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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.

Video Blog: SAP Virtualization - Does it Matter?

Lately I’ve been pushing the technical envelope with multi-party video recordings to see what is possible.  Here we have the latest fruits of these experiments - a Google Plus Hangout chat taping on the under-reported topic of SAP virtualization. I was fortunate to have three opinionated SAP virtualization die hards, Chris Kernaghan, Martin English, and Tom Cenens subject themselves to my first official Hangout taping (note that Tom’s correct Twitter handle is @tomcenens).

During the 40 minute video, we dug into some potent SAP virtualization topics, including:

- Does SAP virtualization matter?
- Why is SAP virtualization always an afterthought when SAP presents on its cloud strategies?
- Should the LVM tool be free? Is the pricing fair for smaller companies?
- How Tom got in some controversy with his LVM pricing blog and how SAP responded
- What are the key skills SAP Basis people need to be relevant in a virtualized SAP environment?
- Has SCN become more balanced towards Basis topics since the #sapadmin movement?
- What conferences are the guys going to? (SAP virtualization week, etc.)
- Why is SAP’s "Project Titanium" eagerly anticipated and why the slow rollout?
- Also relevant: fellow SAP Mentor Tammy Powlas‘ blog post on ASUG LVM webinar

(Note that you can also download an optimized audio file of our SAP virtualization discussion if you prefer to listen to the audio version instead. The audio version will also be added ot the JonERP iTunes podcast feed)

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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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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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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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Should you be an SAP Generalist or an SAP Specialist?

This is one of the most important questions for SAP professionals to ponder. We can take it further: the decision over generalization-versus-specialization affects virtually all professions. Often, we hear blanket statements such as: “generalize during tough economies; specialize during growth periods.” I find such broad recommendations limiting. In this blog entry, I’m going to answer this question in terms of hands-on SAP professionals, and limit that focus further by focusing on independent SAP consultants – though I’m sure much of this would apply to the full-time employee working in SAP as well.

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What is the Biggest Mistake that SAP Job Seekers Make?

I have written about the fundamentals of a good SAP career strategy, but I continue to get career questions that raise these same points. So I decided to launch a series in my SAP Career Blog that talks about the main job search mistakes that SAP professionals make. Most of these mistakes apply equally to experienced SAP pros as well as those who are new to the field, though there are some distinctions between these  two groups we’ll get into as well.

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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 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 »

What is The One Tool Every SAP Consultant Should Master?

This is one of the hardest questions you could possibly ask me, because SAP is so vast that there is never one tool that will suit every SAP consultant. The best approach is to assess your current skill set, figure out where SAP is headed with its new eSOA architecture, and make sure you bridge that "skills gap" before you get left behind. But having said that, you asked the question and I’m going to try to give you a good answer. Read the rest of this entry »

How Will the eSOA Era Impact the NetWeaver PI Skill Set?

Recently I got this excellent question from an SAP XI consultant. He wanted to know how to position his XI skills going forward, in the context of SAP’s eSOA strategy. Clearly, eSOA is central to SAP’s product vision going forward, so we could ask ourselves the same question of any number of SAP products. But for this time around, let’s focus on XI. Read the rest of this entry »

How is eSOA Impacting the SAP Skill Set?

One common theme on the JonERP.com web site is how to transition your SAP skills in the NetWeaver and eSOA era. A big challenge here is figuring out the timing of the skills changes that are in the works. Change your skill set too soon, and you are ahead of the curve with few projects to choose from. Wait too long to make your skills transition, and you have fallen behind. From the back of the pack, it’s hard to catch up. So what’s an SAP consultant to do? Read the rest of this entry »

What Does SAP Say About the Future of ABAP?

One of the hottest topics at SAP TechEd 2007 was the changing nature of the SAP developer skill set. It’s easy to see why people care so much about this topic: SAP customers don’t want to find themselves with a development team that lacks the skills to implement the latest SAP functionality, and SAP programmers are facing enough challenges without having to worry that their skills will no longer be needed on project sites. So what’s the latest on the future of ABAP? Read the rest of this entry »

Is it True That ABAP and SAP Configuration Jobs are Going Away?

In a nutshell, yes, I believe it is — though there’s no need to hit the panic button. This should be a gradual evolution. However, it’s one we need to pay attention to. A helpful way of looking at it is this: in the SAP eSOA era, IT and Business are converging — therefore SAP technical and functional skill sets are converging. Read the rest of this entry »

How Do You Move from SAP Developer to Functional Consultant?

This reader’s question is one of the most common emails I receive about the SAP consulting market. It’s understandable that it would be — functional consultants make higher rates, are less vulnerable to outsourcing, and historically, are seen as more "mission critical" by the project team. However, I think some of those dynamics are starting to change. This is yet another reason why you should always look before you leap when it comes to moving around inside of SAP. Read the rest of this entry »

What’s Next for a Techno-Functional Person Torn Between ABAP and CRM?

I recently heard from a reader who was torn between a desire to pursue ABAP or CRM, or remain as a techno-functional consultant. This person had some CRM/SD configuration experience and some technical exposure but he felt like he wasn’t especially strong in either area. So what should he do? Read the rest of this entry »

Should an ABAP Programmer Move into SD or BW?

This question was posed to me by an ABAP programmer who has four years of experience and some functional knowledge in finance, heading towards a CPA degree. Like many ABAP programmers, he is fighting the urge to run for the hills and trying to make a good strategic decision. One thing I like about this guy: he’s not just bailing on ABAP. He wants to combine the best of all of his skills. Read the rest of this entry »

What Advice Would You Have for an “Old School” Basis Consultant?

There are still some bread and butter Basis positions out there, though they are harder to come by. The most successful Basis consultants have a little "edge" to their skills, a bit of technical sizzle beyond classic system admin and DBA functions. Even some basic BW training is a good first step towards expanding that core Basis toolkit. But of course the big thing is moving from Basis into a NetWeaver-based skill set. Read the rest of this entry »

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