SAPPHIRE NOW 2019 Day 1 Recap: Machine Learning with Apple and SAP Asset Manager Innovations

SAPPHIRE NOW 2019 Day 1 Recap: Machine Learning with Apple and SAP Asset Manager Innovations

SAPPHIRE NOW and ASUG Annual Conference 2019, the largest gathering of SAP customers and partners in the world, officially kicked off in Orlando on Tuesday. The topic of Enterprise Asset Management (EAM) was front and center in the opening keynote as SAP CEO Bill McDermott interviewed Apple CEO Tim Cook about the expanding partnership between the two companies. Cook highlighted native machine learning and augmented reality capabilities that will be coming to SAP iOS mobile apps via the Apple CORE ML on-device machine learning technology. This will be included as part of the SAP Cloud Platform SDK for iOS in an update later this month.

SAP Asset Manager, along with SAP SuccessFactors and SAP Concur, is one of three SAP apps that have been built from the ground up on iOS. Cook demonstrated how augmented reality can enable a field maintenance worker to see a digital image that offers a view of the inner structure of an asset. That image appears based on location data and machine learning helps inform the worker about maintenance updates needed now or coming up soon.

What’s Coming to Asset Manager in 2019

Asset Manager is currently in its third iteration, and SAP discussed the upcoming fourth iteration during a roadmap session at the event. The app, which has been built to replace the SAP Work Manager application, seeks to provide not only offline functionality, but also enhanced capabilities when within wireless range. Asset Manager also provides and scripting environment for extending the app with a customer’s unique business logic.

Related: Mobilizing Maintenance Work with SAP: Which Application Best Fits Your Needs?

SAP has also built a native Android version of Asset Manager, and the roadmap for 2019 includes bringing increased feature parity among the iOS and Android apps. There is also continued work to bring feature parity between Asset Manager and Work Manager where necessary. The goal of Asset Manager is to be a simpler, more user-friendly application that possesses greater technological capabilities than Work Manager.

Planned innovations specifically for 2019 Asset Manager release also include:

  • Hierarchy view and search control
  • Improved feedback during data sync
  • Equipment install and dismantle
  • Local orders/operations/notifications that can be started offline
  • On-demand fetch of business objects
  • Dynamic forms for SAP Asset Strategy and Performance Management questionnaires
  • Multiselect list support
  • Parameter framework
  • Enhanced document support
  • Additional language support

Asset Manager Innovation Plans in 2020 and Beyond

The broader product direction of Asset Manager for 2020 and beyond is to add industry-specific modules, such as Linear asset management and a Supervisor module. There is also work being done to support for SAP Geographical Enablement Framework and provide more visualization capabilities. The slide below demonstrates SAP’s vision for Asset Manager and all recent and planned updates.

SAP Asset Manager Roadmap

SAP’s partnership with Apple enables an app experience for field maintenance workers that mirrors what they see in other native Apple apps, and fully takes advantage of iOS functionality. The good news for non-iOS mobile users is that new capabilities for the iOS version of Asset Manager will also come to Android. So, no matter what device your employees are using, they will be getting the latest innovations from SAP.

Follow us all week for more coverage of SAPPHIRE NOW and ASUG Annual Conference. 

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SAPPHIRE NOW 2019 Day 1 Recap: Machine Learning with Apple and SAP Asset Manager Innovations2019-05-07T22:23:46+00:00

Mobilizing Maintenance Work with SAP: Which Application Best Fits Your Needs?

Mobilizing Maintenance Work with SAP: Which Application Best Fits Your Needs?

Many maintenance organizations are still leveraging paper-based processes to manage field work and are seeking mobile solutions to put data electronically in the hands of field workers. Goals are better transparency, faster processes and higher maintenance efficiency. Same time, organizations that have software systems in place today often struggle with user adoption due to complex, difficult to understand user interfaces based on complicated and not harmonized technology.

