Sunday, 26 July 2009

Busy, busy, busy....

I was going to write something last week but just couldn't make the time. It's been pretty hectic this week as well.

Part of the problem is that we have to do the SAP work at the same time as our normal tasks. We have to maintain hardware, patch software, keep the AV running, check backups, hold people's hands when their printers don't work etc. In addition, we have a 5 year development plan that gets updated every 6 months or so and we try to make sure that we stay on track. Over the last couple of weeks, there have been some changes to buildings and we were moving hardware around, doing some cable patching etc. This is straight forward if it is planned out - however, some of our managers think forward planning is deciding what we will have for brunch!

The SAP data loading has started - I've made the point to people several times that now this has started, we can't really delay the go-live date. Of course if necessary we could, but it would cause a large number of problems. However, we want to concentrate their minds and make sure that they understand the importance of the process. Despite this, some still haven't gotten with the program - we loaded some price information only to be told a day later that they wanted to make some changes!

Now I did the intial tests of the loading process way back and setup the scripts to import data. One of my staff was put in charge of the data assembly and he's done an excellent job. He's also tested the script in the test client to make sure that it should all run OK. So when we started the load process in the production system, we expected it to go well - and for the most part it did. Unfortunately tho' we hit a couple of snags.

For those that don't know SAP, you have 3 systems, Development, Test and Production. In those you have "clients" - effectively instances that can be run separately. One of these is designated the master client and all changes are made in there - then a system of "transports" move the configuration changes so that all systems are the same. It turns out that several of the consultants have been making changes to the configuration, but then haven't transported it to the production client correctly. Worse, they didn't even put the changes in the master client, so any transports will over write what they've done. We've had to go thru and sort these out as we find them, which is slowing down the load process - so lots of late nights and weekend working.

On top of that there are still a large number of outstanding issues, and one of these is to do with the finances. Apparently the consultant for that area told the project manager that he was intending to deal with it after go-live. I wish I'd been there to hear the rest of the conversation!

We still haven't gotten the labeling issue totally resolved and the PM wants one of the consultants back on site to deal with this. They've complained that they wanted to deal with this a few weeks ago, but couldn't as we were dealing with other matters. They can be a real PITA at times - we have to wait what seems an eternity for them to get back to us, but when they finally do, they expect us to leap into instant action at a single word.

I'm still waiting to find out what they intend to do with the CRM - it still runs very slowly and there are numerous parts to it that don't meet our needs. The sales director has indicated that if they don't get it fixed soon, he will make the decision to toss the project. As far as he is concerned, he would rather that we use the existing product as that works. We can't link it to SAP, but that doesn't bother him.

Several of the project team have started going back over the training with their staff - I've been suggesting that they should do this for months as most staff have forgotten everything they were told. There were a couple of sessions last week - of 19 staff in training, 3 could remember their password, the others all had to be reset! However, once they went thru the basics again, they stated to recall some of the steps. Unfortunately, I don't know if we are going to be able to get everyone back in the training room. We'll just have to wait and see.

Onward and upward!

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