Training - 2009 Video Highlight

In 2009, I filmed a few more videos than usual. Mostly I was tricked into it by SAP Community Network members who asked me to contribute profiles and other community videos. I’m nothing special with video production, but I did find that my YouTube SAP video channel got more hits that I would have expected. So now, I’m posting a few highlights on this blog. One is this video on SAP training and certification. I haven’t blogged much on breaking into SAP this year, partially because I have already written about this subject in detail, and partially because there are specialists in this area who are serving this market well, such as JonERP advertiser SAPCookbook.com. I shot this video as a warmup, but it’s gotten about 500 views with no promotion, and as I looked at it again, I realized it did have some focused advice I have boiled down over the years.

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What is the Biggest Mistake SAP Job Seekers Make? (#2)

To say the SAP job market is competitive right now would be an understatement, so it’s time to revisit the subject I posted on late last year: mistakes SAP job seekers make and how to avoid them. The first mistake? “Chasing dollars, not skills.” The latest mistake? Trying to make more than one SAP job change at a time. To understand how this works, I’ll draw on emails I receive from frustrated SAP job seekers who are trying to improve their strategy.

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Why Don’t SAP Skills Matter at ASUG/Sapphire?

If you were to go by the keynotes and scheduled events, you would think there are no longer any issues with SAP skills development. Read beyond the headlines. Just like some of the most important news stories show up in the back pages, the same is true at SAP shows. Of all the things I was struck by at ASUG/Sapphire 2009, the one that made the biggest impression on me was the silence around SAP skills trends.

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What Was Your View of the Latest SAP Certification Debate?

I recently took part in a major discussion on the SAP community network pertaining to SAP certification. The discussion was inspired by a post from ZDNet blogger, Enterprise Irregular, and SAP Mentor Dennis Howlett entitled “Should You Be Certified?” In his blog post, Dennis riffed on a major theme that SAP has stated for the year: to emphasize the importance of certified consultants as a means of improving overall consultant quality. Dennis put the certification discussion in the context of project success and failure, asking: if certification can improve the quality of consultants, then perhaps certification can have an impact on the success of SAP projects? My own comments to Dennis’ post were extensive, and I’d like to share them here with my JonERP.com readers. They also received an interesting response from Sue Martin of SAP, who has been a guest of mine on an SAP certification podcast, and who is directly involved in where SAP certification is headed next.

Post update: Anyone interested in this topic should check out the Enterprise Geeks’ latest podcast, which features special guest Dennis Howlett and has an SAP certification theme. You can read my take in the Geeks’ comment section.

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What Value Does the CIO of Roche Place on SAP Certification? (Podcast Excerpt)

I have been part of many debates on the value of SAP certification over the years. I expect these debates to intensify this year, as SAP places increasing value on certifications while at the same time dealing with some unresolved and important questions on whether (and how) certification can truly address the skills needed for project excellence.

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What is the Latest on the BI/BO Product Roadmap?

On Tuesday, December 7, I had the opportunity to sit in on a webcast on the BI/BO product that was open to SAP Mentors. We had the chance to ask questions on the roadmap from Ingo Hilgefort, who is himself an SAP Mentor and a key player instrumental in the integration of BI with Business Objects even prior to the acquisition. Ingo also conducted the Business Object track at the Community Day events in Las Vegas and Berlin. For me, this was a chance to see how SAP had sharpened its view of the BI/BO future since the BO Summit I attended in Boston in August. I wrote a longer piece on BI/BO skills transitions after that event.

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How Should SAP Consultants Respond to the Down Market?

It’s shocking how quickly our economic confidence can change. Along with that, professional uncertainties are exposed. So how should SAP consultants respond to the current market conditions? I have put together the following pointers based on my research to date. Just keep in mind the obvious disclaimer that no one knows exactly what lies ahead.

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What Were the Key Trends of TechEd 2008?

So, I’m back from TechEd 2008 and pulling together many different themes that I believe are of importance to JonERP.com readers. I’m going to use this blog entry to update with key links and useful information from the conference.

