Last week’s post took a hard look at the types of consulting services you need for a high speed SAP project (see SAP Consultants for High Speed SAP Projects). Consultants who work on SAP projects in the small and mid-sized business space develop great breadth of SAP experience across an entire area. This week we will look at the other side of that coin, consultant skills from large, long-term type SAP projects and what their experience provides.
Consultants on the larger, longer-term SAP projects may not develop the breadth of experience gained through smaller company experience but they develop depth of experience. Small and mid-sized SAP implementation projects create breadth of experience while large projects create depth of experience.
How is Consulting Service Delivery Impacted by Large SAP Project Skill Development
On larger SAP projects the projects are usually broken out into sub-teams within a module or area. These SAP consultants may cover a small subset of a module, or of the overall solution within a small subset. As a result they spend much more time digging into the details of the functionality around that small subset of SAP setup. That type of focus creates a high degree of narrowly focused specialization.
For example, a consultant who focuses on just the SAP GL Account setup will easily become an expert at every setting and every option related to its setup. They will learn about the different posting possibilities, account settings, document types, how to deal with taxes, reporting issues, data elements that can be stored in the GL, etc. An SAP SD consultant who focuses on order setup might become an expert at all of the copy rules around moving the data from an order to a delivery or to billing. Depending on how the responsibilities are broken out they might focus on the different types of item categories and all of the functionality they drive.
Small and mid-sized SAP implementation projects create breadth of experience while large projects create depth of experience
Big SAP project consultants gain great depth of experience with very narrow areas of the application. Those with many years of experience are great for projects that require specialized focus for complex processing around a very specialized area. So if you are having a particular problem, in a very narrow area of the application, these SAP consulting skills may provide value.
SAP Consulting Services to Produce Business Value and Achieve ROI
Depending on what you are trying to achieve different types of consulting skills are required. When you need SAP architecture, complex process design, involved SAP custom development, or other unique requirements you will want an SAP consultant with many years of all around experience. That type of consultant needs both depth and breadth of experience with a well-rounded background in small, mid-sized, and large company SAP implementations.
The obvious but often overlooked fact is SAP consulting service delivery is directly related to the type of consulting experience you are provided
This type of experience will generally take around 10 or more years of experience. I’ve written about this previously in Expert SAP Consulting to Reduce SAP TCO and Improve SAP ROI where the academic studies lay out the path to “expert performance.” Unfortunately for most SAP customers they will rarely find this level of skill with any of the consulting firms or system integrators unless those integrators use contractors. Few consulting companies provide these types of consulting services because as I’ve pointed out, if you haven’t moved up “through the ranks” after 10 years in a consulting firm, your future is pretty dim.
Where Can Customers Find These Skills or High Quality SAP Consulting Services?
One of the most important areas where you can make a difference in your solution results is to hire solution experts (see Industry Specific SAP Consulting vs Deep SAP Application Experience). They are not easy to find, but they are out there.
If your SAP project is large enough to have more than one consultant per module then demand that at least one of those consultants has both depth and breadth of experience. If they are the only consultant for an entire module you may wish to insist that they have a significant amount of small and mid-sized project experience. If you need specialized skills then you will certainly want to consider large project experience in that particular sub-area of expertise.
As an SAP customer you have to insist on the level of skill and experience that a consulting company provides in their initial proposal. In other words, your SAP RFP must call out what level of skill and experience you expect. You must insist in writing on this and build it into your SAP consulting service contract with the vendor you choose. Until SAP customers begin demanding this from the marketplace nothing will ever change, results will continue to be sub-par, and ROI from your SAP investment will continue to be lacking.
One last consideration is to be very, very careful of the consultants you or your SAP consulting firm hires. There are so many frauds, fakes, and con artists out there it is frightening. And I don’t mean just exaggerated either, but outright fabrication and fraud. Unfortunately many of the staffing firms knowingly allow the fraud to continue (see Screening and Interview Methods to Find the Right SAP Consultant and Screening and Interview Methods to Find the Right Consultant – Part 2).
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