SAP currently offers two mobile applications for maintenance technicians and field workers: SAP Work Manager and the newer SAP Asset Manager. Both are intended to provide workers in the field with easy access to necessary information they would otherwise need to print on paper or access in the office. However, the two apps differ in terms of functionality, deployment options, and prerequisites.

While SAP Work Manager is the mature legacy mobile application, SAP Asset Manager is a newer native iOS application that follows the SAP UI design principles and is built using the SAP Fiori for iOS Design Language. Today, it comes close to providing feature parity with SAP Work Manager and can be extended easily. While the initial version could only integrate with SAP S/4HANA, the latest version can also connect to an SAP ERP backend system. Additionally, an Android version is available with features being continuously enhanced. The middleware is situated on SAP Cloud Platform. The app can be used in both an online and an offline fashion.

While SAP’s mobile apps offer many useful features, SAP has not migrated all of the EAM UI to SAP Fiori. There are Fiori apps available in the meantime as part of the Digital Core (SAP S/4HANA, not SAP ERP), but realizing on a web-based interface, there is still a harmonized mix of WebDynpro and Fiori.

This is even more true for SAP ERP while for new applications from SAP’s Intelligent Asset Management portfolio (namely AIN, ASPM, PdMS) the UI has been completely built on Fiori. Consequently, there is no consistent UI technology in use from desktop via tablet to phone on all operating systems. Companies might move from SAPGUI to WebDynpro/Fiori and its launchpad for desktop use, but on mobile devices utilizing some apps for online use with Fiori while relying on native applications for heavy offline use.

An Asset Management Solution for Multiple SAP UI Platforms

Then, there might be companies who would like to mobilize asset management related processes, but may struggle with cloud-only deployments, want to avoid a relatively big footprint and license cost implications as well as a non-uniform UI between desktop and mobile who may consider going with a more lightweight application that follows the Fiori design principles, is available for online and offline use, and can be used on desktop, tablet, and phone. These are the characteristics that are delivered through Vesta Hydrogen.

Vesta Hydrogen Architecture SAP Asset Management mobile

Hydrogen is a modern, simple and flexible Fiori-based application which provides the same ease of use and role-based SAP EAM user interface across desktop, tablet, and phone on Windows, iOS and Android. It supports maintenance activities and data collection including work orders, notifications, measurement documents, operator rounds and more. The solution is lightweight, very configurable and can generally be implemented in weeks.

Hydrogen is built using OpenUI5 technology, currently moving to SAPUI5. Offline storage is being allocated by means of local SQLite databases on all platforms. Hence the application can work in an online and offline fashion while connecting to the backend (SAP S/4HANA or SAP ERP) via SAP Gateway or the Vesta JSON Adaptor without the need for additional middleware.

Leveraging Vesta Hydrogen users can capture issues when they see them, update order status immediately, streamlining work processes, ensuring accurate data capture and reducing paperwork. The solution allows for quick data inputs for efficient notification creation on the go.

Further enhancements are being planned, like integration with OpenText Extended Enterprise Content Management (xECM) and the SAP Geographical Enablement Framework (GEF) for connecting to GIS.

Vesta hydrogen SAP mobile roadmap

One Unified Experience Means Happy Workers

With Hydrogen, there is no need to switch to another mobile solution, making life easier for workers in the field. That leads to better user adoption and overall happier employees.

In the case you have not yet mobilized your asset management processes, contact Vesta to help you examine what SAP mobile solution best fits your organization.

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Mobilizing Maintenance Work with SAP: Which Application Best Fits Your Needs?2019-05-01T16:00:04+00:00

Enabling EAM Digital Transformation with SAP’s Evolving Solution Set

Enabling EAM Digital Transformation with SAP’s Evolving Solution Set

Companies have the power to capture and store more data about their major assets than ever before. However, that data isn’t useful without the technology to analyze and capitalize on it. Digging into the data can offer a path to transformation for enterprise asset management (EAM) and help you get the best out of your assets.

SAP has long been a player in the EAM space. It began with Work Management. That focused more on the job of maintaining an asset based on industry best practices, rather than looking at individual asset performance. Over time, we realized the value of tracking assets themselves digitally with a central repository like Asset Central.

