Cloud transition leads to increased skills gap

More than two thousand companies have now made the transition to ERP in the cloud using RISE with SAP.

In SAP’s view, the companies that have made the transition to ERP in the cloud using RISE with SAP can fully focus on the business. “But the transition also creates a serious shortage of the right skills,” said Paul Cooper, chairman of the UK & Ireland SAP User Group (UKISUG).

RISE with SAP was the focus of SAP Sapphire, which took place in mid-May at the World Forum in The Hague. This was also the case during an interview we had between the sessions with, among others, the representatives of the SAP user associations from the Netherlands, France and the United Kingdom and Ireland.

SAP introduced a brand new proposal in early 2021 with RISE with SAP. This ‘Business Transformation as a Service’ package should make the journey to ERP in the public cloud as easy as possible. “It’s about running SAP S / 4HANA in the cloud so the customer can focus on their business,” said Simon Carpenter, SAP EMEA North responsible for SAP applications and demand.

Gray area

That focus on business has implications for the role that IT departments play, Cooper emphasizes. “The time when IT could retire to an island for endless discussions about a tool is now seriously over. IT departments need to have even more contact with users and focus on the results of a business transformation.

“There is no longer a hard line between IT and business,” confirms Coby Hendriks, board member of the Association of Dutch-speaking SAP Users (VNSG). “It is rather a gray area where more emphasis is placed on involving the various business units in IT decision-making.” Cooper: “It is also the employees of the business units who have to make decisions about how the systems will work.”

According to Francois Erignoux, board member of the French SAP user association Utilisateurs SAP Francophones (USF), it also requires something from the users. According to him, a different way of thinking is needed. “You create new opportunities in the cloud, but if you do not have the right mindset, you will not see the new opportunities. If one now explains to finance that they can draw the balance every day, people are often very surprised.

Demographic divide

In the ‘gray area’, where IT and business meet, new skills are needed, emphasizes Simon Carpenter from SAP. “We help companies digitize and modernize by doing more and more for those companies. This means that IT departments change roles that require different competencies. For example, there will be a great demand for process modeling skills. IT must be able to simulate what a company will look like when you take the next step in a transformation. ”

There is a serious shortage of the new competencies, according to Cooper, and that shortage is not easy to address, he says. This is partly due to a ‘demographic gap’. “Many SAP specialists started their careers in the 1990s and are now in their 50s or 60s. But when you go to a cloud conference, you see a much younger audience. This is where younger people come who have the competencies that are needed right now. ”

“Traditional software can be programmed and configured as you wish and fully tailored to your needs,” Hendriks continues. “In the cloud, you have to follow the standard much more and approach IT from a user perspective. It is no longer about customizing systems. But the people who did the programming and the configuration are still working in organizations. ”

Lifelong learning

“Everyone needs to become more flexible, curious about what’s coming, and invest in themselves,” Carpenter concludes. “There must be a culture where lifelong learning becomes the standard. Everyone should set aside time each week to explore new areas. It has more to do with changing thinking than with the skills that are there. ”

About SAP

SAP’s strategy is to help any business become an intelligent business. As a market leader in business software, we help companies of all sizes and in any industry to run optimally. 87 percent of global transaction revenue goes through an SAP system. Our machine learning, Internet of Things (IoT) and advanced analytics technologies help customers switch to a smart business. SAP gives people and organizations a deep understanding of business operations and promotes a way of working together that helps them stay ahead of the competition. We simplify technology for companies so that they can use our software as they wish – without interruption. Our complete suite of applications and services enables companies and government organizations in 25 industries around the world to operate profitably, continuously adapt and make a difference. Supported by a global network of customers, partners, employees and opinion leaders, SAP contributes to a better world and a better life.

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