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News
Avoiding SAP Skills Commoditization - Keys to Differentiating Your Skills Print E-mail
jonerp_full_logo.PNGAugust 14, 2010 Bangalore intro from Jon Reed: I wrote this piece as a part of my streaming discussion on "SAP Career Strategies" with SAP Inside Track Bangalore. I envision this to be a document I return to and add additional context and links. Make sure to also examine the SAP Career Outlook 2010 which informs and fleshes out many of the concepts in this piece.

Avoiding skills commoditization is a constant challenge for most white collar professionals, and the SAP pro is no exception. Much of the work on JonERP.com can be seen as a guidebook for differentiation in a crowded SAP skills marketplace. This is not just an issue for junior consultants anymore. Even some senior consultants (15 years plus) are calling me to let me know that they are struggling to maintain the rates they need to continue as independents.

Of course, becoming a commodity is a matter of degrees. All of us have areas within our skills that are trending and areas where the demand for that skill is leveling off. And rates for commoditized skills don't usually disappear; they just gradually level off. But what is especially interesting for SAP professionals is how complicated the mission of differentiation has become. It's less and less a simple supply and demand issue for one particular skill. It's about having a stable core of skills and several emerging skills, but it's also about a mindset change.

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Podcast: The On-the-Job Realities of the SAP Business Process Expert - with Jim Link Print E-mail

podcastlogo_jonerp.gif"A real-life look at an SAP Business Process Expert - challenges of the role and bottom-line impact"
Podcast Interview Date: July 25, 2010
Podcast: Listen Now!
[PC users: "right click" to download file]

When I met Jim Link at SAPPHIRE Orlando and he handed me his business card, I was in for a shock. Emblazoned on the card was the job title "SAP Business Process Expert." After all the years of talking about this skill set and debating the emergence of these roles, here was a guy living the role day in and day out. As part of the ten person Forest City business process expert team, Jim and his colleagues have a great story to tell about how they are impacting the business and the challenges they have overcome along the way.

During this 20 minute podcast, Jim gives me the project-tested scoop on many key BPX topics, including: how does a BPXer justify their value to the business, who do they report to, what role do process modeling tools play, and what SAP technical and functional skills do they need to succeed in the SAP Business Process Expert role. Obviously, there are no universal answers to these questions - they are still being sorted out on a company to company basis. But for those listeners who want to understand how the pure BPX role can fit into the existing SAP personnel structure, and interact with Enterprise Architects, I trust you'll find this conversation as interesting as I did.

Editor's note: Some additional context for this podcast can be found in the "SAP Project Roles Puzzler" podcast by the Enterprise Geeks I did a guest appearance on earlier this year. The SAP BPX roles - separating truth from hype video I did after that podcast also provides context for this talk.

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Podcast: The BusinessObjects Community Means Business: A BOC Community Podcast Print E-mail

podcastlogo_jonerp.gifPodcast: Listen Now!
Vendor Podcast - The SAP BusinessObjects Community Means Business - A BOC Community Podcast
Hosted by Jon Reed of JonERP.com
Podcast Interview Date: July 13, 2010
View Transcript

There's a lot happening with the SAP BusinessObjects Community. With the shifting of SAP BusinessObjects technical product discussion to SDN, and the increased emphasis on business user topics and integration with BPX, there's a lot to discuss in the BOC space. To get a handle on these changes and to learn how to join in the discussion, Jon Reed of JonERP.com talks to Jason Cao and Kirby Leong of SAP. During this fifteen minute podcast, Jason and Kirby talk about the involvement of the new BOC SAP Mentors, and their impact on new features such as Dear aBI and Real World BI Stories.

