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Jon Reed's SAP Articles and Industry Interviews
Webcast Replay: Jon Reed's "BPX Skills Focus" Webcast for ASUG Print E-mail

asugnewlogo.jpgOn September 30th 2008, Jon Reed delivered a webcast on the keys to developing SAP Business Process Expert skills for ASUG, Americas' SAP Users' Group, as part of their "Business Process Experts" webcast series.

Click here to view or download the WebEx version of the webcast.
(.wrf file, 7.2 megs, right click to download)
(If it doesn't play after opening, you may need to download the WebEx presentation player to view the webcast)

If you would like to view the PowerPoint-only version of the webcast, you can also view or download the presentation in a PDF version. (429K, right click to download) For more details on the webcast and those who helped to make it happen, as well as a couple of special bonus slides, read on.

Read more...
 
Who Said SAP Was Expensive? Print E-mail

jonerp_full_logo.PNGWho Said SAP Was Expensive?
How Sedgwick County, Kansas
Spent Less Than 10 Percent
of Their SAP Consulting Budget
(While Maximizing User Buy-In)

Unabridged Edition, Never Before Released
by Jon Reed

I’ve been writing about the SAP market since 1995. That’s a lot of verbiage, and there are times when I think all the groundbreaking stories about SAP have already been told. But at this year’s Sapphire, I stumbled upon a new one. At the conference, I met up with an ERP Director by the name of Renfeng Ma, and he told me about how his project managed to implement a BW dashboard system with more than 800 KPIs (Key Performance Indicators). They did this while achieving a high level of user buy-in, bringing a greater transparency of information to taxpayers, and, drum roll - they spent under 10 percent of their projected consulting budget for the project. He had my attention.

Site Editor's Note: For those readers who want to read more about this implementation, Renfeng Ma has kindly provided a downloadable PowerPoint Presentation (776K) about the Sedgwick County BW Implementation to JonERP.com visitors. This PowerPoint will also give you a closer view of the two screen shots used in this article - Figure One below is slide 3, and Figure Two (on page 2) is slide 5.

Read more...
 
eSOA from the Outside In Print E-mail

jonerp_full_logo.PNGeSOA from the Outside In:
Lessons from "Mashup Corporations"

Unabridged Edition, Never Before Released
by
Jon Reed 

Jon Reed notes: I recently discovered that this article I did on eSOA for SAPtips in the Spring of 2008 did not find its way to this site. Paul Kurchina, co-author of Mashup Corporations and the recently released In Pursuit of the Perfect Plant, took the time to review and proof this article so I'm glad to have a chance to feature this article now. I hope you find it as interesting as I did while I was writing it.

Read more...
 
Will ASUG Edge Help to Address the SAP Skills Shortage? Print E-mail

jonerp_full_logo.PNGSpecial JonERP.com Article Edition
Published July 30, 2008

Jon Reed notes: In July of 2008, I had the chance to talk with ASUG CEO Steve Strout about ASUG EDGE, ASUG's new searchable online directory of SAP consultants and consulting firms. With its new ASUG EDGE offering, ASUG is hoping to have an impact on how SAP skills are sourced and evaluated.

For this piece, I'm going to share what I learned from Steve about ASUG EDGE. I will also offer my own preliminary take on how I think ASUG EDGE might impact SAP staffing, and the pros and cons of this service as I see it so far.

Read more...
 
Webcast Replay - Best Practices in Building Your SAP Consulting Business Print E-mail

jonerp_full_logo.PNGVendor Webcast: Jon Reed of JonERP.com on Growing Your Consulting Business (and How SAP's SDN Subscriptions Can Help You Build Your Business)

On June 25, 2008, Jon Reed gave a presentation on the best strategies for becoming a successful independent SAP consultant and growing your consulting business. The content from that presentation is now available to JonERP.com readers.

Click on this link to view Webcast.

If you want an audio-only version of the webcast that you can listen to on your portable mp3 player, click to play or right-click to download the podcast version

You can also view or download the PowerPoint. Click here to open or right-click to save.

This webcast represents Jon's best thinking on how to succeed in SAP. It's based on hard-won lessons learned since Jon first started writing on SAP career trends in 1995.

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Jon Reed Interviews Jim Spath on ASUG 2008 Print E-mail

"A Review of ASUG 2008 and Key Issues Going Forward"
Podcast: Listen Now! asugbiti.jpg

Jon Reed interviews Jim Spath, Technology Architect for Black and Decker, and gets his frank views on ASUG 2008, including the Business Objects acquisition, SAP for the Blackberry, and the impact of social media on SAP professionals.

In this thirty-five minute podcast, Jim addresses some of the major themes of ASUG/Sapphire 2008 from the vantage point of how SAP's technology impacts the user community. An active blogger on the SAP Developer Network, Jim is also an SAP Mentor, as well as an ASUG conference planner. Join Jon and Jim as they peel back the conference hype and look at the issues that mattered to SAP users.

Read more...
 
