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If You Had SAP CRM Skills, Would You Add SD or ABAP Next?

This is an interesting question. There’s a lot of ground to cover even within CRM itself, and a lot of folks wouldn’t be concerned with moving beyond a CRM focus. But if someone asked me this question, that means other people are wondering about it too.

What I would do is to pay attention to the integration points between CRM and other areas of SAP while you’re working on CRM projects. See where the "pain" is on CRM project teams, and master that area. CRM ties into so many different areas of SAP that it’s hard to just choose a couple.

But in this case, we’re choosing between SD and ABAP. Those of you who are familiar with my work know that I would never recommend ABAP over another area of SAP if it came down to a coin toss. So, you’re probably expecting me to say SD - and you’re mostly right.

All things being equal, I’d go for the SD-CRM skills combo over ABAP-CRM. Of course, all things are never equal. What would be the exceptions? I would say that if you already have a deep programming background, you might want to consider adding ABAP to your CRM skills.

Most people think of SAP in terms of chasing what’s hot. I think a better SAP career is built by balancing what is marketable with what ties best into your overall skills. The more you can make your overall background relevant in an SAP context, the more successful you will be.

The person who asked me this question, however, was an engineer without programming experience. So I can’t see the upside to adding ABAP, one of the least marketable areas of SAP, to the mix. I would go with SD in this case. There are many arguments to support the SD-CRM skills combo.

One good aspect of adding SD is that with so many upgrades pending, work in core areas like SD should be plentiful. Second is that if you understand the functionality in SD and the functionality in CRM, you are a more well-rounded consultant, because you are able to advise your clients on when they should stick with SD and when they should draw on CRM. And of course there are integration points between CRM and SD to get a handle on.

So, I’d go with SD, but adding a bit of ABAP to an SAP functional skill set is never a bad idea either. You don’t need to become a supercoder, but knowing how to "speak techie" never hurt a consultant either.

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