Now, SAP has evolved to offering products that can utilize that asset information with Intelligent Asset Management (IAM) portfolio.

SAP Solution set EAM digital core

Coordinated Activity at the Core

Asset Management is defined by coordinated activities across disciplines to realize the value of assets. Coordinated activity can include the approach, planning, policies, plans, and implementation of Asset Management. With digital enablement through IAM and the core ERP system, that coordinated activity can be captured with new insights triggering action to outcome.

IAM takes EAM from managing the work on an asset to building a strategy for optimizing the asset’s lifecycle. Sensor and condition-based maintenance (CBM) data can be consumed through SAP Cloud Platform where intelligent technologies like machine learning and predictive analytics can be used to provide new insights into how an asset is performing.

SAP Leonardo solution set SCP SAP Cloud platform

Data-Based Approach to Improve Revenue and Safety

Taking this data-based approach to EAM helps manage risk and cost associated with assets. It optimizes their return by improve maintenance activities that are more targeted to an individual asset’s needs and less general. This can increase revenue through increasing asset utilization, and also help build a better replacement and investment strategy. Overall, there is less excess and more efficiency in maintenance, repair, and operations (MRO).

Incorporating in reliability data helps improve decision making on assets, and creates a safer environment where assets are working properly at all times, and incidents can be predicted. That also has the benefit of helping companies adhere to statutory regulations.

These benefits are realized by building state-of-the-art business processes that leverage new technologies. Those processes and technologies help provide real-time insight into assets, and visibility into data on a strategic, tactical, and operational level

Connected assets help provide critical data for predicting, optimizing, and simulating asset maintenance. This information can then be shared through cloud-based software and user-friendly reporting.

This is all a more intelligent way of approaching EAM, that’s why it has been dubbed Intelligent Asset Management. Moving from managing work to managing assets should the goal of any business, and new technologies enable that shift.

Up Next: Unlocking the Intelligent Asset: The First Steps to EAM Transformation

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Enabling EAM Digital Transformation with SAP’s Evolving Solution Set2019-03-28T22:14:09+00:00

Analyzing SAP’s FKOM and the Idea of “Intelligent Enterprise”

Analyzing SAP’s FKOM and the Idea of “Intelligent Enterprise”

Returning from SAP Field Kick-off Meeting (FKOM) Barcelona I would like to share some insights:

