Saturday, March 17, 2007

Evolution / Lifecycle of the ABAP Consultant

SAP R/2, SAP R/3,, MySAP, SAP Enterprise, ESA, ERP2004, ERP2004 Jan*, ERP2004 Feb*..., ERP2005,ECC4, ECC5...SAP Basis, SAP WAS, SAP Netweaver Application Server...,SAP BW, SAP BiW [ ERP2004 Jan*, ERP2004 Feb* are for the Jokes only ]

If you are not confused already with all this then probably you need to learn more about SAP.Eventually, you will. The evolution strategy of SAP products and some mixing of marketing with the technology, by SAP, helped in creating a part of the confusion. Rest is probably because the hard-disk of our average brain is a mismatch for the processor speed of guys at Walldorf.

On the lighter side, you may wonder about the connection between processor of SAP Product Developers/Marketing Managers, with our (Customer's) resources and the analogy may not be technically correct. Remember when you raise an OSS message to SAP. Even if you point an exact problem in the SAP standard program/FM, with the exact version and it has nothing to do with the config of your system or data, still they will not progress it unless they check the same in your system.

You wonder why they can't check the error in their own system especially when you told them already that the error can be reproduced in any ECC6 system. But then I assume that they have a server for each versions of SAP. [ And that they are competing with Google in terms of Servers/Data centers ;-) ]

However, my intention here is only to discuss the terminology used for the roles of SAP ABAP Developers and try to define the evolution of an ABAP Consultant. You must have gone through the debates of ABAP vs. Java. While Java is regarded as a better language for general Application programming, ABAP seems to be better for business applications due to its tightly integrated database interface and ease of coding. OK, forget about the language wars for the moment. Check this nice Blog by Martin.

But when the comparisons were drawn between the Java developers & ABAP consultants, regarding their suitability to SAP application development, then it was ABAP consultant's business/functional knowledge and ability to understand the various transactions/tools/configs/existing integration technologies, which almost made them indispensable, at least for a few years to come.

I am not trying to make a point here that ABAP developers can do without learning Java upgrading their skills from a long term perspective .

I am just trying to understand, the typical Lifecycle ( or evolution, if you like it ) of an ABAP Consultant. At the moment, it is based on my perception that can be discussed further and improvised. In case, a conclusion can be drawn then possibly we should be able to standardize the terminology related with SAP Developer's role.

The picture that you see is just an attempt to draw your attention and may not actually be helpful for the exercise. [In the same way, that we are generally not able to relate our perceptions of the SAP architecture with the architectural-diagrams of those power-point presentations].

In this Blog, I am just listing the roles, based on the technical/functional capabilities of an ABAP Consultant, and will try to explain the evolution in details, later. I've not taken into account Team Lead/Technical Manager/Project Manager roles here as these are related with their management capability.

In a normal service/small implementation projects scenario, the roles can be indicated as:

  • ABAP Trainee
  • ABAP Programmer / ABAPer
  • ABAP Consultant
  • SAP Technical Consultant [ or even SAP Techno-functional ]
However, in a product development scenario / big implementation projects involving huge developments / integration with other systems, it can involve:

  • ABAP Trainee
  • ABAP Programmer / ABAPer
  • ABAP Consultant
  • SAP Technical Consultant / SAP Techno-functional / SAP Solution Architect
  • SAP Technical Architect
In my next Blog, I'll try to map the evolution stages of an ABAP consultant with these roles, and the traits which are required for a particular role.

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  1. Hi Ram, an interesting concept about the lifecycle of an ABAPer. Personally, I don't want to go into architecture though, as I like development, so I guess I will remain in a cocoon :-)
    I had to smile about the question why SAP cannot test bugs on their own local installations, having made that experience too.

  2. Thanks Martin.

    Actually every ABAPer has to move from being just a programmer to a consultant. At times we don't realize that we crossed a particular phase but that does not mean we didn't :-)


  3. Hello Ram,

    The way you categorized the roles from ABAP trainee to SAP consultant looks very straight and cool.Good work dude :-) waiting for your further info.

  4. Hi ram u ave indicated the role of an abaper. It
    really understandable.


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