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The next career step after SAP BW consulting: SEM, APO or CRM?

I have been working as an SAP BW consultant for the past two years. Can you suggest a possible career direction for me: SEM, APO or CRM?

I am basically a mechanical engineer with a master's degree in automotive engineering and experience in the retail industry (J. Sainsburys). I have been working as an SAP BW consultant for the past two years. Can you suggest a possible career direction for me: SEM, APO or CRM?
As a BW consultant, you have a number of options in front of you. To me, the most important thing you can do is to simply keep on top of the latest releases of BW. It's important for BW consultants to understand that BI 7.0, the version of BI that runs with mySAP ERP 2005, is going to become the industry standard release of BI. If you're not able to move from earlier releases of BW into the BI platform, that is going to pose challenges finding projects down the road. So start by making sure you are getting the latest BW/BI exposure. Once you've got that figured out, then you have all kinds of options because BI has so many different touch points across the SAP platform now. I would say that any area where you see interesting touch points and good project opportunities will be worth considering.

I doubt APO will be a good area to pursue because APO is an add-on component that is not on the short list of most...

SAP customers right now. CRM is more heavily used and more of a priority, but BI-CRM integration projects are not plentiful right now. It could be a good niche, but your goal is to target an area where there will be a strong level of consulting demand. To me, of the three areas you listed, the one that stands out is SEM. Remember that SEM used to be a stand-alone product that SAP customers had to purchase separately, and as such, it wasn't as successful as many of us hoped. But as of NetWeaver 2004s (the engine that drives mySAP ERP 2005), SEM ships along with BW and is in fact part of the BI product.

I expect more and more companies to take advantage of this functionality now that it is part of the core, so I like that as a target area for you of the three you listed. Finally, you didn't note this option, but I'd also keep an eye on MDM. MDM is separate from BW and the market has not taken off, but it could be a hot area and it should be an interesting area to consult in.

This was last published in July 2007

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