Business knowledge and technical skills – the work of a SAP consultant from the Sii’s expert’s perspective
SAP Competency Center is one of the most dynamically developing centers at Sii. Over 60% of the company’s current clients have SAP systems, which is why it is extremely important to provide them with the support of experts dealing with system maintenance and development projects. Michał Byrczek, an SAP PI/PO consultant working at Sii almost from the very beginning of the Center’s existence, talks about the specificity of his work.
What are you currently doing and what has your career looked like?
Michał Byrczek, SAP PI/PO Consultant at Sii Polska: I have been working in this industry for almost 10 years. A few years ago I worked on SAP implementations, many of which were large-scale projects carried out for the largest companies on the market – often extremely difficult and demanding. Currently, working for one of the Sii clients, I deal with the development and maintenance of the client’s system. I handle daily requests, solve everyday problems, and take part in a large internal project aimed at improving the integration of the EDI (Electronic Document Interchange) area. The client is a global company from the manufacturing industry, with branches all around the world. The work is complex, but also interesting because the client operates on such a large scale. Every day we work with many internal clients from different countries.
What is the difference between working on implementations and maintenance projects?
M.B.: In the case of implementations, you work primarily on the client side. You have to get to know their company and business to suit the system to their requirements. Often these are very complex projects because large global manufacturing companies use SAP. Such work involves frequent trips, even several times a week. After implementation and transfer of knowledge to people who will deal with the system on-site, the project ends and the team can take care of new tasks.
System maintenance means updates, optimization, corrections, changes or implementation of new functionalities. SAP is a living organism that is constantly changing. After the implementation project is completed, you frequently continue working on the same system. You can perform system roll-outs in other countries or implementations of new processes. SAP is constantly improving the offered tools. Recently, the company has been putting a great emphasis on the development of the HANA platform based on the latest technologies, which has revolutionized the way data is processed in SAP solutions. We are now seeing a wave of migration projects for the HANA platform because all current SAP users must implement a new database and product version by 2025. The new user-friendly interface based on SAP Fiori is becoming increasingly popular. Also, a lot is happening in the area of cloud solutions, which fits in with the dominant business trends perfectly and is their natural consequence.
Maintenance projects usually do not require spending a few days a week on business trips, which currently suits me better and fits my lifestyle better. At Sii I can work remotely, from home or a local office – in my case from Wrocław. I used to enjoy frequent trips, now I am glad that I can work wherever I want. Thanks to this flexibility I can easily save time for trainings, hobbies and travels.
I train obstacle courses races, where you need to overcome a number of strength and fitness obstacles along the way. In addition, I’m interested in mountain tourism. I like to go to the mountains, spend time outdoors and cook on a gas stove. This year, together with friends we were at Aconcagua (the highest peak of South America 6962 m a.s.l.). It was a very interesting and exhausting trip. In 2021 we are planning another “big trip” to the next peak from the earth’s crown.
Why were you interested in SAP?
M.B.: SAP allows you to combine technical work with business, which gives interesting opportunities to people who want to develop in the IT industry, but do not want to devote themselves exclusively to programming. This is a job for those who want to know the broader, business context of projects. For example, I need to know the operation and business context of the systems I work with during integration. Without this, I am not able to propose an effective technological solution. This is why, working with SAP solutions is an interdisciplinary occupation – each project is a chance to learn new things and expand competences. The specificity of this area makes people without a technical background, who decide to change their career path, interested in it.
What could such a career path look like?
M.B.: Specialists working in SAP can be divided into 2 groups. On the one hand, we have people who deal with technical matters – they can be either technical consultants or programmers. On the other hand, there are the so-called modular consultants who know the processes well and can configure the system but do not need to know how to program well. And this is an interesting development direction for non-technical people, e.g. accountants or logistics specialists. Such people have a great understanding of business processes, and often know SAP from the end-user side and are fluent in the systems used in the company. If they supplement their knowledge with the configuration of SAP modules, they have a chance to become consultants.
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