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  • idea for a while now to do a survey purely for contractors and freelancers in the SAP arena This group s approach and its take on the topic is slightly different for the following reasons most of the time freelancers have to pay for certification out of their own pocket market circumstances might dictate that certification is paramount to land your next assignment they might use certifications to break into new SAP areas modules very often without any work lined up after the exam as clients want people with experience who can hit the ground running In contrast to this SAP consultancy firms and partners tend to educate their consultants in anticipation of upcoming demand In the current climate they might decide to send a dozen of their staff to SAP certification exams as they expect demand for products such as Business Suite 7 to pick up within the next 12 months for example Moreover these partners can also offer sandbox systems or access to early adopting clients so their newly certified consultants can learn by doing End users certify their staff yet again for different reasons In my experience the leading motive in multinational corporations is usually to establish centres of excellence with certified subject matter experts One last thing One last thing that I feel is important to mention overall goal of all this really is to support the aim of facilitating better implementations of SAP and increase ROI My intention is not to talk SAP certifications down Far from it Coming up later today The survey will be up later today Some people will be emailed separately with a link to the survey but the link will obviously also be posted on here Please forward it on to as many SAP contractors and freelancers you know SAP is listening to the community and it s our part to come up with ideas and constructive comments Hopefully the survey results will contribute another piece to the certification jigsaw and improve the system even more Posted in SAP Market 3 Comments This Week in SAP 10 Posted on March 6 2009 by Michael Koch Read and marvel in this week s finding from the cool leafy green valleys of SAP Land OK let me start off with the BIG news item of this week and that s obviously the new SAP Mentors I m completely over the moon about my mentorship and looking forward to what s promising to be an exciting time German government promises to give EUR 500m of its stimulus package to german IT sector Leo Apotheker commented he had hoped for more Harald Reiter with an excellent report on how freelancer s can use SDN Subscriptions to their benefit Harald s blog extends and complements nicely my previous posts about SDN Subsccriptions here and here An ERP satisfaction survey by Panorama Consulting reveals that SAP scores highest Some interesting remarks by Eric Kimberling in an interview with Search SAP are also worthwhile a read I

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  • why it is not valuable for BPXers and others Marco is making some interesting observations but claiming that some Twitter users are suffering from Attention Deficit Disorder is going a bit far In the comments Natascha and Oliver sum up nicely my views in terms of value that Twitter can give to all users SDN BPX et al Natural employee fluctuation is not enough SAP will also need voluntary redundancies FT Germany Achtung German translation is here SAP has now introduced a book for children of its employees explaining mummy and daddy s workplace a little better I hope this book will be made available to non SAPers soon as I sometimes struggle to explain SAP to grown ups Posted in Uncategorized Leave a comment This Week in SAP 7 Posted on February 13 2009 by Michael Koch After weeks full of SAP quarterly results announcements and the BS7 launch the last seven days were slow So here are my SAP related highlights of last week Jon Reed s latest contribution on services and skills required for SAP Business Suite 7 Michael Krigsman blogs on ZDNet about last weeks SAP event in NY during which a blogger interview with Roche CIO Jennifer Allerton was held A key point for me is Allerton s view on system integrators and their according to her need to reinvent themselves The old Accenture model where you trained inexperienced consultants for many months on your dollar just doesn t work anymore The hardest thing is to get the consultants out at the end of the project because they try and hang around as much as possible We do use external consultants very successfully because you can t have all the skills in house Eric Imberling of Panorama Consulting Group with a brief and insightful report on how ERP and CRM deployments can help organisations to weather the economic storm This week s SAP Top picks from the Titterverse jamesfarar Just done w Lunch gig w Prince Charles at Clarence House He says SAP What is that I can t keep up with the acronyms Hmmmm leeprovoost chiprodgers how is SAP going to deal with the fact that lots of companies have now no travel policies for cost cutting Posted in Uncategorized Tagged SAP SAP News This week in SAP Leave a comment An Entirely Virtual SAP TechEd Posted on February 9 2009 by Michael Koch image from Craig Cmehil s Rantings blog A tweet by Capgemini s solution architect Lee Provoost today got me thinking about the future and potential of SAP TechEd conferences how is SAP going to deal with the fact that lots of companies have now no travel policies for cost cutting Very aptly Lee pointed to the current economic climate which forced a lot of SAP customers to put a ban on traveling and expenses for conventions such as TechEd This will be a problem that SAP will have to address when planning and organising the next wave of TechEd conferences

