SAP Interview Session with Zimkhita Buwa

sapOn the 6th of December 2012 we had a fruitful interview session on our INNOvatorz.IT with SAP mentor Zimkhita Buwa. The community wanted to find out more of what SAP is. Its a a slightly edited version but still covers all the questions asked. We plan on having more sessions with her later on. Here is the interview session

Mixo Fortune: Zimkhita Buwa can you just give us a brief of what you do and who this awesome SAP mentor is?

Zimkhita Buwa: LOL…don’t know about awesome.

Mixo Fortune: You know you are awesome and very interesting…. Here is a blog about Zimkhita Buwa and what she is all about http://scn.sap.com/blogs/zimbuwa/2012/08/21/scn-blogging-it-forward-zimkhita-buwa

Zimkhita Buwa:  I am an SAP Business Intelligence and Strategy Management Consultant. Sounds like a mouth full but SAP stands for Systems Applications and Products – a company that was started in Germany to assist organisations to manage their business processes more effectively. So SAP has various modules, i.e. Human Resources, FI(financial), Logistics, Procurement, etc. So the module that I deal with allows decision-makers to make decisions from the data generated in these transactional systems.

So we essentially create reports (financial, HR, etc.) that allow managers & operational users to analyse trends and make decisions from it. We use a system called SAP Business Warehouse which is the Data warehouse solution for SAP. We also use various reporting tools such as SAP Business Objects to create visually appealing and dynamic graphs for our users.

Mamongato Prince Sebapu: I hear SAP people earn at least 25k how true?

Zimkhita Buwa: In any career the type of money you earn is solely dependent on how much work you put in. When I started I never worried about the money (HONESTLY)…when you put in the work…the money will come!!

Mixo Fortune: So what skills or qualifications do i need to have to do SAP?

Zimkhita Buwa: This depends on the module that you want to specialize in. I specialize in Business Intelligence (BI) & Strategy Management (SSM) so I certified in BI and attended a 5 week academy at SAP. I also attended an SSM course at SAP

Daddie David Mohutsioa: How do I get SAP Certified when I’m unemployed because most of the SAP vacancies require experience and certification? Remember not all of us can afford to pay for the course if that’s the case.

Zimkhita Buwa: You are right the certification is unfortunately expensive and this has been raised with SAP. There are programmes that SAP is working on to try make the certification accessible. My best advice if you do not have the money is to try lookout for internships and knock on many doors as you can. Once you are in an organisation that has SAP annoy one of the SAP managers to try volunteer and someone will notice your pro-activeness. I can also say that whatever opportunities I hear of I will feedback to this group. I’ve already mentioned the Capaciti1000 programme that closes today – although that does not include SAP certification most of the host organisations on the Programme do run SAP

Lerato Visser Leshabane: Just imagine 10k for 2days, aowa!!

Zimkhita Buwa: Yes that would be great…but remember the amount of responsibility and the amount of work required for that! That’s what you need to focus on.

Tinyiko Thobye Mathebula: Hi Zimkhita, can you please explain how one gets certified for SAP, the training prerequisites, fee’s etc.

Zimkhita Buwa: Most of the training is conducted at SAP. Like I mentioned before, it depends on the module that you want to specialise in. Most of the certifications run for a period of up to 5weeks. When I attended it cost R60000. I was fortunate that the company I worked for paid for me. If you do have amount to spend on the course I would advise against doing it without having the support of a company that actually runs SAP. I have trained a few consultants who thought that they would walk out of certification and find work immediately and unfortunately the market does not work that way. So first approach a company and inform them about your plans of doing the certification.

Katlego ‘kok’ Kgobodi: Hi, Zimkhita GENTRAN? What exactly is it? If you know about it.

Zimkhita Buwa: I don’t personally use it…but see for more info…http://eai.ittoolbox.com/groups/technical-functional/edi-l/gentran-is-edi-tool-993537

Tinyiko Thobye Mathebula: Does SAP offer self-training courses because i heard you don’t have to attend the formal training @ SAP academy in order to get certified, you can just register for the exam if you have the experience and are confident in a specific module?

