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What’s on the SAP Skills Agenda for SAP TechEd 2009?

As I write this, I’m gearing up for SAP TechEd 2009 Phoenix. I’ll be in Phoenix the whole week, meeting with SAP Mentors, putting on SAP skills workshops, hanging out in the SAP Community Clubhouse, and going to every session I can work in. I expect SAP skills to be a hot topic at TechEd. There will be plenty of talk on the evolving SAP Business Objects roadmap and how it intersects with SAP skills needed, the impact of BPM/BPX skills trends for technical and functional SAP professionals, and the challenge of finding a sustainable SAP career path in an era of downward rate pressure and global sourcing. I expect to us to start hearing about "virtual staffing" models as well - using the cloud, so to speak, to supplement on site staff via teams of "vitual consultants." There should be some good discussion/debate on the value of SAP certification as well, and the latest on SAP’s three tiered certification program. I’m giving three SAP skills workshops at SAP TechEd Phoenix. Following is a blog entry I posted on SAP SCN with some detail on these sessions, as well as how to find me in Phoenix and follow my live JonERP Tweetstream. I hope to see you there.




  This year at SAP TechEd 09 Phoenix will mark a new era of Jon Reed at TechEd: for the first time, I’ll be doing my own Expert Networking Sessions on SAP skills trends. I’m one of many SAP Mentors (and other SAP leaders) who are conducting these 30 minute sessions. I encourage you to look at the full Expert Networking Session Schedule to see the many excellent presenters on the lineup. Since most of these sessions are 30 minutes each, you can work in a lot of them. I have no idea how I’m going to get to all the ones I want to see, but those are the kinds of problems you want to have I guess.

I have always conducted informal chats around SAP skills issues at TechEd, usually huddled in a hallway and gesturing in debate with some other participant about how the SAP field is changing, how great or boring the keynote was, etc. Super geeky stuff that those of you who love TechEd know well. This year, my events will just be a bit easier to find, as they are now on the expert networking session schedule.

Each one is a half hour in length and is centered around a different skills theme. Since the official schedule only includes the session title, I wanted to do this blog so you could get a better sense of the themes of each one I am doing. Note that when I call these "chats," that’s exactly what they are. No slide decks, no visual props - just a group of people who have lived the SAP life talking about the impact of SAP’s technical evolution on their own careers and on the skills needs of their company’s projects.

If you have a question about one of these skills sessions, you can comment here or find me as @jonerp on Twitter. You can also ping me on Twitter during TechEd if you are looking to meet up or have a question you want me to look into if you are not able to attend in person yourself. It’s possible we may tape part of these sessions as podcasts, depending on the noise volume in the community space and the interests of the participants.

I should also note that I intentionally scheduled the Thursday "tech skills chat" right after the Enterprise Geeks’ own session that day, so that we can potentially combine forces on an SAP tech skills discussion. I encourage you to check out their Thursday session as it may tie/roll into my own. Heck, go to all their sessions. I’m gonna try.

Here are my sessions:

EXP134, BPX Skills Chat: Identifying the Opportunities for Growth
Tuesday, 2:00 P.M. - 2:30 P.M.

This chat will give participants a chance to share their experiences (and their company’s experiences) with BPX skills acquisition. I can share some of my findings on the emergence of the BPX skill set. Possible chat themes can include: to what degree are SAP technical and functional skill sets converging? Is the BPX skills push hype or does it reflect a "must have" skill set for the SAP professional of the future? How can BPX skills help a technical SAP professional and what kinds of BPX roles are a factor on project sites. Process design tools - maybe even some talk about the TechEd Process Design Slam. Up to you.

EXP135 SAP Social Networking Chat: Career Success Through Community Building
Wednesday, 2:30 P.M. - 3:00 P.M.

This session was inspired by two things: first, the impact I have seen on the careers of those SAP professionals who have adopted social networking tools in their professional/personal lives, and the sense that career success is changing to include more of an emphasis on "how have I served the community" versus a "broadcasting" mindset towards floating resumes. The challenges of finding the right SAP career path are not as simple as getting a Twitter account. The conversation goes much deeper, to more soulful (and strategic) questions about passion for your work, ultimate professional goals, being a part of a meaningful (and sustainable) work culture, and how to move towards those goals in a way that impacts the community rather than the traditional "tunnel vision" approach to career planning. At any rate, we can talk about it, call "B.S." on the hype around this stuff, and share lessons learned.

EXP136 SAP Tech Skills Chat: Career Strategies in the Outsourcing Age
Thursday, 1:30 P.M. - 2:00 P.M.
(possible joint session with the Enterprise Geeks)

Perhaps no one in the SAP community is more passionate about their work than the true "SAP techie." Yet the SAP technical career path is frought with concerns about the global sourcing of technical skills. Once our skills become commodities, we are vulnerable to outsourcing, which reduces the rate on the skills pay, decreases available openings, and creates cookie cutter work roles. But it’s not time to bail out! There are highly rewarding SAP technical career paths out there. Let’s talk about those individuals who are making their mark on the technical side of SAP and find out what we can learn from them in terms of their career progression, a knack for staying ahead of the curve and having real impact on their projects - impact that makes them integral rather than commodities. A chance to share concerns, rate frustrations, and put our heads together on success tactics.

I hope you find these sessions interesting and bring your topics with you - whatever agendas you bring to these sessions will shape their focus.

Hope to see you in Phoenix, and if for some reason you can’t make the event but enjoy this kind of content/conversation, check out my other blog entries on SCN - and there’s a lot more where that came from on my web site.




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