A Private Club for Elite SAP Consultants

Archive for the ‘Herberts Blog’ Category

How to Attract Elite Consultants

Monday, September 1st, 2014

If your organization has ever tried to hire consultants to staff an SAP project then you already know this: Really good SAP consultants are hard to find.

First of all, elite SAP consultants are scarce — and there are a lot of boxes to check. They must have years of experience but also be up to speed on the latest technology. They have to relate well to other people, but don’t mind spending most of their life on the road, isolated from family and friends. They have to think on their feet, but also adapt well to highly structured software development projects. They should be technology experts, but also understand business. They should be SAP generalists, but also specialists when it comes to their particular SAP specialties.

Second, there are just not very many efficient ways to look for elite SAP consultants. It’s not like you can just post an ad online or with a recruiter. If you do that then, sure, you will get hundreds of résumés — but how can you tell which résumés come from truly qualified candidates and which come from candidates faking it just to get work?

It’s almost like finding a qualified SAP consultant to staff your SAP project is a miniature version of the SAP project itself — it can take a long time, it can be very expensive, and the consequences of making a mistake can be very bad — unless you know what you’re doing.

Skim the Cream

Yet, there are many organizations that do seem to know what they’re doing. Teams are appropriately staffed, tasks are properly scoped, and projects are completed on time and on budget. So what’s the secret? Here’s one: they’re not just trying to find elite consultants. They attract elite consultants. Elite consultants already know who these organizations are and want to work there. The organizations and the consultants are all part of the same networks. It works the same in any field: the elites tend to know each other and like to hang out together. They’re all part of the same “club.”

For these organizations, finding elite consultants is like skimming cream.

That’s why there is an ERPCX. We are looking to take a disorganized, ad-hoc and inefficient process that already exists and make it organized, routine and efficient. Best-of-the-best consultants and best-of-the-best clients do want to hang out together. That’s why elite consultants come to the ERPCX. They know that having a presence here (such as by posting a résumé or commenting in our LinkedIn page) puts them in elite company — because, like any elite club, we only admit the best.

But it’s also why client organizations come to the ERPCX. They know they can skim the cream. But they also know something else: just by being here puts them in a group of organizations known to hire elite consultants. That automatically makes them more attractive to elite consultants.

Knowing how to find elite consultants is good, but knowing how to make elite consultants find you attractive is even better.

Elite SAP Consulting Is Simple as ABC

Thursday, July 31st, 2014

Justly or unjustly, SAP software implementations have the reputation for being long, expensive and arduous for everyone concerned — the SAP owner, the SAP consultant, the SAP user, and (now this is really unfortunate) also the customer of the SAP owner. Even if customers of the business running SAP have no direct contact with the software, they will still suffer the effects of an overly burdensome SAP implementation. Those could include slow service, out-of-stock products, billing mistakes, purchasing snafus, wasted time spent clearing up past miscommunications — the list goes on. Unfortunately, as well, those customer problems are also the problems of SAP owners and users — in wasted time, lost revenues, damaged reputations, and missed market windows.

A lot of this grief can be traced to the basic SAP consulting model itself — something that has not changed much since the software was first introduced back in the 1990s. Amazing, isn’t it? That with all the software innovation that has gone on over all those years, the basic model for how consultants get engaged has seen virtually no innovation at all. Of course, the tools have changed, but the way teams are recruited and organized has not. (Agile is a new development, but that only works if you can find enough agile consultants — which, again, current models do not do very well.) That’s why the reputation has not changed and why people still complain about the same things they have always complained about.

Call in the All Stars!

So, let’s propose a different model. Let’s call it “asset based consulting” (ABC). In this model:

* SAP owners easily find and contract only with elite SAP consultants (the assets)
* SAP owners waste no time or money negotiating with non-assets that add no value
* SAP owners are agile based because all their consultants are agile
* SAP owners pay less travel expense (more work product is produced virtually)
* SAP owners get consultants on-demand via direct talent pool access

In essence, this model is all about delivering to SAP owners the right team, at the right time, and for the right price. It really is as simple as ABC. See for yourself . . .

More Knowledge = More Money

Monday, October 31st, 2011

By Herbert Goertz

It’s the law of supply and demand. Over the long run, the SAP consultants that make the most money are the ones with the most skills – especially skills that are in short supply. That’s a law that almost everyone understands. So, I am surprised to hear some consultants still complaining about low hourly rates – when I see other consultants making $80 to $100 or even more — while some SAP consulting jobs are even going unfilled.

