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Is APO training worth the money?

Being a Sr. SAP consultant with 6 years of implementation experience (MM, SD, PP, a little ABAP, Archiving and Security), I've always wanted to get into APO. However, with the economic slowdown, my firm is not keen on training me. Is it worth it to shoulder the training costs myself? Or should I consider moving to a company that would train me? I am currently on a non-SAP project developing a Web application.

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With your SD/MM/PP background, I can see why you would want to get into APO. Clearly, in the coming years, SAP is going to spend more time enhancing the cutting edge supply chain capabilities in APO than they will on enhancing the MM and PP modules. The problem with getting into APO right now is that there just aren't enough APO projects to drive the demand for consultants. I can understand why your firm isn't eager to train you - likely they wouldn't be able to place you on an APO project after you were trained. The available APO projects are going to the seasoned APO consultants with experience on multiple projects. It's not clear from your question, but I'm assuming you're with a consulting firm right now. I doubt there is another firm out there that would train you in APO, and even if there was, the training wouldn't guarantee you much of anything.

The main way to get APO experience right now is to be in the "right place at the right time," working away on the MM/PP side, when the company decides to upgrade to APO. If you have APO training at that point, you are more likely to get pulled onto the project team. For that reason, I do think that investing in training does increase your chances of landing an APO project a little bit. Right now, I think you're facing a bigger problem: you need to get back onto an SAP project. If you can't keep your SAP skills current, your APO dreams will remain dreams. I would recommend that your next step would be getting yourself onto another MM/PP project (4.6 or higher) - either as a permanent employee or a consultant. From there, you will be in a better vantage point to pursue your APO goals.

This was first published in January 2003

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