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Can I leverage my data conversion and DBA experience to get into BW?

Read SAP career expert Jon Reed's advice on how to break into SAP BW. Here he advises a reader with DBA and data conversion experience who is debating between BW and supply chain management.

I recently read your book and reviewed your past answers. If I have understood you correctly, I believe that you would generally recommend someone to get focused when it comes to SAP and leverage previous experience. Based on these assumptions my question follows.

I have been working with SAP for about three and a half years, and I'm now on my second major project. In the past I have worked on one project through all phases doing data conversion for a utility company (one and a half years). I wrote some ABAP code along with loading data, data mapping, transforming data, reconciling data primarily in the area of Asset Managment or PM for IS-U. After this I did about a year as a Basis/Oracle DBA while the company went into sustainmnet with its new SAP implementation.

I have now started a new position once again in data conversion -- this time with responsibilities for loading supply chain data. I should add that on top of my SAP experience, I have about years experience and a certification as an Oracle DBA. My feeling is that data conversion is not an end in itself but should rather be a stepping stone to either getting more functional knowledge (supply chain) or in my case moving into BW. I was thinking as I have DBA and prior data warehousing experience this could be a good move. However, I also notice that most jobs for BW people want at least one or two full project cycles.

My question is -- should I go for BW certification and try to leverage my experience to get into BW, or try to get more functional exposure in supply chain?

Thanks for taking the time to detail your background and think about how your questions fit into the context of the advice I tend to give folks in your situation.

In terms of BW versus functional/supply chain, I know a lot about your background, but not enough about your interests. BW and SAP supply chain management are both good areas to pursue, so in the end, it comes down to which area you have the most passionate interest in. It may sound odd, but in the end, you succeed in areas you excel in, and it's hard to excel in areas you don't have a real drive to master. One thing I would not suggest is to make a move to technical BW and leave your current experience behind. I'd rather see you approach BW from a functional direction, leveraging your SAP supply chain background as well as your data management know-how.

As you know, I tend to criticize the idea of "getting certified" to break into SAP, but certification really has a huge value for the exact situation you are in. In your case, as an experienced SAP consultant, certification in BW might really help you to get closer to the BW side of the projects you are on while continuing to develop your supply chain skills. Learn as much as you can about how BW organizes structured functional data from your area of expertise. Also study SAP's new business intelligence strategy. I could see you as a highly successful techno-functional BW consultant with a supply chain focus. I would suggest that this would involve not so much a strong change in your career but another step in your gradual evolution. I like how you are thinking carefully about your career path and wish you much luck.

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