Q: With more than 90 percent of all SAP projects utilizing consultants
at some point in the solution's lifecycle, how does SAP ensure there will
be enough talent to go around? And how can a customer know with a high
degree of certainty that a consultant is even qualified to do the job?
Picking consultants, in my mind, boils down to two things. First, you
seek out those that are bright, resourceful, and experienced. There is
simply no substitute for that. Second, you get assurances that they possess
comprehensive and up-to-date knowledge of the SAP solutions for which
they are providing services.
Now more than ever, consultants need to
be well versed in SAP technology and methodologies, because mySAP.com
solutions embrace a number of components, not just one. Few SAP customers
now operate R/3 systems in a vacuum. R/3 systems, more often than not,
now interoperate with other systems. Consultants who are up-to-date on
their training will have the know-how to ensure smooth and reliable cross-system
operation. That's why we "certify" professionals. This SAP seal
of approval is not granted casually. Consultants go through rigorous training
and testing in specialized areas of proficiency to demonstrate they have
a thorough grasp of the intricacies of that particular line of expertise.
As to your question about having enough
talent to go around: To date, after growing by over 20,000 in 2001, there
are close to 90,000 certified SAP professionals worldwide. These certified
professionals are more or less evenly distributed across the Americas,
Europe, the Middle East, and the Asia-Pacific region. Given these numbers
and this distribution, I don't foresee a shortage of qualified talent.
Q: Partners receive training and certification from the SAP Solution
Academy, formerly called the SAP Partner Academy. Why did you change
For one thing, the elite training curriculum we offer is not strictly
for partners. SAP caters to lots of large customers who have in-house
professional staffs and competency centers, many of which rival the quality
of the preeminent consultancies. Professionals from these organizations
are eligible for this level of training and certification, too.
A stronger motivation, however, is to highlight
a new focus. As the new name implies, the SAP Solution Academy
provides solution-oriented education. It is critical that professionals
recognize that you don't implement or gain skills in a product vacuum
anymore. Everything's operating cross-module, cross-system, and cross-vendor,
and you need to understand the broader context in which this technology
operates and be skilled within that context. The paradigm for expertise
has shifted from being knowledgeable in a specific product module to being
knowledgeable in an overall solution that is cross-module and cross-product.
Q: You referred to the SAP Solution Academy as having an "elite"
training curriculum. What makes its course offerings different from those
offered by typical SAP training centers?
The SAP Solution Academy, unlike SAP's standard training centers, places
much more emphasis on hands-on case studies, where professionals can delve
into the software and test various configurations in a controlled environment
that closely approximates a real-world project.
Another key differentiator is our emphasis
on certification and the manner in which you attain that accreditation.
We offer curriculum tracks that embody a sequence of courses designed
to prepare professionals to perform specific tasks or fulfill specific
roles.1 Training along these very specialized
tracks culminates with the certification examination.
Lastly, our offerings are designed in concert
with our major partners to ensure that the courses we develop are in sync
with the real-world challenges customers need help with.
Q: Is this certification program entirely in the customer's best interest?
And what does SAP get out of it?
The more professionals we educate about how best to evaluate, design,
implement, and optimize a solution, particularly in the early phases of
a project's lifecycle, the fewer escalation problems customers will experience
later on. It is clearly in our customers' best interest, and ours too,
to nurture consistent, high-quality professional services, because the
byproduct of high-quality services is high-quality implementations that
are subject to far fewer problems. This level of service is made possible
by creating a rich, accredited SAP ecosystem with a pool of professional
talent, all of whom are fully knowledgeable, up-to-date, and trained to
help customers get the most from SAP integrated software solutions.
a complete list of areas of specialization and certification visit the SAP
Service Marketplace at http://service.sap.com.
Weyersmueller joined SAP AG in 1992 as Global Sales Director
of Basis Components, where he was responsible for the initial rollout
of SAP's R/3 client-server technology worldwide. Since 1995, he served
as Global Director of the SAP Solution Academy, responsible for development
of specific training for SAP partners and SAP's certification program
for consultants. Prior to joining SAP, Waldemar spent 19 years with IBM
Germany in consulting, sales, and management roles. Waldemar received
a master's degree in mathematics at the University of Karlsruhe, Germany.