I don't like to hear people swear. You hear it too often - so called "celebrities", sports or music stars using language that would make a drill sergeant blush. Often, the argument is that they are just passionate about the specific view they are putting forward, but I feel that in reality, it shows a lack of intellect. They swear because they don't know how to convey a point of view. But despite my views, this last few days, I have done more than my fair share of swearing.
Let's go back to the beginning. Some 2 1/2 years ago, the consultants started putting in the SAP system. All they did was install the basic software and addons - they didn't apply any of the patches or updates. At the end of last year, they made a comment that it was for us to perform these updates. It took me a while to get the information that I needed, but in the early part of this year, I managed to carry out a process, to apply the patches that they had downloaded, but not actually put in place.
Subsequently, I went onto the SAP Service Market Place Download Center and found that there were a great many other patches that they had not downloaded. I started work on downloading these, but after I reached a certain point, a message appeared to say that all patches released after a certain date had to be confirmed through SAP Solution Manage before they could actually be downloaded. As they had not installed a SAP Solution Manager system, this caused some problems - however, I was able to get around this eventually. As SAP now require Solution Manager to be used, I felt that we should get it installed - we have a copy of the software and the existing license allows us to use it, so I saw no problem.
I got a copy of the relevant SAPpress book and downloaded some material on the product and its use - it became clear that Solution Manager offers a lot of other functionality that we would find very useful and from conversations, it seems that SAP are going to increase the requirements for running the product. So we've spent a little time in between other jobs, getting the software up and running.
Having finished this over the weekend before last, I decided on Monday to take a look thru the product. It runs thru the SAPGUI and looks much like the main ERP but with a few different menu items. I glanced at a few of these, not really going too deep into the various areas - but then I saw something that caught my eye. When I opened part of the menu item for Solution Manager, I saw the phrase "ASAP Focus".
Those of you that have been following me for a while will know that I had a brief exchange with Michael Doane (http://sapsearchlight.blogspot.com/2009/08/sap-implementation-projects-still-crazy.html), a consultant with many years experience of working with SAP. He described a methodology to carry out an SAP standard implementation called "ASAP" which he advised should be used by all system integrators (consultants). I had not heard of this and it appeared our consultants didn't use it. Michael was a bit frustrated (and I could see why) as this is supposed to be used by everyone.
And here it was - a full description of the processes, documents to assist, presentations, step by step guides, glossary, checklists, issue registers, and a complete roadmap for the whole implementation project. Basically everything that we could have used and would have found useful - instead we had to develop our own systems. The more that I looked at this, the more frustrated I became, and of course, I then started to really let rip with the bad language.
So now we are starting to look at getting the Soution Manager installed properly. We will have to get someone in that knows about it, and get one of our staff trained up. It's just a pity that it has taken so long to find out about the product. It would be interesting to see what the senior management from the consultants has to say on why they didn't use it, but I dare say that I will not be allowed to ask the question.
Belated happy thanksgiving everyone.