In the journey of digital transformation, access to skilled talent is crucial. According to the annual ASUG Pulse of the SAP Customer research study, obtaining and retaining knowledgeable staff consistently ranks among one of the top challenges for organizations moving to the cloud. Specifically, 37% struggle with finding staff equipped to navigate SAP S/4HANA, while 30% lack the internal skills for managing new products, impeding progress.

The perceived talent shortage is often a matter of accessing experienced professionals, such as contractors and consultants, rather than an actual lack of talent in the market. One solution to this hurdle is the ASUG Talent Hub, a resource created to help SAP customers solve their short-term contract staffing problems.

According to Chad Westphal, VP of Sales at GlobalSource IT—which co-developed the platform with ASUG—there are three prevalent staffing challenges organizations confront amidst their transformation journeys: planning and budgeting for staff augmentation; perception of independent consultants outside of their systems integrator (SI) partnership on a project; and ease of access to skilled SAP talent with business knowledge.

1. Planning and budgeting for staff augmentation.

ERP projects conventionally draw resources from capital budgets, whereas staff augmentation resources are typically drawn from operational budgets, Westphal explained. In the planning phase, attention must be paid to what resources are required to achieve all relevant goals on an established timeline.

“This is not an exercise to breeze over,” Westphal said. “Staff augmentation is inevitable. The internal people power of a client is rarely sufficient to deliver what is needed for the SI partner to do their part in assisting with transformation.”

Instead, a symbiotic relationship between the client and SI is required. Allocating capital funding for staff augmentation in the planning phase is critical for control and agility throughout transformation projects.

2. Perception of an independent consultant’s role.

Both large and small transformations involve a contractual agreement, wherein phases and tasks are listed, and the party taking responsibility for each task is identified. These tasks can often be major undertakings and the effort required to complete them is not always given adequate consideration by a client. Some examples include change management and training, creating technical and functional specs for in scope objects (SAP or non-SAP), unit testing, data conversion, UAT, and bug fixing. Building a robust team capable of completing this work is central to the success of business transformation, and engaging with independent consultants can be critical.

“The perception of the independent consultant is often that of a third party that will disrupt the symbiosis between a systems integrator and their client,” Westphal explained. “This is a myth that needs debunking. Independent consultants should be embraced as extensions of the client staff for the benefit of a successful project. It does not matter what logo is on the paycheck they receive. What matters is that they are given a voice and held accountable to deliver, according to the role they are hired for, as everyone on the team should be.”

Think how much more smoothly transformations would go if more people on the project working directly alongside client staff had experience with relevant technology, understood the client’s business, and were enabled to ask smart questions and raise concerns based on past consultancies. An SAP-experienced “client” team, if adequately empowered, can be more productive in meeting the expectations of the project plan, fulfilling contractual obligations, and empowering the SI partner with room to deliver on their responsibilities. One benefit of independent contractors is that employers can scale their involvement up and down as needed, ensuring the right resources are available at the right time.

3. Efficient access to independent contractors.

Quickly and effectively accessing the right people is another challenge point for SAP customers. Two options are typically available. First, you can rely upon the integration partner, sourcing from their pre-approved list of providers. Using the SI is often the path of least resistance, as these partners are in the trenches of the project, can see the types of people needed, and are already in a position to manage those people. However, SIs often only have a limited number of professionals available, rates can be costly, and opening this door can slowly erode client control.

The second option is a vendor management system or approved vendor list. The companies in these programs are often structured to offer more generalized IT staffing services, as opposed to SAP-specific talent. Even if there are SAP specialty vendors in the mix, the benefit their focus brings is often diluted by the volume of candidate submissions generalized vendors provide.

Comparing staff augmentation firms, candidate resumes likely won’t look that different. It’s the people behind the paperwork that matter. If vendors focus on delivering SAP talent, there’s a higher probability they’ll know what they are looking for in connecting customers to the right people for their implementation projects, weeding out the good from the not-so-good more effectively than generalists can. If your company has a vendor program that effectively limits SAP contract roles to SAP-specific providers, consider yourself fortunate; this will simplify the process of engaging the right people to staff your project. 

Introducing ASUG Talent Hub

It's in emphasizing this last point that the ASUG Talent Hub becomes relevant. Created to streamline the procurement of independent SAP consultants, ASUG Talent Hub is the first SAP-centric contract-talent procurement platform, combining expertise from multiple firms specializing in SAP talent. This focus on the SAP ecosystem is intended to ensure consistent quality, speed, adaptability, and fair rates for short-term SAP talent.

ASUG members receive access to ASUG Talent Hub as part of membership value. Through its intuitive user interface, firms partnering with ASUG Talent Hub can be quickly briefed on the type of individual a user is looking to engage. “ASUG members can log in to their ASUG accounts, click on ASUG Talent Hub, create a job order in the system by providing necessary details surrounding the type of person they are looking for, how many resumes they want to review, and what rate range is acceptable,” Westphal said.

Once a job order is in the system, a phone call to discuss details is the next best step for ASUG Talent Hub users to take. “What you put in is what you get out,” noted Westphal. “This is not a magic tool where you enter a job title and a rate and can expect awesome results to appear. Collaboration is needed. The best way to collaborate is via a phone meeting with the Talent Hub partners, because even the best job descriptions can be interpreted incorrectly without sufficient context.” 

ASUG Talent Hub partners, equipped with all the information they need, can then use their vetting tools to deliver the right people the first time. “The time it takes to collaborate up front takes minutes and saves hours of unnecessary effort by all involved,” Westphal explained.

If you're ready to bridge the talent gap in your digital transformation projects, upgrade projects, or day-to-day support efforts, explore ASUG Talent Hub. Utilize the provided user guide and quick-reference resource to connect with the productive talent you need. Or schedule a call by sending an email to

Want to continue reading this article?

Become a member and get access to all ASUG benefits including news, resources, webcasts, chapter events, and much more!

Log in

Not an ASUG member? Learn more