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Why the SAP Training Results from Michael Management’s Survey Bother Me

The results of Michael Management’s 2013 SAP Training Survey got under my skin. Though there was a silver lining or two, I was hoping that individuals (and companies) were further along. Too many ERP projects are still struggling or failing, and there is good data to support the importance of training investment to project outcome.  Yet the “training gap” remains. In this year’s survey, a whopping 46% of SAP professionals surveyed indicated they did not have enough training to do their jobs. Though the survey sample size of 1,172 is not enough to reach definitive conclusions, it is enough to raise serious eyebrows.

Before I dig in further, here’s a few links you’ll want to have handy.

You can obtain a copy of the 2013 survey here (free with sign up).

After the survey, Thomas Michael of Michael Management facilitated a webinar to discuss these provocative results. I was on the webinar, along with Cushing Anderson of IDC (both of us wrote forewords to the 2013 survey). You can view or download the webinar in two formats:

wmv webinar replay (Windows) or .mov webinar replay (Mac).

I think you’ll enjoy the replay, which includes lively debate on the relevance of SAP certification to hiring.

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Video Blog: SAP TechEd - Talking SAP Skills and Certification with SAP CIO Oliver Bussmann

At SAP TechEd Las Vegas, I was amongst a small group of bloggers that had a compelling conversation with SAP CIO Oliver Bussmann on the changing technology at SAP and the barriers to collaboration and "upskilling at scale" that must be overcome for SAP to realize its grander visions. A good portion of the conversation was sparked by bloggers Dennis Howlett and Sameer Pattel, with a focus on how SAP can integrate (or extend) more collaborative processes and unstructured information into its ERP core. The best part of the discussion was that it was a genuine discussion, with both sides taking notes. That’s SAP at its best. Nobody has all the answers.

To me, this conversation about technical evolution always circles back to skills development - without the right skills, how can you support a (gulp) "intelligent enterprise?". I asked Bussmann that question, and Howlett filmed Bussmann’s response and the follow up questions. The conversation pointed towards skills trends all SAP professionals should be paying attention to. Not to mention implications for certification that the Certification Five will certainly be tracking.

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Video Blog: What’s Going on with SAP Skills and SAP Certification at TechEd and Beyond?

SAP TechEd season is upon us, and I’ll be heading to Las Vegas for the week. I’ll be attending Innovation Weekend, and if you want to meet up at TechEd, you can find my TechEd “Who’s Coming” JonERP profile and ping me there. For readers of this blog, there are opportunities to learn more about SAP skills and certification at TechEd as usual. Four of the “Certification Five” will be in Las Vegas and two of the five in Berlin. Here’s a few details on some of the live sessions, as well as a couple of videos for those who can’t attend.

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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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What is the SAP Career Path for Basis Administrators - NetWeaver Engineers? New Videos

It’s been an exciting time for SAP career content at JonERP.com. This week, I announced my SAP Career Outlook 2010 series I wrote for the Career Center at SAP Community Network. These two white papers are probably the most important thing I have written about SAP careers this in a decade, so I encourage you to check them out (they are up on SCN also).

One of the problems with writing SAP career content is that "one size does not fit all." Each SAP career path needs to be fleshed out. Sometimes the best way to do that is through a collaboration with another expert. Enter SAP Mentor Tony de Thomasis of the Australia Post. Tony saw my two part video series on "SAP Career Planning" I had posted on SCN - videos that capture some of the themes of the white paper series. Tony then took those videos a step further with a fabulous Prezi on the career path for Basis-NetWeaver pros. I then raised the stakes of collaboration again, by taping four commentary tracks through Tony’s Prezi slides. You can see these in this blog post.

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2009 Video Highlight: SAP Mentors’ Impact on Certification - with SAP’s Sue Martin

As the year winds down, I’m playing catchup on a couple of my favorite JonERP videos I posted on the SAP Community Network that I haven’t had a chance to post on my web site yet. The first two feature Sue Martin of SAP on the changes afoot with SAP certification, and how the dialogue between SAP Education and the SAP Mentors (an initiative I am a part of) is impacting the direction of SAP certification.

From the Mentors side, I can tell you that as I see it, one major goal is to ensure that the SAP certification of the future has more direct relevance to hiring managers and is more closely tied to the bona fides of real world project experience. That’s a strong message we’ve gotten from the SAP community, and we’re trying to translate that into specific practical suggestions that can be implemented. We’ll see more about what kind of success we are having with that in 2010, but for now, these two videos I taped with Sue Martin at SAP TechEd 2009 Phoenix will give you an inside view.

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NetWeaver BPM Skills - SAP Video Highlights 2009 - with SAP’s Ann Rosenberg

I’m posting a handful of my favorite videos from 2009 to close out the year. One highlight, without a doubt, was this shoot with Ann Rosenberg. To get to the bottom of the impact of BPM on SAP’s tools, skills, and consulting approaches, I managed to get the "Goddess of BPM," Ann Rosenberg herself, otherwise known as the Global Practice Owner for Business Process Management at SAP, to sit down for a live video shoot at SAP TechEd Phoenix. We shot the nine minute video on my flipcam and I thought the sound quality was very good, given that we were just outside the Community Clubhouse, where people were talking it up as usual. I consider BPM to be one of the most important skill areas inside of SAP, but it brings with it a great deal of hype as well. We got into those issues during this video.

 

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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 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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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 »

What are the Best Practices for SAP Consulting Success?

Over the years, I have published some big interviews on SAP consulting that have disappeared from the Internet. One of the benefits of being a JonERP.com reader is being able to get access to these exclusive interviews again. One of my favorites, my 2002-2004 interview and correspondence with NetWeaver Portals expert Pat McCarthy, has now been reposted. In addition to a great view of the emerging Enterprise Portals market, there is some timeless advice on keeping on top of your skill set in this interview. In this blog entry, we’ll review some of the most important consulting advice from this piece. 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 »

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 »

How Does Someone Who Can’t Afford SAP Training Break Into SAP?

It’s a good question - how do you break into SAP when you’re low on cash? The SAP Academy is many things, but it’s sure as heck not cheap. I hear from a lot of folks who are strapped financially but have good skills. They are disappointed to feel they can’t get into the SAP Academy and therefore into SAP. But there’s good news: you don’t need SAP training to break into SAP. Read the rest of this entry »

Which Certification is More Marketable, SD or BW?

This question was posed to me by a professional with more than five years of experience as a user of SAP in the areas of sales operations and finance/commissions. She was looking to invest in her SAP career and take it to the next level by acquiring either an SD or BW-related certification. The first thing I did is to refer her to the article I wrote for ERPgenie.com on "Avoiding the SAP Certification Rip-Off."
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