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The SAP Global Skills Gap & What It Means For HR

Written by: Laurence Scott
Date: 09 October 2018

Since its arrival on the SAP stage in February 2015, S/4HANA has made its impact. That impact is being increasingly felt by employers as they search for the talent to unlock its business value and create a more intelligent enterprise.

SAP S/4HANA is an ERP solution which enables companies to maximise their opportunities in today’s digital economy. Built on an in-memory system, SAP HANA, it offers a personalised user experience with SAP Fiori, offering real-time analytics and making complex data easier to manage. According to SAP, it removes obstacles associated with legacy ERP applications, including those that come with manually driven processes. 
It is also the fastest selling product in the organisation’s history.

Integrating S/4HANA is more than an upgrade, however.  It is a digital transformation – and every S/4HANA migration is unique. Furthermore, larger enterprises are taking advantage of the innovation of S/4HANA to completely rebuild their ERP. 

The impact on the SAP Jobs Market 

All of the above factors are having a significant effect on the demand for tech professionals with the unique skillset that SAP roles demand. 
In 2025, SAP expects its customers to have transitioned to S/4HANA and will no longer support its current business suite ERP systems. As a result, every SAP customer will be looking to implement S/4HANA over the next few years, placing upward pressure on salaries as employers compete to recruit the best available talent to support their strategic goals. 

For many organisations, those issues are already affecting hiring processes. According to Centiq’s State of SAP HANA Report 2018 68% of CIOs, 68% of CIOs believe their businesses need more knowledge of S/4HANA functionality. 
The demand for specific skills varies by business goals and requirements but all are dependent on the need for business process change and understanding the integration requirements of existing systems prior to adoption.

“Large organisations that are looking to make the transition, need to realize the size of the task ahead in terms of both timeframe and cost, coupled with the need to ensure you have the right experience within your teams for SAP S/4 HANA implementation methodology.” Comments Laurence Scott, ERP Contracts Team Manager “With 2025 just around the corner, we at Glocomms are seeing the demand for S/4 talent explode.”
Specific in-demand skills include an ability to adapt to solutions such as Fiori and Ariba, together with S/4HANA architect, SAP SF and SAP cloud integration. 

Across the continent, Germany and Eastern Europe are recording the highest growth for SAP consultants and as salaries increase, employers may be forced to outsource their recruitment offshore. 

The ongoing impact of on-premise versus cloud 

As HR begins to anticipate future hiring needs, another trend to consider is the move towards the cloud. S/4HANA offers cloud, on-premise or hybrid deployment, but it is essentially designed for the cloud, reflecting the global shift towards a ‘cloud first’ technology base.

Cloud software helps organisations to rapidly build applications and offers high performance. Nearly three-quarters of businesses have at least one application of their existing computing infrastructure in the cloud and it’s predicted they’ll invest an average of $2.2m on cloud services in 2018, compared to $1.62 million two years ago.   

Gartner also predicts that by 2019, nearly a third of new software investment will transition from ‘cloud-first’ to ‘cloud only’, giving rise to an additional demand for cloud infrastructure specialists with specific knowledge of S/4HANA.

The businesses that embrace digital transformation and create a recruitment strategy aligned with their strategic goals will have a head start on their competition as the global SAP skills gap continues to expand. 

References:
Source : https://www.sap.com/uk/products/s4hana-erp.html
Source : https://news.sap.com/2018/01/sap-announces-preliminary-fourth-quarter-and-full-year-2017-results
Source : https://centiq.co.uk/centiq-reports/sap-hana-report/