Posted on September 2016 By Judy Cole
The end of another financial year has come and gone and has left everyone asking the same question… How’s the SAP Market?
Well, in order for me to say how it is looking for the year, let’s do a quick recap on last year first.
For those who already read my quarter crunch you will have a good understanding of how we faired and what areas of SAP we were busiest in each quarter. You will know that SAP ABAP and SAP FICO (including SimpleFinance) were our most placed, followed by SAP Trainers and then SAP Payroll Officers (SAP Super Users)… Surprised??
Speller International also did the most amount of sales last year than we have in any other previous year (Sales = SAP placements made across contract and permanent) which was a great achievement for us, but it did not come without its challenges.
Although we achieved the most amounts of placements in the year, quite simply… we had to. The average initial contract length dropped last year from 4.5 months per contract in previous years to just 2.9 months per contract. In short, we had to work harder for the same result! But that was our problem and we did, so how did it impact you guys?
It saw many contractors out of work on and off throughout the year which is something they had not previously been used to, especially when there were actually so many roles around. It saw many consulting houses struggle to manage a bench effectively as the commitment of long term engagements was not there which in turn lead to a few redundancies of their permanent work force.
It also drove a slight increase in our average daily rate by about $40 per day.
Last year we also saw what I believe to be the first signs of real change to the new world of SAP. S/4 HANA and Cloud products are finally upon us in a significant way and have begun to impact the type of roles and the type of people that are required. The change that everyone has been talking about and that has been slowly creeping in for a while has now kicked in – and it has paved the way for what looks to be an incredibly busy and exciting year… again, not without its challenges!
All industries are busy and have money to spend. Australia is slowly adopting S/4HANA, not as quickly as SAP Australia would like but nether the less it is starting to happen. Australian Government is leading the way with significant SAP projects kicking off this year, leaving most private companies the confidence in the economy to follow! We are particularly busy across our FMCG, Utilities and Logistics clients.
The nature of S/4 and Cloud products is really driving a different market to what SAP has been used to – gone are the days of a 2 year long project that starts on one date and delivers in full on another date 2 years later. Business want projects to deliver benefits much quicker or as they go, which brings us to the new ASAP (AcceleratedSAP) methodology, now SAP Activate Methodology – SAP’s answer to Agile. Don’t get me wrong – 2 year programs (and probably much longer) are still very much on the cards but these programs will be more staggered according to business process; eg implement SimpleFinance, then Successfactors, then Ariba, then C4C/Hybris etc. Creating a series of much faster smaller projects, or at least that is the idea.
In practise, where companies are going full suite S/4HANA, I predict that this will actually generate longer contracts in the market as the integration into each product/business process will require more work than expected. However, in situations where companies just chose to go SAP Hybris (for example) it will definitely be a shorter piece of work then what it would have been to implement SAP CRM stand alone.
This whole shift has resulted in the need for sometimes a very different mindset for some of the SAP veterans out there. Delivery can trump quality (to an extent), sometimes you need to deliver something before you/the business knows what to fix up. Business Users understand IT more and want to be presented with more options.
Over the last 10 years there has been this “IT are there for the business” push which really stemmed because previously it felt like what IT said goes. Now we are entering a new push…
IT and Business you are all the same company – IT isn’t there for the business, IT is a part of the business and this means the partnership and communication needs to be seamless.
In short, I have more confidence in the SAP market than I have at any other point in my 11 years in the SAP community; there are a lot of projects happening this year and some of the largest I have seen in Australia. It is a very competitive time for companies in Australia and globally. Organisations want to do things better, in order to do things better they need access to real time data and information – more than ever before. They are questioning everything they do. Disruptive innovation is the buzz word and SAP has some awesome new products in order to stay relevant …. but I do have a caveat!
CAVEAT!!!!! For SAP employers, SAP employees, agencies and partners alike, if you are stuck in the “old ways” and believe the way things used to be done is definitely the way things should still be done then you may be in for a rude awakening! You too need to disrupt your own thinking, question whether what you are doing now will be relevant in 1 to 2 to 3 years’ time. Should you shift your focus slightly? Learn a new skill perhaps? Or at the very least keep an open mind to new ideas processes etc. With an open mind you will open yourself up to new opportunities!