Tuesday, 8 March 2011

Please sir, may I have another?

I've been off work for just over a week - I've not been as ill as that for some time. However, I started feeling better at the weekend, and went back into work Monday.

I went thru various things with my staff, made sure that there were no major issues that needed immediate work, the usual sort of stuff. A bit later in the day, I went in to talk to our SAP project leader and catch up on any developments.

We have a new timetable in place for our overseas site project and the go-live date has already been moved several times. Despite that, they are still behind schedule, and falling behind further every week. He was getting concerned so decided to go there last week and he spent a few days on site.

Now as I have said previously, we have had a number of changes of consultant over there. I'm told that the SI didn't have the personnel available to do the work, so they bought in a couple of people who don't work for them. As far as I can tell, these people were quite experienced (8-10 years) with a number of implementations to their credit. However, these people are now gone and have been replaced by two people that do work for the SI. The first guy has about 2 months experience and this is his first implementation. The second is a young lady with slightly more experience - she has just under 6 months with SAP and this will be her second project.

Our project leader went over to the first guy and saw he had a copy of the blueprint document open, and was in the middle of makings some config changes. He was a bit surprised as he had been told that these were all done. However, when he looked a bit harder at the document, it was version 4 - and the final version which was supposed to be the one we are working with is version 7.

Essentially, a bunch of config changes were made ages ago, then changed to update them to meet the required blueprint. The consultant was in the process of changing them all back to the earlier version (which had already been changed before). Our project leader naturally asked him if there had been any conversation on handing over the project from the previous consultant and was met with a blank look. You can bet he made it very clear that the guy was going to have to get it changed back again real quick!

So feeling a bit frustrated he went over to one of the site staff to ask a few questions. To his horror, the guy was in IMG and was busy making config changes of his own. His immediate reaction was to call me on the cell phone to give me a chewing out for letting the guy have access to this - then he thought he would check to see how the guy was logged on. To his astonishment, the staff member was logged on using one of the consultants logon and password. When he queried how this happened, the guy just showed him a sticky note with the details hand written on it.


I am sure that some of you are equally astounded - you may even be shouting. When the project leader told me this, I just closed my eyes and thought of my wife and I on a nice, warm, sunny beach, with a couple of cool long drinks. Hmmmm!


For what it's worth, the member of staff has had 2 (count them) days of training. The consultant concerned has obviously been on some SAP course, and she is using the same training material to do the training of staff on our site. When asked if it was appropriate for staff to know some of these items, she just shrugged - she clearly thought that this was how it was done.

So rather than train our people in what they have to do to do their jobs, she has tried to show them stuff that they will never actually get involved in. The things that they will need to know, she doesn't appear to have covered at all. This has caused some confusion and I now understand why I got a rather frantic email from the finance guy on the site demanding access to the entire SAP accounts menu. (About 4,000 transactions?)

Anyways, the project leader is back, he is not happy, and he wants to have a meeting with all of the project team. He is basically going to say that each one of them is going to have to do a trip over there to do some of the site training. I raised this option about a year ago, and the response was considerably less than enthusiastic. Now they will have no choice - and that will cause some bad feeling.

There were other things that I wanted to cover, but they can wait for another time.


  1. I'm baffled... Come on now, after all of this they haven't replaced the SI?

    One dollar for trash is a wasted dollar, one hundred dollars for gold is generally a good investment.

    I'm sure this SI low-balled the bid and then with all of the blown go-lives has MORE than made up for their "low-ball" price.

    So, why again are they still there?

    Get some consultants who actually know what they are doing! It sounds like you could do better directly contracting your own consultants rather than using this SI.

    Bill Wood
    SAP from the CUSTOMER Point of View!

  2. Bill,

    Believe me, I know how you feel. Several colleagues have raised the question what the SI has to do get kicked out.

    We have had a couple of people that were hired by the SI as a temporary cover; I feel that they proved themselves and I think most of our guys would be happy to see them back. They have said that they would be prepared to work directly for us, on condition that we guaranteed them a certain amount of work, which I think is reasonable. Almost certainly we would be able to provide that, and it would cost a lot less - but the CEO says no.

    There has to be a reason why they are still on site, but I've no idea what that is.