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Is it Possible to Do Remote Consulting Work in BW?

The question of remote consulting in SAP is a popular one, and not just for BW folks. I can understand why: I’d much prefer doing SAP with my dog curled up on my bunny slippers. Unfortunately, the interest in remote consulting has never been greeted with enthusiasm by SAP customers. Sometimes this doesn’t make much sense.

When you consider the money saved in travel and office overhead to have someone telecommute to a project site, and when you consider the progress made on both broadband speed and security, it would seem logical for more companies to go for remote consulting options. So why doesn’t this happen more in SAP?

One of the reasons may be cultural: there is a perception, accurate or not, that having the team in one place whenever possible is more effective. The idea seems to be: if you are not at the water cooler talking about the big game with everybody else, you’re not truly part of the company. In all fairness, it’s hard to miss out on in-person meetings and stay on board with where the project is going.

No question, there are definitely additional project management challenges involved in handling remote resources. It’s one thing to outsource one entire segment of a project — we’ve certainly seen a lot of that on the ABAP side. But to have workers on mission-critical tasks spread out across the country like a spider web — a lot of managers aren’t ready to take that on.

This may explain why remote part-time SAP jobs are hard to come by. One thing I have seen over the years is consultants with long term clients who transition to remote consulting over time. I suppose in this case, the trust factor is high and the consultant’s ability to meet milestones and understand the needs of the team is established.

I have known a number of consultants who have picked up remote clients that way. This particular reader was curious about BW remote consulting opportunities. I can think of no reason why BW couldn’t be done remotely in some cases. I talked to a Basis person recently who has done some remote BW support work.

So, one option might be to try to set up a remote part-time arrangement with an existing client where you have proven yourself, and then go out and find a new full time consulting gig to compliment that. Remote work is out there, but it’s good to keep in mind that not every company is ready for remote consulting. If you know how the market works, your chances of picking up that kind of remote work improves greatly.

I wanted to post this answer to the blog because I’m curious if the trend towards remote work is becoming more common. You can certainly see how rising costs of commuting (gasoline prices for one) would be one more factor that might add up to that "remote consulting" tipping point.

My guess is that we *will* continue more and more remote consulting on SAP projects, but I also suspect that this remote work will involve specific areas such as interfaces or routine transaction management and processing. When you start talking about mission-critical elements of the SAP implementation, such as RF integration on the shop floor, I have a hard time seeing that ever becoming a telecommuting position.

SAP may evolve into a more telecommuting-friendly type of career, but I think on-site consulting will always be a huge factor when you’re talking about ensuring the success of vital "go live" initiatives.

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