If someone would have told me back in college, I would have made a career working in IT supporting Human Resources (HR); I would have laughed. I was an Art and Marketing major back in 1995 and I had a part-time job working in the campus computer lab. I accepted the position to get access to the latest illustration and photo software, and wound up spending a majority of my time around Computer Science majors, where I was able to develop a better understanding of datasets and databases. The rest of the time was spent teaching an English major how to turn the computer on.
I was reluctant to embrace my knack for helping people understand how to use databases to organize their important data, so my first job out of college wound up being in sales job. Even though I enjoyed sales, I found myself gravitating back to process improvement and using technology to become more efficient in my position. My efficiency eventually led to a promotion and I suddenly found myself back on the IT path. Along with the promotion came an opportunity to consolidate national sales into one location. My responsibilities included data clean-up/migration, process improvement and training.
After completing this project, my boss recommended me for a new SAP HR implementation. I was reluctant at first, because I had no prior HR experience. Other than being hired and reviewing my benefits, I had little exposure to HR’s roles and responsibilities. I have to admit, I thought it would be a little boring, but I decided to take the plunge and I never looked back! I became a part of an HR implementation team where I gained configuration experience and became intimately familiar with HR operations, processes, and issues.
I was exposed to a world of organizational management, personal administration, compensation and retention strategies, development plans and training/learning opportunities. Looking back, this was the best thing that ever happened to me – I had the opportunity to merge my two talents, IT Systems and the ability to connect with people. Better yet, I was able to hone my SAP/HR skills at a time when automated HR solutions were really beginning to take shape.
As I’ve progressed along in my career of SAP/HR systems, I have been able to observe how the systems and their functionalities have expanded over the years. HR’s business model has always been to put people first, but as more companies invest in enterprise software, it has allowed HR to automate processes, make information more visible along with promoting paperless environments. These systems have allowed for streamlined integration of HR functionalities, which has enabled SAP to focus on a more end-to-end life cycle.
Today, I receive compliments for how well I handle myself at conferences and tradeshows. I believe my ability to listen, helps me connect with people and combined with my ever growing SAP knowledge pool, it helps me to connect with potential clients in order to determine the solutions that can be best implemented within time and budgetary constraints.
Today, I am a Solution Engineer for Exaserv, a SAP HR consulting firm. Needless to say it’s been anything but boring. With the mergers and acquisitions of several large HR companies over the past several years as well as the strides that my company is make in the industry, I look forward to seeing what lies ahead within the HR/IT world.
About the author: Stephanie A Lichtenstein a SAP Consultant at Exaserv is a results-driven SAP professional with 9+ years of SAP HR management and training experience including systems application roll-out, support, and HR. She has been involved in several full cycle implementations of SAP HR. Her strongest implementation experience is in Organizational Management (OM), Personnel Administration (PA), and Talent Management
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