Tuesday, 27 January 2009

Lets start at the beginning

I did say that I wouldn't do this, but..... I work for company that is implementing SAP and it is a really painful process. I need to get some things off my chest as it is becoming a real nightmare. I'm keeping the blog anonymous as I rather like my job and want to keep it. I don't suppose anyone will actually read this, but you never know.

First things first. I've been in IT for about 20 years. I have a degree in computing from a well respected university. I'm also MCSE, CNA, CCNA, an accredited Prince 2 practitioner, as well as having a number of other qualifications. I'm not a programmer but have had some experience with BASIC, C++, C#, .NET and some other bits and pieces.

The company that I work for has a large number of disparate systems; it is very difficult to get a good picture of what is really happening within the business. It is extremely inefficient and this makes it difficult for us to progress this business, which despite the credit crunch is still doing OK - we have a good product, great service, good staff, loyal customers and it seems likely that we can ride out the difficulties.

However, the decision was made some years ago that we needed to look at an ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning) application, to tie all the different aspects in together. This makes sense; such a package can help us to understand what is going on and provide a means for better control.

Initially, we looked around for various products and came up with a short list. However, a VP of one of the business units decided that SAP was the way to go. There were many meetings with consultants from SAP - quite frankly they were appalling.

The meetings consisted mostly of PowerPoint presentations - they clearly didn't want to show the software in operation. When they finally did, the people involved had enormous difficulties. They obviously did not know their own product and regularly got stuck with even the most basic functions. It got worse; at a couple of the meetings they introduced a number of "Technical" experts. These made several comments that were at best contentious, at worst completely false.

I made my feelings known; I was concerned that the product was just too big, too inflexible, too costly and would require more resources than a company of our size could handle. I also provided a large number of studies and information on failed SAP implementions - the FD also obtained advice from some of the most respected financial institutions that all said the same; don't do it.

Despite this, the decision was forced upon us to go with the product 2 years ago. I must admit that at the time I was concerned, but comforted myself with the thought that I would be learning new skills. Like all the rest of the team, I had seen the number of SAP vacancies and felt that this might be a useful additional skill.

I'm going to add more later - I want to do this in small sessions so that I keep things more or less in chronological order.

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