If more knowledge equals more money, then why don’t these consultants stop complaining and just get the extra knowledge they need? It’s not like the knowledge isn’t available. I can understand why someone might not want to take three months off and spend thousands of dollars to take classes. You must consider both the out-of-pocket expense and the lost income while sitting in class. It takes a really big jump in your rate to justify that type of investment.

Another option is to simply rely on on-the-job experience to teach you what you need to know. The problem with that strategy is that companies don’t want to hire you if you don’t already have the skills they need. They’re not paying you to learn. Of course, you’ll always learn something new on almost any job. But that’s a rather random approach to learning, and what are the chances you’ll acquire the right skills you need to earn a higher rate?

A third — and better — option is to buy the SAPexperts Knowledgebase (available from the ERPCX). It only costs a few hundred dollars. You can select the skills you want to learn. And you don’t have to take time off from earning money while you do learn them. And, unlike classroom training that quickly goes out of date, the SAPexperts Knowledgebase always stays fresh with continuous updates.

The SAPexperts Knowledgebase is just one of several services the ERPCX offers to help consultants make more money. What do you think of ERPCX services? Do you know what they are?  Do you have suggestions or comments to make them better?

Click here to fill out the ERPCX Member Services Survey.

Sell a Solution, Not Just a Skill

Tuesday, August 30th, 2011

No doubt many SAP consultants were watching events unfold at Hewlett-Packard last week with great interest. Former SAP and now HP CEO, Leo Apotheker, reversed a decision he had announced just last March to huge fanfare — that WebOS would be the future operating system in all HP computers and that HP would be shipping 100 million WebOS devices. One of those would be the TouchPad, launched in June.

Now HP is scraping all WebOS devices, including the TouchPad, and may spin off its entire PC business. HP also bought Autonomy, a British maker of analytics software for $10.3 billion (roughly half the cash on HP’s balance sheet) at 11 times revenue. The day of Leo’s announcement HP’s stock plunged 20 percent to $23.60. In one year, the stock has declined 49 percent (versus a 3 percent gain on the S&P index). SAP stock, by the way, is up almost 20% in the past year.

So what lessons are there here for those of us who sell SAP consulting?

One lesson seems to be that the leadership change at SAP was a good thing. Another is that HP, in trying to transform itself into a software company, is also trying to transform itself into the kind of company Leo thinks he can run. He’s a software company CEO; so let’s make HP a software company — a classic case of, “if you’re a hammer, make every problem a nail.”

Rather than think about what he can do, perhaps Leo should think about what the customer wants. Today it’s all about the ecosystem, the total solution. Just last week United/Continental bought 11,000 Apple iPads for its paperless cockpit. Of course, Apple doesn’t make enterprise software — a fact that SAP consultants can exploit by making a lot existing enterprise apps tablet friendly — as well as by creating entirely new ones.

Perhaps HP could have done that for the TouchPad. Maybe by exploited its natural advantages in the enterprise space, HP could have built a mobile ecosystem of its own; one tuned to enterprise users running large HP-enabled business systems.

Bringing enterprise apps to tablets looks like a big opportunity. But whether it is or not, the real lesson is to think about giving the customer a whole solution, not just a skill. That applies equally whether you are a computer company exec or an SAP consultant.

A Special Thank You To Our Members

Thursday, August 11th, 2011

On August 19, 2008 we founded our Linkedin Group SAP Consulting Exchange (ERPCX) and started to promote our Virtual Consulting and Virtual Helpdesk opportunities. Our mission was and continues to be to help our members increase their earnings and knowledge and in doing so provide superior service to our customers. Our members span more than 60 countries, with over 1,400 members in our Linkedin group and almost 5,000 on our website. Our Country Ambassadors represent us in over 15 countries. We have provided opportunities to work in a virtual setting to many of you who have uploaded your resumes and became part of our virtual consulting team.    

Our referral partners are well known players in the SAP field including such companies as Winshuttle and Revelation Software Concepts whose innovative solutions can be promoted by our members in exchange for referral commissions.

We would like you to be more involved and become more active. Ultimately it pays. 

As a special thank you for being a member we want to offer you our KNOWLEDGEPACK for a limited time and for the drastically reduced price of $399:

  • An annual subscription to the SAPexperts knowledgebase of your choice
  • Access to our SAP Development system for the same period
  • An ERPCX email address which enables you to be part of our internal network
  • A mobile business card for the duration of your subscription
  • The use of our logo for your stationary, marketing materials, website and emails

Just login to your ERPCX account and subscribe to the knowledgebase of your choice with coupon code 5D0834.    

