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Will APO replace PP consulting demand?

I have over 7 years experience as a PP/PP-PI consultant with 15 years of manufacturing experience before that. I have had some APO-exposure on projects and training but have never actually been responsible for an implementation. Do you think there will be continued demand for PP consultants, or will it shift to APO? If APO, what is the best way to shift my skill set?
Good question. I always like to hear from core R/3 folks who are thinking about how the mySAP products will affect their marketability. I think that anyone working in R/3 whose area of R/3 has an equivalent product in mySAP with *overlapping functionality* has to start thinking about transitioning into the mySAP product. Because almost 100% across the board, in cases of overlapping functionality, SAP stops enhancing the R/3 component and focuses all the future functionality development on the mySAP product instead. And, in many cases, SAP eventually drops the R/3 equivalent product altogether or announces a timeline for ending product support. In your case, a good amount of PP functionality is duplicated in APO. Now, companies running APO still use MM/PP, so it's not that your skills are irrelevant, but you do need to add the APO side to those skills to keep your skill set relevant. But of course, getting that first project experience is the hard part. There is no surefire way to do it, but the consultants who get that experience generally get it by being "in the right place at the right time." Translation: you're not going to get hired as an APO consultant off the bat. You have to try to choose a PP contract with a company that will eventually upgrade to APO and pull you along with it, perhaps giving you a pivotal role on the PP side during the transition. The training you have positions you well for such a role, but it's not easy to connect the dots and get the hands-on skills during a down market. But keep learning all you can about APO and try to position yourself on projects with companies that seem more aggressive about their SAP investment.
This was last published in October 2003

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