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Leaving SEM-BPS for SD work

I am at present working on a SEM BPS project. I am certified in SD but I have never done any full-length implementation in SD. I am also trained in BI 3.1. My functional background is 14 years in sales and 4 years in retail/merchandising and operations. Ideally, I would like to do retail, but my projects are all short-time assignments in support. Where should I focus? Which areas will be in demand?
It's definitely interesting when I get a bunch of emails on how to break into SEM, and then I get an email from someone who is actively working on an SEM-BPS project, and that person is trying to get out of that emerging niche in favor of a core R/3 skill area like SD. The grass is always greener... The reality is that you've found yourself in one of the areas of SAP that I see the brightest future for. My advice is to try to stay on SEM projects as long as possible. If you keep building your SEM skills, you should be able to keep busy on SAP projects. And as you work on your SEM assignments, over time you will get a better feel for the other areas of SAP that are of interest to you. As far as your retail experience is concerned, I'm not sure that you really want to do an industry specialization in SAP right now. There aren't that many SAP consultants who have been able to thrive by focusing on one industry. Generally, the most marketable consultants focus on a marketable skill (like SEM) across several related industries. SAP's greatest claim to fame is not its retail software functionality, although that does seem to be getting better with time. If you can get retail experience while staying in SEM, great. But if you're faced with the choice between an SD gig on a retail project and an SEM gig on a consumer goods project, I would stay with SEM. If you want to learn more about why I think SEM is one of the major career growth areas within SAP, check out my ongoing interview with Paul Halley, one of the original members of the SAP America SEM team, at www.mySAPcareers.com.
This was last published in November 2003

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