Posted on August 2015 By Judy Cole
Happy EOFY! Happy EOFY!! As I get older the years tend to go faster and faster but there was something else about this past year that seemed to speed things along… the SAP market was booming! We were busy; every day, every week, every month and every quarter, we’re exhausted but excited for the year ahead. Excited and a little bit smug that we picked SAP to specialise in over some of its rivals!
What was it that made 2014/2015 so good for Speller International?
As a Sales Manager I look at the team we had in place, our 3 divisions (SAP – IT, Change and Training, Corporate Services) are fully embedded down and internally we have the right people in the right roles.
Our engagement with customers via “Social Media” is also in full swing, being able to send our newsletter out to 10,000 SAP professionals across the globe has really helped us stay across the market this year and has funnelled some excellent talent through to our website.
Internally, team spirit is at an all-time high and the momentum of success has continued rolling throughout the year really helping us achieve our targets. Our move to a bigger, brighter office also enabled us to hire some new Spellerites (more on that in Nicks Corner) and create an air of excitement and opportunity. We are seeing a shift back to “agency recruitment” for SAP skills, whereas in 13/14 financial year the popularity of Linkedin saw companies establishing their own internal recruitment teams. We adapted our style and internally pushed the importance of adding value to our customers and clients. We started working with internal recruitment teams to assist where they may fall short… on the “harder to find roles” as opposed to trying to compete on the roles with skills in less demand.
I am pleased with the teams hard work last year but I also cannot look past the fact that luck was on also our side; a huge factor of our success was that the SAP market in Australia and New Zealand is very strong indeed, something that I put down to the strength of the Australian and New Zealand economy and the hard work and dynamism of SAP themselves, developing new and exciting products to improve business, acknowledging where their own developments were not good enough and strategically buying other products to widen their footprint… and who can forget them conveniently slipping in licensing audits…. Which seem to have assisted their sales team significantly this year! 😉
How is the market?
This year we have seen a levelling of industry, only 3 years ago Australia was in a 2 speed economy where industries like Utilities and Mining were holding up the job market and sadly Manufacturing, FMCG, Retail and Financial Services were flagging behind.
This year we saw SAP projects across all industries. Retail has significantly picked up; FMCG has been busy for 2 years now and shows no signs of slowing down, all being well this industry will create a huge amount of SAP jobs in Sydney this coming year with a $130 million project on the horizon. Banking and finance are spending money again, Utilities… still busy with a few new projects in the wings across Victoria, WA, SA, QLD and Tasmania and even a few old projects to fix up. Logistics and Transport are using SAP to improve not only their own business but also their customers… Toll are leading the way with a Simple Finance solution and a big player in WA about to implement SAP across the board. Even the mining sector will ramp up again this year with Rio looking at doing some exciting things. The market as a whole is in great shape! Even companies who decided to get rid of SAP and go with a competitor seem to have had a change of heart and SAP is now the way forward again.
So, who do we have to thank for all of this? Well in my opinion it is the industry (if one can call it that) that is possibly the busiest of all…The Australian Government. Not only are they doing SAP projects galore (DHS, Defence, Transport, Police to name a few) but their willingness to spend money on leading edge technology, I believe, has really driven Australia forward as country becoming globally recognised as a technology hub; and as the old neighbourhood rivalry theory describes it so well “Keeping up with the Jones” has really played a big part in not only solidifying but also growing the IT/SAP market here in Australia…. If it’s good enough for government then it’s good enough for private!
SAP BI/BO was once again our most placed area across the whole year however it did slow down towards then end of the year. SAP FICO, SAP CRM were up there from a functional perspective and SAP Security was also high on the list!
SAP Data roles (Master Data, Data migration and Data governance) across the business and IT were also incredibly busy, we saw this significantly increase in 13/14 and continue last year, which I put down to companies really seeing their data as an asset and investing in it while also wanting to get it in to shape for new and exciting projects! As we all know, it doesn’t matter how fantastic your system is if the data in it is useless.
SAP Testing roles were also towards the top of our list for the year which was not surprising given the amount of large projects that went live last year. Here is some exciting news though…. SAP ABAP and SAP Basis were also reasonably solid last year. Are we starting to see the shift back to on-shoring again?
How did the newer areas fair?
SAP HANA is still on everybody’s wish list and the excitement has continued with the release of S/4HANA (which at this stage I believe one very large Finance company here in Australia is the first to buy in the AsiaPac region!!!) While it is getting easier to find the SAP BW on HANA skillset, it is still extremely difficult to find the native HANA skillset in the market, making it slightly nerve racking for customers to commit.
SAP SuccessFactors has been an extremely busy area this last year and looks like it will continue. The knock on effect for us was actually much more in the business skillset and not the technical skillset – our Corporate Services division placed a huge amount of people with SAP HRIS/SME skills to assist them over the SAP SuccessFactors go-live.
SAP Mobility is becoming the norm for SAP customers now, I believe one of the key benefits of Mobility from a SAP market perspective is the excitement it has generated, its simplistic nature has made it a dream to sell to the business which in-turn has made IT/Business relationships stronger and driven increased curiosity about what else SAP can offer? In short, the business is where IT wants them!
Areas for the future
This year we predict a continuation of “business facing roles” as we are seeing an increase of Business/Client Engagement Manager roles to close the gap between business and IT. With that in mind we are also seeing an increase in SAP Technical Business Analyst roles. Change Managers and Training & Documentation roles will continue to be busy.
The “newer” SAP areas are also creating a lot of work around integration, so SAP PI/PO Consultants are in demand and I envisage this area getting busier and busier.
Constantly changing and evolving IT landscapes in organisations has also opened up the need for SAP Architects and it is not uncommon to see large Architecture teams in the organisation chart of companies now.
Core SAP ECC will continue to be busy, even with all the new things happening the demand for core financials, supply chain, procurement, manufacturing, asset management and CRM has not changed.
Data Governance is a massive area for this year, whereby organisations still have the issue of “who owns the data?” We are seeing teams being set up to run with this who are linked to both IT and Business.
What are we doing?
As I mentioned at the start, we are incredibly excited about the year ahead, we are positive it will be a busy year with lots of challenges but good challenges.
Internally we need to get to grips quickly with the ever evolving technology and skillsets, to deliver a more flexible and fluid recruitment model to our clients and customers.
We need to engage with our contractor base and keep across the “hot” people in each area. As well as sharing our knowledge.
What’s in store for you guys?
It is going to be a busy market with lots of exciting projects happening. There is healthy competition across the large consulting houses with no one company holding a monopoly on the market. Accenture is busy again which bodes well for the graduate market and general SAP upskilling , SAP Australia have found themselves back in the services game. Wipro has some big customers across project and support, Capgemini are still pretty busy even after delivering their 2 major Melbourne projects. CSC and Fujitsu are busy in Canberra and even EY are looking at pushing back in to the world of SAP consulting…. I could actually go on and on!
My advice to individuals for the year ahead is continue to learn and stay across technologies and upskill, the market has changed and is still changing and if you want to stay in it, then constantly evolving your skills, your knowledge, your team and your attitude will definitely help!
There is every chance that this will be a year where you will be approached for numerous roles, the competition is fierce at the moment and SAP Consultants will be highly sort after – a great position to be in. My advice here is try not to be short sighted with decision making, chopping and changing contracts or permanent roles for the promise of greener pastures may seem like the best move in the short term but remember you are only as good as your last engagement so be careful not to burn bridges. Instead try and set out a plan of where you want to be, who you want to work for, where you want to direct your skills and career. Stick with it and you cannot go wrong, we are about to come back in to what recruiters call a “candidate driven market” so make the most of it!