Alex Bratzler was trained in information administration management at the University of Karlsruhe in Germany. He also has an MBA from the University of Oregon in USA. Alex has invaluable experience of 10 years working in different roles at SAP SE that included BusinessAnalyst, Solution Management for Public Services and Sales &Marketing.

Answers from Alexander Bratzler

1. What are the different market trends your company sees in the job market?

Globally, I see the service sector growing strongly, while the other sectors are either shrinking or stagnating. In India, for example, 60% new jobs are from service. By 2020, 12 crore jobs out of a total 20 crore will be in the service sector. Here in Bangladesh with the Digital Bangladesh initiative the trend is not much different. New jobs are being created mainly in the service sector.

2. What are the challenges your company faces with this trend?

Although jobs are available, there is a gap between required skills and knowledge, and what the candidates are offering. This is speaking from a purely competence perspective. Thus, readily fit candidates for these new job openings are not available. Companies need to train new recruits to fit into the new jobs. It is ultimately a burden to businesses and incurs extra cost.

So the problem is not the lack of jobs or unemployment. It is the ‘Un-Employability’ of candidates. It is the lack of the required skill set that is at the crux of the matter. This competency gap is being measured in a marking schema. We speak of a person’s employability index.

3. Is an academic degree enough to meet these challenges?

Getting a degree with high grades from a highly reputed university like AIUB is the entry ticket into the job market and the prerequisite to apply for any job.

But how do you differentiate yourself from your competition. What are the ways to make yourself more interesting to future employers to boost your employability index? Here candidates need to find ways to align their CV with a company’s factors for success.

4. What do you mean by a company’s factors for success?

To be successful, a company needs to perform in three areas.

• Processes – They need to have efficient business processes. Basically this is the way they do business, like how they purchase, how they sell, how they produce, etc.

• Technology – Apply technology in their processes to boost efficiency. But because technology is only a catalyzer for efficiency it requires the last factor to actually achieve success.

A company requires,
• People – employees who know their job and how to use the available technology in the best possible way to do their job efficiently.

5. So what tools are available to students to achieve this?

As mentioned before, with

• a strong academic degree

and additional training leading to

• Industry Knowledge Certificates

• Soft Skill Certificates

But not any certificate will do. The certificates need to be credible. Meaning, the certifying institution or organisation must also be credible. Further, it needs to be relevant. So the right content needs to be learned, and finally it needs to allow for a practical application of the content.

Only then will industry certificates address the three success factors of a company (business processes, use of technology, and people) and this means that it will increase employability index.

6. So how does the SAP Certification Course address these points?

Before I answer the question, please let me introduce SAP a little bit to the audience.

• SAP, like me, is from Germany. Indeed SAP is the highest valued German brand, even more than BMW, Volkswagen, Siemens, or Bosch.

• SAP is the market leader in enterprise/business solutions for the last 40 years. Globally.

• The globally famous term “Enterprise Resource Planning or ERP” as it is known, was invented by SAP.

• SAP has approximately 90,000 employees, 17,000 partners, and more than 350,000 customers

• SAP, with the help of partners like SS Solutions, annually educates more than half a million people and certifies more than 80% of them.

• There are 600+ courses available, of which we are now offering one here at AIUB with the intention to introduce many many more over the next semesters to make AIUB one of a kind of in Bangladesh. Actually it is the only university fully endorsing SAP in its academic courses as well as offering complementary courses in its Continuing Education Center.

To come back to the original question, how does the AIUB-SS Solutions SAP Certification Programme help boost your individual employability index? It focuses on PROCESS and TECHNOLOGY part of the competency gap and it will provide you with a globally recognised certificate from a credible source, namely SAP directly.

7. Why SS Solutions? How is SS Solutions connected to SAP?

SS Solutions is the only SAP certified education partner in Bangladesh and is the only institution that can certify individuals in Bangladesh. There is no other company in Bangladesh that can do this today.

