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What is SAP?



If you've found your way to this page, chances are you've been scouring the web for information about SAP. What is it? And how can you benefit from it? If so, you're in the right place! This is the number one resource about SAP that you'll find, anywhere on the internet!


We're not going to throw jargon at you, and we're not going to waste your time with irrelevant information. We're going to give you straightforward, practical details about how SAP can change your life, just like you've been looking for – all consolidated in one place, in manageable, bite-sized chunks, formatted for ease of navigation. So sit back, relax, and let us explain the importance of SAP, the monumental impact it's making on the job industry, and how you can benefit from the boom.


The SAP job market is growing at an unprecedented pace. Not only are SAP jobs being added to the global economy every day, but the rate of salary growth within the SAP sector is almost unheard of. As an SAP contractor, you can earn between **US$800 and US$1,000 dollars in a single day – that's US$22,000 a month even when you take weekends off to afford yourself a good work-life balance. To put that into perspective, it's the standard income of a small business.


So we know the industry is lucrative for contractors, but SAP has created the first ever opportunity for an employee to become a millionaire without the hassle of owning and running a business. For example, Saudi Aramco, the largest petroleum company in the world, implemented SAP. As the end of the project, all of the SAP consultants working on contract became instant millionaires. You may already be thinking to yourself, “What am I waiting for?” But there's more.


By knowing SAP, you don't limit yourself to being contracted in your own country. You can work right where you are of course, if that's what you want. But you can also become a globally sought-after consultant, working all over the world – from industrialized countries to the cash-heavy middle-east, you can count your SAP expertise as a guaranteed passport to a jet-setting career. See the wonders of the world and make yourself rich in the process! There are thousands of SAP consultants traveling the world every year – many of them even as you read this. As an SAP consultant, you'd travel on company-paid business trips to perform on-site implementation across the globe. You'd stay in five-star hotels, fly business class and receive a daily expenses allowance of US$80 on top of your contract rates.


For all these reasons, SAP can be considered a business opportunity, rather than a career opportunity – but without the hassle, financial responsibility, overheads and paperwork of running a business.


Since SAP installation bases are increasing in number every day, and have been for some time, there are many SAP consultants out there already. You might think this will make it difficult for you to get into the industry – but you'd be wrong. On the contrary, with an SAP installation comes a need for SAP maintenance. There are thousands of companies that have installed SAP already, and those that are still installing SAP as you read (and in the future), are in need of SAP consultants to manage and overcome the day-to-day issues that can arise with SAP. For as long as SAP is being used by a company, they will need SAP support. For this reason, the number of vacancies for contractors within the SAP field is continuously growing. As you can see, the trend is, and continues to be, toward a requirement for a huge pool of SAP talent, supporting thousands of SAP users around the globe, in a vastly expanding and border-free SAP economy. Here at Erptraining9.com we can help you to become an efficient and effective SAP expert, so that you can start the career you truly deserve.


So Tell Me - What Is SAP?

SAP is an accounting system, but due to the large areas it covers, and the complexity of the system, it's more popularly described as an Enterprise Resource System (ERP). “ERP systems”, as you will come to find out, is an umbrella term, which encompasses large scale accounting systems that include all the modules that a large manufacturing facility might require. Given their huge impact, you've probably heard of some of the main players in the ERP systems field today – SAP, Oracle finances, JD Edwards and BAAN are some of them. SAP is the biggest player in this field, with a 60% market share. SAP has been installed in over 50,000 large scale organizations around the world. Almost 90% of all Fortune 500 companies are using SAP. This indicates the importance of SAP as the market leader in ERP systems.


SAP has a full suite of modules, ranging from financial to human resources, and all these modules are efficiently integrated with each other. This means that a posting in the HR module will immediately be reflected in the financial statements of the company in real-time. This seamless and efficient integration, which reduces the headcount requirement of a company and streamlines its processes, is one of the key reasons why SAP is so popular.


Another main reason that today's big companies are choosing SAP is because it requires minimal coding changes to suit a new company. Almost all the business requirements specific to each company can be easily configured without the need to do any expensive and time-consuming coding. By configuration, we mean that there is a designated place within SAP where we can perform changes to the settings, so that the front end system’s behavior can change accordingly and suit the company's business model. In the Facebook application, for example, if you would like to display your uploaded photos to only a specific group of people, you would enter the control panel of your Facebook account and change settings accordingly to achieve this objective. This concept is also applied in SAP, whereby we can control the front end system behavior by using the system settings features.


If there do happen to be very unique business requirements which cannot be addressed by standard SAP configuration settings, a custom developed solution can be provided using a special programming language called Advanced Business Application Programming (ABAP) to address the requirement. Using Facebook as an example again, this is similar to Facebook providing custom programming Application Programming Interfaces (APIs) for third party vendors (e.g. FarmVille) to create games and other features to run on the Facebook platform. Because of this inherent versatility within the SAP system, there are no requirements left unaddressed by SAP. This marks SAP as the world’s most adaptable ERP system.


