Monday, November 19, 2007

Which SAP Skill is More in Demand, BW/BI or ABAP?

June 4th, 2007

This is not even a close question at this point. BW/BI is much more in demand than ABAP. In this comparision, BW/BI is the DVD player, and ABAP is the VHS video tape.That may not be totally fair, I guess, because SAP is including full support for ABAP in the NetWeaver 2004s technology platform. Essentially SAP has figured out how to “wrap” ABAP in web-based integration protocols, and that has extended ABAP’s lifespan dramatically while keeping ABAP more in the spotlight than it would have been.

So if that’s true, then where do I get off saying that BW/BI is in much more demand than ABAP? To understand the consulting market, we have to look at every source of supply for a particular skill set. Yes, there are a lot of ABAP projects out there, but remember, ABAP is the most commonly outsourced SAP project area.
The thing about offshoring is that it increases the overall supply of consultants, since the pool for consultants is effectively globalized. Demand for ABAP then goes down. It may be unfair to say that ABAP is “dead.” A better way of putting it is that ABAP is globalized. That’s what’s hurting ABAP rates the most. Yes, there is room on project sites for top notch ABAP-Java “hybrid” programmers who can really make the latest SAP tools hum. But for the most part, ABAP demand is flat and so are rates.
BI, on the other hand, is one of the hottest areas of SAP. What are the reasons for this? First, the usage of BW is more and more common across SAP projects, so the demand is high. When we consider that as of NetWeaver 2004s, SAP BI (the new name for BW) ships with the core NetWeaver platform, usage of BI is just going to increase. So, the demand for BI is high and looks to remain so as the upgrade waves continue.
And here’s the other thing: the supply of Business Intelligence (BI) consultants is not what it needs to be. As consultants have learned the hard way, most companies won’t hire you unless you have worked in the latest releases. And there aren’t that many consultants who have been through a BI 7.0 implementation yet. So anyone who can get the BI 7.0 skills first should have an edge - especially if they have a deep BW background.
The ideal way to succeed in SAP is always to combine a deeper expertise with relevant, project-proven skills in something hot and new (such as BI). I’m not as skeptical on the future of ABAP as some, but when ABAP goes head-to-head with BI, there’s no competition at all. BI is without question the better career path.



  1. Good one syed..!! THanks a ton for sharing this information...

    I've got a question now...These idea are made at the time of posting(in 2007)...How is the position now...Is it still the same...!?

  2. Although post was made back in 2007, but BI is/will be remain in demand.
    Right now, SAP BusinessObjects Web Intelligence XI and SAP BusinessObjects Universe Desginer XI in demand.

  3. hi Syed Tayyab Ali, i just completed my MCA.. and just started my career. i am little bit confuse that can i go for java or i spend money as well as time to get training on SAP and start career as SAP programmer?? plz reply

  4. You can decide better. If you feel comfortable as java programmer then go with it.

    If you like SAP then get training for it. Both skills are good.

  5. HI SYED ,

    My name is teja. I m working at Unisys . I came through a lot of articles.about SAP and its demand . The different modules o read abt I came to know that ABAP AND BASIS ARE THE ONLY TECHNICAL MODULES . how r the other modules diff. From these ? And being a BTech in computer science .... Which module would be ideal ... And finally , how r the oppurtunities for freshers in this domain? .. waiting for ur reply ....

  6. other module are specific to department/industry, while BI is kind of king module for all of them.

    In my opinion, it is good to learn and find job in it.

  7. HI,
    I have around 3.5 ytrs of experince in integration technology like webservices , java , wsdl ,xslt ,xml and all...
    SO is SAp BI training useful for me??
    or as per my profile which SAP module i should go for??

  8. Hello Syed

    I am an IT professional with a strong networking and systems support background with a Bsc in Electrical/Electronic , Diploma In Networking Engineering and MCSE. I also took a course in SAP Basis but never got the opportunity to work in a full time SAP environment . I am now studying BI which i believe will suite my future career goals . How do i get started getting a job as a fresher in sap Bi with no experience . I really want to make SAP BI my career path . I am in the USA and currently working as a computer Analyst .

    Please help me get started in SAP

    Thank you.


  9. HI SYED,

    I am in final year in IT branch.After completion of career,iwant to do sap course.So can u plz tell me as a fresher wheather i should go for ABAP as i belongs to IT branch or i should go for BI?

  10. Tatwabit: If you are good in programming then ABAP is best, but if you are best in analyzing and understanding in business process then BI is recommended.