Thinking about a new career path? An SAP consultant may sound like a pretty niche role and you might not have even heard of SAP before. However, it’s definitely a role worth exploring if you like the idea of working closely with some of the world’s top brands, have experience in IT, and possess the ability to solve problems and communicate effectively.
“[SAP] is used by enterprise companies across all industry sectors, and it offers challenging work, teaching cross-transferable skills and offering on-the-job learning,” explain SAP recruiters Eursap. “It is well-paid and in demand and offers great career progression opportunities. It is used by companies globally, so often offers the opportunity to travel/relocate for those who wish to do so.”
Let’s run through all you need to know.
What is SAP?
SAP is a German multinational company and the name is an acronym for ‘Systemanalyse Programmentwicklung’, which translates to ‘System Analysis Program Development’. It is pronounced as individual letters (S-A-P) rather than as one work (sap). It currently has the biggest weighting on the German DAX stock market index and, according to the company, 77% of the world’s transaction revenue touches an SAP system.
SAP software allows businesses to manage their processes and create solutions for facilitating effective data processing and information flow. It’s best known for setting the global standard for enterprise resource planning (ERP) software.
Rather than separating all business processes (finance, HR, manufacturing etc.), ERP allows companies to manage everything within one integrated system to improve productivity, simplify IT, lower risk, improve agility, and accelerate reporting. As the majority of an organisation’s data should be within the ERP system, this also acts as a single source of truth that can provide deeper insights.
What do SAP consultants do?
In a nutshell, SAP consultants help SAP customers utilise the technology in the best way for their business. This involves designing, implementing and maintaining SAP systems in line with a company’s needs and within existing IT programmes, analysing problems, and providing customer support. They may also need to train company employees on how to use the software effectively, so some travelling may be required. SAP consultants are often employed by the company in question either for a one-time consultation or for a longer duration.
What are the different types of SAP consultants?
- Responsible for the development and implementation of SAP software
- Use coding programmes like JAVA and ABAP
- Work with clients to design a solution that meets their needs and complements their IT infrastructure
- Highly involved in customer interactions
- Provides strategic advice to clients using the software
- Helps customers optimise their use of the software to improve business processes
- Part of software implementation and maintenance
- Responsible for administration and operation
- Duties include workload and error analysis, checking system health and changing parameters
- Customise software to meet organisation’s needs
- Uses SAP’s different functional modules
- Works with clients to ensure their needs are met
How do you become a SAP consultant?
You need a degree in Information Technology or another relevant subject (a degree in Computer Science is essential if you want to specialise in technical modules). Business qualifications can also be useful as SAP consultants often need to get involved in company finances when implementing the software. You should also obtain SAP-specific qualifications through training courses and exams. Certificates are available at associate, specialist and professional levels and will help give you a deep understanding of SAP modules that will be required in consultancy roles.
In terms of soft skills, you’ll need to demonstrate strong analytical, communication, and problem-solving abilities. You’ll likely need to deliver presentations to clients so it could be worth improving your skills in this area as well. And as for your first steps into the sector, consider securing a junior IT consultancy role or entry-level SAP role like a junior SAP analyst or developer.