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The two groups of programmers most favored by fortune these days are those old Cobolers, tottering out of their retirement homes to take on the Year 2000 problem (which they helped create), and SAP AG consultants, who have been able to cash in big time as a result of the fiendish complexity of the Walldorf, Germany headquartered company’s R/3 client/server business software. But maybe not for much longer, at least as far as SAP is concerned. Interviewed at this week’s Sapphire user group conference in Orlando, Guenther Tolkmit, SAP’s vice president of corporate marketing in Europe, confirmed that one of the motivations behind the firm’s new TeamSAP consulting drive, itself building on the take off of its ASAP (Accelerated SAP) technology transfer program, is to close the gap in skills enabling freelance R/3 wizards to charge upwards of $1,000 a day on the open market. Tolkmit contends that SAP will employ more staff at a technical level who will help take the implementation load off its Big 6 accounting firm partners, who will be able to concentrate on change management and other such issues instead. In other words, it wants to make more experts in R/3 actually work for it directly, not enjoy such a high premium for their skills. Asked why a bright kid out of college should join SAP, not join a management consultancy where they could learn R/3, plus lots of general business acumen, and also make a lot more wonga, Tolkmit muttered something about it being better to work for the company which actually creates the software and thus influence its future. Not convinced – but it may be a good time to sign up for a nice long R/3 implementation project to tide you over.

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CBR Staff Writer

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