SAP has announced business process expert certification, an online marketplace partnership and a new version of the Business Objects Metadata Management Solution.
The new certification, announced at the Las Vegas TechEd conference, is for business process management services experts.
It will include sessions on strategic context, governance, methodology, technology, and service-oriented architecture. Zia Yusuf, executive VP, said: "We need to formalise that class of staff. It's the people who know sales, marketing, and the business objects, but they can also connect with developers."
It will also be offered online through the SAP's 425,000-strong SAP Business Process Expert social network. Those wishing to be certified under the new business process certification should be able to do so within four weeks of the end of the Las Vegas TechEd conference.
But finding ERP pros and certified SAP vendors is becoming harder and harder, according to an AMR Research report.
“SAP and Oracle application skills, in particular, are in huge demand, with service providers reporting that their ERP practices continue to experience double-digit growth and strong pricing premiums relative to other IT skills," Dana Stiffler wrote in the ‘US ERP skills gap leaves titans vulnerable’ report.
"They tell us the packaged applications business is limited only by their ability to find, train, and place appropriate resources."
Those resources are in short supply right now, and not just for ERP skills. Included on the list of most highly valued SAP skills, according to Foote Partners data, are: SAP Master Data Management, NetWeaver Business Intelligence / Business Warehouse, Business Objects, and SAP Human Capital Management.
For SAP, which has more severe staffing problems (some 30,000 to 40,000 experts in need) than Oracle, the news is worse: "Unless the striking variance in skills availability is eliminated," Stiffler notes, "Oracle will become an increasingly attractive option relative to SAP."
Beyond the SAP and Oracle sales competition, however, there is a bigger problem that on-premise software vendors face: The net effect of the skills shortage is pushing existing and potential customers to consider alternative software delivery models, Stiffler contends.
"I think what it really means long term is that people are really crying out for a different delivery model for enterprise software and business functionality," she says. "And it's my belief that combinations of SaaS and business process outsourcing (BPO) will eventually begin to emerge and make that gap be slightly less noticeable."
SAP is hoping to lure in more allies via its new partnership with the global online open innovation marketplace, InnoCentive. The company manages a platform where businesses can post their R&D challenges to be solved by engineers, scientists, inventors, and research organizations.
This forum will add on to SAP's other collaborative SAP Community Network platforms like the SAP Developer Network and the aforementioned SAP Business Process Expert Community, which total 1.3 million members.
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