Q

Moving from SAP/APO/BW to APO/PP/MM

I have an MBA in supply chain management and have been working as an operations planner for almost two years. I am using SAP/APO/BW as a business user and want to develop into a functional consultant. I am proficient in MS Excel and MS Access, but do not have any configuration skills in SAP. I am planning to undergo training in APO/PP/MM modules to gain some technical knowledge and wanted to make sure I am taking the right steps. Can I market myself as a functional consultant once I undertake the training? Is the technical training going to be any help or am I better off trying to look for jobs within my area of expertise (i.e., planning)?

I have an MBA in supply chain management and have been working as an operations planner for almost two years. I am using SAP/APO/BW as a business user and want to develop into a functional consultant. I am proficient in MS Excel and MS Access, but do not have any configuration skills in SAP.

I am planning to undergo training in APO/PP/MM modules to gain some technical knowledge and wanted to make sure

I am taking the right steps.

Can I market myself as a functional consultant once I undertake the training? Is the technical training going to be any help or am I better off trying to look for jobs within my area of expertise (i.e., planning)?

I'm glad you are taking the time to think through your options and trying to move from a user role to an implementation role. And since your background as a user is in APO/BW, it does make sense to pursue this area. From what you have told me of your background, I do think you would make a good functional consultant in the materials management/supply chain planning side. So, I would agree with getting the training (though you may want to read my blog entry on training first).

I think the training would help, though the main thing is to find ways of getting a full-time job using your functional skills in SAP. If you can't do that at your current job, you may want to move to another company that will give you more chances to move from a user to a super-user type of role. From super-user, you can move that much closer to the implementation team.

So, it's more likely you'll move from user to super-user first, and then take the next step. I would probably lean more towards MM/PP than APO right now, only because the APO market is a bit slow at the moment. You could also look at SRM, as there are some growth areas there, including vendor-managed inventory. The main thing is that you have the right target areas. From here, the key is to remain flexible and go where the opportunities are. Good luck!

This was first published in June 2006

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