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Jon Reed Inteviews Puneet Suppal on BPX Skills, SAP BPM and the Economy Print E-mail
podcastlogo_jonerp.gif"The Role of SAP BPX Skills in a Changing Economy"
Podcast Interview Date: October 15, 2008
Podcast: Listen Now!

Recent SAP TechEd Shows have emphasized NetWeaver BPM and the importance of the Business Process Expert. To get a sense of why SAP is so committed to building a true "Business Process Platform," and whether or not BPX skills are still relevant in this struggling economy, Jon Reed spoke with Puneet Suppal, the SAP SOA Solutions Leader for Capgemini North America. (Puneet also writes on SOA trends in his "Cafe Innovation" blog for SAP SDN/BPX.)

At the time of the podcast taping, Puneet had just returned from giving a presentation entlitled "The Business Process Imperative" with Global BPX Head Marco ten Vaanholt at TechEd Berlin. He also shared plans to head out to TechEd Bangalore to deliver a similar talk. Having done this presentation at TechEd Las Vegas as well, Puneet's views on this podcast are informed by his recent SAP Community experiences. The result is a focused conversation on how project teams and individuals should approach "BPX skills innovation" during challenging economic times.

During this thirty minute podcast, Jon and Puneet cover a range of topics, including:

- Puneet's role at Capgemini and how his own skills have taken a BPX direction with a move from a business background to a business-IT convergence. 

- Puneet disagrees with Jon's theory that SAP is now shifting its marketing emphasis from SOA to BPM, and he explains how the two are connected in SAP's approach. 

- Jon asks Puneet whether he thinks NetWeaver BPM is a significant market development for SAP, and Puneet gives his view as to why SAP-centric enterprises can benefit from NetWeaver BPM. 

- The economic downturn has changed the spending mood of IT departments. Jon asks Puneet if he sees any difference in the interest in NetWeaver since the major upheavals that have taken place between TechEd Las Vegas and Berlin. Puneet talks about why the interest in NetWeaver BPM remains high. 

- Economic challenges can create a "bunker mentality" that causes companies to back away from innvoative projects. Puneet makes his case for why innovation is vitally important in any economic market, and why business process excellence has become a real key for the most successful companies. 

- Business process innovation requires a new set of skills. The podcast focus shifts to look at the BPX skills companies and individuals need to be cultivating. Puneet reviews the range of BPX skills project teams need to develop, including buiness case building, project management, Web 2.0 knowledge, business process design, composition and modeling skills, industry knowledge, SOA know-how, and the all-important "soft skills" to share and collaborate on these new skill areas. 

- For individuals who are concerned that new process modeling tools will make their current SAP skills less relevant, Puneet explains that acquiring BPX skills does not mean that classic SAP competencies like ABAP programming and SAP development are no longer relevant, but it does mean taking pro-active steps to obtain new BPX skills which can compliment the "classic" SAP skill sets.

- Puneet has a special message for hardcore IT folks who are resistant to the new generation of modeling tools because it takes control of certain tasks away and puts it in the hands of business users. His message? The skills train is leaving the station, and IT skills are shifting. There is still an opportunity to stay relevant, but it involves making a move now into a BPX direction. 

- Jon talks about the difference with this generation of SAP skills changes: now more than in the past, there are great options for self-education via SAP's online communities, software trials (NetWeaver BPM), free open source modeling tools, and other ways of taking pro-active steps. 

- Jon tells Puneet about his own recommendation for those who are feeling overwhelmed by the BPX skill set: look into the BPX skills certification, and do a "personal skills gap analysis" to begin filling out the key areas that each person needs to develop next. Puneet agrees, but also points out that it's also important to keep your eye open for ways you can make BPX-related contributions on your existing project also. One such area may be in SOA-related governance. 

- Jon asks Puneet to look into his crystal ball and tell us what the Business Process Expert roles of the future are going to look like. He talks about a range of roles on both the functional and technical sides of SAP, including Enteprise Architects, Business experts with modeling tools, and "Solution Evangelists."

- In the last section of the podcast, Puneet talks about his upcoming "Business Process Imperative" talk at TechEd Bangalore and how BPX skills are also relevant to other new ventures such as InnoCentive and EcoHub. Jon puts in a plug for TechEd Community Day and its relevance to BPX skills enhancement.



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