Best Practices in SAP Programming Print E-mail
Best Practices in SAP Programming:
How to Keep Your Development Shop in Tune with Where SAP is Headed
Unabridged Edition, Never Before Released
by Jon Reed

SAP development has become more confusing and more promising at the same time. Not long ago, the SAP development process came down to deciding which parts of SAP to customize and how to hire the ABAP programmers who would do the work. Now, in the Enterprise SOA (eSOA) era, the amount of SAP development options are dizzying.
Read more...
 
Sapphire 2008 in Review: Opinions and Observations Print E-mail

Sapphire 2008 Retrospective by Jon Reed

It's become a tradition: each time I return from a major SAP show, I post my own analysis. Typically, I post a range of pieces for other sites and publications, as well as some blog entries and podcasts on my own site. But then there's one special piece, the "retrospective." The retrospective stands out because it is usually exceptionally long, and it is always the most outspoken of the pieces I write. This is my chance to sound off on various topics from the conference, without worrying about being concise or staying on topic.

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Wyeth's SAP Portals Strategy for Increased ROI Print E-mail

It's All about the User:
How Wyeth's SAP Portal Stategy Increased User Adoption and ROI
by Jon Reed, JonERP.com

Jon Reed notes: One of the great aspects of Sapphire is getting a chance to interview end customers about their latest SAP innovations. I thought Pete Lagana of Wyeth had one of the best customer stories at the conference because of the intersection between Portals innovation and user acceptance.

Pete Lagana from Wyeth has an amazingly simple mission - get as many employees (and customers) to use SAP as possible. But here's what makes Pete's team a little different: out-of-the-box GUI tools weren't enough for them. If it's not a perfectly intuitive GUI, it's not good enough for Pete. Without active users, SAP's deep functionality is useless. Pete's challenge? Design a great user interface, or lose his employees to software alternatives, diminishing the potential of Wyeth's massive SAP investment.

Read more...
 
Panel Replay: Highlights from the Sapphire 2008 "Competing on Talent Panel" Print E-mail

ERP Consulting Supply and Demand:
Sapphire 2008 "Competing on Talent" Panel Replay

Jon Reed notes: One of the most interesting events at Sapphire was a panel I took part in that looks at SAP skills demand. Since the report we were talking about looked beyond SAP, I decided to write this piece for a broader ERP audience - but most of the examples in here are SAP-specific. View panel replay: you can now view the replay of the Sapphire 2008 "Competing on Talent" panel (right click on the lnk to save this 225K Windows .asx audio/video file onto your computer, then open the file to play.)

Some ERP consultants prefer blue (SAP), some prefer red (Oracle). But there's one thing they all have in common: a desire to keep their skills marketable in a rapidly changing market. This raises an interesting question: are there "mega skills" that transcend individual applications? Are there skills that all ERP consultants can aspire to?

Read more...
 
Say What? A Guide to the SAP Terms You Need to Know for ASUG 2008 and Beyond Print E-mail
Say What?
A Guide to the SAP Terms You Need to Know for ASUG 2008 and Beyond
Unabridged Edition, Never Before Released
I have a running joke with a friend of mine who insists on pronouncing ABAP "Ayy-Bop," as opposed to the more commonly heard pronunciation "Ahh Bop." He says it's just a case of "you say tom-A-toes, I say "to-mah-toes." I say that how we pronounce terms in the SAP world sends a clear message as to how much we know about the software.
Read more...
 
Enterprise SOA Mashups The Easy Way Print E-mail

eSOA Mashups Don't Have to Cost A Fortune:
How to Find Success with SOA and NetWeaver BI
Unabridged Edition, Never Before Released
by Jon Reed 

In the October/November 2007 Edition of the SAPtips Journal, I wrote about how Enterprise SOA (eSOA) has the potential to "turn ERP on its head." I'm not going to take back those predictions, but I do have to acknowledge that eSOA comes with some drawbacks. The upfront investments in architecture, governance, and organizational change - all necessary to build a true eSOA platform - can be daunting.

Read more...
 
Jon Reed Interviews Steve Strout, ASUG CEO Print E-mail

ImagePodcast: Listen Now!
Podcast Interview Date: 
December 3, 2007
View Transcript

Jon Reed speaks with Steve Strout, CEO of ASUG, Americas' SAP Users' Group, about the key issues SAP customers are facing in the NetWeaver and eSOA era. Jon asks Steve about the different perspectives SAP customers have concerning upgrades, and how ASUG can make an impact on SAP project team education and support during the upgrade cycle. Steve also talks about how ASUG is impacting SAP's product evolution and he shares his vision for ASUG in 2008 and beyond.

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Changing the Way Companies Approach ERP Print E-mail
Turning ERP On its Head:
Can SAP eSOA Change the Way Companies Approach ERP?
Unabridged Edition, Never Before Released
by Jon Reed

Attendees of SAPPHIRE 2007 got one message loud and clear: Enterprise SOA (eSOA) has arrived. Or has it? True, we saw a number of case studies from SAP customers who have taken the Enterprise SOA plunge. But as of today, most companies are either in the “hypothetical” or pilot project phase. This provides us with an ideal opportunity to assess the value of eSOA before more companies dip their toes into that powerful current. In this article, I’ll take a look at the reported benefits from actual SAP eSOA projects that have taken place thus far. We’ll examine the true merits of eSOA, and by the end of this piece, we’ll have a better handle on what eSOA can do and why it may actually be one technical advancement that ends up living up to the hype.
Read more...
 
