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Change career from Audit to SAP implementations?

Change career from Audit to SAP implementations?

Change career from Audit to SAP implementations?

Hello gang

I'd really like to transition out of Internal Audit and into SAP or Oracle ERP installations, but I'm not quite sure how an audit guy like me (Director of Internal Audit, CIA, CPA, CISA (though very little IT audit experience)) gets into that. Here's my questions
1.    When I monitored the SAP implementation in my last job, the implementors seemed split between "technical" and "Business", and it seemed like the "business" folks weren't really that technically oriented, but focused instead on mapping out the firms operations and strategy. What skills are needed for this "business" function?
2)    What's the easiest/cheapest/quickest way to get the training you need to get into that function?
3)    How does it pay? is high 5 figures, low 6 figures typical/achievable/realistic?

Whatever help you can provide would be most appreciated. Thanks in advance

RE: Change career from Audit to SAP implementations?

SAP is interesting because there's a lot of demand for it, yet not a lot of people who are proficient in deploying it.  That's unfortunate because SAP is a very complicated monster.  I'm working on a deployment now (not on the SAP side, but on the supporting IT infrastructure side) and it's been a nightmare.  For the most part, nobody knows what they're doing except for one or two of the consultants, and once they're gone the project will struggle.  There was one person in-house who was pretty good with SAP, but he left to go to work for SAP.

Sorry for my rant, I guess my point is that if you aren't particularly IT savvy, then trying to get into business critical applications deployment is probably not the best move for your customer.  Most of the best SAP consultants that I've worked with have strong backgrounds in either development or IT systems (mostly Unix).  I'd probably start there.

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RE: Change career from Audit to SAP implementations?

I recently went through an SAP deployment in the same sort of role as kmcferrin.  We had a couple of rough weeks, right after d-day, but certainly no nightmare...

The people who are good at SAP implementation need not be technical.  The hardest part of the transition is selling people on switching.  Not selling it to the company, but the end users.  They've done their job the same way for 15 years, there's LOTS of resistance to change.  If you can get them sold on the idea and include them as much as possible, they have a chance to take ownership of it and suddenly a lot of the problems with the roll-out vanish.

Now as far as business versus technical... there's DEFINITELY two different skillsets required!  The business people have to know the way the company does business from tip to toe... they have to be so intimate with the operations that they can explain it in great detail to the technical people, who may not know it at all.  They also have to be able to test the functions to ensure that the proper result is obtained for any transaction.  For SAP implementation, they should probably be the most detail-oriented people you can possibly find.  The testing phase of SAP implementation is a long procedure and requires a LOT of attention to ensure it meets the needs of the business.

I don't know how you get "training" for it.  Many people I know look for jobs advertising a need for someone with experience with SAP... that tends to be only businesses that are going through an implementation.  These people "train" by building a resume of places where they've helped with it, then they apply at a consulting firm that does SAP full-time.

The ships hung in the sky in much the same way that bricks don't. - Douglas Adams

RE: Change career from Audit to SAP implementations?

Thank you both for your comments! Having been on the other side of an SAP implementation (as an Audit Director who would have had to explain it to the audit committee if the implementation corrupted some SOX key control), I'm certainly very conscious of the need to make sure implementations get done right.

Ben you description of the "business" side of the implentantion team sounds like;
a) the folks that mapped our organization into the encyclopedia of mind numbing flow charts, and sold us on the idea that lots of stupid redundant work can go away if we're ready to learn some new tricks (at my old firm this was done by the consultant that helped us choose the implementors), and
b) the folks that make sure that the implemented system is actually fullfilling the needs of the organization.
What you've described, Ben, is actually similar to the change management I enoy most as an operational auditor.

Is this the full extent of the work done by the non-technical side of ERP implementation teams? What sort of salary do these folks make?

Thanks again!

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