Zimkhita Buwa:  If you have the experience you can go for the exam but for someone that is starting out and has no prior experience on the module it will be extremely difficult. The value of the formal training is that you get access to an instructor that is there to assist you with questions. SAP also offers some online courses. If you do have the opportunity of attending the training that is what I would advise. Take me for example. I worked on the SAP Business Warehouse system for two years and thought I knew it all. It was only when I attended the training that I understood how the puzzles fit together and what the bigger picture is with the system. A lot of the time when you go by experience is that you only know what you know…right…or what people are willing to show you. The formal training provides you with information and access to functionality that you might not know even existed

Yandisa Tiny Mbele-Jali: Is SAP in demand nowadays? How challenging is it in industry?

Zimkhita Buwa: Yes, SAP is very much in demand! Most organisations use SAP in some way. I also mentioned that there are a lot of modules and like anything in technology it’s forever changing so one needs to keep abreast with the changing and you need to up skill yourself which is where the challenge comes in. So yes it is an exciting industry and I love it 🙂

Mixo Fortune: Zimkhita Buwa how huge is the demand for SAP professionals in the country and what are the challenges of filling those gaps?

Zimkhita Buwa: There is a demand for SAP skills. There isn’t always the supply though. This issue was raised at a Strategy Session that I attended earlier this week. So because the supply is not always sufficient – there are instances where the same consultants are booked for more than one job at a time. And transformation is still a challenge – it is still very white dominated but there are certain programmes in the pipeline that are attempting to change this. It’s not just an SAP phenomenon it’s IT in general

Mamongato Prince Sebapu: Are you fearing your Open Source alternative OpenBravo and our local Pastel Evolution or you still feel SAP is having a bright future ahead?

Zimkhita Buwa: Hi Mamongato – Trust me, SAP has a bright future…companies are realising the value of having a solution that enables you to structure your critical business processes effectively. Even SARS runs SAP! So there is a bright future even internationally! The nice aspect about knowing SAP is that you can also work internally – all the major organisations abroad use SAP!…even LEVIS!!

Tumelo Titus Ka-Mokwena Hey Zimkhita, what I want to know is where can one apply or enrol for SAP around Gauteng?

Zimkhita Buwa  Tumelo, please visit the SAP website, they do have an office in Woodmead www.sap.co.za

Tumelo Titus Ka-Mokwena: Thank you Zimkhita

 

Yandisa Tiny Mbele-Jali: We thank you Mixo for organizing this helpful session and for keeping it going.

We thank you Zim for your time. For breaking our eyes and sharing with us this very helpful information.

I thank group collaborators for keeping the session going and interesting by asking worthy questions that helped us..

I was so concern of what this SAP is but yet today will sleep happy because I know about it and will freely and kindly share my information about it to my collaborator because it’s really useful and can help one..

Thank you very much
IF WE KEEPING LIKE THIS WE GOING FAR!!
//humbled

Zimkhita Buwa: No thank you for the questions!!! Please feel free to follow me on twitter @zimbuwa. Lovely chatting to you. When I get any info on the graduate programmes I will definitely pass it on. Just remember to always keep your head up and work hard and adhere to the FISH Philosophy

Mixo Fortune: What is the FISH philosophy? im just thinking food food food

Tumelo Titus Ka-Mokwena: @Mixo, thats a funny one

Zimkhita Buwa: YESSS food for thought…just posted a pic…check it out! It’s been great guys! Take care 🙂

Mixo Fortune: F-fun (play),I-inspire(Make their day), S-show up(be there), H-Happy(choose your attitude)

Mixo Fortune: Zimkhita Buwa thank you for your time and for not thinking twice when I asked you to do this session .I think we can build up from this and maybe later break down SAP into smaller pieces. Thanx a milli

You follow Zimkhita on twitter if you want to keep the conversion going: https://twitter.com/zimbuwa

 

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