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  • apt description compared to claims that Alloy is an enterprise mashup Another benefit is that Alloy users tend to find their information in one space Notes rather than having to swap between Email SAP Client and web browser all the time However my own experience with Notes is that integration of non Lotus software is not always as good as it could be Everyone who has tried to view MS Office documents in older versions of Notes might know what I am talking about In terms of developer skillsets some companies might also find challenges here as very often Notes and SAP development is done in separate teams On the whole I do believe that a lot of SAP Notes shops will find a fair amount of milage in Alloy especially the ease of converting SAP Workflows Therefore it can enable users to collaborate even better when using Alloy However migrating existing Notes workflows will be harder and thus less beneficial to migrate Whether a pre installed selection of leave and other approval apps is enough to entice customers to ditch their homegrown applications in favour of Alloy remains to be seen And if customers are partial to Microsoft products then there s also the Duet offering Posted in SAP Market Tagged Alloy Atlantic IBM SAP Leave a comment This Week in SAP 3 Posted on January 16 2009 by Michael Koch Interesting SAP related news links from the last 7 days SAP s worker s council wants job guarantee Achtung German english translation here albeit Leo Apotheker translated as pharmacist via rwang0 Isn t the worker s council trying to square the circle here Never SAP US boss Bill McDermott interview predicts a SaaS disillusionment A fairly misjudged and badly interpreted interview or as jonerp put it SaaS true believers portraying SAP as legacydinosaur SAP and SaaS SeekingAlpha s Jeffrey Kaplan sees SAP in denial I thought this article lacks real insight into what products such as BBD deliver Also what s wrong with being cautious about ERP in the cloud For instance the idea of SAP SaaS snap on s to work toegther with SAP ERP is a good one as it could ease customers into SaaS this week also saw the go live of the Enterprise Geeks website with interesting contributions from Craig Cmehil Dan McWeeney Ed Hermann Rich Heilman and Thomas Jung I ve certainly subscribed to their feed This doesn t come as a big surprise as SAP customers had to continue facing the music a survey by Panaya Inc showed that 75 of all SAP upgrade projects are still going ahead as planned some with lower budgets Main driver appears to be support cost avoidance SAP confirms it has won UN implementation project Might just be a drop in the ocean financially but bums on seats is always good PR This week s Twitter Picks jonerp As of January 1 2009 Business Objects is no longer Business Objects an SAP Company It is now

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  • and contractual global SAP job market Make no mistake It is important that industry experts try to make sense out of the current market situation Let me look at this from a freelancer s point of view From where I stand a lot of opinions and outlooks are made from restricted angles Let me clarify this when I say restricted I mean a limitation in terms of location and SAP sector As a result some advice might be perfectly reasonable in one location or sector but not in another SAP Freelancing markets differ from country to country For example the legal and cultural environment that a contract ABAP generalist or Netweaver Architect finds himself in Germany the Netherlands or United Kingdom can differ quite significantly Labour market regulations contractual specifics and a general approach tradition in the use of contract workers to name but a few all have an impact on the individual market situation in each country For decades the UK has already enjoyed a more flexible labour market where use of contractors is far more commonplace and accepted as in Germany for example although things are improving in SAP homeland In the US the picture might be similar or different altogether In addition government rescue plans in individual countries might support or restrict the future of small and medium sized enterprises SMEs a group to which freelancers belong Why am I saying all this Well I am trying to point out how complex the market can be Whilst the current explanations and outlooks are all justified and important I feel that the number of unknown s in all of this are still very high Obviously this also depends if questions are being asked ie are companies interested in specific areas such as the SAP contract market within EMEA I also want to set the scene for my own antithesis namely that I think that not all SAP consultants both permanent and contract should go and find a niche to specialize in at least not yet This is in contrast to a lot of current suggestions and advice Why should an experienced SAP development consultant go for niche at this moment in time If you re already a specialist in one particular area of SAP say IS Utilities Configuration and Development then you re in pretty good shape during these current hard times But industry solutions and niches always have the danger of becoming overcrowded or more likely saturated So if you re contemplating a move into a niche then be aware that aquiring the skills can take some time By the time you re in the game the depression might be over most implementation projects are over are bedding in with only outsourced support work left and you could have lost out by not being flexible enough to get out off your niche again Niche might also mean that you have to do a lot of travelling to find those niche companies Don t put all your eggs

