Sunday, March 1, 2009

To SAP with Love: Focus on University Alliance than SAP Certifications

Please SAP, Focus on improving the University & Corporate Alliance Program. You will get your chance to certify them later. Think about Future.

Like any other checks, SAP Certifications can be useful but it is not a necessary or sufficient measure to judge the ability of an SAP Consultant. Anyone serious about solving the issue should focus on the root cause of the problem. My advice to someone who thinks SAP Certification, by itself, is the magic solution to the problem of failed SAP projects. With due respect, now please get back to earth. And welcome home, just in case.

A lot of digital ink ( and sound waves as well ) have been well spent on SAP Certification discussion and if you are feeling left behind then check this one by Dennis Howlett to start with.

In general, I've summarized the way different sectors of SAP ecohub value SAP Certifications:

1. SAP Aspirants: SAP Certifications is their only quick and possible hope of getting into a relatively lucrative career. Unfortunately, it turns out to be a false hope, in most of the cases.

2. SAP Buyers / Deal Makers / Management / Sales : In absence of any other quick measure to filter good consultants from bad ones they fall back on SAP Certifications as a measure of talent, knowledge & skill.
Consultancies and Sales guys are aware of the SAP Buyers' infatuations towards 'Number of certified SAP consultants' so they use it for their advantage, whenever possible.

3. Experienced and competent consultants: Most of them don't give a damn about SAP Certifications. In reality, if they interview a candidate, who is emphasizing on his SAP certifications more than his previous work and experience, then it's a negative sign.

Why do I think that SAP Certification is not an effective solution compared to University / Corporate Alliance? [ Actually, it's not even as good as filtering through normal interview selection ]

Because knowledge of syntaxes, semantics, few basic configuration scenarios, master / transaction data, is not enough , unless you have the TALENT, SKILL & EXPERIENCE to apply that knowledge in resolving real Business/IT problems. Surely I must have left a few other important attributes for success but then  I am not an expert.

I believe good universities/colleges have a better framework to attract talent and judge them through a long term process of examination compared to SAP Certifications. No offence meant to anyone who has just graduated and went for SAP Certifications but I've seen a disturbing trend in some parts of the world.

SAP Certifications are perceived as costlier but relatively easier way of getting into IT. Most of the fresh graduates, who could not qualify to the generic aptitude tests of IT companies and other qualification criteria, resort to SAP certifications. Much to their disappointment later. In a sense SAP Certification is not capable of attracting or filtering right talent.

In its current form, SAP Certifications are merely a check of your knowledge gained through a few days of SAP Training. It does not add much value to the skills or experience. It's not even an aptitude test. University and corporate alliance programs can surely help in enhancing your skill and provide some basic experience through corporate internships.

Further, it's important to have right academic / industry qualifications depending on the specific area of SAP. Also, experience as a business user in the related field should be considered valuable for a career in SAP Functional area.

There are always some exceptions to the rule but who cares about exceptions.

WHEN OTHERS " Probably a genius but deprived because of this university framework
*   Do Nothing , they will find their way.

Enough on certifcations. I will be back with a post on the XML ABAP transformation tool soon.

Disclaimer: I am also one of the non-certified SAP consultants. Luckily ( or whatever ),  I got a chance to work with SAP Projects from the begining of my career. Basically, I am still learning it for the past 11 years.

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