12 Easy Steps to Being a Better SAP Consultant [Checklist]

Table of Contents

New to the SAP Consulting World?

Unsure of How to Be an SAP Consultant?

Want to Know How to Join an SAP Company?


Looking for a personal development plan for the SAP BI career path? Not to worry, everybody had to start their SAP Career fresh at some point, sometimes by design and sometimes, accidentally.


This guide is for:

How to Succeed as a Consultant


It's also for those business consultants just starting their consulting business and hoping to land their first consulting clients.  With slight modifications, it is a good SAP Developer Roadmap as well and as well it works for SAP Specialists, which come in many flavors.


12 Easy Steps to Being a Better  SAP Consultant


How to Grow in Your SAP Career


Like any demanding profession such as management consultants, as a SAP Specialist focused on delivering SAP consulting services, there are a number of areas where you will need to work constantly to achieve the skill level required to excel in SAP Consulting and become an acknowledged SAP expert:


SAP Consultant Skills

 SAP Consultant Skills Graph

You Should Use the Below List to Set Goals for Being a Top Performing SAP Consultant

These are some SAP Tricks and Tips to help you achieve professional excellence.


  1. Learn to be a superb communicator

    Written, Oral, Emotional. 
    Consider joining toastmasters. 
    Put yourself out there.

    It is said that fear of public speaking, for some, exceeds the fear of death.  

    My advice - get up there in front of the audience, the more hostile, the better, as often as possible.  This is one of the best ways to improve your communication skills and help you land one of the many SAP jobs that require public speaking ability.

    By all means, study the Best Practices, but, at the end of the day, practice makes perfect. SAP career growth means always expanding your knowledge of SAP Solutions and SAP Services.  This is one of surest paths to successful SAP career growth.  Afterall, you're going to be leading the digital transformation charge, and believe me, change is hard, and it's a lot harder if you cannot communicate the why of change.
    You will know you have reached an acceptable level of expertise when you are invited to be a ‘guest speaker’ and they pay the freight.

    This is also the level, or at least the beginning, of being able to offer SAP advisory services.  It is also how you differentiate your self from business analyst vs SAP consultant.  Though there is overlap, there are definitely distinct differences.

    SAP Modules:  As an SAP Consulting expert, you will be able to do a much better job communicating, especially with your SAP customers, if you have a broad knowledge of most SAP ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning) modules, and deep knowledge of your own modules.  In other words, broad and deep of systems application and data processing capabilities inherent within SAP.

    Estimation of Implementation Times.  Having expert SAP consulting expertise will come in handy when your Project Manager ask you to provide an estimate for how long you will take to implement your SAP module.

    SAP Integration Points:  The mark of a true SAP Consulting and Implementation Expert is knowing what integration points exist between your module and those it integrates with.  For example, SAP CRM has more than 200 standard integrations with other modules. SAP professionals need to know about these integration points and how best to leverage them.

    You will need to know what those are and what purpose they serve if you hope to 'advise' your SAP customers and end users on possible SAP Solution Architectures and to be able to present alternatives.

    When it comes to presenting alternatives, it helps to be to explain the various options you explored and why the one you're recommending is the best alternative.

    Another aspect you frequently deal with is a need, at least as a SAP BW Consultant, to work with SAP BASIS consultants.  This is because that within every SAP project, there are elements of a SAP BASIS project that extend outside the typical SAP BASIS consultant's domain expertise and they have to consultant with the SAP BW consultant to arrive at a feasible system design.

  2. Learn to Learn

    As an SAP Consultant, we sell what we know
    You need to develop a personal development plan, and each year, strive to add at least one new ‘major’ skillset.  
    For instance, in fiscal year 2012, Inbound Marketing and Balanced Scorecard Certification were on my agenda. Achieved both!

    SAP consultants typically have a good grasp of Information Technology as well as outstanding Business Acumen.  Few (with exceptions) are purely software developers, even those with pure computer science degrees. 

    However, there are plenty of roles where software development is the primary occupation.  I've mostly seen this in the software factories that various consultancies have setup as well as SAP itself.  Having good knowledge of SAP ABAP in these environments is especially valuable.

    Believe it or not, having good knowledge of business administration is extremely valuable, especially to many SAP functional consultants, such as SAP MM consultants, SAP FICO consultants, or SAP HR consultants.

    SAP HR or SAP Human Capital Management is one of the 'hot fields' and has been for many years.  With the acquisition of SuccessFactors, SAP demonstrated its commitment to the field and added tremendously the demand for SAP HR consultants, now called SAP HCM or Human Capital Management.

    Top notch SAP HCM consultants advise companies on organizational structure, compensation and benefits, and a vast array of other HR business issues.  They have to know both the business side of the house as well as be cognizant of SAP HR information systems capabilities and limitations.  This is the difference between a SAP Consultant vs Software Tester.  You're able to provide business advice not just configure it, and click the buttons.

    Attending a SAP Academy, for example, the SAP HCM Academy, is just the first step for junior sap consultants on their journey to become Top Gun SAP Consultants.

    While SAP Software can meet many business systems requirements, SAP consultants, using their extensive knowledge of their SAP module and client requirements, must learn which business needs can be met within their functional areas, which cannot, and which could, with modification to the SAP processes.

    The SAP Consultant job description, almost by definition, also means keeping up with the latest SAP technologies.

    When the need to create customized SAP solutions arises, SAP consultants must use their excellent communication skills to 'sell' the need for the development.

  3. Find a Mentor

    Better still, become a mentor.  If you work within a SAP consultancy, find a senior SAP consultant and ask them to be your SAP mentor.  They'll usually be flattered.

