Practice Principle Consultant - Steven Weaver

Company: Columbus
Job Title: Practice Principle Consultant
Bio: I am passionate about Microsoft ERP products and enjoy contributing to the worldwide community as “AdamRoue” and “weaveriski” on many of the recognised newsgroups serving the wider Microsoft community. This was recognised by Microsoft in 2005 with the MVP (Most Valuable Professional Award) that I have retained for the past 10 years.

What career path did you take to bring you to your current job title?

After graduating from University I had a variety of roles over a four year period that included being an accounts assistance at B&Q's head office, a stock auditor at a worldwide duty free company and a production controller at a firm manufacturing network housings.

This gave me exposure to key business elements from accounts, stock control and production control with contact with other elements of the business (sales and new product design etc.). Unwittingly this gave me a very broad background across roles and industry. A former colleague approached me in the late 1990's with a role as a consultant at a firm implementing the ERP solution Macola (later Exact Globe). After a failed MBO in 2000 the management team (including myself) setup a new company (XONITEK UK) with the intention of consulting on Macola but complications meant we searched for a new solution and decided Navision was a contemporary we could get behind.

In 2002 Microsoft purchased Navision. By 2007, we had built up a strong small business with a good reputation in the UK, but events overtook the business from a political perspective and in 2007 I departed as Consultancy Director and moved to Columbus as a NAV consultant.

Within a couple of months my career path was diverted into AX. Over my 8 years with Columbus I moved into a team lead role and two years ago my role as Practice Principle Consultant.

What does an average working day look like?

My main role is project based for customers, and the project role I occupy is the Lead Solution Architect, which means I do not have an average day!

Involved in projects through the entire lifecycle from pre-sales to go-live means the daily challenges vary; from business process analysis, architecture discussions, functional and third party meetings including strategies and concepts around master data management, data migration, interface, deployment management, progress meetings, design review and many more elements that are both project and business driven.

Ultimately my role is to support the customer in the successful implementation of the ERP solution Microsoft Dynamics AX.

What advice would you give someone getting into the industry?

In the initial stages an exposure across industries and sectors. This can be roles within the business, or as a consultant on projects. Getting hands on experience is the key and then application of that experience.

The industry of ERP implementation has a huge broad set of skill requirements and roles from consultants, project managers, support consultants, developer, Technical and Functional Solution Architects, Engagement Managers etc.

It is difficult to focus advice without ignoring elements a role needs, but ultimately experience in the industry and role at whatever level helps open the door into the ERP industry.

How can we inspire more young people and women into the industry to fill the ever widening skills gap?

At Columbus and many other partners there are graduate schemes. I was present at a the Southampton Business Schools software link with Microsoft day as a presenter for Columbus.

The industry has varied roles and within these the challenges and project variety lead to an enjoyable ever-changing working environment. The issue is not so much the inspiration of young people, it is creating the spaces to allow the young people and women into the industry.