Staying Marketable In Any Economy: It Starts with Skills Mastery
When it comes to SAP career success, one thing has not changed: for the hands-on SAP professional, mastery of a particular area of SAP remains the key to marketability. It may sound strange to begin a discussion of SAP careers with the notion of mastery, since skills mastery is really an end goal. Success in SAP means creating a personal skills strategy. That means envisioning the desired result - skills mastery of a particular area of SAP - and working backwards from there to define a step-by-step plan for skills acquisition.

While the downturn has impacted the overall demand for SAP skills, many employers still have a wish list of sought after SAP experts. Management of SAP talent is a serious issue for employers-in any economy. I recently issued a podcast with Nenshad Bardoliwalla, former SAP executive and co-author of Driven to Perform: Risk-Aware Performance Management from Strategy to Execution. Bardoliwalla's book is significant because it charts the shift that companies still need to make in their efforts to link strategy and execution.

If that sounds familiar to those of you who track SAP buzzwords, that's because it is: Nenshad was part of the SAP team that helped to define the SAP BusinessObjects strategy of linking strategy to execution. This is a key trend for SAP professionals as well, as we look to embody SAP's own goal of bringing "intelligence" to transactions, helping users get the info they need in the form (or device) they want to "consume" it in.

During our podcast, Nenshad shared the business trends that impact his thinking. One key trend he noted is the cultivation of talent. As Nenshad put it:

The talent wars for the best and brightest are nonstop, no matter where we are in the economic cycle. The discipline of "talent management" has become a must-have for companies who want to cultivate (and measure) internal talent and provide an advancement path for top performers.

But a good team is only as good as the next project. In some cases, even good internal teams have to rely on outside experts in particular areas. In recent cases I've seen, one involved NetWeaver PI; another, SAP security; and a third involved SAP pricing.

These outside experts were brought in because their area of mastery was something that the project was unable to provide internally. That's why SAP skills mastery counts.

SAP skills mastery creates internal job security, while also ensuring that other companies will seek you out to fill a gap on their team, whether or not you are on the job market.

The times, however, are definitely changing. These days, technical skills mastery is only one aspect of SAP skills success. What are the key components of the SAP skill set we should seek to acquire? Let's have a look.

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