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BW vs. APO for Purchase & Projects experts

I have 9 years of functional experience in Purchase & Projects. In addition to this I have 4 years experience in MM & PS modules. Should I start taking initiative in some new dimension module like BIW? Is that a logical path? What is your opinion on BIW versus APO? What I have heard is that SAP APO is not a very strong product.

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It's always hard to keep up with SAP lingo. According to my best knowledge, SAP now calls it BW, not BIW, and the term "new dimension" has been dropped in favor of mySAP. This is a little confusing because there are already a number of mySAP products, but that's the current state of affairs. As far as your statement that APO is not a very strong product, I would question that. Let's be honest: BW and APO were both released before they were "ready for prime time," so they picked up reputations as being buggy and functionally light. But SAP has had a lot of time to invest in the development of both products. APO is now a pretty robust supply chain solution. It's not appropriate for all companies, but then, no product is. Think of it this way: if an SAP client buys a supply chain solution, what are the options? Manugistics? i2? Integration with outside supply chain products has not gone especially well, and companies don't have as much confidence in the financial viability of these best-of-breed products that they do in SAP. The sluggish nature of capital spending actually helps SAP in some ways. The fact is that very few companies are launching major supply chain projects, which buys SAP even more time to make APO the product its customers want it to be. In the meantime, ease-of-integration gives APO a major edge over its third party competitors.

With APO and BW, I don't think the issue is "which product is better?", the issue is "which product is a better fit with your skills?" Based on your background in purchasing, projects, MM, and PS, it's clear that APO lines up very well with your core skills. BW doesn't play to your strengths - but keep in mind that many APO projects rely on BW for data access. So you might end up getting experience on both anyway - perhaps designing functional "InfoCubes" in BW using supply chain data. That would be a perfect way for you to combine your interest in BW and APO together. But keep in mind, your options are limited to the projects you are able to find. It's good to aim in one direction, but be flexible enough to follow where your project opportunities might lead you.

This was first published in January 2003

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