Back from Tech Ed Sounding Cool: A Guide to the Latest SAP Terms in Use at Cocktail Parties Print E-mail
Back from Tech Ed Sounding Cool:
A Guide to the Latest SAP Terms in Use at Cocktail Parties
Unabridged and Unadulterated Edition, Never Before Released
by Jon Reed

In life, there’s a fine line between sounding cool and sounding out of date. In the SAP universe, the “cool problem” is even more extreme. We go to a conference talking one way, only to realize the terms we are using have already been tossed into the SAP junk heap. When you hear someone say “New Dimension” these days, you figure they don’t get out much.

Read more...
 
SAP TechEd 2007 Uncensored Print E-mail

SAP TechEd 2007 Uncensored:
How This Year’s News and Trends Will Impact the SAP Professional

Exclusive to JonERP.com, Unabridged Edition
by Jon Reed

I worked the room at TechEd 2007 with the intention of identifying the key consulting trends that SAP professionals need to be aware of. The task proved harder than expected, mostly because there were no major TechEd announcements. Adding to the challenge, there was also a fair amount of mixed messages from SAP about the timing of upcoming releases and the relative demand for certain skills.

Read more...
 
The "Human Side" of Midsize SAP Implementations Print E-mail

Talk Before You Leap:
What Midsize Companies Have Learned About the "Human Side" of SAP Implementations
Unabridged Edition, Never Before Released
by Jon Reed

Midsize companies are giving SAP serious consideration for their ERP installations because SAP has proven itself. Gone are the days where SAP’s price tag and implementation challenges were enough to scare smaller companies away before they could give SAP a serious look. At this year’s combined ASUG/SAPPHIRE conference, I had a chance to hear from a number of managers at mid-size companies who were in the process of implementing SAP. My goal was to find out what worked and what didn’t and to come away with some "lessons learned" about SAP’s expanding role in the ERP midmarket. Some of what I learned confirmed what we would all expect to hear about SAP’s ability to deliver value through one integrated software instance, and some of what I learned genuinely surprised me.

Read more...
 
SAP Skills of the Past, Present, and Future Print E-mail

SAP Skills of the Past, Present, and Future:
How the Announcements of SAPPHIRE 2007 Will Affect SAP Professionals

Unabridged and Unadulterated Edition, Never Before Released

SAPPHIRE/ASUG 2007 was not a conference of big announcements, but for SAP professionals, the implications were plenty big. A revealing moment came at the major press conference that followed CEO Henning Kagermann’s keynote. The first question to lead off the press conference called direct attention to the issue every SAP professional has to face. The best translation might be: “Is there a skills gap in the NetWeaver era, and if so, what do I have to learn to remain gainfully employed?”

Read more...
 
Decoding the SAP Buzzwords Print E-mail

Decoding the Buzzwords:
How SAP's Terminology is Changing 
(And How it Will Impact Your Career)

Unabridged and Unadulterated Edition, Never Before Released

by Jon Reed


I've been making my living in the SAP field since 1995. Over the years, I’ve had many a chuckle trying to keep track of SAP’s constantly changing terminology. It seems like every letter in the alphabet soup was used by SAP at one point or another. Joking aside, I’ve always taken SAP’s buzzwords as very serious business. Why? Because when SAP stops using one phrase in favor of another, there is always a reason. And if you don’t take the time to understand that reason, you can find yourself out of a job.  

Read more...
 
What SAP Said at SAPPHIRE 2007 and What They Really Meant Print E-mail

What SAP Said at SAPPHIRE 2007 and What They Really Meant
(And How it Will Impact Consulting)
by Jon Reed 

Another year, another SAPPHIRE in the books. One thing we can always count on: some “major” announcements from SAP. This year, there wasn’t much by way of industry-altering news, but the latest announcements showed that SAP is on the move once again.  In this look back at SAPPHIRE/ASUG 2007, I’ll analyze four of SAP’s major announcements and provide my best “translation” into what they really mean. Then I’ll take each news item one step further and speculate on how this news will affect SAP consulting. The announcements below are not exact quotes from SAP. They are my own paraphrases of the key points.

Read more...
 
Jon Reed Interviews ASUG President Rod Masney Print E-mail

ASUG Annual ConferencePodcast: Listen Now!
Podcast Interview Date:
April 10, 2007
 
SAP is at a crossroads. This year's combined SAPPHIRE/ASUG conference was a significant event in terms of how SAP positions itself for the next five years.

In this podcast interview with ASUG President Rod Masney, SAP Career Expert Jon Reed talks to Rod about this year's combined ASUG/SAPPHIRE conference. He also asks Rod about the biggest challenges SAP users are facing and how ASUG impacts SAP's product evolution.

Read more...
 
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