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Keys to becoming a successful functional consultant

I would like to know how I can become a functional consultant with the following experience.

I have a diploma in mechanical engineering and a diploma in material management. I also completed an apprenticeship in tool and dye-making.

Some of my actual experience is non-SAP related. I've worked in manufacturing, inspection and warehousing and also procurement of automobile spare parts.

I was a key team member for an implementation of 3.1H from legacy in multi-server (4 company codes) and later to R/3 4.6C in single server (single company code) from 3.1H.

Please guide me -- I am 48 years old and I'm looking for a position.

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The good news is that you already have a lot of relevant experience. Your goal of becoming an SAP functional consultant is aided by your in-depth manufacturing/warehouse industry experience and your SAP user experience. However, as you have no doubt realized, you're not ready to enter the SAP consulting world yet.

Your next step is to obtain a job on an SAP project where you are part of the implementation team. Your best bet would be to move into that role with your current employer, if indeed your company is running on SAP. Since you've paid your dues there, that's your best shot at SAP. Always go for SAP from the inside first. If you're not able to pull that off with your current employer, your goal is to land a "super-user," or advanced SAP user role, with a new employer. You might not be able to get an implementation position, but with your user background, you could get an SAP user job with leadership responsibilities, such as designing/delivering SAP training, or serving as a liaison with SAP functional teams. This kind of experience will help you.

Remember that the most likely path into SAP is a gradual one. Once you get one solid project under your belt in an implementation role, you are that much closer to becoming an SAP consultant. And if you can land another project, you'll be well on your way. Expertise implementing SAP on multiple projects is the key to becoming a successful SAP consultant.

This was first published in July 2005

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