    A good SAP mentor can quickly help you master the sap consultant responsibilities you'll be expected to assume as part of your SAP consultant duties.

    Those can range widely from defining Master Data to configuring Purchasing Organization setups within the SAP IMG to database performance tuning if you happen to be a SAP BASIS consultant. 

    Data management is also a key task you'll often be tasked with.  For instance, by understanding the importance of system wide naming conventions and standards, you'll be able to design robust systems that are easily maintainable and scalable.  An excellent resource for seeing how this can be done is by accessing the SAP IDES system, which comes pre-configured with SAP Standard Best Practices including naming conventions.  It doesn't hurt to have access to a SAP Developer System either, as you often need to run experiments in there to find the solution.  

  4. Learn to be a good team member and team leader

    If you had the good fortune to be trained by the military, great. 

    If not, there are lots of opportunities to both lead and be led.  Outdoor adventure training anyone?

    Be ready to put in long hours.  Most SAP consultants, especially entry level SAP consultants, have to acquire years of experience before they can truly perform as top performers.  That's the difference between End User and Consultant, the long hours, experience, training and expertise across a wide variety of industries, business processes and project environments. 

  5. Get practical Industry Experience

    Though it is entirely possible to become a SAP consultant with zero work experience, you will find that SAP Business Processes make a lot more sense to you when you learn to compare 'this to that'. 

    For instance, the entire procurement process happens when you go grocery shopping. 
    You just don’t see all the individual pieces until they are pointed out.

  6. Get Certified by SAP

    You should strive to get SAP certified on your module and Business Process Expertise.
    Many might disagree.  For instance, theoretically, you could learn SAP BPC by yourself, but you should seriously consider taking the more formal training approach.  Why?
    We say, can’t hurt. 

    And it is not as easy you think.  Beyond the basic SAP certification, you should be looking at Business Process Management expertise as a core add-on, especially for a mid-career SAP Consultant.  There are a number of useful SAP Certifications just in this area.

    Pro Tip: When and if you do receive that coveted SAP Certified Application Associate Certificate, be sure to post it on your LinkedIn profile.

  7. Keep up-to-date with current technological developments

    This, of course, is an open ended task.  Some effort will be required on your part to 'sort and sift'.  But if you want to deliver an effective SAP Consultation, your client will expect you to be up-to-date.

  8. Strive to be a Thought Leader in your Industry

    You don’t have to be a PhD to write a valuable paper for your industry. 

    It does help to have a Bachelor's degree, or even a Master's degree.

  9. You can probably come up with a constant stream of valuable industry content if you plan and execute it carefully.

  10. Understand how to develop a Business Case.

    Even if you are a purely technical guy with a focus on ABAP skills, the role of a SAP functional consultant is about helping the customer make more profit

    You should have a basic understanding of finance, and there are a number of courses you could take at your desktop to get you up-to-speed. 

    Search for financial competence and am sure you will find plenty of offerings.

    This one of the most important skills to master if you truly want to understand whether SAP has a future.

  11. Understand the SAP Implementation Methodology, all types

    Know SAP Solution Manager, become a PMP, and become ASAP Certified as well as SAP Activate.

    Learn how and when to use the RDS (Rapid Deployment Solution) approach.

    Then dig in to each type of implementation and read the various documents that are already there. 

    You might be surprised by how much of the heavy lifting has already been done for you. 

    Download the off-line ASAP zip file from service.sap.com/asap and run it in your browser. 

    Don’t reinvent the wheel.

  12. Study and be able to articulate SAP’s competitive differentiators with regards to their competitors, including Oracle and Microsoft.

    Just because the sales cycle is over and the deal is signed, doesn’t mean the sales process is not on-going.  You may find yourself in the position of advising CIOs who have very little first hand knowledge about SAP and are on the fence when it comes to SAP.  You need enough knowledge to provide unbiased yet valuable information.

    Your job depends on keeping the deal closed.

  13. Develop the self-discipline to survive being a road-warrior.

    You will need to develop the self discipline to work out to keep your BMI in range, most likely in a hotel room. 


    Because it gets cold outside and sometimes the gym is full/small/you're tired of it. 

    I recommend Combat Conditioning by Matt Fuery. 

    Whatever you do, keep doing it. 

    If not, your body will soon break down on you and then what good are you?

Appraisal Goals for SAP Consultant

If you happen to employ SAP specialist, the above list can serve as a solid foundation for setting up a competency & career development plan for SAP consultants.  Using the above as evaluation criteria, you can quickly differentiate between SAP analyst vs SAP consultants.  You can also develop a rating system for SAP key skills you have and those you need to acquire.


Still Interested in a SAP Consultant Career?

Need this handy SAP consultant handbook to keep around?  Then click the button below to download your "12 Easy Steps to Being a Better SAP Consultant" guide for permanent reference.



12 Easy Steps to Being a Better  SAP Consultant




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Lonnie D. Ayers, PMP

About the Author: Lonnie Ayers is a Hubspot Certified Inbound Marketing consultant, with additional certifications in Hubspot Content Optimization, Hubspot Contextual Marketing, and is a Hubspot Certified Partner. Specialized in demand generation and sales execution, especially in the SAP, Oracle and Microsoft Partner space, he has unique insight into the tough challenges Service Providers face with generating leads and closing sales using the latest digital tools. With 15 years of SAP Program Management experience, and dozens of complex sales engagements under his belt, he helps partners develop and communicate their unique sales proposition. Frequently sought as a public speaker in various events, he is available for both inhouse engagements and remote coaching.
Balanced Scorecard Consultant

He also recently released a book "How to Dominate Any Market - Turbocharging Your Digital Marketing and Sales Results", which is available on Amazon.

View All Articles by Lonnie D. Ayers, PMP

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