8. How can SAP certification help students add value to their resume?

This certification will help you in many ways depending on your chosen career path. Let me give you a quick calculation:

We have currently more than 60 clients using SAP in Bangladesh. That means partners from India, like PWC, EY as well as SS Solutions have worked with the core teams of these clients during their implementation phase.

Now for each running project, we have a team of 5-10 consultants on average. At the moment, there are more than 10 projects running for which we need about 50-100 consultants. But since there are only a few available locally, most of them are from India. SS Solutions wants to change that as soon as possible. So this is a big chance, if you are interested in a career as Implementation Consultant.

Now for every consultant in a project, clients have 2 or more core team members. These core team members work every day with the implementation consultants to help the company adapt with the solution.

That means, companies like Square, Incepta, Rahimafrooz, Berger Paint, etc. need about 200+ people who are knowledgeable in SAP to run the projects smoothly and ensure that they can also handle the new solution with their own resources.

Lastly, even if you say I am not much interested to become a consultant or work in IT of some corporation. But even if you are studying business, accounting, engineering, or some other discipline, you can still make yourself relevant to local SAP customers by getting certified, because for every implementation consultant there are 40 employees who are acting as the end user for the incoming SAP system. This means currently there are 60 customers and somewhere around 12,000 end users employed by our clients. And each project is generating more and more jobs where a SAP knowledge is essential.

So you can decide between an implementation consultant and a core member of the client and if neither of these appeals to you, you can still strengthen your CV with a SAP certification showing off your valuable expertise to your future employer.

The job market for this type of expertise is even bigger if you consider the prospect of SAP skillsets that allow people to take up jobs with customers or partners like Oracle, Microsoft, IFS, and others.

So this certification really has a very high impact on your employability index.

9. What is the current market status of SAP in Bangladesh?

Between SAP and Oracle and others, there are more than 150 companies using a global ERP and many many more using a local ERP. But as mentioned in principle from a student’s perspective, if you know SAP and understand an integrated ERP system, you can target jobs in any local or global OEMs, partners, and customers. So the job market is huge for this type of skill set.

10. What type of jobs can a student get by getting certified as a SAP Professional?

The following is a an example of the prospective job spectrum:

• Networkers – SAP, like other companies, is moving more and more into the cloud. So we believe that customers in Bangladesh will also choose the cloud option. For this, we require skilled personnel to advise the customer on the required network topography, SLA agreements with vendors, and so on. Also the network needs to be monitored and maintained and solution providers need to be continuously in touch.

• Programmers – We need Abap, .net, java programmers. If we can’t find these we take any programmer with a strong knowledge on object oriented programming languages. We will then train them in house to close the competency gap. The work would be in localisation of the solution to the Bangladesh requirements or special requirements of a customer. This can range from Mobile App development to changes in the standard business process etc. This includes a wide variety of tasks and it is fun.

• Database Experts – SAP is using In memory technology for its Hana Platform and is also positioning its Hana database in the general database market against Oracle and IBM. So graduates who know database and want to work with cutting edge technology would feel at home here.

• Business Graduates – If you have a strong standing in finance and accounting, you have a good starting point to become a functional consultant or become a member of a core team or an end user for your employer in your respective department.

11. What will be taught in these professional SAP courses in CEC? How will they be different from the academic course approach of AIUB?

The courses offered at the CEC are full certification courses. It will prepare you to sit for the certification exam. The training will be delivered by our Indian Consultants. They have more than 12 full project cycles of experience and thus a lot of practical knowledge. The course duration is of 80 hours of which 50 will be on theory and 30 on practical training. We offer different times for the course. There are evening classes and weekend classes or even an intensive 10-day course, but we will have to decide on the frequency depending on the preferences of the students.

12. What are the options of a global career with SAP?

Our certification is globally recognised. Which means that it will be equally valued in Germany as it is in Bangladesh. So if you are interested to go abroad and work for any of the SAP partners, customers, or even for SAP itself, this will help.

