SAP Watch

Aug 9 2007   2:51PM GMT

SAP PLM job prospects: A Jon Reed guest column

JackDanahy Jack Danahy Profile: JackDanahy

SAP PLM (product lifecycle management) is growing, and that means it’s time for SAP professionals to pay attention. Here’s what veteran SAP jobs expert Jon Reed had to say about the career opportunities a PLM surge may bring to your industry:’s recent piece on the growth of the PLM market bodes well for SAP consultants for a couple of reasons: First, because PLM is becoming more central to corporate business processes, and second, because more and more companies are choosing the add-on extensions from their ERP provider instead of opting for best-of-breed solutions. This should be the case for PLM buying decisions also. We can also be confident that SAP puts a lot of stock in its own PLM product – PLM is a highlighted part of SAP’s Business Suite offering.

So that’s the good news. The more sobering aspect is that we have heard a buzz about PLM consulting from the year 2000 onward, and we have yet to see a big uptick in demand for PLM consultants. It’s important to realize that until the demand for a particular product becomes widespread, the consulting market will be limited to SAP’s own service line, its Tier One partners like IBM and Accenture and a handful of elite independent experts. A few boutique specialization firms round out that picture. Up until recently, that’s been the case for PLM, but we’re starting to see more widespread adoption of SAP PLM. I think we’ll see an even bigger surge in the demand for PLM skills a couple of years from now. At that point, more companies will have their core SAP upgrades behind them and will be looking to build on those long days of project work with strategic product line extensions.

That’s why I personally think the SAP PLM market will probably see its greatest activity in the 2-5 year window ahead of us. But it never hurts to add some PLM skills to your toolkit. The next question is: How would you go about that? Like most areas of SAP, there are numerous entry points into PLM consulting from both the functional and technical side. But let’s focus on the functional PLM opportunities. I see a couple of classic PLM profiles that work out well for functional consulting. One is that of the PLM industry expert who is new to SAP but has deep PLM and engineering experience outside of SAP.

These folks can be a real asset, especially as full-time employees who are pulled onto an internal project team. From the SAP side, the most common entry point I have seen into PLM is from that of the logistics-oriented module set including SD, MM and PP. We are also seeing some PLM project activity in the process industries and the Environmental Health and Safety area, so there are some entry points into PLM from those with industry expertise and SAP vertical experience in one of those two areas.

Finally, SAP is starting to gain some traction with its ECM (Engineering Change Management) product, so we are starting to see more PLM-ECM jobs. SAP skills associated with such roles include project/portfolio management, project collaboration (cProjects), design collaboration (cFolders), as well as CAD/CAM and DMS platform integration. We’re also seeing some PLM-related activity connected to the PPMDC Business Package, an up-and-coming “xApp” from SAP. That’s a lot of alphabet soup there, but if those acronyms are familiar to you, that’s a good sign that PLM consulting might be right up your alley.

Adding any of the above tools to your SAP skills would begin to position you for PLM consulting, and as the demand for SAP PLM skills picks up, you could be in a great position.

Jon Reed is the President of, an interactive web site which features Jon’s SAP Career Blog and his podcasts for SAP professionals. Jon has been publishing SAP career and market analysis for more than a decade, and he serves as the career expert for’s “Ask the Expert” panel.

6  Comments on this Post

There was an error processing your information. Please try again later.
Thanks. We'll let you know when a new response is added.
Send me notifications when other members comment.
  • Ikhan
    you have mentioned above as "Like most areas of SAP, there are numerous entry points into PLM consulting from both the functional and technical side" But you didn't tell about the technical side.
    0 pointsBadges:
  • Jon Reed
    Thanks for your question lkhan - this was intended as a shorter "bloggy" piece rather than a longer column so I'm sure there were a number of points I raised that were not elaborated upon to satisfaction. Technical entry points into functional areas of SAP often involve ABAP development as you probably know, so ABAP-PLM is one technical entry point. Then you might have situations involving data migration and/or integration with third party engineering systems, and these can invoke both development and Basis-related EAI and/or messaging skills. So, from either a systems admin or development perspective, you can find yourself moving into PLM-related areas.
    0 pointsBadges:
  • James
    Hi Your forecasting article is really good and given me a great hope to enter into PLM functional side. Would like to know more about functional side entry of PLM. If you have any guideline to focus more on this area pls do forward to me, sapjames at yahoo dot com. I am good in logistical outside SAP area mainly in HP MicroGX COBOL, and now in SAP for the past 7 years. Keep posting forecasting articles which will encourage middle leverl seniors to come up SAP. Cheers James
    0 pointsBadges:
  • Saurabh Luhadiya
    Hi Jon, Thanks for such a short and crispy information on the future of SAP PLM. I am a cProjects/ xRPM independent consultant and working in this area for almost 2 years now, with 2 E2E under by belt. Now gaining expertise in xPD and DMS area for future enhancement. However Ican see a very small growth coming up in terms of clients adapting the solution and wish that thsi moves a bit faster.. Lets wish and put our best.. Thanks
    0 pointsBadges:
  • Prashanth
    Hi Jon, This was indeed a very good article on the future of SAP PLM. I have been working in the CAD field for more that 6 years and would like to enter the SAP PLM field. I am presently working in Teamcenter engineering with a CAD package. I have expertise on working as an end user for Teamcenter. The places where I have tried to change my job, the only requirement for them is that we should have a back end experience of TCE. I would like to enter into the Functional side since I have very good experience in Engineering Change Management. Do you have any option regarding the same?
    0 pointsBadges:
  • SudarshanB
    Hi Jon, Thank you for PLM prospects analysis you posted here. I need one advice from all the bloggers here. I am into SAP ABAP from last 3.5 years, but I do not have any insight of SAP's PLM module. Now I got an offer to join a PLM project, but I am hesitating coz I do not know what my future would be, if I get into SAP PLM. So request your inputs whether I should grab the opportunity or let it go... All inputs are appreciated ! Thank you. Regards, Sud
    25 pointsBadges:

Forgot Password

No problem! Submit your e-mail address below. We'll send you an e-mail containing your password.

Your password has been sent to:

Share this item with your network: