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Having no prior experience with SAP, should I get training in SD, BW or CRM?

Are you considering a career change to SAP SD, BW or CRM? SAP career expert Jon Reed offers valuable long-term advice.

I'm considering a career change into SAP. I have a bachelor's degree in computer science and a non-technical master's degree. I've been working at management consulting firms for the last two and a half years. I have worked with a diverse set of companies, mostly analyzing business performance and setting business strategy.

There is a lot of conflicting information in regards to which modules are hot in the market. I'm considering SD, BW and CRM at this point. Keeping in mind that I have no prior SAP experience, what would you suggest I get training in?

It's interesting to try to choose the best area of SAP when you are just breaking in. I understand the temptation to try to pick the hottest area but I've never felt that it's the best tactic. A better way of approaching it is to choose the area where you will bring the most value as a consultant. That takes more homework because it requires you to research the SAP product line and find a good fit between your current skills and where SAP is headed. This way, you can look to make a more substantial contribution even when your SAP project experience is light. Of course, you can't ignore what is hot in SAP either. Maybe a better way of putting it is this: choose the hottest area of SAP that is also a good match with your overall skill set and expertise. I'm not sure that I know enough about your background to make a clear assessment. There is an emerging area in SAP called "performance management" that might ultimately be a great fit for you down the line, but it's still emerging as a consulting focus and I don't think there are enough requirements in this area yet to count on it.

So, between your choices of SD, BW, and CRM, I think they are all hot areas and I could not say definitively which area is the hottest of those three. Perhaps I can answer the question this way: let's assume that your background is equally relevant to SD, BW, and CRM. And let's assume that all three are equally "hot." Then how would you go about choosing? Well, you could roll a three sided dice. But I would suggest that you spend more time researching all three. Then, choose the area that fascinates you most from a business process vantage point. In other words, when in doubt, follow your professional passion. I say this because I continue to believe that becoming a consulting expert is much easier when you truly have a drive and interest towards your area of focus. I have even told consultants to stick with areas of SAP that are not as "hot" because they truly love and excel at it. It's good to remember that the functional SAP consultants of the future will be expected to be between business process consultants. It won't be enough to know how to configure some tables. That's why it's more important than ever to choose SAP functional areas that you can really master and then deliver a high degree of business value when you go to a project site.

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