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  • use another recruiter Contractors on the other hand do not necessarily have this option In fact in most cases the relationship that was built between recruiter and contractor ends when the contract is terminated Of course it might happen that your agent has another position he would like to put you forward for but during the last 5 years this has never happened to me This is where I envy people in the arts for example No not mainly because of the work they do you should see me act but because artists have ONE agent that they re dealing with usually on a long term basis This one agent handles all negotiations with potential clients This is the point I am trying to make here they build a relationship which actually works well for both of them in a good case The contractor gets an agent which gets to know him and his work better and better Thereby the agent can increase his ability to market the freelancer even better in the future Why is this not possible in the normal labour market Welcome to the real world of work This is the world in which for example clients are undecided about project staff decisions agents are trying to compete for client business amongst themselves and contractors are simply too worried about finding the next job and are therefore happy to vagabond from one agent to another If anyone has a better answer why consultants can not have long term agents please let me know Posted in Blogosphere SAP Market Tagged agents clients contractors freelance SAP 1 Comment getting passionate about SAP Posted on November 12 2008 by Michael Koch This post originated as a reponse to an article on JonERP com about the biggest mistake that SAP job seekers make I ve tried a few times to add it as a comment but for some reason it just doesn t seem to like it so I decided to post it here and trackback it There is a lot of talk about passion for SAP in this article and that s what I am mainly focussing on Continue reading Posted in Blogosphere SAP Market Tagged career Jon Reed SAP 1 Comment working as an independent consultant Posted on November 11 2008 by Michael Koch Matthew Billingham wrote a very insightful blogpost on SDN about his experiences as an independent SAP consultant in Europe As I mentioned in the comments I had a similar post in mind for ages but it s just one of those things Matthew weighs up the pros and cons rather well in his contribution Everyone who is looking into going freelance be it within SAP or not should definitely have a read Posted in Blogosphere SAP Market Tagged SAP 2 Comments SAP consulting success in a time of downturn Posted on November 7 2008 by Michael Koch Jon Reed just posted a good article about a SAP Consultant s changed environment and skill requirements in

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  • and Air During RIA Hacker Night I even managed to win a Adobe Flex Development Pro SDK and a Flex Book No more excuses SOA and Composition Environment During Community Day I attended Owen Pettiford s founding member of BPX network interesting SOA session He talked about the framework and approach he uses in his daily work I like his approach to deal with small pains first keeping it simple and making use of existing perfect systems by bringing them together with SAP Composition Environment for example Inspired by this I decided to learn more about CE on Community Day I might be way off here and there is lots more to get into but especially in the current economic climate CE might play a larger role in the short to mid term Atlantic I attended a 1 hr session on Atlantic s state of play a joint development venture between SAP and IBM A lot of my clients use Lotus Notes and have asked me many times about planed or existing interfaces and integration between these two worlds The presented product hinges on Notes 8 02 as installed base and enabled SAP workflow integration into a Notes context not vice versa The usual holiday or Purchase Order Approval apps were demoed no surprise there I have to say though that the 2 presenters from SAP and IBM weren t exactly geling which may or may not say a lot about the cooperation I can t help but thinking that IBM needs this project more than SAP does TDMS Test Data Migration Server As I ve been involved in many data migration projects in the past I decided to learn more about this product I didn t even know it existed TDMS provides a fairly lightweight migration server that lets you specify business objects and Z tables that you want to migrate Several migration scenarios timeslice or object related for example can also help in keeping your dev and QA enviroments in a healthier data state always a winner in my book According to other consultants I spoke to it seems to come with a hefty price tag depending on your db size but I d hazard a guess that you could recoup your investment within 6 12 months A very interesting session which was slightly marred by a very arrogant presenter general observations Mac Books Mac Book Pros iPhones Thanks to Boot Camp and Parallels Apple products have certainly hit the SAP community Three years ago in Vienna I remember being the only one with a Mac at SAP TechEd someone actually saw me getting out my Powerbook and commented At least one person with a REAL computer at this convention describing Berlin ICC as a starship is well deserved and apt I still get lost in the vaults of this monster of a building whilst trying to find my way to Lecture Hall 1 or was that Room 5 I think by the time I got to grips

