Skills shortages are disrupting SAP projects, user group says • The Register


Skills-related issues affected a quarter of SAP users, sometimes putting projects on hold, according to a survey of companies in the Americas.

A study published by the Americas’ SAP Users’ Group (ASUG) shows that 26% of organizations consider skills in supporting, developing and upgrading SAP systems as their main challenge in using technology .

A quarter of users loyal to the German publisher said skills issues were holding projects back.

ASUG CEO Geoff Scott said in a webinar last week that the combination of skills shortages in companies and their technology teams has created a vicious cycle of driving demand for new tools and technologies.

“Business functions come in and say, ‘Hey, I have to do all these things. And the tech teams say, “Well, I don’t have the same skills I used to.” And I think that’s creating a major disruption within many of our member companies,” he said.

Skills were also a major issue for SAP users looking to migrate or support S/4HANA, the latest version of the tech giant’s ERP software based on an in-memory database.

While 31% of the 600 organizations surveyed were active on S/4HANA and 42% planned to move, 49% said lack of skills on the new platform was an issue. The issue affected external partners such as systems integrators and consultants as well as users, Scott said.

“We’re going to feel the pinch of this skills gap. My caveat is that if you’re considering moving to S/4 if you haven’t already done so, the ability for you to plan for this migration may lead to turbulence related to skills gaps with your external partners. This is something you should definitely consider,” he said.

Although technology issues were the biggest concern across the research, only integration issues were cited more than staff turnover and maintaining competent staff.

Of those who encountered integration issues, 28% said they caused data errors to propagate, 17% said they affected compatibility between SAP and other applications, and 17% said that this meant that they were unable to keep up with new technologies.

One respondent said, “Changes made in SAP and Salesforce that are not reflected in the other system lead to data inconsistencies.”

Overall, the majority of SAP users were increasing their spending on technology. Fifty-two percent said they were increasing their spending, up from 46% last year.

However, the proportion of users saying they were reducing their spending on SAP also increased from 5% last year to 8% in 2022. The number of organizations making the same level of investment has decreased, according to the ASUG study. ®

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