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Welcome to the ERP Lounge Podcast Series - Inside the SAP Consulting Market

The ERP Lounge: Misadventures and Opportunities in SAP Consulting is Jon Reed's "special edition" podcast series featuring in-depth, uncensored discussions on the realities of the SAP skills marketplace. On this page, you can listen to (or download) any of our past episodes.

Join Jon Reed of and industry guests as they assess the SAP skills that are hot (and not) and demystify SAP market trends. You can comment on any of the podcasts (and join in the discussion) on The ERP Lounge LinkedIn group. You can also subscribe to all of The ERP Lounge podcasts as part of the JonERP Master SAP Blog and Podcast Feed. The ERP Lounge podcasts are also included in the JonERP iTunes podcast feed.

Podcast: The ERP Lounge #1: Be an SAP Consultant, not a Contractor! Print E-mail

podcastlogo_jonerp.gif"Debut Edition - The Role of the Independent SAP Consultant, SAP Skills that are Hot (and Not), and How to be a Consultant, not an SAP Contractor"
Podcast Interview Date: July 16, 2009
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Welcome to the first edition of The ERP Lounge: Misadventures and Opportunities in SAP Consulting, the new podcast series from! The ERP Lounge is the new "long form" podcast series that features freewheeling, in-depth discussions on the hard truths and real opportunities in the SAP skills marketplace. Join Jon and Brian for this 55 minute inaugural edition as they take you inside their vision of The ERP Lounge. Learn why they decided to create this new podcast series, what the structure of the series will be, and listen in on the regular features like "SAP Skills that are Hot/and "Not." This first edition also includes a tribute to the SAP independent consultant, and a hashing out of the differences between a "do as you're told" SAP contractor and a "tell the truth" consultant. And yes, this special series gets its own rockin' musical intro!

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 RSS feed for The JonERP Master Blog and Podcast Feed. You can also pose questions live to Jon on his real-time @jonerp Twitter feed. The ERP Lounge podcasts are also included in the JonERP iTunes podcast feed which is updated no later than 24 hours after the podcast posts here. For the timeframe of this episode and more on what inspired this series, read on.

Podcast Timeline and Highlights:

1:30 Introducing "The ERP Lounge" 

What is The ERP Lounge? Jon's vision: "The idea behind The ERP Lounge podcast series is to simulate the best of a trade show experience - hanging out in a lounge with industry pals, talking smack and shop about the SAP market. The Lounge is where the keynotes get debriefed, the truth is told and the deals go down."

"Long format podcast inspirations" - Bill Simmons' "BS Report" on, and of course The Enterprise Geeks. (We're not competing with the excellence of The Enterprise Geeks - our focus is the SAP skills marketplace and field-tested SAP consulting trends).

Frequency of podcasts - at least once a month, hopefully more frequently if the listeners like what we do. 

Rating:  PG-13.

Tone: Uncensored, honest, unscripted - the best advice and market analysis we can offer. 

Edited: Barely. Live without a net. 

Format: Focus is conversational riffing within structured segments that will repeat each time.

Feature: Each podcast will have a feature conversation or a special guest. This episode: the role of the independent SAP consultant, and the goals (and challenges) of becoming a true consultant instead of a "hired gun" contractor.

Agenda/Audience: Who is our audience? Or, as Jon puts it in this podcast, "whose back do we have?" There are some great "buyer side advocates" out there such as Dennis Howlett, Vinnie Mirchandani, and Frank Scavo. Who do we advocate for? The essential subject matter expert: the independent SAP consultant (and those who aspire to be one), negotiating politics with customers and SIs to deliver key skills and insights to SAP projects globally. As a secondary audience: advice for project teams and SAP hiring managers on SAP skills trends.

Podcast Structure: The freeflowing conversation will be organized around the following structure in each edition:
- Intro/Meet and Greet - meet the podcast attendees
- Market Banter - SAP news story du jour and its implications for skills trends
- Pulse of the Customer - What's a hot button issue for SAP customers this week?
- In the Lounge - Feature discssion or interview topic
- SAP Skills that are Hot - A few rising SAP skills of the week
- SAP Skills that are Not - Skills that are sluggish/career paths to avoid
- Last Call - Final sound-off on the episode/parting shots

14:00 Market Banter - Software AG's surprise acquisition of IDS Scheer and a surprisingly good earnings report from IBM. 

19:00 Pulse of the Customer - How do SAP customers really feel about process modeling tools? Has there been any standardization on modeling tools or emphasis on this area lately? What are SAP customers investing in right now?

27:70 "In the Lounge" - Feature topic:  "The Role of the Independent SAP Consultant." Navigating project politics. The challenges of being a "truth telling" consultant versus a "go along with the project plan" SAP contractor. What are the skills/characteristics of an outstanding SAP consultant in today's market? "Base your opinions in fact." How specialized should an independent SAP consultant be? Can you get away with being a generalist? What about BPX and/or "soft skills"?

39:30 SAP Skills that are Hot - This weeks' examples include: ABAP Objects, Web Dynpro, Solution Manager/Composer, industry-focused consulting skills, XI/PI, Security/Identity Management/GRC tools, Adobe Interactive Forms, CRM 2007 (CRM 7.0 even better!) Talent Management and Learning Solutions, ability to advise clients on SAP architecture. Skills premiums and rates for some of these skills are discussed.

48:33 SAP Skills that are Not - A more sobering discussion on outdated ABAP legacy skills, including reference to a Twitter discussion on ABAP skills by Jon Reed that got a strong response by SAP Mentor Dan McWeeney, who said that he would rather have a two year, straight out of college Java hot shot than a ten year legacy ABAPper (without object-oriented skills). A reminder to avoid areas where SAP has replaced the functionality with a new acquired product (paying attention to SAP's acquisitions pays off from a skills perspective...examples including Lighthammer, now SAP mii, and Frictionless, now the basis for SAP's SaaS platform as well as E-Sourcing.

52:30 Last Call - Wrapping up today's themes. Jon: "Industry/Industry/Industry! and 'Survive as a Contractor, but Aspire to be a Consultant.'" Brian: "Specialize your don't want your skills to become a commodity."

(And yes, we are going to work to improve the sound quality further, including some experiments on Skype rather than dial in...)

We welcome your feedback on The ERP Lounge LinkedIn group!



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