The other day I stumbled across this quote in a blog by Gant Laborde, which whilst generic in context is easily applicable to the world of SAP …
“Software keeps evolving, and so should we; no-one got into software to watch the world pass them by”
– Gant Laborde
With this quote, and as this year marks my 20th in the SAP ecosystem, I reflected on a contentious blog that I wrote over 5 years ago on the SAP community network titled ‘Can we reinvent the grey haired ABAPer?’.
Those of us in the know understand the depth of knowledge expected from a fully rounded SAP developer these days (and I’m sure many of you can add many more technologies, acronyms and so forth that I’ve not mentioned here). But it does telegraph one important thing … that the concept of a generic SAP developer is a myth. In reality, each developer is unique, and has evolved to a certain level along a multi-dimensional continuum of skillsets and technologies.
Looking at the above diagram, we could argue about what technologies should be listed and when they were introduced. But the point is this … the skills challenge is getting increasingly more difficult as SAP continues to evolve with new technologies without deprecating the older ones (think SAPScript etc). Even looking at SAP’s S/4HANA release, it seems that many older technologies are still running alongside newer approaches. Which means an SAP developer is expected to stretch their capability across a widening breadth of technologies and approaches. Or projects are expected to double up on resources to achieve this coverage of skills.
Now more than ever, it’s important to curate the right individuals for your development team. Don’t treat them as generic commodities. Think of your development team as the engine room via which you can build innovative solutions (eg. mobile apps) on your SAP digital core. Finding the right ones can help to propel you forward and keep your systems relevant.
It’s why myself and those I work with see good developers as enablers and respected consultants, not commoditized order takers. That ethos is enshrined in our manifesto. But when I say ‘developers’, I do mean the ‘right developers’. Those that seek to evolve. To move beyond your SAP GUI. The ones that don’t wish to ‘watch the world pass them by’. This blog is dedicated to them.
Co-Founder Blue TJohn specialises in SAP user interface technologies, mobile enablement, and web development technologies. He is the author of SAP-related native iOS and Android apps, a regular blogger, speaker at conferences such as Mastering Enterprise Mobility, and he is an SAP Mentor alumnus. Before co-founding Blue T, John previously worked in both consulting and solution architecture roles for companies such as SAP, Ariba and Accenture.