For example, a company in USA would like to add the value added tax (VAT) automatically to all the sales invoices to only Canadian customers and all other customers are to be exempted from VAT. This can be configured using the system settings, without doing any programming, so that when you raise an invoice for a Canadian customer, the system will automatically calculate and add the VAT, whereas for rest of the customers it will not. This reduces programming and testing time dramatically; the business can jump start the system with features made available to them through the expert configuration options. Since all configurations are well tested before their release, there will be no bugs or glitches that the businesses have to cope with.


In contrast to a custom developed system, the built-in configurable SAP features have won the hearts - and more importantly, the business - of many top decision makers, because they can concentrate on their core business without hiring a team to develop these features from scratch.


Even though many other ERP systems are designed with this same “no coding” principle in mind, SAP stands out because of the degree of configurability in the system, which is far more intuitive than any other ERP systems. SAP has 10,000 database tables to hold all its system settings, which explains the wide range of configurations that an SAP system can offer. To be a a bit more technical, there is a provision called “lean accounting” in US-based asset management, and this feature is fully configurable in SAP. In countries like Turkey and Mozambique where there is high inflation, some specific accounting adjustments must be done to cope with the inflation statistics released by the government from time to time. Again, this requirement is also fully configurable in SAP.


As you've probably gathered, the key selling point of SAP, and the reason for its unparalleled success around the globe, is the high degree of adaptability to various business environments. While this highly intuitive system is a boon for businesses in terms of cost and efficiency, the almost unlimited power of the system and the sheer number of configurations that can be performed can be quite complex. Because of this, the employment market has opened up for SAP configuration experts.


SAP configuration is a huge field of education by itself, since the total number of pages in SAP product documentation is around 100,000. This means that companies, rather than spending huge amounts on training in-house SAP specialists (who might only be needed for change periods after initial configuration), are employing the services of SAP consultants in a mutually beneficial business relationship. The market for such SAP consultancy is huge.


There are thousands of SAP consultants around the world, employed just to handle this SAP configuration job. This allows businesses to sail through the process of change management. The job of an SAP consultant is to change the configuration of the SAP system to cater to the business needs of the organization. This is a one-off process for the business, but it does not stop after the initial setup. Change is inevitable in any business, so from time to time there will be post-implementation feature changes required by these companies, which need to be addressed by SAP consultants who will change the SAP system settings accordingly.


This is a never ending process as long as the business continues to exist. In the 40 years of SAP existence, there has never been an SAP consultant who knows all the modules in SAP. SAP is divided into multiple modules such as FI, Controlling, MM, SD and etc. Each module is so large that it is impossible for anyone to master all the modules. Although attempts have been made by some very senior aspiring SAP consultants to add more modules to their knowledge, when they concentrate in a new module, their proficiency in the modules they have already become experts in tend to reduce. It is not humanly possible to learn the entire system, but don't lose heart. This means that your SAP knowledge will be highly specialized. The SAP industry would rather have a series of highly effective experts in different areas, than a pool of less effective jack-of-all-trades. It also means that you're competing, on a contract-by-contract basis, with less people, since the industries that contract SAP experts understand this complexity and contract accordingly.


SAP consultants are free to choose the module of their interest to study and become an expert in. Since they have only that module to concentrate on, they have more scope to become intricately familiar with the issues and requirements of that particular module, and to become highly sought-after consultants in their field. We have SAP consultants who are specialized in FI/CO, MM, SD, PP, PS, BI and so on. However, each of these consultants must at least know the integration areas of their module with other modules so that team communication is efficient and clear. The following are the main modules available in SAP and the purpose of each module :-


Module

Abbreviation

Description

Finance & Controlling

FI/CO

This module is the main module which has got main sub modules as follows :-

Finance – General ledger, Accounts receivable, Accounts payable, Asset Accounting

Controlling – Cost center, Profit center, Internal order, Product costing, Profitability Analysis

Material Management

MM

This module is all about purchasing, vendor management and inventory management

Sales & Distribution

SD

This module is all about sales and customer management

Production Planning

PP

This module is all about manufacturing activities

Project Systems

PS

This module is all about managing various projects within the organization like building a new building, plant and etc.

Human Resource

HR

This module is used to manage the HR activities and more importantly the payroll processing.

Business Intelligence

BI

This module is about extracting various data for management reporting and analysis

Advanced Business Application Programming

ABAP

This is the programming language of SAP using which we can do customization to cater to business needs which cannot be addressed by the standard SAP features

Basis

Basis

This is the system administration part of SAP where various administration functions of SAP is handled


SAP consultants are very highly paid in the industry, partly because their job requires an in-depth understanding of client business and financial postings. There are 2 groups of SAP consultants: functional and technical. Functional consultants are the ones who have mastered the front-end features of SAP, and technical consultants are the ones working with the back-end aspects of SAP, such as programming and system administration.


