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Note that Jon blogs and videocasts on a variety of SAP and enterprise web sites. The easiest way to track all his content is through his JonERP Feedburner feed, which you can subscribe to via RSS or email. There is also additional video content to subscribe to on JD-OD.com. Jon also posts audio versions of much of his content on his JonERP iTunes Feed. To pose questions to Jon directly find him on Twitter.

Why Did You Share Your Google Reader “ERP News Feed” and Who Cares About RSS if You Have Twitter?

There is something of a quietly simmering debate on whether Twitter is an adequate replacement for RSS or not. I’m not sure the debate can be settled, because so much of it depends on how the individual uses these tools, but I’ll give my take on this and how it impacts those who have a stake in SAP (and ERP) trends - as well as how to monitor my new shared ERP news feed.

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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.

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What are the Skills Migration Paths for SAP Professionals?

Recently I was corresponding with the illustrious Michael Doane as he put his finishing touches on his upcoming SAP Green Book, which looks to be another Michael Doane classic. In an email, Michael asked me about what SAP users should be doing to cultivate in-house teams. I’ve been writing about talent management a lot lately, including a recent blog post for PAC on how to attract and retain SAP talent. In the email to Michael, I also touched on the skills migration paths for SAP professionals. Some of it will probably wind up in the Green Book, but in the meantime, I wanted to take those comments and share them with JonERP readers in an enhanced form.

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What is the Biggest Mistake SAP Job Seekers Make? (#2)

To say the SAP job market is competitive right now would be an understatement, so it’s time to revisit the subject I posted on late last year: mistakes SAP job seekers make and how to avoid them. The first mistake? “Chasing dollars, not skills.” The latest mistake? Trying to make more than one SAP job change at a time. To understand how this works, I’ll draw on emails I receive from frustrated SAP job seekers who are trying to improve their strategy.

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Why Don’t SAP Skills Matter at ASUG/Sapphire?

If you were to go by the keynotes and scheduled events, you would think there are no longer any issues with SAP skills development. Read beyond the headlines. Just like some of the most important news stories show up in the back pages, the same is true at SAP shows. Of all the things I was struck by at ASUG/Sapphire 2009, the one that made the biggest impression on me was the silence around SAP skills trends.

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Should You Green Your SAP Skills?

One of the bigger surprises at Sapphire 2009 was the emphasis on sustainability. I expected some discussion on this topic – I did not expect it to be a centerpiece of Leo’s keynote or a major emphasis of SAP’s new “Clear Enterprise” campaign. This led me to Tweet at the conference: “Should SAP consultants ‘green’ their SAP skills?” I had a couple interesting responses; in this blog entry I’ll riff a bit on what this might mean.

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What Are You Expecting From Sapphire 2009?

Yesterday, someone asked me what we could expect out of Sapphire this year, in terms of SAP’s major announcements. Guessing at these scoops is good fun because SAP makes a point of keeping keynote announcements under wraps, and no, not even SAP Mentors get a look at the envelopes that Leo Apotheker and other keynoters will be opening. But that question got me thinking. I realized that at Sapphire, there are always three lines of questioning: 1. The agenda SAP is trying to set; 2. The agenda customers are truly interested in, and 3. The questions I am most interested in. So let’s take a look at how these might overlap, or not.

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How Should an SAP Consultant Take Advantage of LinkedIn?

I’ve been getting a lot of questions about marketing yourself as an SAP consultant lately. That’s not a surprise given that jobs are hard to come by, for reasons I get into in my recent podcast with SAP Mentor Vijay Vijayasankar on the impact of offshoring on SAP consulting. I’m getting enough questions on the topic of self-marketing that I’m actually about to do a webcast that addresses these themes with MBO partners and ERP-Consulting.com. There’s an understandable confusion about which social media web sites can actually help with a SAP job search. Add to that the overhype that has come into play with Facebook and Twitter in particular, and you wind up with too many web sites, too little time.

  One good starting point is to separate out active job hunting from the long term pursuit of “building a great consulting network.” For the immediate gratification of finding a position next week, the job boards are still a big factor. When you think about LinkedIn, sending frantic emails to your contacts every week that you’re looking for a new position is going to backfire. So what tactics do work on LinkedIn? And what kind of payoff are we going after?

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How Do You Track the SAP Market in Real Time On Twitter?

Twitter has become a real asset to me in my work tracking SAP market and skills trends. More importantly, it has deepened my relationships with many very smart and interesting people in the SAP community. As a result, I decided to do a couple of YouTube videos on my Twitter experiences and make some recommendations on how to go about following SAP folks on Twitter. I did this partially because I think there are misconceptions about how to use Twitter that you need to throw out in order to use Twitter effectively. I’ll share the videos I did in this post, as well as some additional thoughts I didn’t get to share in the videos about making your Twitter experience worthwhile. Editor’s note: the YouTube videos may not display properly in your browser. Until we fix it, you can see the videos referred to here.

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What Was Your View of the Latest SAP Certification Debate?

I recently took part in a major discussion on the SAP community network pertaining to SAP certification. The discussion was inspired by a post from ZDNet blogger, Enterprise Irregular, and SAP Mentor Dennis Howlett entitled “Should You Be Certified?” In his blog post, Dennis riffed on a major theme that SAP has stated for the year: to emphasize the importance of certified consultants as a means of improving overall consultant quality. Dennis put the certification discussion in the context of project success and failure, asking: if certification can improve the quality of consultants, then perhaps certification can have an impact on the success of SAP projects? My own comments to Dennis’ post were extensive, and I’d like to share them here with my JonERP.com readers. They also received an interesting response from Sue Martin of SAP, who has been a guest of mine on an SAP certification podcast, and who is directly involved in where SAP certification is headed next.

