Early last year, I wrote a blog article titled “At the crossroads of your Career? These ABCDs will help you choose the right path”. Today, I had the opportunity to interview Mr. Narasimha Prasad Bhat, a fellow SAP Champion and a super talented SAP Solution Architect.
Our conversation was extremely organic and candid. We talked about the challenges and excitement a career change brings. Narasimha shared the secret recipe to his Success when we moved from Business oriented profile to SAP Functional Consulting role. He was very kind to share his experience and journey, which I feel will help many of us, especially the ones looking to change career paths. You may be looking to switch from a Technical role to a Functional role (or vice versa) or maybe looking to expand within SAP by learning other modules, or you may be moving from one IT role to a different one altogether. No matter what your situation is, there is a learning for everyone from this blog interview.
So, without further ado let’s jump right in.
Kartik: Narasimha, can you share your journey on how you transitioned from a business role to a successful SAP consultant? What were the key factors that contributed to your success?
Narasimha: My transition from business to SAP consulting was a natural progression, largely influenced by my comprehensive understanding of business processes and IT aptitude. The crucial factors that contributed to my success are:
Through this blend of industry acumen, technical prowess, continuous learning, networking, thought leadership, and broad cross-industry experience, I've managed to carve a successful path in the SAP consulting landscape.
Kartik: Great call on Continuous Learning, Thought Leadership and Recognition. Fortunately, I share the same experience as yours and closely resonate with all 3 factors. I was awarded as an SAP Champion last year and I was selected as the Finance Market Leader for the ASUG Philadelphia chapter in early 2022. Both these recognitions have given me numerous opportunities to Network and Learn through various channels, one of them being interviewing & learning from industry experts like yourself. Great going on your professional front and Congratulations Narasimha for all your successes.
Moving on, Narasimha what do you think are the most important skills and qualities required to excel in the SAP profession, especially for someone coming from a non-technical background?
Narasimha: To excel in the SAP IT profession, especially for someone with a non-technical background, a few key skills and qualities are essential:
Balancing these skills and qualities will create a strong foundation for a successful career in SAP IT, even if you're transitioning from a non-technical background.
Kartik: I love the Certification point you bring up. I was at Sapphire this year and one of the big announcements was around SAP Enterprise Architect | SAP Learning certification, which I feel our audience should definitely explore.
Narasimha, can you tell us about the challenges you faced during your transition to the SAP world, and how did you overcome them?
Narasimha: The transition to the SAP IT field presented a few key challenges:
These challenges were significant, but they also provided opportunities for growth and skill development, shaping me into a well-rounded SAP IT professional.
Kartik: You made me nostalgic about the days when I was in the same shoes as you. I was starting my career at the time, so things were slightly different. However the point you make about opportunities for growth and skill development, couldn’t have agreed with you more on that.
So, tell me Narasimha what advice would you give to someone who wants to break into the SAP profession from a business role? Are there specific certifications or courses you would recommend?
Narasimha: Breaking into the SAP IT profession from a business role requires a strategic approach:
In essence, thoughtful industry and role mapping, along with pursuing certifications, can set a strong foundation for a successful transition into the SAP IT profession.
Kartik: Very well stated.
Narasimha, can you provide an overview of the various SAP modules and their relevance in today's business landscape? Which modules do you think offer the most opportunities for someone transitioning from a business role?
Choosing the right module depends on your background. Modules like MM, SD, FICO, EWM, QM, Ariba, SuccessFactors, and IBP typically have broad applications and offer ample opportunities for those transitioning from business roles. Always align your choice with your expertise and interests.
Kartik: I am real live example of this. I have a deep liking towards Sales, Marketing and Business. This is why I chose Sales & Distribution as my primary module when I started off my journey. A key thing to remember is we will have opportunities to expand later in our career. So, we shouldn’t bind ourselves or add pressure on us by thinking that if we make a choice now, we are stuck with it forever.
Narasimha, how do you stay up to date with the latest trends and developments in the SAP ecosystem? What resources or networks do you recommend for someone starting in the field?