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Podcast: Can You Have a Sustainable SAP Career in...Sustainability? Print E-mail
podcastlogo_jonerp.gif"A two way discussion on the greening of SAP skills, SAP's sustainability direction, and SAP sustainability community resources"
Podcast Interview Date: July 12, 2010
Podcast: Listen Now!
[PC users: "right click" to download file]

Recently I taped a two-way discussion on careers in SAP sustainability with fellow SAP Mentor Jim Spath. Although Jim does not work in sustainability on a day to day basis, he's one of the most influential community voices in this area and has a 20 year background as an environmental engineer in his pre-SAP life. He is the moderator of the SAP Community Network Sustainability Forum. When we taped this thirty minute discussion, Jim and I were fresh off an SAP Mentor session on SAP's sustainabilty strategy with Jeremiah Stone of SAP. We wanted to react to that session - though some of it was "not bloggable" and we kept that content out. There were other SAP sustainability events to react to also, but mostly, we wanted to riff on SAP careers in sustainability and talk about the skills and the impact we can have by greening our SAP careers.

About Jim: Jim Spath is a Technical Architect with a global manufacturer. He's an SAP Mentor and a long time ASUG volunteer. He writes some of the most readable technical blogs on SCN. The views Jim expresses on this podcast are only his personal views and are not made on behalf of any of his organizational affiliations.

Show notes: This was not only a two-way discussion, it was a two-way taping. Jim posted a writeup with show notes and resource links on SCN that is his version of the recording. Each of our recordings had its tradeoffs, the one you are listening to here has an excellent recording of my voice and Jim coming through on speakerphone. My version of the sound file is cleaned up slightly and I have added musical intros and outros. I didn't feel that my existing JonERP podcast music was funky enough for Jim, so I have picked up a newer funkier edition in honor of his contribution. Final note: at the 5:00 minute mark, we talked about SAP's frequency of report updating. I did verify with SAP that the sustainability report will now be updated quarterly.

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The Potential of SAP Idea Place - An SAP Community Network Podcast Print E-mail

podcastlogo_jonerp.gifPodcast: Listen Now!
Vendor Podcast - The Potential of SAP Idea Place - Crowd Sourcing SAP's Future Direction
An SCN Community Podcast
Hosted by Jon Reed of JonERP.com
Podcast Interview Date: July 5, 2010
View Transcript

Increasingly, companies of all sizes are realizing that they need to do a better job of getting comprehensive feedback from their stakeholders. SAP is no exception. An effective crowd sourcing platform can become a powerful idea sharing channel, but such an undertaking is not without its challenges. In this SAP Community Network Podcast, Jon Reed speaks with Kuhan Milroy and Anne Hardy of SAP about the launch of SAP Idea Place. Kuhan and Anne talk about how they combined forces to create this new collaborative platform and the issues they tackled along the way.

During this 15 minute podcast, Milroy and Hardy share the opportunities for SAP community members to get involved with Idea Place during its pilot phase. They also explain how Idea Place fits into other established channels of customer feedback (such as Influence Councils) and why Idea Place can play a complementary role while casting a wider net. Listeners of this podcast are encouraged to browse Idea Place and provide input via its site feedback section.

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The SAP BusinessObjects Community Means Business - An SAP BOC Podcast - Podcast Transcription Print E-mail
The SAP BusinessObjects Community Means Business - A BOC Community Podcast
Hosted by Jon Reed of JonERP.com
Podcast Interview Date: July 13, 2010

Jon Reed: Welcome to this special SAP BusinessObjects Community podcast. I'm your host, Jon Reed of JonERP.com. Joining me today are Jason Cao and Kirby Leong. We're here to talk about changes in the BusinessObjects Community, the impact of the community on SAP users, and how you can get involved.

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SAP Mobility Trends - An SAP Community Podcast with SAP Mentors Benedict and Appleby Print E-mail

podcastlogo_jonerp.gifPodcast: Listen Now!
Vendor Podcast - Tracking SAP Mobility Trends with SAP Mentors John Appleby and Kevin Benedict
An SCN Community Podcast
Hosted by Jon Reed of JonERP.com
Podcast Interview Date: July 2, 2010
View Transcript

One of the key messages from SAPPHIRENOW 2010 is that this is the year of SAP mobility. To get a better handle on how mobility trends impact the enterprise and how to track those trends on the SAP Community Network, Jon Reed sat down with SAP Mentors John Appleby and Kevin Benedict. During this twenty minute podcast, John and Kevin explain the difference between enterprise mobility and point solutions and share their take on the SAP mobility trends to watch for this year.

