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Will learning SAP NetWeaver help me move to senior management?

Read about management options for an SAP professional with project management skills who is considering a career change. Career expert Jon Reed offers advice on how to proceed and whether learning NetWeaver is necessary.

Hi Jon,

I have been working in the SAP world for over 10 years now with strong experience in SD/MM/APO areas. I have assumed...

several roles like project manager, lead consultant, functional consultant, etc. As far as educational qualifications, I have a CPIM, PMP, MBA. I work for a very reputable company.

I think I am at the crossroads in my career. How can I use my experience in SAP to move to senior management? I am not sure moving into new dimensional products like NetWeaver, etc. would help in moving up, as it seems to me a horizontal move. What is your take?

Well, one thing you may want to make a note of is that SAP isn't using the term "New Dimension" anymore. It's a small thing, but if you're serious about this move, you're going to need to be very familiar with all of SAP's latest products, terminology, and architecture. It seems to me that with your MBA and your project management skills, you are in a good position to continue to "move up" the management food chain. Some of this depends on your prospects with your current employer. Have they given you some type of career path that they have in mind for you? If not, you might want to ask them, and then, depending on the scenario they lay out for you, it might be time to pursue another job at another company.

With your ten years of SAP and team lead/project management experience, I think you should be able to find a pretty appealing position with another firm if your internal prospects for advancement are limited. As far as whether moving into NetWeaver before you "move up" would help, I would tend to agree with you. At your level of experience, I'm not sure that NetWeaver exposure would make that much difference in your desire to progress into management roles. At the same time, more exposure to NetWeaver is not going to hurt you either, that's for sure. If for some reason you find yourself in a bit of a holding pattern waiting for a promotion, I would surely recommend that you push for NetWeaver-type exposure. You're going to need some of that know-how sooner or later, so it is nothing to take lightly. But no, if you're shifting into SAP leadership roles, it's not as essential to have that type of hands-on experience.

This was last published in September 2005

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