Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) systems are being implemented by more and more companies. Following the furlough measures of the 2020 pandemic, plus extra pressure on maximum staffing numbers brought on by social distancing, more businesses than ever have been looking for ways to refine, streamline, and automate key business processes. This may mean fewer jobs overall, but it also means that ERP careers are on the rise.
Whether you’re an experienced ERP consultant, looking to get into the field, or simply trying to climb the ranks in a company that’s just added such a system (or is planning to), it’s worth considering the role you choose as part of a whole career.
What Do ERP Job Titles Mean?
Throughout the field you’ll encounter a number of different job titles with a surprising amount of overlap. This gets even more complicated as each different ERP system comes with its own variations on these titles. However, the basic roles are laid out below:
The ERP specialist is one of the broadest possible terms. You’ll see this title both for consultant-level positions who might be the only person looking after an implementation or providing support afterwards, but also for people just entering the ERP world.
These might be technical staff at a company which has just completed implementation, given training to be able to answer the rest of the organisation’s questions and handle BAU (Business as Usual).
ERP Support Specialist
Closely related is the ERP support specialist. This is often a separate job role, but effectively it’s a sub-type of the more experienced specialist. As you’d expect, they focus on support roles.
The other extremely broad term is consultant. A consultant might be a single part of a much bigger project or might be expected to handle the entire implementation themselves. (They almost never take permanent roles, and when they do it’s usually a shift to a different point in their ERP career with a different role and title.)
Consultants can be broadly broken down into three types:
ERP Functional Consultant
A functional consultant doesn’t deal with the technical details of their ERP platform of choice, and may sometimes complete their contract before implementation begins in earnest. However, their knowledge and advice can be essential in the planning stages.
The right advice from a functional consultant makes for an efficient, successful implementation. Proceeding without one can mean a complex implementation or even an end product which doesn’t suit the business requirements.
ERP Technical Consultant
The polar opposite of the functional consultant, a technical consultant is concerned almost entirely with the technical details of implementation or upgrade. They’ll play key roles in system configuration, including resolving API connections and helping make links where there’s no existing API.
ERP Hybrid Consultant
As the name suggests, hybrid consultants have the knowledge and skills to fill a mixed role. Many consultants are effectively hybrids with a body of knowledge that leans heavily to one side or the other, but a true hybrid is equally comfortable in both roles.
ERP Business Analyst
Business analyst roles often connect to functional consultants – a consultant taking a permanent role, or an analyst moving to contract work. The knowledge needed isn’t identical but they complement one another, making a candidate with both much more desirable. You’ll often see a transition between the two as part of someone’s ERP career.
The most common title for this role is ERP developer. However, you may see them listed as programmers, engineers, or even architects. In the same way that functional consultants and analysts often spend time with both roles, developers and technical consultants often overlap. In this case, the skillsets are very similar, so the transitions are often taken when opportunity presents itself.
ERP Project Manager
An ERP project manager is often the final title someone in ERP will settle to. A high-ranking contract position, project managers will work on major projects in oversight roles. They may even assemble their own network of trusted consultants, developers, etc. – and even recommend people for permanent roles after implementation.
This level of trust makes them key players. Hybrid consultants are perfectly placed to eventually develop into this role given enough soft skills and a willingness to network.
A project manager like this is a huge value proposition.