Both Kevin and John are experienced SCN bloggers, and one of the highlights of the podcast is hearing their tips on how to get started blogging and how the conversational nature of SCN blogs has impacted their mobility work. 

Editor's note: there is a mobility section on SCN as well as a mobile blog category to follow.

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Podcast: Vinnie Mirchandani on The New Polymath and Its Implications for SAP Professionals Print E-mail

podcastlogo_jonerp.gif"Special Edition - Insights from The New Polymath for SAP professionals, Vinnie's take on SAP innovation, and the problems of the SAP 'egosystem'" (ERP Lounge #10)
Podcast Interview Date: June 30, 2010
Podcast: Listen Now!
[PC users: "right click" to download file]
note: this is a 20 meg sound file, so it may take a minute to download

If you're a regular attendee at SAP's trade shows, chances are you have run into Vinnie Mirchandani. Although he attends SAP events as part of SAP's blogger program, Vinnie is not the kind to keep to himself and file stories. When he's not in lively discussions with SAP executives, you can often find him on the show floor, engaging much more directly with the SAP community than many press/media attendees do. The fruits of that engagement show up in Vinnie's new book, The New Polymath: Profiles in Compound-Technology Innovations, which features no less than eight SAP Mentors within its pages.

With the release of his book - one of the most important business books in recent years (see my review on Amazon) - and with the reverberations of SAPPHIRENOW/ASUG Orlando still lingering, the timing was right to have Vinnie in The ERP Lounge to talk about his blogs on enterprise software and innovation. I wanted to dig into his opinionated takes on SAP and his critique of what he has dubbed the SAP "egosystem." I was especially looking forward to asking Vinnie about how the "polymath" practices he describes in his book can be emulated by individuals in their own skills development. I wanted to ask Vinnie how you reconcile the need to have broad expertise with the problem of becoming a "jack of alll trades, master of none."

This 48 minute podcast has three distinct sections: in the first, we talk about the rise of the independent analyst, and how Vinnie emerged as a leading enterprise blogger. Vinnie turns the tables on me and asks about my own business model, and how individuals can stand out in an industry still dominated by corporate giants. In the second section, we delve into Vinnie's book and how its themes can apply to individual skills development. We attempt to reconcile Vinnie's views on the importance of skills diversity with the need of successful SAP professionals to specialize. In the third section, I ask Vinnie about his beef with the SAP partner ecosystem and the kinds of innovations he would like to see in that space. Scroll down for the detailed show notes and time stamps.

Editor's note: this podcast builds on some of the themes in Jim Spath's excellent post-Sapphire/ASUG podcast with Vinnie where they discussed the conference, the role of SAP Mentors in The New Polymath, developing a blogging voice, and the challenge of fairness in blogging - recommended listening!

Note: to comment on this podcast series, or send in a question for us to answer in the next one, be sure to join our ERP Lounge Group on Linkedin. If you want to subscribe to the series, get the The JonERP Master Blog and Podcast Feed. Or find Jon on his @jonerp Twitter feed. The ERP Lounge podcasts are also included in the JonERP iTunes podcast feed.   

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The Potential of SAP Idea Place - Crowd Sourcing SAP's Future Direction - Podcast Transcription Print E-mail
Podcast Transcription: The Potential of SAP Idea Place - Crowd Sourcing SAP's Future Direction
An SCN Community Podcast with Kuhan Milroy and Anne Hardy of SAP
Hosted by Jon Reed of JonERP.com
Podcast Interview Date: July 5, 2010

Jon Reed: Welcome to this SCN Community Podcast. I'm your host, Jon Reed of JonERP.com. Joining me today is Kuhan Milroy and Anne Hardy of SAP. We are here to talk about SAP's Idea Place launch, why they did it, and how the SAP community can engage with Idea Place. With so many companies grappling with how to best crowd source and prioritize ideas, not just for competitive advantage, but to improve responsiveness, SAP's release of Idea Place is timely.