Narasimha: To stay abreast of the latest trends and developments in the SAP ecosystem, I follow a multi-pronged approach:
In summary, continuously learning and engaging with the SAP community is vital. As a beginner, familiarize yourself with these resources and utilize them to their fullest to stay informed and enhance your skills.
Kartik: There are so many free resources out there, which we could take advantage of, to Learn and Grow exponentially.
Narasimha, in your experience, what has been the most rewarding project you've worked on as an SAP consultant? What made this project stand out and what lessons did you learn from it?
Narasimha: In my SAP consulting career spanning over 15 years, I've worked on countless projects, including more than eight end-to-end implementations. Each project has been a unique learning experience and has enriched me professionally. However, if I were to choose the most rewarding ones, a few stand out.
What made these projects stand out were the opportunities to dive into unfamiliar business functions and industries while leveraging the SAP tool. Each of these experiences helped me broaden my knowledge, enhance my skillset, and reinforce my versatility as an SAP professional. The primary lesson I've taken from these projects is that every engagement offers a chance to learn and grow. Embracing new challenges and being open to continuous learning is the key to success in this field.
Kartik: Seams like you are strong believer of Continues Learning. Kudos to you for that!
Narasimha, can you discuss the importance of soft skills, such as communication and teamwork, in the success of an SAP consultant? How have you honed these skills throughout your career?
Narasimha: Soft skills, particularly communication and teamwork, are indispensable for the success of an SAP consultant. We work in diverse, often global, teams that span multiple time zones and cultures. Clear communication is crucial to ensure everyone is on the same page, understand project objectives, and effectively coordinate efforts. Speaking in a 'business language', translating complex technical concepts into easily comprehensible terms, is essential when interacting with stakeholders or clients who may not have a technical background.
Teamwork is equally vital. An SAP implementation is a collective effort requiring the contribution and collaboration of numerous professionals with varied expertise. Being able to work effectively as part of a team ensures the project moves forward smoothly.
Throughout my career, I've honed these skills by consciously putting them into practice. Working in various roles and on diverse projects, I've had to collaborate with professionals from different backgrounds and cultures, which has enhanced my understanding and appreciation of effective communication and teamwork. Regularly receiving feedback from peers and supervisors has also been instrumental in improving these skills. Continuous learning and deliberate practice are key to mastering these soft skills, which are as important, if not more, as technical proficiency in the SAP world.
Kartik: “Teamwork”, I love that. In my career, which spans over a decade, I have been fortunate to work with many versatile and extremely talented teams and one thing I can vouch for is the success of any project or company depends on how a team bonds together and works together.
Narasimha, what are the common misconceptions people have about transitioning from a business role to an SAP role? How can one address these misconceptions to ensure a successful transition?
Narasimha: Common misconceptions about transitioning from a business role to an SAP IT role include:
To address these misconceptions:
Kartik: One of my personal success mantras is: Patience, Perseverance & Perspiration are secrets to being Successful in Life! So, couldn’t have agreed with your thoughts more.
Finally, as an SAP consultant, how do you balance your technical expertise with the need to understand and communicate with business stakeholders effectively? Can you provide any tips for building strong relationships between the IT and business sides of an organization?
Narasimha: Balancing technical expertise with effective communication with business stakeholders is a crucial skill as an SAP consultant. It's not just about understanding SAP systems, but also how these systems can be optimized to add value to the business.
To achieve this balance, here are a few strategies:
Building strong relationships between IT and business is essential for successful SAP implementations. Here are a few tips:
Remember, the goal of an SAP consultant is not just to implement SAP systems, but to bridge the gap between technology and business, facilitating a mutual understanding that drives value for the organization.
It was great chatting with you Narasimha. Good Luck with your forthcoming endeavors. I am positive our readers will have many things to take away from this post. Thank you for spending time with me.
You must be a registered user to add a comment. If you've already registered, sign in. Otherwise, register and sign in.