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Cross-Module Expertise For SAP Careers

When first starting out in their careers SAP consultants specialize in at least one module like Financial Accounting (FI), Controlling (CO), Materials Management (MM), or Sales and Distribution (SD).

However, most SAP projects require broader skills. This expertise involves understanding and working across several modules, enabling consultants to address complex business requirements spanning multiple areas.

In this IgniteSAP article we explore how SAP consultants can augment their skills with training in modules complimentary to their current main module: how to select the right supporting module, and how to leverage this combination for professional development in the SAP ecosystem.

Value of Cross-Module Expertise

It is no secret that the best SAP consultants have a broad understanding of SAP solutions, extending further than familiarity with just one or two modules. Their ability to grasp issues at both the broad and specific level make them highly employable.

The value of cross-module expertise has grown. Customers benefit from engaging consultants with this interdisciplinary expertise, who deliver comprehensive solutions by understanding module interactions. For example, a consultant proficient in FI and CO can easily manage financial processes, ensuring accurate financial data flow across the enterprise.

Cross-module expertise reduces the need to hire multiple specialized consultants (unless the project scope demands it), lowering costs and improving project coordination.

This broader knowledge is crucial as businesses adopt more unified and agile systems like SAP S/4HANA, which rely on frictionless interaction between modules for real-time data and insights.

Selecting SAP Modules to Augment Existing Skills

Selecting additional SAP modules to complement existing area of expertise is a strategic decision that can significantly enhance your value as a consultant.

To find the right additional module, assess your existing proficiency in specific modules. For instance, if you are well-versed in Financial Accounting (FI), expanding into Controlling (CO) or Treasury (TR) can create a cohesive skillset in financial management.

Analyze the demand for certain module combinations within the industries you serve. For example, the manufacturing sector often requires integration between Production Planning (PP) and Warehouse Management (WM).

Understand the typical requirements of current or potential clients. If your clients are increasingly adopting SAP S/4HANA, modules that complement this platform, like FI/CO or MM/SD, become particularly relevant.

Align module selection with long-term career aspirations. Those aiming for leadership roles might benefit from a broader understanding across modules that support enterprise-wide processes.

Commonly Combined Skills in SAP Consultants

Some typical cross-module combinations include:

FI/CO (Financial Accounting and Controlling): This combination allows consultants to manage both financial transactions and internal cost reporting, providing a complete financial overview of an organization.

MM/SD (Materials Management and Sales and Distribution): Combining these modules enables consultants to oversee the entire supply chain, from procurement to sales, ensuring that inventory management, order processing, and logistics are optimally integrated.

PP/WM (Production Planning and Warehouse Management): Expertise in both these areas allows consultants to manage manufacturing processes and inventory control efficiently, ensuring that production schedules and warehouse operations are synchronized.

Demand for Particular Combinations

Current trends in the SAP consulting services industry show a growing demand for specific module combinations that enhance the integration and efficiency of business processes.

FI/CO with S/4HANA:

Financial Accounting (FI) and Controlling (CO) are foundational modules in any SAP environment. Their integration with S/4HANA is highly sought after, given the platform’s real-time data processing capabilities and advanced financial analytics. Consultants proficient in these areas can help organizations optimize their financial operations and make data-driven decisions.

MM/SD with LE/WM:

Materials Management (MM) and Sales and Distribution (SD) are critical for supply chain management. Combining these with Logistics Execution (LE) and Warehouse Management (WM) creates a skillset to implement and manage processes for an interrupted flow of goods, from procurement to sales and distribution.

PP/PM/QM:

Production Planning (PP), Plant Maintenance (PM), and Quality Management (QM) together support manufacturing excellence. This combination is essential for industries focused on maintaining high production standards and minimizing downtime through proactive maintenance and quality control.

Emerging Trends in SAP Consulting

Emerging technologies are reshaping the landscape of SAP consulting, driving the need for cross-module expertise that integrates these innovations across traditional SAP environments.

AI is being increasingly integrated into SAP applications to enhance predictive analytics, automate routine tasks, and provide intelligent insights. Consultants with cross-module expertise, including modules like FI, CO, and BI (Business Intelligence), are in high demand to implement AI-driven solutions that span multiple business functions, so AI skills are a welcome addition to this type of consultant’s abilities.

IoT technology is revolutionizing supply chain and asset management. Modules such as MM, SD, PP, and PM are used alongside IoT capabilities. Consultants who understand these modules, can help clients harness IoT data to optimize operations, track assets, and improve overall efficiency, with further training in SAP IoT.

Blockchain technology is finding applications in areas like supply chain transparency and secure transactions. SAP consultants who understand blockchain within SAP, along with with expertise in modules like SD, MM, and LE, can integrate blockchain solutions to enhance traceability, security, and trust in supply chain processes.

Acquiring Training and Certification

Participating in appropriate training courses, and obtaining certifications is crucial for building cross-module expertise. 

SAP Learning Hub offers a variety of courses tailored to different modules and integration techniques. It’s a valuable resource for continuous learning.

SAP Certified Application Associate and SAP Certified Technology Specialist certifications are foundational. Advanced certifications in SAP S/4HANA and specific modules like FI/CO, MM/SD, and PP/QM provide deeper expertise.