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  • Market Tagged Atlantic IBM SAP Leave a comment Sun buys MySQL Posted on January 18 2008 by Michael Koch 2 very different takes on Sun s aquisition of MySQL albeit from different angles Jeff Nolan s via Nigel and Greenbaum Posted in Blogosphere SAP Market Tagged MySQL Sun Leave a comment interesting blogs wikis Posted on January 16 2008 by Michael Koch Just spent a bit of time on SDN and found the following blogs and wikis interesting and helpful Thomas Weiss and his contributions on the Enhancement Framework Sergio Ferrari Plug Business and play music Thomas Jung s sessions on how to update your SAP Netweaver skills Posted in ABAP Blogosphere Leave a comment SearchSAP and opinions Posted on November 20 2007 by Michael Koch This is by no means an attempt to gain attention or something but if comments are being deleted then something s gone wrong I hope that this is just a technical issue although it doesn t seem like it The background I read Jon Reed s and Matt Danielson s comments about the state of ABAP and whether it s Dead or Alive All in all I thought their posts as usual are rather a remix of what SAPSearch has been going on and on about for a long time now thereby on this particular topic completely ignoring what else is been reported in the Blogsphere and on SDN Maybe SearchSAP is feeling the crunch on traffic ad revenue now that SDN membership is growing bigger and bigger So I posted a critical comment to what the SearchSAP Editorial Team had to say on Nov 15th only to find my comment being deleted yesterday Nov 19th Now I am 100 sure the comment did appear on the site I posted another comment on the

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  • an ambitious start up or someone with a good development idea who found it difficult in the past to get your hands onto a SAP system then a subscription can be just the ticket Posted in ABAP Blogosphere Tagged SAP sap sdn subscription program teched SDN Subscription Program 4 Comments Blogsphere changes Posted on September 11 2007 by Michael Koch Rich Heilman s blog is well worth a read thanks for the tip Nigel I ve added him to the RSS Blogroll on the bottom right also added Starship Enterprisey Radio for your SAP listening pleasure Posted in Blogosphere SDN Subscription program Posted on August 28 2007 by Michael Koch On SDN Mario Herger just revealed that SAP will soon offer a so called SDN subscription program by which for an annual fee developers can access the complete SAP Netweaver stack This is SAP s first announcement in a long time since the initial press release back in October 2006 Requests for a more extended and deeper approach to give developers access to SAP tools seem to have finally hit home Through this subscription program we give you access to the full NetWeaver stack for an annual and as we believe pretty reasonable subscription fee When we say full NetWeaver stack we really mean full Developer Studio Development Infrastructure ABAP stack BI XI MDM Portal VC etc are all included Once you subscribe you ll not only get a box with the DVD ROMS but also access to the Service Marketplace the OSS the Enterprise Services Workplace and the Virtual TechEd sessions as well as some other goodies like premium presence in the forums The community now just has to wait and see what exactly is meant by pretty reasonable subscription fee A Virtual SAP TechEd subscription currently costs 440 USD excl VAT Since the offering of the SDN subscription program is larger than the Virtual product one could assume that the SDN subscription program might cost more than this but that s obviously a very vague science Early sign up to the SDN subscription program can be made via this link Posted in ABAP Tagged SDN Subscription Program 1 Comment Next Generation ABAP Development upd Posted on July 10 2007 by Michael Koch And even more on Thomas Jung This time he teams up with Mr ABAP I thought that was Horst Keller so there is more than one Rich Heilman to give us a book on Next Generation ABAP Development ANOTHER book on ABAP I hear you shout Now before you yawn and click away check out Thomas blog post on SDN or read this The structure of this book reflects the workflow of a development project The first half of the book focuses on creating the data and application logic layers and then service enabling them The second half of the book focuses on creating the user interface layers Sounds very promising Now let s pick out some bits from the table of contents Chapter 3 Data

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