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How to catch SAP's SMB-wave

SAP is going to make a sea change in the small and medium business enterprises after covering the big business houses. How suitable is a functional consultant's job for a person like me, having 2+ years experience in sales and a business administration educational background? I am not a technical person.
I'm not sure if I agree that SAP is going to conquer the small and medium business market as effortlessly as it has the Fortune 100 market. I assume you are talking about very small companies here - the kind SAP is addressing with its Business One product. I do see SAP having success with some small companies, specifically those that function as suppliers of larger SAP companies. For these companies, running on the same platform as their clients is a compelling idea. But beyond that, I see the smaller market as very competitive, and I see SAP facing tough price pressures in that space. By the way, I also don't anticipate big consulting opportunities from that market space. After all, low consulting costs are a key to selling software to smaller companies. Expect fierce competition in these markets, and expect SAP to run into Microsoft's Great Plains initiative as SAP works it way down and Microsoft works it way up.

If I were you, I would look ahead to opportunities with larger SAP companies, many of which are poised for another wave of SAP (and ERP) product installations. Sometimes called "ERP II," this next wave will involve the Internet-enabled products that allow companies to collaborate virtually with customers and suppliers. Perhaps SAP is one way into that e-business work for you; perhaps other software packages would offer similar opportunities. Even if you don't have deep technical skills, there could be a role for you on the business process side, helping companies with functional configuration pertaining to their business needs. I'd recommend that you study the mySAP product line carefully and see if there might be a fit between one of these products, such as CRM, and your future goals. But remember that the key for you is building on your core business experience. You might find that the best options are not SAP related at all.
This was last published in June 2003

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