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June 30, 2017

Add Some Magic to Your SAP Career

I'm sometimes invited to contribute blogs to other companies. The invitations may come from the company itself, or via a marketing consultant or agency. Responding to requests like these requires some research on my part, as it typically takes me into a new content zone; but doing so is a refreshing exercise that I've learned to enjoy. It helps activate my brain a bit more. Here's an example, a blog I wrote for a company that is focused entirely on careers for SAP professionals. (While this one passed muster with only slight editorial touches, I'm taking the liberty of restoring my original title. The actual blog post can be found here.)

Gartner Magic Quadrants (MQs) are the go-to resource for companies researching purchases – especially major investments such as SAP products and services. Can Magic Quadrants help you with your SAP career? Here are some facts behind those “magical” boxes.

MQs are used to compare a company’s solution relative to its competitors. To create one, Gartner uses its proprietary (and top secret) methodology to place technology providers into one of four different categories: Leaders, Visionaries, Niche Players and Challengers. These categories are then laid out along two axes: the vertical axis is a company’s Ability to Execute; the horizontal axis is the company’s Completeness of Vision regarding its own category. Here’s a template.

Imagine company names and dots plotted at various points in the boxes and you’ll get the idea right away. (Some specific examples are linked below.)

While the Gartner MQ has its share of criticisms, to enterprise IT executives it has become the gold standard in assessing technology providers. And there are hundreds of them, as you can see from Gartner’s list (which includes quadrants that are current, upcoming or retired). SAP – due to the vast scope of its solutions, the size of its customer base, and its massive ecosystem of technology and service firms – is in the unique position of residing within MQs, and of having unique MQs dedicated to its business. SAP doesn’t just exist within markets, it creates them.

And this is what makes MQs valuable and relevant to your SAP career: because they are created for the IT executives who evaluate and buy SAP solutions, they directly address the business value of those solutions in relation to competitors. This means understanding what an MQ says, for example, about Data Integration Tools, or Regional Application Services, or BI platforms, or Data Quality Tools, etc., will tell you what business buyers of these technologies are searching for and care about.

If MQs contain valuable information for the career minded SAP expert, how do you access them? Most companies rely on a subscription from Gartner, but these cost huge sums of money. (If you’ve got some time to kill, here are 132 pages of information on what New York State is currently paying for its entire slate of Gartner advisory services.) Gartner research publications are available independently of a subscription, but at a price. For example, if you’d like to browse the Gartner MQ for “SAP Application Services, North America,” published in January 2017, you can do so for $1,995. All 32 pages of it.

But – you may also be able to get it for free.

For example, if it’s data integration tools you want to research you’re in luck. The Gartner report is available for free from this SAP news release. In this case, SAP is paying for your access. Gartner MQs (and other analyst reports) are available to vendors for licensing: they can purchase the right to distribute a given report for a specific timeframe. The Gartner MQ linked from SAP’s news release will expire at some point, so if you’re interested grab it now.

And that SAP Application Services report? Infosys is generously hosting both the EMEA and North America reports in abbreviated form. Again, if you’re interested, read them now before they expire: EMEA and North America.

Gartner MQs are powerful marketing tools for vendors, so often you can find what your looking for with a little persistence and a lot of Googling. And by keeping abreast of this research, you’ll be in a stronger position to demonstrate your awareness of your focus technology, and how it fits into the industry – and that’s a great thing for your career.

Another great thing is to follow RED and our SAP career solutions. We offer not only unique knowledge, but an enormous resource of SAP career opportunities.

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