The SAP Market

Posted on January 2014 By Judy Cole

​The new year brings the opportunity to welcome new beginnings, and new beginnings often bring change. As a manager and as a sales person who relies heavily on the SAP market, I like to reflect on the past year and use that knowledge to prepare for the calendar year ahead. This year I would like to share what we experienced last year and perhaps you too can use this information to prepare yourself for 2014.

2013 saw a very patchy economy, which reflected in up and down sales results for Speller International. We had our best July ever in Speller International history but also experienced some of our worst months ever. It is safe to say that it was a tough and emotional year for recruiters so I imagine that it was also a tough and emotional year for some of the SAP community.

A true positive in the market is that the FMCG industry is well and truly back and booming. Where the previous 5 years saw diminishing demand in the supply chain modules such as SAP APO, PP, QM and WM; 2013 certainly brought those back to the top of our placement list. This is great to see as the Utilities sector had been carrying the market by itself for long enough.

As this article is about the SAP market, I guess it would not be right if I did not mention HANA or Mobility at least once given that they were clearly the “talk of the town” (almost comically so) at any SAP networking and market information events. But what effect did they have on the market for the year?

From our perspective it saw an enormous increase in SAP BI/BO contract and permanent roles, with most companies choosing initially to implement BI on HANA; skills such as SAP BI, BO and BODS have constantly been at the top of our placement lists.

Mobility has not shown as strong results for us personally, with companies (rightfully so) opting to train up existing internal developers.

In my opinion, perhaps the greatest effect that HANA, Mobility and Cloud has had on the market in 2013 is the excitement and the optimism that it has created at a time when people needed it. It also showed us that companies actually did have money; they were just being cautious but all they needed was to be tempted to part with it and as soon as someone dangled the speed to access mass data and the ease behind mobility, they were ready to spend.

The market ended on a high with large projects in the pipeline for next year across multiple industries…even retail is making a comeback! The Sydney market has been quiet for the last couple of years but Sydney is certainly picking up as well…this year will see the start of the much awaited Sydney Transport projects which will certainly require a lot of SAP professionals for at least the next 2 years.

The competition across the consulting houses is healthy with projects being spread across numerous companies as opposed to just Accenture, as I am sure many of us remember from just a few years ago. Perhaps one of the biggest success stories for the year was at Capgemini who found themselves winning some of the larger SAP projects…all at the same time! NTT Data have also made an impact across the mid-tier partners by winning the majority of the smaller to medium size SAP projects.

Outsourcing/offshoring has been the interesting and often dirty words on most people’s lips this past year. It has certainly had an impact on the SAP Technical arena with SAP ABAP roles few and far between for the final months of the year. I would usually say don’t panic…because what has often come hand in hand with outsourcing is….. Yep…insourcing! Having said that, the SAP roles and market are changing and perhaps the biggest change that we have noticed this past year is the emphasis on “business facing” and “adaptability”. Companies want more from their employees, they want somebody who are not only technically strong but often more importantly good with the business, someone able to build rapport and really understand what the business wants.

Going are the days of just sitting behind a screen cutting code or doing configuration because that really can be outsourced. What cannot be outsourced is the relationship building skills, the ability to communicate effectively and to understand how IT can improve the specific business efficiency.

So, the message I will be giving to my recruitment team is straight forward. I believe it’s going to be a very good year, people are spending, people are excited about technology, new roles are being created and we will not be thrown an election campaign that will last most of the year! I will however caveat that with; it will be a very good year for those who embrace change and adapt, it is time to draw that imaginary line and welcome a new beginning. In order to remain successful in this market then recruiters need to adapt and add value; that I believe is also true of SAP Consultants, embrace the new technologies, accept that outsourcing is here to stay and understand that roles and responsibilities will change but that change will bring new opportunities.