4 Reasons Why Your Next SAP Project Should Be In Retail
It can be difficult to choose which project to next take on as an SAP consultant. You are likely already a specialist in a certain module, but it can be difficult to choose among different clients in different industries. While the number of options and opportunities can be exhilarating, some new consultants wind up accepting the first offer that presents itself- more experienced consultants will evaluate every SAP project that comes across their network.
With tens of thousands of SAP clients globally across industries, why do some find that it pays specialize in one industry? And why do some SAP freelancers opt to take on project after project in the retail industry?
1) The reactive and competitive atmosphere
One of the benefits of working in SAP is that for the most part projects are the same, wherever they may be. This means that your skills are transferable across clients and industries. However, many who work on SAP projects in the retail industry find that the environment is very different from other industries which can spice things up. The retail industry is highly competitive and reactive to shifts in trends- whether that be on the runway or in technology.
Additionally, retailers— specifically fashion and apparel— operate a fast-paced and complex supply chain and product lifecycle because of their season-based schedules. This translates into complex enterprise technology challenges in monitoring and optimizing a global supply chain with tight deadlines for production and sales.
Breaking the relative uniformity of projects, SAP in retail can be an exciting challenge for some freelancers.
2) To become a retail specialist
It comes as no surprise that as a result of the industry-specific business pressures, retail tends to have applications of SAP that necessitates specialist knowledge and skills. SAP has supplied multiple industry solutions for retail clients including SAP IS-Retail, AFS and FMS (though these can used in other industries such as manufacturing or oil & gas). There are multiple modules that will work within these industry solutions and once freelancers gain experience working on projects in this niche area of SAP, it becomes increasingly easy to work on another retail project.
As an added bonus, this specialist retail knowledge and application can make a very lucrative career for an SAP consultant, which they might not otherwise get in another industry.
3) The challenge of diverse stakeholders
When it comes to stakeholders, again, the retail industry is unique. Retail is still at its very core a creative industry filled with creative talent. With creative executives in the mix of operations, logistics, sales and marketing leaders, translating business needs into SAP initiatives can be a new challenge. The diversity of stakeholders lends a distinct experience to many SAP consultants and requires a well-developed functional skillset that, over time, is shaped to the industry itself.
4) The brand names and CV building
Good SAP contractors will have a wealth of project opportunities, with many companies to choose from. Many of retailers have recognizable brand names which can lend real weight to a freelancer’s CV, especially when the company is operating on a global scale. Companies in other industries with global reach and multimillion dollar revenues may not be as recognized as retailers, who have become not only household names but aspirational brands to multiple audiences and markets. The retail industry offers a wealth of brand names which can prove to be robust building blocks for a SAP freelancer’s CV.
Retail is only one of many industries that SAP freelancers can choose to work in. There is, however, a strong community of SAP freelancers who work exclusively in retail because of the project atmosphere, necessity for industry experience, challenge of diverse stakeholders and attractive brand name clients. SAP projects in the retail sector can be challenging but rewarding for those who choose to take them on.