Posted on April 2015 By Barbara Bertes
I have been working within the SAP industry for over 10 years. Very early on in my career, I had worked as a permanent employee and gained exposure to SAP Operational processes within Supply Chain modules. However, I always wanted to gain new experiences and challenges and often being a permanent employee it makes it difficult to move around the organisation if the opportunities are not there!
This is what consulting has allowed me to do. It has allowed me to work in dynamic, fast paced project environments where I can be involved with all facets of the project life cycle: Documentation of requirements, mapping the AS IS and TO BE processes with users, implementing change programs and building relationships across the project for the “Go Live” of the new system and much more.
Consulting work keeps me motivated, focused and demands for a results driven attitude whilst allowing you to build your network and experiences within each project. To me, this is the true essence of why I love consulting work and why I never looked back.
What I enjoy and what challenges I face as a SAP BA/ Change and Training Consultant….
As a Business Analyst consultant, I thoroughly enjoy being exposed to operational and system problems and working with users on their pain points. I enjoy the process of building business requirements and working with the business to put forward new processes or solutions that will streamline or eliminate their manual work around’s and free up processing time. At the beginning of the project, it is critical that the business users spend considerable time with the business analyst to ensure proper mapping of processes and requirements are correctly identified. Sometimes, this can prove to be a difficult task. Users also have their own operational activities and priorities to complete in the current day, and so the BA needs to ensure the most value is taken at the best time. It is difficult often to ensure the right business users are involved, that their knowledge is shared and the relationship of trust is built so they have an interest in sharing and being a part of the project. When faced with this difficulty, I ensure I work around the user’s schedule and clearly communicate with the stakeholders and business the criticality, urgency and importance of the activity for the project. I also ensure that I develop a relationship and loyalty with the users so that any of their concerns are shared with me as early as possible as so there is no impact to the project downstream.
Working as a Change/ Training manager allows me to relate to the user on the detail level – whether it be data inaccuracies, processing times and manual work. It also gives me the opportunity to work with the management team and stakeholders to develop impact assessments, change management plans, and work with the leadership teams to implement the change across the impacted users. It can be challenging when you come into an organisation that is used to completing each task day in day out the same way for many years and is resistant to any sort of change! It can also be very challenging to bring impacted users together when logistically they are not in the same location. There needs to be a considerable amount of planning and organising to ensure users are successfully included on the journey together and are invested in the change with the project. Also obtaining buy-in very early on is critical as the stakeholders of the project need to take an active leader role and promote the change for the project. A project can suffer continuously if this is not achieved before even the project has kicked off.
When I am working with users I take an honest approach and show I have a vested interest to understand how they are processing their operational activities and what they want the system to do. It is also critical they understand what the value add is to ensure I obtain their buy in for the new system processes and for them to be actively on board with the project.
What consulting brings to the table for me personally…
Consulting gives me the freedom and the flexibility to work on projects that also meet my personal requirements, whether I choose to get away and recharge with family and friends or decide what my next challenge will be. It allows me to also work with SAP leading recruiters (such as Speller International) to grow my network and be a part of the Speller family.
Juggling personal life with consulting is something everyone approaches differently. For our household, we make it a priority to always be home at a certain time so we can take off our ‘professional hats’ and leave any stress or difficulties we are having at work. My husband is a Senior Engineer and travels often for work, so quality time with our 2 ½ year old is our first priority. At home, we always eat dinner together, play and sing our songs and ensure we have a happy and blissful environment!
I guess life is very fast paced when you are a full time SAP consultant with a toddler who is turning the house upside down and some nights are literally borderline exhausting, however having a good team at work and more importantly – at home, is what I think makes all the difference! I think success in life really comes down to not only the support network you have at work, but really the support network you have at home because that’s where you can be your true insane self. At work, you have to keep it together.