  • Between January 15 and 17, SAP kicked off 2019 at their regional EMEA/MEE FKOM event. Similar events were performed in other regions.
  • While there were no major strategy changes announced, a couple of things got re-emphasized:
    • Growth area for SAP will be Cloud, while On-Premise is being expected as stable.
    • SAP sees major opportunities for their new CRM which is C/4HANA.
    • Also, SAP is further promoting the transition from ERP to S/4HANA.
  • SAP introduced a new slogan “Experience Matters” which must be seen in conjunction with their acquisition of Qualtrics (see https://www.qualtrics.com/). The idea is to bring together business data from SAP with experience data from Qualtrics in the categories of Customer, Employee, Brand, and Product. This refers to the business’ ability adapting to change in the market, for example measured by the AQ (Adaptability Quotient).
  • All this enhances the paradigm of the “Intelligent Enterprise“, using data for driving outcomes in end-to-end mega-processes. This must necessary lead to an even better integration of the SAP products in the areas of Customer Experience (C/4HANA), Manufacturing & Supply Chain (IBP, ME, MII, PPM, AIN, ASPM,…), Digital Core (S/4HANA), People Engagement (SuccessFactors), and Network & Spend Management (Ariba, Concur). For more details on the solutions you may have a look into the SAP Solution Explorer (https://solutionexplorer.sap.com/solexp/ui/) or the published SAP Roadmaps (https://www.sap.com/roadmaps). Shaping your own journey into the new portfolio might start with the Transformation Navigator (https://support.sap.com/en/tools/upgrade-transformation-tools/transformation-navigator.html), a tool you can use to map out your existing landscape and see SAP’s recommendations for go-to solutions.
  • Following the idea of an “Intelligent Enterprise”, SAP has revamped their EAM offering under the headline of “Intelligent Asset Management“. This comprises of two major parts:
    • S/4HANA Asset Management for the parts of EAM in the Digital Core. This mainly comes back to what most people know under the term PM (Plant Maintenance), but with a new Fiori and WebDynpro harmonized user experience, completely new analytics, and quite some enhancements and continuous improvement. Additionally, components for planning and scheduling (e.g. MRS), work clearance management (WCM), or environment, health, and safety (EHS) reside here.
    • SAP Cloud Platform based applications that complement the Digital Core for flexibly realizing on innovation challenges. Asset Intelligence Network (AIN) for exchanging asset master and condition data between manufacturer, service provider, and operator. Asset Strategy and Performance Management (ASPM) for determining or improving on maintenance strategies using a variety of methodologies (like Asset Criticality Analysis, RCM, FMEA, Root-Cause Analysis). Predictive Maintenance and Service (PdMS) for monitoring asset health data and initiate maintenance events when needed. Predictive Engineering Insights (PEI) for modeling physical structures and simulate stresses and strains.
    • Asset Central acts as the layer for common functionality of the EAM cloud applications as well as the information broker between S/4HANA and Cloud Platform. In this regard, it can also be seen as SAP’s new asset cloud registry for both master data and real-world information.
  • In essence, Intelligent Asset Management follows the idea on an Intelligent Enterprise by establishing data-driven asset management processes that are based on the Digital Twin, a virtual representation of the physical asset with all relevant up-to-date information, accessible in the cloud.
  • In its main pieces, the concept also works in combination with SAP ERP, hence there is no reason to postpone innovation, just because an S/4HANA transition is yet to come. Intelligent Asset Management allows for building the big picture, then consuming the pieces step-by-step.

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Analyzing SAP’s FKOM and the Idea of “Intelligent Enterprise”2019-02-04T21:43:06+00:00

How SAP Leonardo Can Help Utilities Build Smarter Grids

How SAP Leonardo Can Help Utilities Build Smarter Grids

How SAP Leonardo Can Help Utilities Build Smarter Grids 

 

SAP Leonardo is SAP’s digital transformation engine. It is design-thinking driven methodology coupled with the latest technologies driving new solutions built on the SAP Cloud Platform. It is designed for companies to rethink business processes, find more efficient ways of doing things, and seek undiscovered revenue streams. 

With sensor-based data, there is a wealth of ways that SAP Leonardo can be applied in Enterprise Asset Management. This is a first in a series of posts where we will examine by industry the types of use cases that SAP EAM customers can find with SAP Leonardo. This time around, we will be looking at how the Utilities sector can take advantage of the set of methodologies, technology, and solutions with a Smart Distribution Grid. 

 

Traditional Maintenance Strategies 

Many of our current electric distribution grids use decades-old substations and distribution lines. These outdated assets provide limited to no data, are to expensive to retrofit, and don’t provide an accurate view of network activities.  

To monitor these older assets, utilities have traditionally taken a condition-based maintenance (CBM) approach—meaning they wait for an issue to arise to apply a fix. This is certainly better than no solution, as it does provide a significant amount of data on the health of the asset. However, it can be inaccurate at times leading to false alarms. There also can be hidden costs in solution deployment. Finally, the data is largely unusable for advanced and predictive analytics, and the solutions are typically only monitoring sections of the circuit.  

While utilities have managed to run with these methodologies, they also leave them more susceptible to major events like equipment failure and inclement weather. Having a better view of the overall health of assets through data is the ideal state for optimizing their lifecycle and functionality. 

 

Enabling the Smart Distribution Grid with SAP Leonardo  

 

With a Smart Distribution Grid, which can be built with the help of the SAP Leonardo solution, smart sensors collect asset data which is then processed through a central asset data hub builton the SAP Cloud Platform. Using predictive algorithms, the data tells us when the assets need to be worked on. Then maintenance notifications are sent, and work orders are created through SAP’s digital core—meaning SAP S/4HANA.  

