What is a SAP Consultant?
There are a multitude of different software solutions designed for business needs, and a SAP Consultant is an expert in this software. SAP was a collaboration of five former IBM staff members in Germany, and the name is an acronym for German words: Systeme, Anwendungen, Produkte, which means Systems Applications and Products. This software allows businesses to maintain their customer relationship management software (CRM), their supply chain management software (SCM), as well as managing their employee, financial, production records as well as their archived data.
The job title of a SAP Consultant can be rather vague, but most professionals choose to focus in one of two areas: Technical or Functional. Individuals with experience in the technological field, such as programming and software development, are better fitted to consult on the technological side of SAP software, while those with a background in finance, for example, can focus on the functional area of SAP Consulting. Entry-level SAP Consultants often work very long hours, up to 80 per week, while they focus on learning individual SAP modules. However, once they have mastered them, their hours may slow down depending on project needs. SAP Consultants can work in both large and small companies, typically reporting to a Senior SAP Consultant or an IT Manager, while a portion is self-employed. Demand for Computer Support Specialists, such as SAP Consultants, is growing at the rate of 12 percent, which is faster than average for all jobs. The Bureau of Labor and Statistics expects 855,700 positions to become open through 2024 from both attrition and the creation of new positions.
SAP Consultant Duties and Responsibilities
A SAP Consultant must become an expert in one or more modules of the SAP software. In order to excel in this role, they must be able to master their niche in the SAP offering, as well as be able to manage projects and program the software for the needs of the end-clients. The most common duties of an SAP Consultant include:
Design and Implement SAP Solutions
SAP software is not a one-size-fits-all solution, and must be configured for each client’s individual needs. The first step in this process is understanding the customer’s business needs, their issues with their current software, as well as any possible limitations in using the system (such as lack of skill or system requirements). Then, the SAP Consultant builds the solution according to the industry, department and tasks it will be used for. They are in charge of writing programs for interfaces, forms and other specifications.
When clients face challenges with their current systems or encounter issues with the SAP software, they turn to the SAP Consultant to propose solutions to improve their operations. As such, a SAP Consultant must be current on the latest SAP offerings, updates and developments, so they can suggest the most up-to-date solution to the problem. Additionally, as clients may work in a variety of industries – such as finance, government, technology or other – the SAP Consultant must be knowledgeable in that field in order to recommend workable technical solutions.
A SAP Consultant may work in a team, supervising junior SAP Consultants. If that is the case, this individual will be responsible for recruiting qualified candidates, training them in the technical skills required to do the job, as well as the customer service approach each company requires of its staff.
SAP Consultant Skills
A SAP Consultant must be technologically savvy, patient and able to explain complex solutions to people with different levels of technological knowledge.
Core skills: To succeed as a SAP Consultant, having expert knowledge in the field is not enough; successful candidates must have people and customer service skills to provide the help and guidance their clients need. Core skills these professionals should possess are:
- Interpersonal skills
- Analytical skills
- Integrating FICO-related activities
- Creating and testing uploading tools
- Report writing
- Customer service
Advanced skills: Add these to your proverbial toolkit to excel in this field:
- People management experience
- Project management
- Business analytics
Tools of the Trade: These tools are commonly used by SAP Consultants:
- Tool 1: SAP Sales & Distribution
- Tool 2: SAP Financial Accounting and Controlling
- Tool 3: SAP Materials Management
- Tool 4: SAP Sales & Distribution
- Tool 5: Customer Relationship Management (CRM)
SAP Consultant Salary
Computer Support Specialists, such as SAP Consultants, can expect to earn a median yearly salary of $48,600. Those able to relocate to the District of Columbia, Massachusetts and California can expect to earn a salary on the higher end of the spectrum – $60,600, $58.900 and $57,700, respectively. The lowest paid professionals in the field earn $29,000, while the highest-paid earn $81,300 or more.
SAP Consultant Resources
SAP software is always changing and updating; as such SAP Consultants must attend workshops, trainings and read the latest journals and blogs to keep themselves up-to-date on relevant developments. Utilize the sources below to learn more about this industry and profession:
On the Web
SAP Software Solutions – The official website of the SAP software.
SAP Certification and Training – Find out more information about learning SAP for free with trainings and certification from SAP Education.
Infosys Blog – This blog discusses business intelligence, integration, compliance and other SAP-related topics, such as implementation, best practices and resources.
@SAPNorthAmerica – Tweet the North American division of SAP in order to get answers on the future of business, and learn how to run live and run simple.
@SAPTechEd – SAP’s premier technology education event created for developers, engineers, and tech professionals.
SAP Community – A free community that inspires SAP people in all walks of life to collaborate on topics related to SAP software.
SAP Career Opportunities Group – A networking group for the Global SAP market that allows members to find a new career in SAP or stay up to date on the latest market news and SAP jobs.
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