As an SAP functional consultant, you should be able to take part in discussions with key finance department users like the financial controller, CFO and accountants. This means you need a high level of communication expertise in order to listen to and understand the business requirements. You also need to be able to explain what SAP can offer to the business in layman's terms.


Technical consultants don't have to face the key users or engage in any business meetings for business requirement studies, because this job is already done by the functional consultants and converted into easily readable technical specifications for the technical consultant. If you have an IT background and do not want to study accounting to become a functional consultant, you can become an SAP technical consultant by choosing the BI, ABAP or Basis career path. These are the 3 modules in SAP which do not require accounting knowledge, and therefore people with a purely technical interest or proficiency are best suited for these modules.


SAP Prerequisites

The typical prerequisite for anyone wishing to embark on an SAP career is an accounting or IT background as follows :-

Module

Knowledge Background

Consultant Category

Finance & Controlling

Accounting

Functional

Material Management

Accounting or Purchasing

Functional

Sales & Distribution

Accounting or Supply Chain

Functional

Production Planning

Manufacturing

Functional

Project Systems

Project Management

Functional

Human Resource

Human Resource

Functional

Business Intelligence

Programming or Data Warehousing

Technical

ABAP

Programming

Technical

Basis

System Administration

Technical

Why You Should Seriously Consider an SAP Career if You're an Accountant, MBA, Computer Science Graduate


To become a successful SAP consultant, there are only 2 domains of knowledge that are seriously considered: accounting and computing. If you have already chosen a career path within accounting or computing which is a non-starter, then it's time for you to seriously consider switching to SAP for some very compelling reasons. Because SAP has already been installed in almost 90% of the world's biggest corporations, it has in turn created what we call "the SAP Economy".


This unannounced and unofficial term is in existence because the SAP industry is no longer an industry per se – it is more than that. This new term was coined because SAP is the only industry in which independent contracting jobs are thriving. The contracting jobs in Oracle and Java have already dwindled because there are just too many contractors who can offer their best services at low prices. In SAP, this trend is reversed.


SAP’s learning curve is a more difficult one compared to Oracle or Java, so if you have mastered an SAP module you will be a highly skilled professional, and can offer your services on contract rates rather than being employed as an employee. This is different from mastering Oracle or Java, because these tools are not being used to solve a business problem.


Oracle and Java are merely development tools which are used to develop new software or to address a software requirement. They are not business solutions in and of themselves. In SAP’s case, the software is already there, and we customize its features and identify the optimum way to make use of it for the individual business. This is a different ball game altogether. You cannot rely on just your programming skills and logical mind to get the best output from it. Instead, you have to use your analytical business skills to put SAP features to good use. In the business, we call it the “SAP brain” - analytical, on-point and efficient. Because of the specific niche of skills required, SAP consultants are highly sought after and thus better paid than accountants and IT workers.


As an accountant or IT graduate the opportunities for you to get a very high contract rate are rare, because you are massively outnumbered by the large pool of experienced contractors already available. In SAP, this available talent pool is kept under control for the following reasons :-


1. Lack of Domain Knowledge.

IT professionals are afraid to take up SAP because they do not have the required accounting knowledge.

2. Lack of Software Knowledge.

Accountants are afraid to take up SAP because they are afraid to work with computer software.


Both of these concerns have acted as a dam, keeping the SAP market untapped. It's not overcrowded, which leaves it open to the real professionals who love a tough challenge for a great reward. SAP is not for everyone. Some people are just more suited to the easier, less lucrative life of employment, working for someone else and waiting for their employer to recognize their potential. But if you want to work for yourself in a challenging sector, be your own boss, meet daily challenges and be right at the heart of business solutions, then SAP is the right world for you. In the SAP world, lazy people don't last long, and neither do those who aren't forward-thinking, analytical doers. So rest assured that you will not face any threat to your career from less able, less committed contractors, as long as you know your SAP and are able to field and tackle questions put forward by key business users. The key business users will automatically communicate back to your managers, and managers are there to ensure that their businesses are getting value for money – so they only want the best.


There is only one rule you need to follow to win the lucrative SAP game: acquire an in-depth knowledge of SAP. Don't waste any more time in other industries and miss out on a spectacular journey into an invigorating, stimulating and interesting SAP career. Start considering your future SAP career seriously. You won't regret it!


Your SAP career could start today! Don't put off the decision wondering if it's the right one. Changing careers can be scary - but that's why so many people get stuck in dead-end jobs, earning peanuts and working for other people. Simply purchase our comprehensive training videos, start learning SAP today, and watch your life transform before your eyes! It couldn't be easier!


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References

** www.payscale.com/research/US/Job=SAP_Consultant/Hourly_Rate

** www.redcommerceinc.com/us-sap-salary-survey

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