SAP ERP Training: What You Need to Know

Rossey Charleston
December 11, 2015

For wholesale distributors contemplating upgrading their ERP systems to a robust application like SAP, one of the most important questions that they’ll need to answer is how to get the training they need to make the most of the software. SAP systems are so complex that it can literally take years to develop an expertise in specific functional areas like human capital management, financials, or warehouse management and logistics. So how do you acquire this expertise in-house?

Why Might SAP ERP Training Make Sense?

There are a number of reasons why SAP training is important. The reasons vary according to whether you are an individual who wants to gain job skills, a functional area manager who wants his area’s business processes to meet or exceed industry best practices, or a company owner or IT manager that needs to drive more profitability from the business. For individuals, some of the reasons to invest time in SAP ERP Training include: Improving your job prospects: True experts on SAP functions are in high demand, and there is a shortage of experienced SAP experts across industries. Those individuals who do have experience and formalized training are well compensated. Certifications exist in many functional areas that can really enhance your resume. Better job performance: If you’re looking to stay put at your current employer, you could be able to really prove your worth with the improvements in job performance that SAP Certification and training can provide. For companies, the need to invest in SAP ERP training is clear. SAP is very robust software, but it can only deliver on its promise if the right people know how to use it. It can support industry best practices, but these may not be the practices already in place at your company, which means that your employees will need training to support new ways of doing business. Employers sometimes worry that investing in high-value training and certification programs like this, but in the long run, it could ultimately determine the success of your SAP investment and the well-being of your company.

What kind of training is available?

There are a variety of ways that companies and individuals can obtain the training they need. SAP and many of its implementation and training partners make available a combination of instructor-led classroom training, virtual or online classroom training, e-learning, E-Academy and online knowledge products on the full range of applications available through SAP. Some sources for SAP training include:

  • SAP Training and Education: SAP Training and Education offers “learning in the cloud,” with training materials and handbooks available online. Classroom education is available through MOOCs (Massive Open Online Courses) or in-person.
  • SAP Press: SAP runs its own publishing house and offers training materials, books and content across the full spectrum of SAP functional and technical topics.
  • Americas’ SAP Users’ Group (ASUG): In addition to member benefits like meetings and conventions, ASUG also offers webinars on many topics that are available to both members and non-members for an additional fee.
  • SAP Community Network: SAP’s online community network offers a plethora of free materials such as online tutorials, webinars, videos, and demos. SCN also has forums, wikis, and blog posts where its more than 2.3 million members can quickly and easily post questions and answers to a wide variety of SAP-related topics.
  • TechTarget SearchSAP: At SearchSAP, you’ll find more free tutorials, white papers, advice and other information that can help answer your questions about SAP.

Third Party Training Providers: There are a number of third party consulting and training firms that offer SAP ERP training. Some offer training along with SAP implementation and consulting, and these may range from Big Five consultancies such as Accenture and KPMG, to midmarket consulting firms, or those that may specialize in one or two functional areas. Other firms may offer SAP ERP training as a stand-alone service.

Should I get training from SAP or a third-party consultancy?

One big question many people have is whether it is best to get training online, or go directly to the source and get training from SAP or a third party consulting partner. SAP offers many effective online training options, but sometimes you just can’t beat getting the information from a real-live expert. SAP and its many SAP ERP training partners provide high-quality and effective training, so the answer to this question depends on several factors. What kind of training do you need? A firm that offers a specialty in that kind of training may best handle highly specialized training for very specific business needs. What’s your budget? Some training providers are more expensive than others. If budgets are tight, online coursework may be the best option. Do you need ongoing support? Training and support can be one of the biggest obstacles to getting the most from your SAP ERP applications. Unfortunately, choosing online coursework options can sometimes mean that you may not have a resource to ask when further questions arise about what you have learned. If you think you will have a need for ongoing support, then working with an SAP consultancy may benefit you over the long term. There is a lot to consider when it comes to SAP ERP training, but thinking through these options and questions will go a long way toward getting you started down the right path.