This is tremendously valuable. Predictive maintenance can reduce costs by 10 to 40 percent versus traditional CBM. Downtime is also reduced dramatically—50 percent, as we aren’t waiting for an asset to break down before fixing it. Overall, we expect this can reduce equipment and capital investment by 3 to 5 percent just by extending the life of current assets.  

Beyond the maintenance cost reduction, the Smart Distribution Grid can limit the need for physical bank inspection. That minimizes operations and maintenance efforts. On top of that, there is less necessity to retrofit all assets as with CBM, because sensors can be installed strategically. The smart sensors themselves are relatively easy to install, as they quickly clamp onto lines. That leads to a safer process for linemen. The smart sensors are also battery free, so they do not require reoccurring maintenance.  

On the IT side, there is no need for custom programming for each sensor—each can operate with the same code. The Big Data platform built on SAP Cloud Platform also enables theexploitation of existing CBM data with or separately from real-time sensor data using predictive algorithms.  

SAP Leonardo as the Driver 

Putting together a smart distribution grid can drive efficiency and cut down costs, but it does require new technology such as Big Data capabilities and predictive analytics. SAP Leonardo can be the driver to those new technologies, providing a methodology for implementing them as well as the technological platform to build solutions.  

At Vesta, we are an SAP Leonardo IoT accelerator partner with extensive experience in Utilities. Contact us to help make your gird smarter and your maintenance more efficient.  

 

 

 

 

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How SAP Leonardo Can Help Utilities Build Smarter Grids2019-01-11T15:12:05+00:00

Employee Spotlight: Jack Shaw

EMPLOYEE SPOTLIGHT: Jack Shaw

Traveler of the high seas and volunteer firefighter…

The Vesta Employee Spotlight is dedicated to our extraordinary coworkers who exemplify the true values of Vesta.

Jack Shaw has worked with Vesta Partners as a Senior Consultant for nearly five years, focusing primarily on helping our customers with their SAP Plant Maintenance projects. Jack has a great understanding of the customer’s perspective, as he spent over 35 years as one himself with Chemtura Corporation.

“That experience gives me more empathy for the customer,” says Jack. “We always take a deep look at their side to make sure we understand how they run their business—why they do things, what they do.”

Get to know Jack Shaw:

Adventures by Sea

When Jack isn’t helping our customers implement SAP, he enjoys traveling on cruises. Usually you’ll find him in a warm place in the Caribbean, hanging out on the boat deck enjoying the sun in between day excursions to visit new places and experience new cultures. However, Jack counts a much colder place as his most interesting trip so far.

Cruises aren’t limited to just beach vacations, it’s quite common to see large cruise ships in the waters around Alaska. Jack was hesitant to head to the US’s northernmost state at first. He resides in Connecticut, so he is typically looking to escape the cold, but once in Alaska he found the scenery to be breathtaking.

“When we first got to Anchorage, we walked down to a lake and thought we saw some white clouds in the distance, then it dawned on us: those ‘clouds’ were snow-capped mountains rising from the other side of the lake,” recalls Jack. “We don’t see that in Connecticut.”

Jack hopes to see much more of the unique scenery across the United States, as his bucket list includes a national park tour.

Family Life in Connecticut

Jack and his wife Jill-yes that’s Jack and Jill—have twin boys who are grown up and out of the house. One son lives just outside Boston, which would explain Jack’s interesting combination of rooting interests—the New York Yankees and Boston Bruins. He picked up the Bruins fandom through his son but rooting for the Red Sox is certainly a bridge too far.

When not fighting figurative SAP software fires, you might find Jack fighting literal fires. He is a volunteer firefighter and has been for 35 years. The busy travel schedule of a consultant means he’s not as active with the fire department as he once was, but he still stays involved as much as he can.

