Enterprise Resource Planning software (ERP) has its origins in the 1960s, when increasing quantification of manufacturing, especially automotive manufacturing, led to the development of several distinct philosophies for inventory control, scheduling, purchase orders and more. By the 1990s Gartner had coined the term ERP to describe the various software suites designed to monitor and manage all these different manufacturing processes. In modern times, the definition of ERP has expanded to refer to the whole class of software suites designed to provide visibility on virtually every business process you can think of -- from customer relationship management to human resources to IT Management to accounting.
The ever-increasing complexity of ERP suites, along with the international nature of many businesses, necessitates specialists in successfully implementing and managing complicated software.
Enterprise Resource Planning Specialties
What does a SAP Consultant do?
Systems Applications and Products started in the 1970s as the brainchild of five former IBM engineers with a vision for large-scale, industrial databases. Now known by its initials, SAP, the company holds nearly a third of the global market share of enterprise resource planning (ERP) software. Although SAP provides resources and staff members to help its clients use its tools, deploying and running one of its solutions often requires a combination of outside SAP consultants and in-house ERP software professionals.
As ERP software expert Jon Reed explains on his blog, commoditization of IT professionals is making combinations of skills and experience more valuable for both employers and job seekers than ever before. In fact, companies award their highest salaries to workers who can layer SAP training on top of subject matter expertise. Managers who can keep one foot in both worlds enjoy many of the IT community's most sought-after roles.
Which professions require training in SAP? Where else can SAP training help?
Analysts at Foote Partners observe increased demand for "hybrid" professionals with experience in both information technology and traditional management. When a company chooses to deploy an ERP solution, skilled project managers and software architects must interface between key stakeholders, end users, and vendors like SAP. According to a 2013 Foote Partners review of IT skills and certifications, SAP training can especially reward specialists in niches such as:
- Financial Supply Chain Management
- Plant Maintenance
- Quality Management
- Service Management
SAP training can also benefit professionals who focus on customer relationship management systems, compliance tools, and other types of databases that translate well across industries.
Enterprise Resource Planning Training
What's the purpose of SAP training?
SAP customizes versions of its Real-time platform for a wide variety of industries. SAP training familiarizes students with the underlying technology that powers all of the company's solutions. Training also enables professionals to use their career experience as a foundation for deployment, management and maintenance of ERP systems.
Who can get the most out of training in SAP technologies?
Two kinds of professionals benefit from specialized SAP training:
- Job switchers -- SAP training enables employees with specialized skills to transition into higher-paying IT careers. Private and government salary surveys indicate that SAP consultants with management and leadership experience can earn tens of thousands of dollars more a year than IT workers with shallower resumes.
- Emerging IT pros -- Although mastering SAP can take years, information technology professionals with server and database experience can use SAP certifications to qualify for more challenging, complex jobs. SAP consultants often organize into project teams, an ideal environment in which IT workers can grow their leadership skills.
Enterprise Resource Planning Certifications
SAP offers two broad sets of certifications, designed to help employers verify both training and experience:
- SAP Associate Certification
- SAP Professional Certification
On both the associate and professional-level tracks, SAP offers dozens of technical certifications tied to the various specialized solutions it offers across multiple industries. Career-minded SAP consultants often take years to shift from an associate certification to a professional certification in order to build the project portfolio required to earn the distinction. The process of working toward SAP Professional status often means advancing change and productivity within an organization.