A bulletproof career plan is wise in any economy, but the recession and stalled recovery not so long ago have made it a necessity. Thankfully, those pursuing SAP careers are well-positioned. There appears to be no wane in demand for SAP skills anytime soon.
Yet, many SAP pros with five to 10 years of experience sometimes wonder, “I’ve gotten this far. What comes next?” Those interested in moving into management should note these five high-growth SAP careers:
- SAP EWM lead and/or manager: People in the Extended Warehouse Management (EWM) role are responsible for successful delivery of the various modules that make up such a system. The job usually includes implementation, upgrade and/or extension of existing applications. This position usually requires seven or eight years of EWM experience, SAP certification in EWM, and because the role tends to be cross functional, strong people skills.
- SAP project/program manager: This person is in charge of the overall SAP program implementation in an enterprise, and in particular works to ensure it meshes with the company’s business goals. This role can have more than a dozen direct reports. It requires strong business acumen and approximately 10 years of experience, preferably in leading roles in ERP systems rollouts.
- SAP FI/CO manager: This role requires a strong command of the SAP modules that run a company’s financial, accounting and back-office processes. The SAP FI/CO manager also coordinates the implementation of new SAP modules in the financial area and ensures that existing modules comply with internal and external IT standards. The role generally requires a minimum of three years of experience, plus a command of numerous SAP financial modules.
- SAP IT audit manager: A key element of this role is overseeing all auditing for and compliance with the 2002 Sarbanes-Oxley (SOX) Act. SOX’s extensive accounting reforms and investment protections require wide-ranging documentation of company financials. The role, which includes maintenance of SOX documentation and flowcharts, typically requires about seven years of IT audit experience, significant exposure to change management and superior communication skills.
- SAP EHS subject matter expert: The growth of Environmental, Health and Safety (EHS) jobs in the corporate world has fueled a demand for people with significant skills in SAP’s EHS modules. Such roles may involve leading a small team, perhaps three to five people in size. It’s best to have more than five years of SAP experience under your belt, exposure to the EHS world and knowledge in resolving SAP integration issues.
You can set your sights even broader regarding SAP careers. “SAP gives you an excellent tool that you can leverage to build your career and thus move into something outside the SAP world,” notes Andrea Sprengel Seip, a seasoned SAP specialist. “Or, you can stay in a corporate SAP environment, if you prefer. SAP knowledge gives you that flexibility.”
Should you want to broaden your horizons even further, SAP careers can be great springboards to more general management roles such as functional data consolidation manager, functional/logistics manager, director of material management and various FI/CO management roles. A master’s degree, particularly an MBA, may be preferred or even required for these kinds of jobs, but not always.
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This post has been updated to reflect more current information.