Monday, November 5, 2007

Breaking into a functional SAP career without the technical side (ABAP/Basis)?


I have been a mainframe programmer for about six years now. I am tired of programming and want to break into the functional side of SAP. I am just beginning to learn about SAP and still in the research phase.

Since I have been working on the technical side (non-SAP), would it be possible for me to break into a functional SAP career, without crossing the technical SAP bridge (ABAP/Basis)? Also, my domain expertise is in customer support for Telecom Operations (Verizon/AT&T being the clients). Which module of SAP would be the best for me?

For your first question, the answer is, I don't know. Unfortunately while I might have some decent advice from time to time, I don't have the kind of crystal ball that would offer you an assurance. If you are truly sick of programming and want to "go functional," what I recommend in this case is to go for the functional side of SAP first. If it doesn't work out, then you can go to "plan b," which is to find a technical role in SAP, and then move into the functional side of SAP over time.

It's good to remember that usually you can only make one major shift per job change. Switching from technical non-SAP to technical SAP is one shift, and from technical SAP to functional SAP is another. I know it's hard to stick with something when you're ready to move on to a new skill set, but if you have trouble making two jumps in one job search you may have to take it one step at a time. But if you are patient and determined, you have a good chance of pulling it off. As for the second question, based on your customer support and call center background, I'd target SAP CRM as your entry point. Even landing a role on the technical side of an SAP CRM project would be a great first step for you. Good luck!
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