Becoming a successful figure in any field required a combination of skills, resources, knowledge and experience. Why is one lawyer so successful while others are not? How about marketing consultants? * What is the recipe for a successful business software consultant?
The last two Blog posts clarified some questions about choosing VBA as the programming language for your business software consultant career. I presume by now you have come to appreciate the opportunity, and the alignment of your career goals with VBA. Frankly, you can take the Excel VBA courses I offer and find your way. This is the “Me Too” approach: you will join many others who learned how to program VBA and compete for your little garden. This holds true, by the way, for any other programming language as well. While I believe my technical training is the best you can get, my passion is in showing you a much more in-depth career path. I want my students to be bold, to be wanted by the market, to build a successful career, just as I did. For this reason, the first course I offer is “Computer Programming with Excel VBA”, and not just “Excel VBA”.
I know this may not be the right path for most, and those who will enjoy my technical training only will gain tremendous benefit as it is! Still, I will get a real kick by seeing those who are on the same page as myself as far as carving a unique, bold and successful career in connecting business and technology in a successful way.
Looking back 35 years on my personal journey, as well as learning from other colleagues and successful businessmen, marketing managers and IT professionals, I lay out my understanding of the recipe to become a successful business software consultant. Here it goes…
The foundation: technical skills
- Learn databases and SQL. Experience with at least two relational databases, such as MS-SQL, MySQL, PostreSQL, Oracle. Learn how to plan a Database (ERD), backup data, write stored procedures, triggers.
- Learn a wider range of Information Technologies and skills. E.g.: Internet, data exchange protocols, APIs, Web Services, software architecture, software engineering, DevOps, QA terminology and processes, Cloud computing, “…as a Service”.
- Be familiar with the history of computers I the service of businesses and organizations.
- If you intend to build applications for mobile devices – you need to learn all about mobile applications programming.
The Bold Step: Business Understanding
- Understand how organizations are structured. What are the typical positions in an organization? What are the business drivers of different types of organizations? What are the opportunities and challenges companies are facing?
- Understand what is a business process. Be familiar with the main business processes and terminology of organizations and of the different industries out there. What are the typical, best-practice processes supporting the different organization areas: financials, administration, management, sales, marketing, human resources, manufacturing, logistics, supply chain, procurement?
- Learn how to identify the KPIs when confronted with a business pain.
- Learn how to analyze business requirements, starting from the top business motivation, the KPIs, the business processes and people involved. Learn how to structure a business requirements analysis document. Separate the business requirements analysis from the technical approach, architecture and solution blueprint.
- Learn the terminology and building blocks of projects management.
The Consultant Step: Business Applications Market
- Learn what is an ERP, what are the main modules and processes supported by typical ERP solutions. Learn about the benefits of ERP solutions, and the challenges in ERP implementation projects.
- Similarly, learn about CRM, SRM.
- Learn what is Business Intelligence (BI), Analytics. How is data prepared in BI solutions, ETL process?
- Be familiar with the history of business software applications.
- Be familiar with the prominent business applications solutions available and main vendors.
- Be familiar with the different commercial models (licenses, maintenance, subscription, fixed-project, hourly-priced project).
The Kicker: Personal Development
Constantly develop your skills in these areas, in order to manage your business and growth:
- Sales and marketing
- Negotiations skills
- Convincing skills
- Effective written and verbal articulation
- Financial management
I’m sure I forgot some things 😊.
The above list, or any variant of it applicable to your goals, needs to be appreciated as a career journey, not a one-off training project. Naturally, this wide combination of skills, knowledge and development routs cannot be realized in a year or 3 years. This is a journey and you keep growing as you go. It should serve as a compass to show you the general way, the master plan. Take it one step at a time and keep growing!
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