2017/2018 Year in Review

Posted on August 2018 By Judy Cole
Year In Review

​Another financial year has been and gone and that marks a total of 13 for me working within the SAP industry!  13 exciting, busy, challenging and different years! For those of you who know the Speller team well, you will know we have just returned from our annual company trip away where we review the past year and set the goals, targets and area of focus for the coming year. We spend time celebrating our achievements, working through and addressing our improvement areas and having a bit of fun as a team – this year we swam with the humpback whales on the sunshine coast – it was awesome!

But it wasn’t all about “having a whale of a time!” we spent a day reviewing our stats for last year and the areas we need to work on given the market and where we see it going. I will share these insights with you so you can best plan for your coming year as well!

What industries were we busy in last year?

Speller International worked with a total of 48 different SAP customers/consulting companies last year and this was across 14 different industries (FMCG, Utilities, State and Federal Government, Mining/Mining Services, Manufacturing, Education, Logistics, Waste management, Aviation, Construction, Automotive, Services and IT Consulting)  It is fantastic to see that every industry is spending money on IT and the majority of these organisations investing in large business transformations as opposed to just “keeping the lights on”. Our absolute busiest industry last year though was FMCG followed closely by federal government.

What skillsets were we most busy in?

If you read our Quarterly crunch then this will come as no surprise to you…

  • SAP Developers (ABAP, Fiori)

  • Business Analysts

  • SAP Trainers

  • SAP Data (inc Master Data, Data Conversion and Data Governance)

  • Project/Program Managers

  • Change Manager/Analyst


  • SAP HCM (inc SuccessFactors)

  • SAP Integration (PI/PO/HCI)

  • SAP FICO (inc S/4)

SAP Developers our busiest area?

This may be a shock to many of you what with the move to S/4HANA and the offshore models but ABAP has been our busiest for the last 2 years now. We have seen a big push to have development back onshore with an extremely high focus on quality of code along with the newer Cloud technologies making for a more complex environment – available, good developers are now few and far between!

It is true that we do work with DHS, who has admittedly sucked up many SAP Technical resources across their Canberra and Brisbane sites, but it is not only DHS who have been looking for the quality Developers, with our FMCG and Utilities customers all requiring large onshore teams to assist in the ever changing and growing landscapes.

## Insight for this year… DHS are setting up a Melbourne team so if you love your SAP Developers and want to keep hold of them then I would suggest showing them some of that love!

Permanent Vs Contract

We still had a very high amount of contract work 88% or our placements were contract vs 12% permanent or fixed term. However, we are slowly starting to see a rise in permanent roles again with it creeping slightly up towards the end of the year. I believe the low permanent placements are due to a few factors;

  • There is still an uncertainty about the best way to structure IT teams, with the continuous projects, more complex landscapes, increased Cloud products thus multiple vendors coupled with supporting a business with a big appetite for technology and change – finding the perfect structure is proving to be a very difficult task. However, we are seeing some organisations starting to get this right hence the slow increase towards permanent.

  • Organisations are happy to wait for the perfect fit with their permanent hires and they are more inclined to utilising internal HR/recruitment teams to fill these.

  • SAP salary levels have historically been well below the contract rates world. We ar starting to finally see the annual salaries rise to start to close that gap slightly between contract and permanent.

With companies not sure about their structure and also prepared to wait longer for their ideal permanent hire this has spelt good news for our average initial contract length – 2 years ago our average initial contract length for the year was only 8 weeks…. In 17/18 financial year the average contract length 19.8 weeks! Which is the longest we have ever seen!

What’s ahead?

SAP have really been pushing the S/4HANA move as well as their Cloud offerings, with 8900 S/4HANA customers worldwide now and their target to have 70-75% of revenue as  “Predictable sales” by 2020 – predictable sales being their Cloud subscriptions. It is no wonder that we are now seeing companies at least start to plan their way towards the S/4 upgrade, or in many cases their re-implementation.

Whether it be by starting with some of the Cloud products first ( SAP SuccessFactors being by far the most popular so far) or whether they are getting their technical environments ready, upgrading what they need to and working on their data quality  – we are certainly seeing and hearing more about that move to S/4.

Some of the SAP Cloud offerings are fast becoming more popular than their R3/ECC cousins. SAP SuccessFactors has been by far SAP’s biggest success in the Australian market so far with many companies choosing this as their first move to the Cloud, then came S/4Finance (formally SimpleFinance) and Ariba and Concur – all these products really gaining in popularity…. but what next?

My thoughts…. C/4HANA  – SAP’s answer to combat the enormous competition they have been having with Salesforce and it’s about time!

C/4HANA combines Hybris and their 2 new acquisitions Gigya and Callidus Cloud to cover consumer data, marketing, commerce, sales and customer services. This explains why we have been hearing more and more organisations talk about “changing the way they deal with their customers” and “improve customer experience” Which is why I think this will a key area for this coming year.

With the above in mind, I believe the market will be even busier than last year – particularly across Project Management requirements, Business Analyst requirements, Data, Architects, Integration and Change &Training. These mix technology environments will mean that many of the roles mentioned above will be more “generalist” type roles eg a BA who as SAP and other products. On the flip side of this many of our Project Management roles will become even more specialist eg the clients will require a Project Manager who has implemented SAP SuccessFactors or one who has done Hybris… eventuating in the Project Managers becoming more specialised.

So whatever happens, it is fair to say that this year will be another year of continuous learning for all! As mentioned, this will be my 14th year in the industry and right now, with all the new products, different methodologies, emerging skills, changing landscapes and continuous restructures… it feels like I am in my first year!