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Tracking SAP Mobility Trends with SAP Mentors John Appleby & Kevin Benedict - Podcast Transcription Print E-mail
Tracking SAP Mobility Trends with SAP Mentors John Appleby and Kevin Benedict - Podcast Transcription
An SCN Community Podcast
Hosted by Jon Reed of JonERP.com
Podcast Interview Date: July 2, 2010

Jon Reed: Welcome to this SCN Community podcast. I'm your host, Jon Reed of JonERP.com. Joining me today is Kevin Benedict of Net Sensing Strategies and John Appleby of Bluefin Solutions. We're here to talk about SAP mobility trends and how these two SAP Mentors are using the mobility resources on SCN in their own work. I also hope to pick up a few blogging tips from a couple of SCN veterans.

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SAP Certification Five - Guide to Our SAP Certification Activities Print E-mail

There's one thing about the Certification Five you can count on - we're going to generate a lot of content about our dialogue with SAP on certification, and we're going to share it with you! Here is a resource page, still in progress, that documents what we have been up to. 

I'm just about to present with Leonardo De Auraujo at SAP Inside Track Newtown Square - in advance I wanted to post these resource links to refer to during our presentation. 

Key Materials

Our much-discussed SAP Certification Five White Paper (PDF)
Our SCN blog which announces the paper and recommends specific action items (with tons of community comments)
My own blog post which provides a context for SAP Certification Five activities
Dennis Howlett's entertaining narrative of our memorable SAPPHIRENOW meetup with Bill McDermott

Read on for SAP Inside Track London videos, Certification Five podcasts and guest appearances, etc.
Read more...
 
Podcast: SAP Business ByDesign Skills and SaaS Consulting Changes (with Ray Tetlow) Print E-mail

podcastlogo_jonerp.gif"Special Edition - Talking SAP Business ByDesign Skills and the Differences in SaaS Consulting Economics with Ray Tetlow from Skyytek" (ERP Lounge #9)
Podcast Interview Date: June 18, 2010
Podcast: Listen Now!
[PC users: "right click" to download file]
note: this is a 20 meg sound file, so it may take a minute to download

I reported on the PAC Feeding the Ecosystem blog that the SAP Business ByDesign (ByD) conversation has shifted from technology debates to product rollout. A key part of that shift is taking a closer look at the skills needed to support ByDesign implementations and the different economics of SaaS consulting. One emerging voice in that conversation is Ray Tetlow of Skyytek. Ray spoke as an early ByD partner at SAPPHIRENOW Orlando.

At SAPPHIRENOW, I found that Ray's ideas about the skills requirements for ByD professionals were much better fleshed out than most. Likely this was because of his firm's experience as a SaaS reseller and implementor with more than 1,000 SaaS installs under their belts. All told this made Ray an ideal guest for this special edition of the ERP Lounge.

During this forty-seven minute podcast, Ray hits me with some rapid-fire answers to a slew of key ByD questions, such as how he intends to train ByD professionals, why SaaS consultants are easier to bring up to speed in ByD than "on-premise" SAP consultants, and the appeals and drawbacks of the SaaS consulting model. We were able to cover a lot of fruitful ground in this podcast, but one of my favorite parts comes at the end when we get into some informal talk about how virtual SaaS consulting can change the consulting lifestyle and open up new opportunities for those who can't (or don't want to) travel - parents in particular. Most firms growing like Skyytek are building new offices; Ray is shutting most of his down. Listen to the podcast to find out why and the different approach he is taking.

Note: to comment on this podcast series, or send in a question for us to answer in the next one, be sure to join our ERP Lounge Group on Linkedin. If you want to subscribe to the series, get the The JonERP Master Blog and Podcast Feed. Or find Jon on his @jonerp Twitter feed. The ERP Lounge podcasts are also included in the JonERP iTunes podcast feed.  

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Podcast: SAPPHIRE - ASUG 2010 in Review with Andy Klee of ERPtips Print E-mail

podcastlogo_jonerp.gif"Jon and Andy Interview Each Other on ASUG-SAPPHIRE Orlando 2010, SAP training trends, SAP certification, and other conference takeaways"
Podcast Interview Date: May 27, 2010
Podcast: Listen Now!

