I've not had time to post in the last couple of weeks. I wish I could say that everything is going well and life is calming down. I wish I could say that.
In fact the last couple of weeks have been pretty chaotic, with various problems. With the amount of time that has been taken up by the SAP project, a lot of other tasks have been pushed to the back, and I had hoped that now we are live we might be able to start getting some of these jobs done. In fact, the SAP work seems to be taking over all of the time that we have, and at the moment, we seem to be still fire fighting rather than being proactive.
Among the issues we have at the present are a large number of items that we have been waiting for the consultants to address for ages now. The system has suffered a number of crashes and some of the ABAP dumps have been collected and sent off for analysis. In one specific case, SAP support identified that the code had been changed and that they were not responsible for dealing with problems caused by personalised code.
I can understand that, but the reality is that we haven't changed a thing - none of our staff would know how to. I have a rough idea, but I wouldn't want to try to change anything at this stage. It's obvious that one of the consultants has made this change - the problem is, we don't know who, they won't admit to it, and they have kept no records of who changed what or why. There have been several other crashes that I have not yet sent off to SAP - I intend to do this on a regular basis as it seems it is the only way to identify what has been changed.
Here is a classic tale - I went into the sales office earlier in the week to look at a problem with one of the staff. Whilst she was talking to a customer, I was looking around the office and saw one of her colleagues hard at work. The person concerned had an invoice printed off on her desk, and was working in Excel. While I watched, she added a logo, some lines and started to put numbers on the page - then I realised that she was recreating the invoice in the spreadsheet. I had to ask what she was doing - it turned out that the customer needed the invoice but that it was coming out with the wrong amounts / values. The only way around this was to create a invoice thru Excel.
Back at the beginning of the project, we gave the consultants a list of the output documents that we needed along with samples and designs. They had 3 people working on this over an 8 month period and we still don't have all that we need. We have several that should give us similar information, but filtered and sorted in a slightly different way - but in fact give us completely different information. It also has to be said that we've found that we cannot rely on many of these documents as they just don't produce data that is even close to being correct.
Now to be fair, we do also have a problem of our own creation. We uploaded values for the sales prices last year just before we went live. However, we now find out that some of the prices uploaded were in fact incorrect - one of the sales staff responsible for dealing with certain key customers had given us the wrong data and we actually uploaded the incorrect values. That has been made worse as we now need to change those prices, and he should have given us the data for the beginning of the year. Instead we finally got the files on Monday - but with part of the data missing. He had gone through the data and removed all of the key index information so we now have no way to tie the new prices to the correct products.
I've also experienced a problem with our internal Project Manager - he has worked incredibly hard over the last couple of years. However, he has also picked up bad habits from the consultants. He has access to the profile "SAP_ALL" which gives him the permission to whatever he wishes. Now I have no problem with that in the development system, but not in the production system.
He was shown by the consultants how to unlock the production system and instead of making changes in the development system and then transporting those according to the correct SAP procedure, he has made the changes directly in the production system. This lead to a major problem as he had created a new transaction, but I couldn't assign to a role, as it didn't exist in the master system. On top of that, he regularly creates new SQL scripts and tests them in the production system and it causes problems for everyone else as the script is poorly written and ties up system resources. He just won't accept that what he is doing is wrong.
One other thing that I would note - in the past couple of years, I have had almost no contact with SAP apart the Support desk. Since Jan 1, I have 3 separate phone calls from different personnel at SAP. They seem really eager to sell me more services!