Further, if you pass the certification exam, SAP is going to add you to their global database of certified individuals. A database which is being used by partners to see what fresh talent has become available.

13. What will be the role of SS Solutions and AIUB respectively in this Education Partnership?

AIUB under the SAP University Alliance program will educate and train the members of its faculty on SAP content and incorporate more and more content into the existing academic courses.

SS Solutions will complement this initiative by offering courses which will expand on the content delivered in the academic courses as well as certification courses, so that interested students can get certified.

14. How SS Solutions can help a student guide if he/she wants to obtain a career in SAP? Will there be direct job placements from SS Solutions for the ones who are doing well in the courses?

SS Solutions is always looking for new talents. We have currently 10 job openings. Some of them are in our Development Department that would be interesting for students looking into a career as developer/programmer. Some of the openings are in our delivery team for SAP B1 for junior consultants.

Further, I have been asked by our local customers to forward them CVs of people with knowledge of SAP and we are thus in constant contact with people interested in SAP expertise. So we will be able to assist you in getting your CVs to the right table and to the right person. As mentioned earlier, our clients require SAP expertise and the certification will enable you to differentiate yourself from your competition.

15. What exactly are the differences of SAP Functional & SAP Technical Consultant?

The functional consultant is more customer facing, focusing on mapping the way a customer is currently conducting business, like purchasing, selling, etc. with the SAP Solution.

A technical consultant will develop required changes in SAP to better fit the customer’s requirements. Further, there is a lot of work in developing management reports and other things, even mobile apps.

16. What are the expectations from this 1st batch? How will 1st batch of students get the most benefit out of it?

My expectations for the first few batches will be that students who are risk takers, go getters, and naturally curious are taking these courses. Because above everything it’s this attitude which will make

Mashiour Rahman has an MSc from the National University of Singapore and has an ongoing PhD at Utara University of Malaysia. Mashiour Rahman has been with the dapartment of computer science at AIUB since 2000. This associate professor of computer science has worked as the coordinator and head of the computer science department and is currently working as director of the faculty of Science and Information Technology.

1. What is the current scenario of IT/business job market in Bangladesh?

At present, IT/business job market in Bangladesh demands something extra. There are a lot of jobs but the right resource or right candidate for the jobs is scarce. The trend of the job market is rapidly changing not just in Bangladesh but also worldwide. Students need to adapt to technologies like SAP if they want to stand out.

2. Why is AIUB partnering with SS Solutions regarding SAP Training? What do they hope to gain for the students?

SS Solutions is the only SAP Education Partner in Bangladesh now. Apart from that, they are connected with all the current SAP customers as well as the potential SAP customers. They experience the scarcity of the resources in their own organization, their partners and customers as well as in companies that are potential future SAP clients. Students of AIUB can use this as a glorious opportunity as it is currently the only university offering professional SAP courses. Students of AIUB can get the benefits of being able to cater to this huge demand since they can become the only supply of SAP certified human resource at the university level.

3. What will be the difference between graduates of other universities and AIUB graduates who are gaining knowledge on SAP?

AIUB students will stand out among the IT crowd and be something different. SS Solutions and AIUB has come together to incorporate SAP course materials in academic as well as professional courses. Students will get the basic first hand idea regarding SAP in their academic curriculum of ERP course and they will have a full fledged opportunity to be professionally trained in SAP which only AIUB is providing at the moment.

4. What is the registration process for this course? Who are the contact points for students?

Registration details will be explained at the Continuing Education Center of AIUB at Banani Campus.

5. Where will the classes be happening?

Classes will take place at “Continuing Education Center” in Banani campus.

6. Will a student have to pay the entire money up front or will there be a milestone base scenario?

It will be a milestone based scenario. Students are requested to contact the CEC personnel for further details.

7. Is there any specific prerequisite for this course?

There is no prerequisite. It is available for all students of AIUB as well as for students from other universities. These courses will also accommodate professionals who are already working but are looking to boost their profile through SAP training.