Our virtual consulting services are attracting the interest from SAP customers around the world. For example, we recently closed a new contract for SAP END USER SUPPORT that is provided by ERPCX members. We will also continue to bring new offerings to the SAP ecosystem, such as our recent initiatives to develop SAP mobile apps. (If you have an idea for an SAP mobile app, and would like help making it happen, please let us know. We’d love to consider it!)

So, happy 3rd anniversary and thanks to all our ERPCX members, subscribers and followers! We look forward to bringing you more great news in the months ahead!

Best regards,

Herbert Goertz, CEO

ERPCX Signs Country Ambassadors for 14 Countries

Tuesday, June 7th, 2011

By Herbert Goertz

I’m happy to announce that in the first two months since we introduced the new ERPCX Country Ambassador Program, we have already partnered with our first nine country ambassadors, representing a total of 14 countries. They are:

  • Canada: Zoltan Lovei
  • Egypt: Abobakr Ghaith
  • Denmark: Thomas Ugilt Thomsen
  • Germany: Andreas Hielscher
  • Hungary: Péter Szakonyi
  • Indonesia: Ahmad Rizki
  • Netherlands: Wim Wetzels
  • Poland: Fernando Lafuente
  • South Africa: Warren Eiserman  (Angola, Kenya, Namibia, Nigeria, Mauritius)

Congratulations to all! We select ERPCX Country Ambassadors based on their excellent knowledge of both SAP and their home countries. We welcome our first Country Ambassadors and believe they will do a great job representing ERPCX products, services and members in their local areas.

We also love the enthusiasm each Country Ambassador has shown for representing ERPCX. Here is what Warren Eiserman, who among others runs SAPortals, a large South African SAP consultancy, says on his new CA blog:

“It is with a good deal of excitement that I write my first post as ERPCX country ambassador. … As someone that has been doing SAP consulting for over 10 years and being involved in the SAP industry from both and implementation and analyst perspective, I am eager to take up the challenge of ERPCX and its innovative offerings.”

Andreas Hielscher, ERPCX German Country Ambassador writes: “Thank you, Herbert, for the opportunity to exclusively represent ERPCX products in Germany, like the SAPexperts Knowledgebase and the ERPCX Virtual Bench. These are unique offerings that will address a growing demand for smarter SAP consulting that is also more cost effective.”

In the weeks ahead, we will announce other ERPCX Country Ambassador appointments. To find out more about our new Country Ambassadors, click on the Country Ambassadors link at the top of this page. And if you wish to be considered for the CA position in your country, please email us before the position is filled.

Country Ambassadors Wanted

Friday, April 1st, 2011

By Herbert Goertz

We are excited to announce that we have re-launched the ERPCX Country Ambassador program. Each Country Ambassador is the primary SAP consultant for the ERPCX in his or her country. As such, each one is first in line to work on all of that country’s ERPCX projects. CAs also earn passive income from ERPCX commissions paid on all projects, products and services sold in that country.

We have just signed up our first Country Ambassadors. We will announce their names soon but in the meantime I wanted to give you an update on what we’ve done with the program.

By the way, if you are interested in becoming a Country Ambassador, now would be a good time to apply. That’s because there will only be one Country Ambassador for each country — and prime spots are already filling up!  So, if you are interested, please send us an email.

Why Become a Country Ambassador?

  • Each Country Ambassador is a premium member of the ERPCX who utilizes the ERPCX Virtual Bench and SAPexperts KNOWLEDGEBASE (*) products
  • Right of first refusal to work on all ERPCX projects within the CA’s home country
  • A commission on all ERPCX virtual consulting projects in that country, whether or not the Country Ambassador participates on the project
  • A commission on sales of all ERPCX products in that country including the ERPCX Virtual Bench and SAPexperts KNOWLEDGEBASE products
  • The use of the ERPCX logo on websites, newsletters and other materials
  • A country-specific website and blog within the main ERPCX website, which the CA can write in his or her local language
  • An electronic mobile business card (allows another person’s mobile device to scan your business card and update their address book automatically)
  • Exclusive rights to Country Ambassador status within the CA’s home country

Those interested in becoming a Country Ambassador should contact the ERPCX immediately since, again, there can only be one CA for each country.

(*)  SAPexperts knowledgebase is a product of Wellesley Information Services LLC in the United States and such products are sold by ERPCX to its members under a license agreement dated January 21, 2011.

