Is There Any SAP Help Out There?
There is a ton of help available out there - depending on your companies budget and culture Ė to help you along your journey beginning with your strategy and ending up when you reach that hallowed (and sometimes distant) ground of post-implementation. This article concentrates on the help available from SAP AG.
As you read in article 1 of this series, SAP AG employs around 22,000 people. Although they re-organize as often as most other companies, you can think of them as being organized into the following four areas: Pre-Sales, Consulting, Training and Developers.
* Pre-Sales. These are people with heavy-duty functional knowledge of one or more SAP modules and one or more industries. They give really excellent system demonstrations on particular areas of the system which Ė while thick with pre-sales features Ė are an extremely valuable source of information about SAP. Iím sure they have many other responsibilities as well, but if you can, get a demo from them. For an even more useful demo, ask if you can provide them with business process scenarios that are pertinent to your business or industry prior to the demo.
* Consulting. While also knowledgeable in SAP (of course), these are mostly consulting types like those that can be found in the major consulting firms. Often a team will consist of consultants from SAP and a partner consulting firm and you will not know the difference. Expect them to have business process and/or industry knowledge in addition to detailed SAP knowledge. They are not readily available to non-customers as they are usually assigned to one or more customers.
* Training. In 1999 SAP opened up their training programs to non-customers and non-partners. This opens up a whole world of top-rate training programs at SAPís facilities around the globe. These can be expensive, however, and up to three weeks are usually required to gain a sufficiently deep understanding of a particular module or subject. If you have lots of time and money, you could register for one of SAPís Ďacademiesí which are five-week crash courses (emphasis on crash Ö as in burn) in one of the following areas: FI/CO, MM/SD, and HR/ABAP. These end with an examination and 'certification' in your chosen area. More information on SAP training courses can be found on SAPís website.
* Developers. These heavy-duty techies are off limits to non-customers. Customers can sometimes get a message to them via the OSS system Ė which is an automated trouble ticket type system. If you ever actually see one, or have one on the phone, ask all the questions you can think of, as you may never have the chance again!