Eursap’s Ask-the-SAP-Expert article is a feature designed to give you up-to-date information on the latest SAP news, featuring key thought leaders in the SAP space, as well as regular interviews with the best SAP consultants in the business.
This month, we feature Ruthvik Chowdary, an experienced and certified S/4HANA Logistics consultant who has an active background in the SAP online ecosystem, having written a number of articles, blogs and recorded many SAP tutorial videos. Ruthvik is based in Bangalore, India, and has his own YouTube channel. He has also participated in several SAP Inside Track events as a speaker.
Hi Ruthvik, thank you very much for taking the time to talk to us. As always with this article, we like to begin with a get-to-know-you session. Can you tell our readers a little bit about yourself?
Hi Jon, thank you for inviting me. I completed my Diploma (Manufacturing) in 2010 and worked at TVS Motors as a Production Engineer. Later I pursued a BTech in Mechatronics and worked as a Robotic Program Engineer. At that time, due to minimal opportunities in Robotics, I switched to SAP and started as a shadow consultant.
Today, I am working as a subject matter expert in SAP S/4HANA Logistics in JK Tech in Bangalore. Apart from being an SAP freak (that’s what my friends call me), I love travelling to capture the beauty of nature, spend time with family and friends and share my SAP knowledge with others via blogs, videos and SAP sessions.
And can you remember the first time you heard of SAP?
Yes. When I was pursuing my bachelor’s degree, my uncle (Sai Krishna Vallurupalli) was working as SAP Practice Head at Sony. He used to say things about SAP and opportunities in the domain, which made me interested in the SAP world. As I had domain experience in manufacturing, I choose PP module and started my SAP Career in 2014.
During that year, I worked very hard to gain knowledge and confidence. Then in 2015 SAP released SAP S/4HANA and I had the chance to work on an implementation project. It was the first go-live project in the sheet metal manufacturing sector. Later I worked in a couple of back-to-back greenfield and brownfield implementations.
What has your experience been with the Covid-19 pandemic? How has it affected you?
It has affected me a lot in ways both good and bad.
Good: due to the working from home environment, I saved three hours of daily travel time because Bangalore has the most traffic. That time saved I utilised to upskill my knowledge to different areas of SAP such as SAP IRPA, Ariba and Cloud models – earlier I was fully focused on on-premise only.
Bad: as I love to travel a lot and go out, the pandemic made me sit at home alone for almost 1 year and 7 months. This caused me to get slightly depressed.
SAP S/4HANA has introduced so many changes from the traditional ECC6.0 way of working. Which innovation is the most useful in your experience?
The major innovation is Digital Transformation and the way we interact with the system by using Fiori. Earlier in ECC6.0, we had limitations around integrating with other applications, but now things are changing like bringing PP/DS, aATP and other components to SAP S/4HANA. Personally, based on customer experience I feel predictive tools and embedded analytics is the best innovation which is most useful for customers to make decisions.
You’ve been involved in rolling out SAP S/4HANA to numerous companies – what would you say is the biggest challenge which our readers should look out for in an SAP S/4HANA implementation?
The biggest challenge is implementation timelines. For ECC6.0 implementations, we used to take more than a year, but in SAP S/4HANA this has changed to months.
Based on my observations and discussions from others, what I understand is that some of the SAP S/4HANA implementations are failing due to lack of knowledge of the product and its features on the part of the consultants. Until we understand the product and its features, we can’t deliver a good and complete customer satisfying product.
Change management plays a vital role for both customer and consultant, because our mindset must change as the product changes. The method of implementation plays a major role in SAP S/4HANA Implementation projects.
So as a consultant we should be strong in the SAP S/4HANA product and implement with SAP Activate methodology, which helps to deliver the project quickly and with a high degree of customer satisfaction.
Let’s talk about SAP S/4HANA. You’ve worked for consultancy firms in the PP and logistics area of SAP S/4HANA for some time now. Are you seeing a shortage in skilled consultants in that area for SAP S/4HANA?
Definitely, because consultants have worked together in ECC6.0 for many years and became experts. But when it comes to SAP S/4HANA that experience is not enough because in manufacturing, procurement and sales modules, new functions have been delivered such as PP/DS, DDMRP, pMRP, flexible workflows, supplier evaluation and aATP. These tools are brand new and getting upskilled is very much required to meet the customer demands and expectations.
You’re obviously keen to share all your SAP knowledge, which is great news for the rest of us. What made you decide to begin recording your own YouTube videos on the subject?
As I mentioned above, upskilling to the latest innovations in SAP S/4HANA is important to stay relevant in the SAP world. However, as a full-time working professional, taking time to attend training is difficult, so I decided to share my knowledge via SAP Community through blogs first.
Reading blogs will help your understanding, but a few of my SAP Community and LinkedIn followers requested to share knowledge via videos for better understanding. Then Ruthvik’s Classroom via YouTube started.
Your YouTube channel (https://www.youtube.com/c/RuthvikChowdary/featured) has more than 1000 subscribers and 25 videos now. How do you decide on the subject matter for your new videos?
Yes, I started full-scale only in November 2020 and in less than a year I’ve reached 1.06K subscribers as of today. I decide which video to make based on topics requested by followers and the latest innovations. As we all know, every year new innovations are happening in SAP S/4HANA whereas in SAP S/4HANA Cloud every quarter. So, there is lot to learn and get upskilled on.
Is there one of your videos which you would recommend to our readers as an introduction to SAP S/4HANA or any of the modules you specialise in?
Do you have any plans for future videos, which you can entice our readers with?
Yes! A whole series of videos on innovations like Migration Cockpit, changes in manufacturing, procurement, and sales. I’m even planning to start a series of videos for beginners to understand the SAP S/4HANA product.
Have you had much exposure to the next generation of technologies in SAP S/4HANA – i.e. machine learning, predictive analytics, big data, automation etc.? If so, can you give us an overview of the technologies which have impressed you the most?
I’ve had exposure to a few features in predictive analytics, machine learning and SAP RPA. I am impressed mainly with predictive analytics because it helps customer to make decisions, as the system will, for example, predict the shortage of the materials based on historic data, helping customers to decide whether to buy or make the product to meet demand.
SAP IRPA is fascinating because it’s beyond automation: the system will not only automate the process but by using AI it will also accelerate the business processes, which will save time, money, and manpower.
And if you were starting your SAP career all over again, which area would you focus upon?
I like robots very much so if I want to start my career anew, I would start it with SAP RPA. It’s the game changing technology of the future. Automation is becoming essential in every industry.
You’ve been very active over the years in various blogs and forums in the SAP world. Do you think this has had an impact upon your career and would you recommend others follow this path?
Definitely a big YES! It has impacted my career in multiple ways. And when you share your knowledge, you basically demonstrate your skills and build your reputation as an expert. By sharing my knowledge I have been a “Featured Contributor” for the SAP S/4HANA topic in the SAP Community page (https://community.sap.com/topics/s4hana) and have also earned a good reputation in my company and in the SAP world.
When we are active in the SAP world, we share knowledge and gain knowledge by answering questions in the SAP Community. This helps you to upskill yourself which will be very helpful for your career.
Our usual question, which we always ask our experts: what advice would you have for new SAP consultants just starting out, or established SAP consultants facing new challenges?
My advice is simple:
1. Instead of reading books, do more hands on. This will help to grow your confidence.
2. Be active in the office and in LinkedIn and SAP Community.
3. Read daily at least 30 minutes Q&A of your relevant module in SAP Community.
Last but not least, be wise with any one because there is a saying, “SAP is a small world” – you may work with them again and again.