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Focusing on APO vs. CRM

I have been reading your tips on career enhancement in SAP and appreciate the interest you show in answering questions....

I am at a juncture where I would like to pick a definite career path and would like to have your advise. To give you a brief background on myself: I have about 6 years of functional experience in the field of e-commerce businesses and related SCM management. In the last 2 years I have been working in a SAP-centric environment as a key user and first level support person. As a result I have a good understanding of the functional aspects of MM/PP/Logistics and in-depth understanding of SD. I would like to now get into a SAP consulting position (by undergoing training) but cannot decide on a focus area. I would like to choose between mySAP APO and mySAP CRM. I have a good understanding of the functional aspects of both lines (though am still a bit shaky on PP for APO). Could you advise me on which would be a more marketable option for me given this background?


I have contrasted the opportunities in CRM and APO in detail before, so check out some of the past Q&A's. To sum it up, I have argued that APO makes better sense for most people, for two reasons:
(1) APO has a higher degree of market acceptance than mySAP CRM; and
(2) the entire CRM market is mired in a slump as it tries to establish a strong value proposition. On top of those two reasons, for you, I would add a third: You already have some functional background related to supply chain management, MM, PP, and Logistics. So your core knowledge falls in line with an APO consulting career. Although you seem to be comfortable with either option, your skills do seem to line up a bit better for APO from what I can tell. Having said all that, I hope you're not assuming that breaking into APO will be as easy as getting the training and then getting an APO position. I haven't seen your full resume, but it seems to me that you're going to need to acquire more hands-on implementation experience before you're able to attract SAP consulting opportunities. Up to this point, you've been functioning as a kind of "super user." For point of reference, it's been seven years since I placed a super user in an SAP consulting role. Having said that, you might be able to use your current SAP skills to land an implementation-type role for a company that is trying to build up its in-house team. There are companies out there that fit this description, and I think that's your next best step towards an SAP consulting career. I would worry less about APO-versus-CRM and focus more on how you're going to obtain hands-on SAP project skills. You might find that the project skills you gain are not exactly what you were planning to obtain, but once you acquire them, you can start consulting in SAP and moving towards your ultimate objectives.


This was last published in November 2002

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