Post update: Anyone interested in this topic should check out the Enterprise Geeks’ latest podcast, which features special guest Dennis Howlett and has an SAP certification theme. You can read my take in the Geeks’ comment section.

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What Value Does the CIO of Roche Place on SAP Certification? (Podcast Excerpt)

I have been part of many debates on the value of SAP certification over the years. I expect these debates to intensify this year, as SAP places increasing value on certifications while at the same time dealing with some unresolved and important questions on whether (and how) certification can truly address the skills needed for project excellence.

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What is the Difference between IDS (Aris) and NetWeaver BPM (Galaxy)?

I write about the SAP Business Process Expert (BPX) skill set because to stay marketable, we have to look beyond the present. SAP professionals don’t want to miss out on skills that might someday make the difference between landing a job or not. One of the most important aspects of the BPX skills profile is gaining experience in “next generation” process modeling tools. No, we don’t see this kind of tool experience as a required skill on many SAP job orders today. But that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t understand how these tools might fit into what we need to know.

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Should you be an SAP Generalist or an SAP Specialist?

This is one of the most important questions for SAP professionals to ponder. We can take it further: the decision over generalization-versus-specialization affects virtually all professions. Often, we hear blanket statements such as: “generalize during tough economies; specialize during growth periods.” I find such broad recommendations limiting. In this blog entry, I’m going to answer this question in terms of hands-on SAP professionals, and limit that focus further by focusing on independent SAP consultants – though I’m sure much of this would apply to the full-time employee working in SAP as well.

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Is SAP Backing Down on Enterprise Support?

When you are blogging on a fast-moving issue, you can get caught with postings that seem out a bit out of date the moment you publish them. This has happened to me lately with SAP support. On Monday of this week, I issued an in-depth post on the issue of SAP support for PAC, and how it did (or didn’t) connect to ASUG’s dismissal of CEO Steve Strout. Almost as soon as I published the entry, some important news broke. The news didn’t change the fundamentals of the piece, but it still meant an update is needed. Meantime, I was also about to post another piece on SAP support, this time looking at some of the underlying issues of the support quality.

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How Do We Expand the Discussion on Enterprise Support?

When SAP raised its maintenance fees from 17 to 22 percent on July 16, 2008, it was not surprising that there would be ramifications. Some have speculated (though I can’t confirm it) that these ripple effects even include the decision from the ASUG Board (the North American SAP User Group) to end the term of CEO Steve Strout. Some have also hypothesized, based on the “Oracle versus SAP” report recently issued by Forrester, that those SAP customers who hold off on upgrading to ERP 6.0, partially due to their frustrations over increased support fees, could even be won over by Oracle if Fusion can indeed be produced in a ready-for-prime-time format in 2010 as planned. This would imply to me, and hopefully to SAP as well, that customer satisfaction over SAP support is something to be taken very seriously.

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What is the Latest on the BI/BO Product Roadmap?

On Tuesday, December 7, I had the opportunity to sit in on a webcast on the BI/BO product that was open to SAP Mentors. We had the chance to ask questions on the roadmap from Ingo Hilgefort, who is himself an SAP Mentor and a key player instrumental in the integration of BI with Business Objects even prior to the acquisition. Ingo also conducted the Business Object track at the Community Day events in Las Vegas and Berlin. For me, this was a chance to see how SAP had sharpened its view of the BI/BO future since the BO Summit I attended in Boston in August. I wrote a longer piece on BI/BO skills transitions after that event.

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What is the Biggest Mistake that SAP Job Seekers Make?

I have written about the fundamentals of a good SAP career strategy, but I continue to get career questions that raise these same points. So I decided to launch a series in my SAP Career Blog that talks about the main job search mistakes that SAP professionals make. Most of these mistakes apply equally to experienced SAP pros as well as those who are new to the field, though there are some distinctions between these  two groups we’ll get into as well.

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How Should SAP Consultants Respond to the Down Market?

It’s shocking how quickly our economic confidence can change. Along with that, professional uncertainties are exposed. So how should SAP consultants respond to the current market conditions? I have put together the following pointers based on my research to date. Just keep in mind the obvious disclaimer that no one knows exactly what lies ahead.

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What Were the Key Trends of TechEd 2008?

So, I’m back from TechEd 2008 and pulling together many different themes that I believe are of importance to JonERP.com readers. I’m going to use this blog entry to update with key links and useful information from the conference.

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What is the Latest on the SAP Maintenance Fee Controversy?

The Silent TechEd ‘08 Issue: Maintenance Fee Increases and Customer Dissatisfaction

In my PAC blog entry on TechEd, "Inside the Hype of TechEd 2008," I wrote about two topics that I thought deserved more airtime than they got at the conference: the Oracle-SAP lawsuit and the maintenance fee increase backlash. I noted that the latter issue is the one that concerns me the most. To be honest, the more I think about it, the more it bothers me. I’m not sure I gave this enough weight in my TechEd in Review piece. Just because an issue isn’t talked about doesn’t mean it’s not important. Sometimes, it’s the elephant in the room.

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