Late 90’s, I was getting introduced to the engineering/technology world. I never been a studious guy, but somehow I obtained an engineering degree; thanks a lot for the professors to show such a kind gesture :). I did not know SAP then, but still in other technologies there used to be known gurus/experts in their field. Be it networks, C/C++, Java, OS, graphics, DB and so on. Guru of my college, my university, region or worldwide. But there was always a one, which you would come to know soon. This was a great help then.
I entered the world of SAP after completing my Masters in Intelligent systems!!. That was a big change for me; a shift from talking in Fuzzy language, MATLAB, machine vision, artificial intelligence, robotics and wireless to ABAP and then to Netweaver Administration. There was a time, I was lost. Somehow I managed to survive. But still, even in the SAP world, I was able to find some gurus in teams or organisation to solve issues. Hardly there was a moment I had to raise an SAP message. But this does not seem to be true anymore.
Today, after 6 years of my introduction to SAP world, I observe that SAP support team is contacted for almost every kind of issue. I see messages raised even for “RFC not working” and the issue could be “password incompatibility”. Then there are consultancy questions raised to SAP support. Earlier I thought that may be somehow my life took me to a place where people do not want to put efforts and the world outside is better. Then I came across this blog “How to run SAP landscape (or so)” from Lars Breddemann. It was strange, but I felt a kind of relief that it is not just me.
The question remains what happened in those years? How come the product vendor is the only expert left? Why is it hard to find those “gurus” in one’s own group or organisation? Some of the reasons I could think of are.
- The technology has changed and is changing rapidly. It is hard for anyone to keep up with the pace.
- The change is not only vertical. One is expected to cover the length, breadth and height of all variations. This is really tough to do.
- Overkill of the word “Standards”. Everyone is looking for standards. Who is best to provide standards than the Product vendor itself?
- The increase is number of people working in the industry. Probably the “gurus” are diluted in the big ocean. I read somewhere that today this ratio is about 1:99 (I do not know the calculation though). As in old times they used to say, “It is easy to find people to fight in a war, but is tough to find warriors”.
- Lack of interest in being a technology expert. Many people in the service industry starts looking for leadership role and managerial role as soon as they enter the market.
- SAP itself has released many standards for various things. Now people expect every answer from SAP itself.
- Change in support contract. As highlighted by Lars Breddemann in his blog that it may have something to do with change in SAP support contract as well.
- Lack of trust on service providers or may be more trust on product vendors by customers. Everything recommended needs to be verified by the product vendor.
- Reluctance to take the responsibility. It is another angle to the above point, where the service providers just act as an executer.
These are some of my thoughts, based on my experience. It does not mean that today there are no such gurus. I have been lucky to work with some of those, who generally always have solution to any problem.
No doubt that product vendor is expected to know its product. But, I still prefer to know and work with those “gurus”.