With what little free time Jack has left, Jack enjoys military fiction novels such as Drone Strike: A Dreamland Thriller by Dale Brown and Ghost Fleet by P.W. Singer. If the TV is on, he prefers it be on an action show like SEAL Team, but he enjoys America’s Got Talent as well.

Finally, in his career Jack looks to continue working with our customers until that day of retirement comes, when you’ll find him escaping the harsh winters of Connecticut in Florida.

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Employee Spotlight: Jack Shaw2018-12-27T19:39:16+00:00

Building a Risk-Based Maintenance Approach for SAP Customers

Building a Risk-Based Maintenance Approach for SAP Customers

Risk-Based Maintenance is an important topic for SAP EAM customers—at the recent Mastering SAP EAM Conference in Gold Coast, Australia, our session on the topic drew a packed house of mostly organizations discussing how they are approaching Risk-Based Maintenance.

There are several important things to consider with Risk-Based Maintenance, particularly with operational areas such as people, costs, safety, and environment. There must also be considerations around the probability of asset failure and the consequence of that failure.

Of course, even when companies want to build a successful Risk-Based Maintenance program, there are barriers. Chief among them is data. Sometimes there isn’t enough data to provide an accurate picture of risk. Sometimes there is too much data, making it difficult to narrow in on what is important. And of course, sometimes there is data but not the means to properly analyze it in an actionable way.

Achieving Successful Risk-Based Maintenance

How can a company overcome a barrier such as data to reach effective Risk-Based Maintenance? It starts with the people—similar to when companies are undergoing digital transformation, says Peter Dunford, President of Vesta Partners Asia Pacific Middle East, in the video below.

“People having the right mindset, people being aligned with exactly what had to happen, having the right leadership in place driving towards vision of what they were trying to do and then trying to change old behaviors,” explains Dunford. ”We categorize those as people issues and organizational change issues, and interestingly In many aspects we are trying to do in the digital world.”

Hear more from Dunford in this video:

SAP EAM Products Enable Risk-Based Maintenance

Once the people are on board, building a risk-based maintenance strategy also requires the proper tools for managing maintenance and risk data and ensuring it is utilized effectively.

Many customers are already using SAP in some form to manage Risk-Based Maintenance strategies. However, SAP has recently released and updated products that can help companies even better enable those efforts, including the SAP Asset Strategy and Performance Module as well as Predictive Maintenance and Service (PdMS).

Much like Digital Transformation, building proper Risk-Based Maintenance will require that two-pronged approach of people and technology. At Vesta Partners we are experts in both maintenance and transformation, so we can guide you through that process.

Contact us to discuss Risk-Based Maintenance strategies with SAP.

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Building a Risk-Based Maintenance Approach for SAP Customers2018-12-20T20:41:52+00:00

Unlocking the Intelligent Asset: The First Steps to EAM Transformation

Unlocking the Intelligent Asset: The First Steps to EAM Transformation

Tapping into the data that comes from connected assets, and building new processes around that information, can be a major benefit in industries such as utilities, oil and gas, transportation, and more. However, the sort of Enterprise Asset Management (EAM) transformation that is needed to take advantage of intelligent assets doesn’t happen overnight—there’s a level of readiness on multiple fronts that is required of organizations.

How does a utility—or any other organization with large asset—know if it is ready for transformation? Both Vesta Partners and SAP have tools to identify if an organization has the skills and technology to transform. Vesta offers an EAM Digital Readiness Assessment that evaluates a company from organizational, process, data, and system landscape points-of-view. SAP Transformation Navigator looks to the future, identifying what an organization needs on executive alignment, what sort of value it can garner from transformation, and what it needs to do to achieve that value.

So, what do organizations need to be ready for EAM transformation? There are two key areas that a company can improve on before embarking on an upgrade journey.

  1. Data Maturity

Date is one of the most important assets for any company. To be digital-ready, a consistent data integration approach with a data governance model, a stewardship layer, and an ownership layer are established. Make sure to communicate with stakeholders and ensure that data rules are clearly defined.

Tools like SAP Information Steward do quality checks on data, and make sure it is in the right place. It’s imperative for data to be set up correctly, as data is the driver behind many digital initiatives.

