The purpose of this article is to analyze the skills required for a professional to become an ERP consultant.
An ERP system provides an integrated platform for myriad business functions to work seamlessly and ensure a smooth business process. An enterprise resource planning system is generally adapted to the client's business processes and is hence industry specific. More and more businesses are becoming aware of the need to organize and structure their business processes and hence stay abreast of their competition. This consequently has increased multi fold the need for competent ERP consultants in order to run the show. The role of an ERP consultant is evident when one understands the complexity of the business processes addressed by an ERP package and the proficiency required in order to manage the day to day functions of an enterprise resource planning system.
A fresh candidate aspiring to become and ERP consultant requires to have the following qualifications and soft skills.
He needs to have a 4-year graduate bachelor degree ideally in engineering or computer science. This helps to benchmark the candidate's analytical and technical skills.
A candidate aspiring to be an ERP consultant must be well read on enterprise resource planning concepts. He must have the ability to grasp details of complex software products, rationalizing the components and their uses and to be able to apply the components to the client's business functions. This thus makes it necessary for the candidate to be aware of the needs of a conventional enterprise resource planning system.
A candidate may also choose to have an edge over his competitors by enrolling for product training programs. For this he needs to research the various ERP software available in the market. He has to study at a high level the functionalities and the style of implementation of the product and find out what it would additionally take to master the product concepts. He can then make an educated choice of the product he wishes to specialize in. The one product he chooses must be relevant to his competencies and domain interest as well as be aligned with his future career plans.
The IT industry is such that an organization seeks to hire a person for a specific role (in this case as an ERP consultant) only if he has enough years as an ERP consultant already. However a fresh candidate can only get the experience if he is lucky to have his first break. Thus it is a vicious circle. One possible way out is to be able to settle for an ERP role for minimal remuneration or even on probation for free, until he proves his worth enough to be paid as per the industry standards. A smarter thing to do would be to find a product training center which also promises job placements on successful completion of the courses.
There are however exceptional cases in which the industry may willing offer a candidate the role of an ERP consultant even though he does not meet some of the above criterion. For example, if the candidate has sufficient years of experience or knowledge in the domain relevant to an enterprise resource planning implementation. For example a person is an expert in the pharmaceutical domain may be hired by an ERP company to aid in its implementation for a pharmaceutical client. Similarly they may hire an MBA in Retail management for their ERP implementation for a Retail supermarket.
Lastly, and most importantly, any candidate aspiring to be an ERP consultant must show the enthusiasm and confidence to perform well in the assigned role. He must have good communication skills to interact efficiently with the clients and ensure that the client needs are sufficiently catered to. A satisfied client added to the portfolio ensures a promising future for the candidate.