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Enterprise resource planning consultants work with enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems to organize and manage business processes. Information is shared across functional areas of an organization—incorporating integrated functionality in areas such as manufacturing and distribution, project accounting, sales, purchasing, inventory, payroll and human resources, just to name a few.
Enterprise resource planning consultants are responsible for delivering successful enterprise resource planning implementations on or before a deadline and on budget. The ERP designed for a specific company, while using the same modules as for another company, may be very different in the way the application is designed and implemented. Enterprise resource planning consultants must be able to work “on the fly” and should be able to come up with solutions for many different situations.
If you want to become an independent ERP consultant, you have much more to learn and do than you would if you worked for someone else. Once you get over the initial hurdle of becoming an independent ERP consultant, you are more valuable to companies than if you were an employee.
Once you have the education and knowledge in your field, you must be able to market yourself, do your own billing and work on your own career development. You will also have to choose which enterprise application suite would best fit your independent ERP consultant career. Using a recruiter to further your independent ERP consultant career can make the job of extending your career much easier. You also have the benefit of having someone help you find independent contracting jobs. Many people prefer hiring independent ERP consultants, because you are considered the subject matter expert on your chosen field.
A popular Oracle ERP job is a business systems analyst. A business systems analyst is responsible for many aspects of the project, depending on the employer and type of project. Some common duties include the design and development of object to meet business process requirements and unit testing of those objects. A business systems analyst also coordinates and supports program testing and assists functional consultants with documentation of the object or objects.
Depending on the employer, a business systems analyst may have to be security cleared. Even independent business systems analysts must be cleared to work on specific projects in the public sector. In most cases, only U.S. citizens qualify for Oracle ERP jobs that require a security clearance. Many Oracle ERP jobs are outsourced, but because public sector jobs with security clearances require U.S. citizens to work on the projects, these jobs will never be outsourced to a foreign country.
While ERP software consulting jobs are plentiful, the field is still competitive. Many companies look for consultants with experience and who also bring extensive communication and solution-finding skills to the company. If you are looking for a position in ERP software consulting, especially if you have less than five years of experience, you should use a recruiter to help find jobs. A recruiter has access to many available jobs—jobs that are often not posted in the help wanted ads. Because of the number of jobs an ERP software consulting recruiter has access to, he or she finds jobs for people with different levels of experience. An ERP software consulting recruiter also has access to jobs in all fields of ERP software consulting.
ERP software consulting recruiters also have access to jobs in both the public and private sector. Some consultants prefer working in the public sector, but many jobs require clearances. Recruiters that list public sector jobs have the experience needed to find the appropriately cleared consultant for the job.
Becoming an independent ERP consultant allows a person to build his ERP consulting career much quicker than if he worked directly for a company. There are two things needed for a successful independent ERP consultant: a good recruiter and thought leadership. A good recruiter finds jobs that match the independent consultant's experiences and needs.
Thought leadership means that the independent ERP consultant has valuable information. In order for information to be valuable, it must be information that no one else has, and that someone else needs. It also is about identifying information gaps. There are things that people do not know that they should know. A person with thought leadership identifies this information and will use it to create useful context that decision makers work with.
There are many ERP careers to choose from when deciding which path to take. For hosted applications, the top five are: Aplicor, Intacct, NetSuite, SAP and Workday. The top five client-server applications are Epicor, Infor, Microsoft Dynamics, Oracle and SAP.
Other careers include open source (Apache OFBix/opentaps, Compiere, ERP5, OpenMFG and OpenPro); industry solutions (Government public sector, membership management, process manufacturing, professional services and retail); and specialty solutions (project accounting, data warehousing & OLAP, e-commerce, point of sale and budgeting).
You should choose an ERP career that matches background education or experience—for example, if you have a degree in marketing you should choose one of the marketing modules to start out with. Recruiters and employers look for opening-level ERP consultants who have a background in one of the solutions, as it makes learning ERP much easier.