A truly mature data program is not only IT-led, but has cross-enterprise buy-in, with participation from all parts of the business. It has top-down vision that puts data at the center, and an integrating infrastructure that gives a consistent set of capabilities.

  1. Enabled Employees

There are skillsets and knowledge that will help ensure EAM transformation success. In a transformation cycle, the process includes ideation and vision, rapid prototyping, an integration blue print, and business case development before the implementation and run stages even kick in.

That means your staff needs to ramp up skills on the latest technological innovations—at the very release have an awareness of what they are. They also need to be able to prototype ideas—that’s where SAP BUILD comes in handy. It allows business users to build wireframes for screens and workflows that they can plug into WEB IDE for developers to move into production.

As for the project staff outside of business users—a UX designer can ensure adoption and create operational efficiencies. There are also a number of architect-type roles that will need to be adept in employing a bi-modal strategy.

Finally, there are key roles that you may have to add or seek outside help for, particularly in the data science and machine learning realm. A Data Scientist that understands machine learning and predictive algorithms is ideal.

It’s important to remember that consultants can help fill some of these roles, if it is difficult to do so in-house.

These elements are just the beginning for any EAM transformation project—getting the right data and the right people will set the foundation for a more successful result and can really help a company start making its assets intelligent. If you need help getting up your company’s transformation readiness level, contact Vesta to get started.

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Unlocking the Intelligent Asset: The First Steps to EAM Transformation2018-10-25T19:54:40+00:00

Vesta Partners Employees Help Veterans Start SAP Careers

Vesta Partners Employees Help Veterans Start SAP Careers

By: Nick Cecil, VP of Business Development for Oil & Gas and Chemicals.

Returning to the civilian population is often a challenging task for veterans. Not all of them make it—someone who has been in combat hasn’t learned a supply chain skillset, for example. They struggle to find what type of job is out there for them.

That’s why St. Michael’s Learning Academy trains veterans to get their TERP10 SAP Certifications. The certification gives those veterans a kick start to their post-military career.

Last year I met Christine Aboud from St. Michael’s Learning Academy, after she presented on the SAP certification program at an industry event. After learning about what St. Michael’s does, I wanted to help.

St. Michael’s asked if Vesta could help review some of the course curriculum and support the interview process for the potential candidates. Denise Powell and I supported the initial review of curriculum and made recommendations on how to incorporate more advanced training into the program. Additionally, I traveled to Fort Hood with another coworker and Army veteran, Nevin Gamble, to interview veterans applying to the program.

These interviews were educational in nature. We’d sit down with the program administrators afterwards to go over what went right, what could have been done better, and give suggestions on how to continue preparing the veterans for job interviews.

Related: Military Veterans Find Career Success, Culture Fit at Vesta Partners

Finding that First SAP Job

Getting the TERP10 certification is a first step in building a new life for St. Michael’s graduates. After that, it becomes about marketing their newly-acquired skillset to employers.

I have started working with several of the veterans to help them prepare for interviews, provide input on their resumes, and help improve their LinkedIn profiles. I help the veterans get acclimated to the job search process by having them send me a resume and a LinkedIn request, which I follow up with feedback.

At an ASUG event in June, I helped conduct job interviews at a job fair for the St. Michael’s graduates and again provided constructive feedback. I also stress the important of post-interview follow-up—reaching out to companies and taking the bull by the horns.

Keeping Skills Fresh

The SAP ecosystem is always changing with new products and new technologies driving businesses. It’s important for St. Michael’s alumni to stay up-to-date on these changes, because they are sure to come up at prospective companies.

With that in mind, I went back to Fort Hood in July to give a presentation to the future SAP professionals. I discussed my own background of coming from a life as a diesel mechanic in underground mining to an SAP career. If I can make that transition, surely a military veteran with strong process discipline and leadership skills can do the same.

