In my last article I discussed the application consultant skills set that a company should look for in a consultant, and the consultant’s role in ERP implementations according to Microsoft Dynamics Sure Step phases.
The Microsoft Dynamics Partner Academy offers the application consultant a career development plan , and employers, whether they are Dynamics partners or customers, should work with their consultant to ensure that they are building an experienced application consultant.
According to the Microsoft Dynamics Partner Academy Learning Framework, application consulting careers pass through three levels of professional development: Aware, Proficient, and Expert. And Dynamics consultants deal with four main knowledge areas: Microsoft Dynamics Solutions, Implementation Methodology, Industry, and Professional Development.
The consulting entry level phase is awareness, where the consultant starts learning the basics of ERP concepts, the method of applying the software to business, and the value of a solution. The core value of the consultant is not how much he/she knows in terms of system functionality, it is all about bridging the knowhow of these functions to business scenarios and pains. The consultant must also acquire knowledge about ERP implementation life cycle phases and activities that comply with Microsoft Dynamics Sure Step.
In this phase, the consultant also begins to learn the fundamentals of business analysis through requirements gathering workshops and application design activities.
“Proficient” is the level of certification where the consultant gets more in depth knowledge of the application modules with examination challenges. The financial module is the core module, along withany two other modules, according to the track of the consultant, will combine to be the three modules considered the fundamentals layer of the application.
The consultant also gets more specialization in a business vertical at this level. Dynamics AXfocuses on five main business verticals: Manufacturing , Distribution, Retail, Professional Services, and Public Sector. Consultants should focus on a vertical business domain, which contains sub verticals as I have shown in the above diagram.
With the release of Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012, I predict within the coming years that nearly all consultants and Microsoft partners will be specialized in a vertical business domain, with almost no generalized consultants or partners. Microsoft has influenced this direction through the choices made in designing Dynamics AX 2012 and with the certifications offered by Microsoft for industry solutions. These certifications will push consultants closer to industry pains, issues, and how challenges can be bridged by the application with industry best practices. Consultants and partners get ready for specialization challenges.
A consultant who has been through many implementations and has a solid knowledge about the industry and the application will have gained exposure to the ecosystem of ERP, third party integration, reporting packages, reporting tools, and more. And earning a business analysis certificate gives him/her competency in business analysis and requirements management.
The consultant on that level has the skills of managing requirements and change control management, and after that the consultant could be moved to a project management position.
Now that we have described the general development path of a Dynamics AX application consultant, the next article will discuss some typical challenges that a consultant faces in ERPimplementation. After that, we will discuss even more career path options for consultants in project management, sales, pre-sales, and more.
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