Drivers Wanted

Tuesday, March 8th, 2011

By Herbert Goertz

Joshua Greenbaum, at InsiderPROFILES, makes a great case when he advocates that the term SAP “end user” be replaced by SAP “driver.” His comparison to high school drivers’ ed is both humorous and on target. Every day companies across the globe hand the “keys” over to people who should know what they’re doing, where they’re going and how to get there. Joshua is right. Those people can’t just be users, along for the ride like passengers. They’ve got to be drivers.

That’s why we welcome users as members, alongside consultants and SAP customers. As we say elsewhere on this website, without users there would be no SAP consultants, no SAP customers and no SAP. We also say that the boundaries between these roles are not so clear-cut as the labels indicate. SAP customers — i.e., those individuals who sign off on SAP implementations — are almost always users too. And as for users being consultants — we all know who you are. You’re that person over in the next cubical who gets all the technical questions whenever a co-worker has a problem. (Say, wouldn’t it be nice if you could sell some of that technical know-how on the side?)

So, yes, users should be drivers; but so should customers and consultants. We all wear each other’s hats from time to time, and we should all be drivers.

The problem with calling you a user (rhymes with loser) is that nobody sees you as a driver. You’re viewed as the end of the value chain, not the central link. No wonder, as Joshua says, companies don’t spend enough money on SAP user training. That hurts companies, of course; but it also hurts you.

So start driving! Get your SAP knowledge here. Sell your technical expertise here. Got an SAP module or app you’ve developed on your own time? Sell it here. Want to build your reputation with other SAP drivers? Then post your resume here and participate in our LinkedIn discussions here

You’ve got the keys. You’re a driver. That’s why we want you.

ERPCX Fast Track Job Matching

Saturday, February 26th, 2011

By Herbert Goertz

Here is more good news for ERPCX members looking to put their careers on a fast track. If you post your resume on our Resume Posting page, your resume will be fast tracked for consideration on job opportunities marked “Fast Tracked” on the Service Posting page.

Anyone can still apply for any opportunity. But not everyone will get Fast Tracked. If a job is marked Fast Tracked it means your resume will automatically be reviewed for that job — if your resume is posted on the Resume Posting page.

That puts you at the head of the line. An opportunity might be for full-time employment, part-time employment, a contract job, or a position on our own ERPCX Virtual Consulting Team.

In the future, you will notice that more and more jobs will be marked Fast Tracked.

To post your resume, you need to enter all the information requested on our Resume Posting page and attach your resume. Entering your information lets us search your resume for skills and experience directly in a database, without doing a keyword search. Database searches are faster and more accurate than keyword searches.

There is no charge for posting your resume. However professional resume writing is available for a fee.  Here is a sample of what our professionally written resumes look like. Notice that resumes are available both as a downloadable PDF and as a standalone website, which you can host at ERPCX. A personal website tells people you are a true professional and is a fast and easy way to sell yourself. To get a resume writing price quote, simply send an email with your current resume attached to:

ERPCX Appoints VP Member Services as Categories Grow

Wednesday, November 10th, 2010

By Herbert Goertz

We have made two significant changes to our member services this month.  First, I am very proud to announce the appointment of Chris Terry as Vice President, Member Services.  And, second, we have expanded our member categories to now include SAP users, in addition SAP customers and SAP consultants.  Both changes point to a very aggressive 2011 as we aim to become (in Chris’s words) “the single most valuable resource hub for all things SAP” with over 10,000 members.

Chris has been a colleague and friend for over 15 years — going back to when we were at SETAC, the first North American SAP consulting practice. I have deep respect for Chris as a technology pioneer.  He founded one of the very first Internet Services Providers in the United States — Florida Internet — and co-founded one of the first SAP application service providers — HostLogic — that grew to over 100 full-time employees with offices in the US, Europe, South America and Asia.  Spun off to its European management team in 2000, HostLogic is now one of Eastern Europe’s top 50 IT companies.  More recently, Chris has been the Managing Partner at Nextshore, a global information technology service company that specializes in Internet marketing and web development.

Chris’s role here will be to recruit members, increase and improve member services, and open channels of communication across our (now three) member types — users, customers and consultants.  So you’ll be hearing a lot from Chris.

Adding users as a third member category was a no-brainer.  Without users there are no customers or consultants. It is the users’ ability to work more productively that ultimately gives SAP its value.  Consequently, they make a huge — and often unappreciated  — contribution to the SAP ecosystem.  We are happy to include them.