My presentation also covered where SAP is heading in the future—giving a quick look at topics such as SAP S/4HANA, Internet of Things, Asset Intelligence Network, predictive maintenance, Design Thinking, and user experience. Vesta Partners provided lunch, then I conducted more interviews in the afternoon.

Making Connections

Since that workshop, I have received a number of resumes from veterans looking to return to the civilian workforce. I have identified several for future Junior Consultant roles at Vesta Partners when the opportunity arises.

Additionally, I have discussed the St. Michael’s program with many of Vesta’s clients who have military recruitment programs. If I can’t find them a job at Vesta, I still want them to find success somewhere in the SAP ecosystem. These veterans have made great sacrifices and we owe them some support.

Interested in an SAP career with Vesta? Check out our Careers page.

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Vesta Partners Employees Help Veterans Start SAP Careers2018-08-16T19:05:00+00:00

Military Veterans Find Career Success, Culture Fit at Vesta Partners

Military Veterans Find Career Success, Culture Fit at Vesta Partners

When military veterans return to civilian life in search of new careers, like any other jobseeker they are looking to find an employer who is looking for their skillset and a culture that will match their own personality and comfort zone. At Vesta Partners, many in our core leadership are former military including CEO Noel Fagan. We have the SAP IT services roles and culture in which many veterans can excel—especially those who have served in operations previously.

That’s the case for Nevin Gamble, Eddie Varnellis, and Carson Reed. All served in the armed forces in operations at some point in their careers. Gamble, who came to Vesta as an Analyst, finds familiarity in the company’s culture.

“Vesta Partners has a very family-oriented culture and I wanted to be part of a tight knit group, like I was in the military,” says Gamble. “Soldiers in the military have different personalities and as a leader I had to learn how to motivate and gain their trust. This relates to the consulting world in which it is imperative to build trust between you and the client.”

Reed, who also joined Vesta as an Analyst, found early on in the interview process that the Vesta culture would work for him, saying it was completely different than anything he had experienced at other organizations.

“Interviewing felt like talking to new friends instead an awkward tribunal. Many other companies had a laundry list of selling points but seemed incapable of helping me understand whether or not I fit their company’s culture,” explains Reed. “The Army and the military as a whole is a ‘team of teams;’ everyone’s codependent on each other and trust between disparate elements is vital for success. Consulting at Vesta is similar.”

Related: How Vesta Employees are working with St. Michael’s Learning Academy to help Veterans start SAP careers.

Building on Skills, Finding New Opportunities

The major appeal for Varnelis was the broad range of opportunities he could find as a Vesta Consultant. He liked the scope of industries, such as Utilities, Oil and Gas, and Rail. He finds that IT implementation is a great way to expand and complement his operations experience.

“The most important aspect of my military experience that set me up for success is leadership. People are always at the core of any organization and knowing how to manage this aspect helps both with clients and internally,” says Varnelis. “I was staffed on a custom IT application project and it has been a great learning experience so far. I get to see IT product implementation from start to finish while driving some of the design myself.”

Gamble says his roles have been diverse and eclectic so far, from consulting on best practices, developing functional unit test and test cases for integrated training cycles and his current task of configuring an SAP S/4HANA system for a major electric power generation utility.

Similarly, Reed has found three distinct project roles since joining Vesta, each building on his previous experience. First, he was sent to an electrical utility in Nebraska to start learning the basics of SAP and the consulting business. Months later at the same project, he found more responsibility and a more defined role. He was then sent to a larger project in Louisiana with a broader role that allowed him to continue learning SAP while simultaneously expanding his responsibilities.

Vesta has both a culture that fits for veterans like Gamble, Varnelis, and Reed, and diverse opportunities that enable them to expand their skillset. A company-wide expectation of excellence also pushed any employee to be at their best.

“I am learning every single day, interacting with client and project team, and being responsible for certain solutions is a healthy and enjoyable challenge that continuously pushes me to be better,” says Varnelis.

Interested in an SAP career at Vesta Partners? Visit our careers page.

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Military Veterans Find Career Success, Culture Fit at Vesta Partners2018-08-16T19:06:05+00:00
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