Many SAP partners and third-party providers offer specialized training programs that focus on cross-module integration and advanced functionalities.

Acquiring Hands-On Project Experience

Certifications, while required, do not demonstrate experience. Gaining hands-on project experience in multiple modules is critical for developing cross-module expertise.

Working in cross-functional teams exposes you to different modules and business processes, enhancing your understanding of how they interrelate.

Shadowing seasoned consultants provides practical insights and allows you to learn best practices and troubleshooting techniques across many modules.

Volunteering for diverse projects within your organization or as part of consultancy engagements broadens your experience. Working on various types of projects, such as implementations, upgrades, and integrations, helps build a comprehensive skillset.

Internships or rotational programs that offer exposure to multiple SAP modules and business functions can be valuable for gaining practical experience for consultants early in their careers.

Industry-Specific Requirements

The selection of SAP modules for cross-module expertise is often influenced by industry-specific requirements. Each industry has unique processes and challenges that dictate the combination of modules most beneficial for addressing their needs.

In manufacturing, modules such as Production Planning (PP), Plant Maintenance (PM), Quality Management (QM), and Materials Management (MM) are crucial. Cross-module expertise in these areas ensures efficient production schedules, equipment maintenance, quality control, and inventory management.

Retailers benefit from expertise in Sales and Distribution (SD), Customer Relationship Management (CRM), and Materials Management (MM). This combination supports order processing, customer management, and inventory control, enhancing the overall customer experience.

Financial institutions (and many large corporations) require integration of Financial Accounting (FI), Controlling (CO), Treasury (TR), and Risk Management (RM). Cross-module proficiency in these areas helps in managing financial transactions, internal controls, liquidity, and risk.

The healthcare industry demands expertise in modules like Patient Management (PM), Healthcare Information Systems (HIS), and Materials Management (MM). This combination supports patient care, data management, and supply chain efficiency in medical facilities.

Understanding these industry-specific requirements also enhances a consultant’s ability to anticipate future needs and trends, positioning them as trusted advisors to their clients.

Supporting Skills for SAP Consultants

To effectively contribute to projects requiring cross-module expertise, SAP consultants need a diverse set of skills to support their experience in complimentary modules:

The ability to understand and translate complex business processes into SAP configurations using multiple modules. This involves understanding industry-specific requirements and how different modules interact to support these processes.

Strong analytical and problem-solving skills to identify issues, troubleshoot problems, and implement creative and effective solutions that span multiple modules.

Excellent communication skills to liaise with various stakeholders, including business users, technical teams, and project managers. Collaboration is crucial for successful cross-module integration.

Project management skills to plan, execute, and monitor cross-module integration tasks within larger SAP projects.

Leveraging Expertise for Professional Development

To leverage cross-module expertise for professional growth and employability, consultants should aim to undertake the following actions:

Highlight your cross-module expertise on professional profiles like LinkedIn and in your resume. Emphasize specific projects and outcomes where your combined skills made a significant impact.

Stay current with SAP advancements in relevant module areas by attending webinars, conferences, and training sessions. SAP’s landscape evolves rapidly, and ongoing education is crucial for staying up to date.

Engage with the SAP community through forums, user groups, and professional networks. Building relationships with peers and industry leaders can open up new opportunities and insights. By specializing in the combination of skills, SAP consultants open up multiple networking opportunities. 

Leverage your expertise to take on leadership roles in projects, and teams within your organization. Demonstrating a broad understanding of SAP systems and their strategic value can position you for promotions and more significant responsibilities.

Excelling in Cross-Module SAP Careers

Specializing in cross-module expertise offers substantial long-term career growth potential and opportunities for leadership roles.

As businesses increasingly seek integrated solutions to simplify and accelerate processes, and enhance efficiency, the demand for consultants with cross-module expertise is expected to rise. This demand translates into job security and career advancement opportunities.

For instance, the adoption of SAP S/4HANA has increased the need for consultants who can navigate its multi-functional environment, integrating modules such as Finance (FI), Controlling (CO), Materials Management (MM), and Sales and Distribution (SD).

The move towards cloud-based solutions and the incorporation of emerging technologies like AI and IoT have further demonstrated the importance of cross-module expertise. Clients expect consultants to provide insights into how these technologies can be used across various modules to drive innovation and efficiency.

Consultants with cross-module expertise can advance through to senior consultant roles, solution architects, and project managers: overseeing complex projects and guiding teams. Their broad understanding of SAP systems and strategic insights make them valuable leaders within their organizations. Also, the ability to anticipate and respond to evolving customer requirements in many areas marks them out them as trusted advisors, further enhancing their career prospects.

Excelling in cross-module SAP careers requires a combination of the right training, certifications, hands-on experience, and a proactive approach to professional development. What is clear is that being able to engage on multiple levels in SAP projects makes consultants far more valuable.

With the potential for long-term career growth and leadership opportunities, specializing in cross-module expertise is a strategic and rewarding career path for SAP consultants.

If you are an SAP professional looking for a new role in the SAP ecosystem our team of dedicated recruitment consultants can match you with your ideal employer and negotiate a competitive compensation package for your extremely valuable skills, so join our exclusive community at IgniteSAP.