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What Are Your Plans for SAP TechEd 2008?

I’m looking forward to SAP TechEd 2008.

For one thing, TechEd 2008 marks the official unveiling of the BPX Skills Certification, which I recently did a podcast on for SAP BPX. I’m really looking forward to TechEd’s BPX Community Day as well. I’ll be moderating a BPX skills panel in the afternoon, so if you’re there, make a point of stopping by! Here’s a BPX Community Day schedule.

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What Trends Did You See at the BO Summit?

On Tuesday, August 12 in Boston, I had the opportunity to attend the SAP BO Summit. The Summit was an opportunity for so-called “Influencers” to learn more about the SAP BO Roadmap and the value proposition that SAP/Business Objects provides to SAP customers. Some of the main events from this summit are now posted online. You can also see the media relations notices from the event.

My goal when attending these kinds of events is always the same: to get an inside view of the key emerging skills that SAP professionals and project teams should be tracking.

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How Do You Shift from Basis Administrator to NetWeaver Engineer?

On July, 26, I conducted a podcast interview with Kent Sanders, Senior Technology Architect for CSC Consulting, about the beginning of the end for the traditional R/3 Basis Consultant, and how to make the skills transition to "NetWeaver Engineer." This was one of my favorite podcasts; Kent did a terrific job of breaking down the practical steps necessary to stay on the cutting edge of the technical side of SAP. Read the rest of this entry »

Is SAP Certification Worth the Money?

This is a very hard question to answer, in part because money is relative. If you have plenty of cash stashed away, then you can never go wrong with an investment in SAP certification. But, few of us fit into that category. That means we need a clearer understanding of how SAP certification fits into our career strategy. SAP certification is full of controversy because of the contrast between the importance of certification versus hands-on SAP skills. In this blog entry, I’ll summarize some of my views on SAP certification and hopefully we can get some comments going on this topic also. Read the rest of this entry »

Is There Really a Shortage of SAP Skills?

Every time I get back from Sapphire or TechEd, one story remains a constant: What are we going to do about the so-called SAP skills shortage? Or, if we want to push SAP on this a little bit, we could say, "What is SAP doing about the skills shortage?"; I have a problem with this line of thinking. Not because the skills demand isn’t real - it obviously is. But a simplistic view of the "skills shortage" doesn’t serve anyone in the SAP ecosystem very well. Read the rest of this entry »

How do you Jump Start an SAP Consulting Job Search?

This question was sent to me by an individual who has been searching unsuccessfully for SAP consulting roles for close to a year’s time. This is a frustrating situation, and it doesn’t just happen to those who have no SAP experience. I heard from someone else in this situation recently who actually had a number of years of experience in SAP Financials working in an "end-user" capacity, and they were also having trouble finding a consulting gig. So what do you do about it? Read the rest of this entry »

What are the Latest Approaches to SAP Training?

In recent years, approaches to SAP training have been pretty similar: take classes from SAP (highest prestige value) or look at some of the online training options. Online SAP training has picked up quite a bit of momentum. On this web site, we put together a directory of online SAP training options. What we found just scratches the surface of what is out there. Read the rest of this entry »

Why do SAP Hiring Managers Overlook Deep SAP Experience?

I received this excellent question from a senior SAP consultant who had been passed over for some projects in favor of junior-level SAP resources. This was a frustrating experience for someone who has "paid their dues" in the market and wants to feel like this was time well spent.

The timing of this question was good because we just posted the transcript of the "State of the SAP Market" podcast interview with Brian Trout. In the second section of that interview Brian and I get into a good back-and-forth on this topic. Read the rest of this entry »

What are the Keys to Hiring a Good SAP Consultant?

We’re going to flip the SAP career blog around a bit today, and ask what hiring managers are looking for in an SAP professional. Admittedly, this is a broad question, and in fact, the skills required vary greatly depending on functional-versus-technical and many other considerations. But let’s take a step back and ask ourselves how hiring managers evaluate SAP consultants. Read the rest of this entry »

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