Andy Klee of ERPtips is no stranger to ERP shows. He's a JD Edwards/Oracle industry veteran who has been publishing SAP content for the last seven years and blogging on SAP training trends for the last year. But ASUG-SAPPHIRE Orlando was Andy Klee's first SAP show. So what did he think of SAP culture? Was the food really better than Oracle shows? And what did he learn about training trends from his meetings with SAP customers and SAP Education leaders?

In this thirty-five minute podcast, Jon and Andy have their second two-way conversation (hear the first one here). Andy starts by putting Jon on the JonERP hot seat and getting his conference reactions to SaaS/Business ByDesign, Sybase, and certification, then Jon returns the favor with questions to Andy on his conference takeways. Jon also surprises Andy with a question about how Oracle/JDE and SAP consultants compare.

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Podcast: Live from ASUG - SAPPHIRE NOW With (some) of the Certification Five Print E-mail

podcastlogo_jonerp.gif"Special Edition - Live from SAPPHIRE NOW podcast on SAP career and skills paths, certification, and conference views with 3/5 of the Certification Five and Vijay Vijaysankar (ERP Lounge #8)
Podcast Interview Date: May 19, 2010
Podcast: Listen Now!
[PC users: "right click" to download file]
note: this is a 20 meg sound file, so it may take a minute to download

What's the latest on SAP certification? How did the Mentors fare on the SAPPHIRE floor and what did they learn in their conversations with SAP executives and ASUG members? And what are the keys to navigating a successful SAP career in the midst of technical change and skills commoditization? That's a meaty menu for a podcast! For this live SAPPHIRE NOW taping, four SAP Mentors, including three members of the "Certification Five" gathered in the Mentor meeting room to give you their best ideas (and a few off color comments) on SAP skills trends.

Recorded on a Zoom H2 portable, this play-it-loose forty-five minute podcast has gems from Martin Gillet, Jon Reed, Leonardo De Araujo (3/5 of the C5) and special guest and fellow SAP Mentor Vijay Vijayasankar. Vijay has become an key voice in the SAP community on SAP skills issues and also recently ignited a debate on SAP and Agile development as only he can. (Check out Vijay's live Enteprise Geeks "SAP-Agile Throwdown," also taped live at SAPPHIRE). 

More show notes: the Certification Five also appeared on an Enterprise Geeks SAP Certification 5 live SAPPHIRE taping and are fresh off a C5 appearance on the Friday Morning Report.

Note: to comment on this podcast series, or send in a question for us to answer in the next one, be sure to join our ERP Lounge Group on Linkedin. If you want to subscribe to the series, get the The JonERP Master Blog and Podcast Feed. Or find Jon on his @jonerp Twitter feed. The ERP Lounge podcasts are also included in the JonERP iTunes podcast feed.  

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Podcast: SAP Solution Manager Roundtable - Hype Meets Reality Print E-mail

podcastlogo_jonerp.gif"An international roundtable on the pros and cons of Solution Manager, debated with grit and mutual respect"
Podcast Interview Date: May 9, 2010
Podcast: Listen Now!
[PC users: "right click" to download file]

SAP Solution Manager is one of the most controversial topics in the SAP community. Though some see Solution Manager as the key to everything from post-go-live optimization to realizing the value of Enterprise Support, there is a noticeable gap between how SAP perceives Solution Manager and its customers' own experience. One way to close this gap is to bring honest discourse about SolMan out into the open. What better way to do that then a no-holds barred, roundtable podcast with three of the most influential voices in the blogosphere (and Twitterverse) on SAP Solution Manager?

When you begin a podcast, you never know how it will turn out. I had high hopes that the combined voices of Jim Spath, Tony de Thomasis, and Phil Avelar would advance the Solution Manager conversation with new insights and a clash of perspectives, but you never know. The end result exceeded my own expectations. With good humor but a frank style that underscored their different perspectives, these guys nailed it. We taped this four way, fifty minute podcast on Skype, and while the sound quality is solid, there is the occasional piece of background noise. I think you'll find that any occasional sound blips are more than worth it for the caliber of the content. Read further to check out the speaker biographies, podcast notes, and links to additional Solution Manager content.

Read more...
 
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