Systems Applications and Products (SAP) is a popular Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) software designed to power the technology industry in its capabilities and infrastructure advancements. Founded by a handful of former IBM employees in 1972, SAP has since grown into one of the largest software programmes in the world. It is a market that reports a revenue growth of 6.5% year on year, driven by strong customer adoption and ample cloud growth within Asia Pacific businesses.
Reports have also shared that SAP’s value will double by 2023 and China was identified to be the fastest growing market. Nonetheless, the cloud market is also growing quickly in Japan, and we look at two hot roles; SAP Consultant and SAP Developers, to understand its demand across the IT sector.
What is SAP?
SAP is defined as a centralised system for organisations, allowing every department to access, upload, share and retrieve common data, which leads to a more effective work environment. SAP provides proven methodologies, advanced software tools and best practices to get your ERP solution up and running quickly thereby contributing to your business goals. With its advanced capabilities, SAP is a popular ERP software on the market, with hundreds of fully integrated modules covering nearly every industry.
What does an SAP Consultant do?
An SAP consultant is a specialist who helps companies locate the right software to meet their needs. SAP is an acronym for systems, application and products and most SAP consultants specialise in one or two areas within the field of data processing: functional or technical. Most SAP consultants who have experience in areas like software development and programming will focus on the technical side of SAP software. SAP consultants who have a finance background generally focus on the functional area within a business.
An SAP consultant needs to possess deep industry knowledge in addition to SAP configuration as companies hire them to setup or streamline their business processes in the most optimum (but not always) way possible. In essence an SAP functional consultant provides consultation and advice to the client and is usually customer facing.
What is SAP Development?
An SAP developer designs solutions to ensure the optimisation of a company's servers and systems. They help optimise work processes by providing applications that can automate billing, data entry, invoicing and other data processing functions within a business. Many big companies use SAP software to record and manage finance, sales, purchasing and production data. SAP developers ensure that their company programmes operate smoothly and are there to troubleshoot any errors.
What are the duties and responsibilities of an SAP Consultant?
SAP consultants are responsible for evaluating, designing, and configuring computer systems and software to meet the needs of their employer or client. They ensure that the workflows for the computer system are optimised and work well for end-users. They also gather feedback from end-users to make modifications where necessary. While their specific responsibilities may vary depending on the type of SAP consulting they do, some of the most common duties include:
- Automating and optimising processes
- Developing an order-to-cash process including inquiry, order, billing, and shipping
- Configure the credit management functionality of a business to streamline processes for accounts receivable
- Developing user manuals and technical guides to cover the full order-to-cash cycle for end-users
- Analysing a company's existing computer systems, identifying areas for improvement, and recommending solutions to the organisation's management team
What are the duties and responsibilities of an SAP Developer?
Responsibilities of an SAP developer include:
- Create guidelines based on client function specifications
- Test and verify code results through test cases
- Write functionality reports for their clients
- Write test case scenarios to check code functionality
SAP developers, unlike SAP consultants, are not customer facing. However, an exception can include an SAP developer contractor who will also be involved in client meetings to ensure smoother product development with their niche knowledge and expertise.
Ultimately, an SAP developer is not a consultant in foundation, but one who works alongside an SAP consultant to collectively implement a business solution.
Types of jobs in Japan for SAP Consultants:
- SAP Developer consultant: This type of SAP consultant is responsible for coding Java and Advanced Business Application Programming (ABAP) programs.
- Business and sales SAP consultant: Business or sales SAP consultants focus on winning projects at the customer level.
- Functional SAP consultant: This type of SAP consultant works closely with developers to create custom code for ABAP programmes, customising SAP to meet the client requirements.
- SAP basis consultant: An SAP basis consultant helps to install, maintain, and finetune databases and SAP servers. SAP basis consultants may have other responsibilities as well depending on the size of the project.
How to become a SAP Consultant or SAP Developer in Japan?
SAP offers a host of certifications which are available in different areas namely – technology, development, and application.
As a job seeker, you’ll want to scout companies in advance – some jobs also list certain certifications as a requirement so it should give you a good indication on the best certifications to have. But don’t expect your certification to substitute for job experience as the latter is extremely important.
It is also possible to earn a master's degree and SAP certification simultaneously. The master's degree may be in any of several fields, including business engineering and computer science. In addition, job advancements take more than just technical skill. Soft skills like project management would be necessary as well.
Soft skills to have in SAP include:
- Project management
- Digital literacy
If you require support in the Japanese language, you may check out SAP HANA guide hosted on their website to get access to learning paths, tutorials and webinars in your preferred language.
Are you an SAP consultant or developer in Japan? We can help you.
Computer Futures have been successfully helping SAP consultants and developers in Japan with their career progression and job search. Even if you are not ready to leave your job and wish to know what type of job opportunities there are and what your salary and compensation package should be, we can help. As an expert in tech recruitment in Japan, we have access to a network of businesses that requires SAP expertise whether it’s a permanent role or contract job. If you’re looking for the right SAP job in Japan, get in touch with our specialist and experienced team via the form below with no obligation.