Look for opportunities to thrive and not just survive | SAP Champion Spotlight Kartik Dua


The SAP Champion Spotlight Interview Series highlights key strategic topics and provides insights from SAP Champions and SAP leaders on turning ideas into innovative approaches that impact people, process, and technology.

Whether in sports, business, or other activities, developing a variety of skills can have great impact on successful team outcomes.

Organizations need to respond to fast-changing, dynamic environments. They often ask employees to do more, with less. As a result, finding team members who are recognized as “all-rounders” can be extremely impactful to address the needs of the group, especially when there are gaps or missing parts.

An “all-rounder” can be extremely valuable and is often rare to find. They represent individuals who perform different duties for the team, balance their workload, and help deliver tangible results. The skills associated with an “all-rounder’s” contributions are learned over time through education, experiences, and observations.

For Kartik Dua, SAP Champion, SAP Press Author, blogger, keynote speaker, and Principal Business Analyst at Ellucian, he knows the importance of participating as an “all-rounder” in a team setting. He appreciates that individuals with versatility can help specialists and cross-teams make connections,
and ensure that deliverables are deployed, with the highest degree of accuracy.

It was great to catch up with Kartik from his home office in Malvern, Pennsylvania. Take a look at his recent SAP Champions video describing his career journey, learnings, and career tips.

Stacey Fish (SF): Hi Kartik! You’ve come full circle from a higher education standpoint! From the University of Mumbai, then to the University of California (Los Angeles), and now as a Principal Business Analyst at Ellucian where the global team supports 2,700+ higher education customers and 21+ million students. What inspired you to develop a career around strategy and automating business processes?

Kartik Dua (KD): Great question! I have been very fortunate to have this kind of versatility in my education. As I reflect, now is the time to show my gratitude towards the education industry by doing what I do at Ellucian.

The inspiration for my career comes from the passion I have for technology. With the emerging technologies associated with automation and machine learning era, I find my sweet spot in these areas and in strategizing processes for the businesses I support, and in partnering with many stakeholders.

SF: One of your passions is to contribute to the Ellucian Employee Resource Groups (ERGs) (aka Affinity Groups) program dedicated to Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI). Which ERG(s) do you focus on? What type of activities are taking place to help employees with talent development?

KD: Love this question. There are many ERGs I volunteer for. One of them, where I am a committee member, is called ERG Harmony. This ERG honors and supports folks from the Asia PAC regions. We celebrate festivals, do book clubs, invite guest speakers, hold events to support charities and non-profits physically and monetarily, cooking events, rewards and recognition, and the list goes on. Ellucian is big on DEI and ERGs, and I simply love the organization for making it a priority.

SF: In your blog, “3 SkiLLLs which will make you a Champion!” you reference skillful listening, learning, and leading (Note: The 3 “Ls” was on purpose! :-)). Given these vital skills…How did you become an SAP Champion? How do you apply them to engaging with SAP Community members?

KD: I am a keen listener by nature. I always have my eyes and ears open for potential opportunities where I can solve a problem. My manager and colleagues at ASUG recognize me as a person who enjoys giving back to the community and contributing, so they made the recommendation and, to my surprise, I got honored.

As a Champion, I am constantly learning new things and passing on the knowledge to others and hope they will spread the knowledge further too. The intent is to have the entire SAP Community come together as one big family where we can all learn and lead together in the successful journey of life!

SF: Enjoyed reading your blog, “Business Analyst – The Allrounder,” where you share the Cricket (sports analogy) term known as “Allrounder,” as a person who performs different duties for the team, balances his or her own challenges and responsibilities, and also learns from and helps others with their responsibilities. From your experience why must every team have an allrounder?

KD: The trend emerging in most sports and professional setups is that leaders are now looking for
“all-rounders” for their team – folks who can be the glue stick connecting the specialists. Not very long ago, leaders would hire experts on their team to ensure deliverables were met with the most accuracy.

Then a void was seen, where experts who were excellent in their own fields wanted a person onboard to connect their expertise with their counterparts. That is where all-rounders come in. They have knowledge about various domains, and help the versatile experts shake hands with each other and build relationships.

SF: Given the importance of revenues, your blog, “Three Growth Opportunities for Sales & Distribution (SD) consultants,” is very timely. For example, with changing accounting standards
(e.g., International Financial Reporting Standard – IFRS), how do you help customers begin to assess the best approach (e.g.,
parallel accounting) to speed up period-end closing activities?

KD: Another great question, so I co-wrote a book for SAP Press called Integrating Sales & Distribution in SAP S/4HANA scheduled to launch by the end of the year, where I have explained this concept thoroughly. A general strategy, when talking to customers, you should be able to educate them about best practices and their benefits. Do not try to sell them anything.

Once the customers understand the value of parallel accounting and the benefits of speedy month-end closing, they will naturally agree with your recommendation. That is how things have worked for me on most of my projects – educate and explain the value adds.

SF: For students and recent graduates, you laid out a wonderful roadmap in your post, “At the crossroads of your Career? These ABCDs will help you choose the right path. For those job seekers interested in a high-quality job as a Business Analyst (BA), what tips do you suggest for them to jumpstart their career?

KD: First and foremost, be sure that you want to be a Business Analyst. Not until you are fully convinced will you persevere in this role.

Next, take advantage of the easily available resources to self-train yourself on BA skills – SAP Community (forums, blogs etc.), Look out for a mentor, SAP Press subscription, SAP YouTube channel(s), SAP training, OpenSAP and many more…

Lastly, have a positive attitude and always celebrate wins (big or small). My personal life motto: In challenging situations, look for opportunities to thrive and not just survive.

Patience, Perseverance & Perspiration are secrets to being a successful Champion. You’re encouraged to check out Kartik’s community content, including blogs and answers.

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Please share your career journeys, learnings, and career tips in the comments below

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