Sunday, 17 June 2012

That's all, she wrote...

I did say that I would keep you all updated - so here is what's been happening.

Before my last post, I'd had a number of interviews and was waiting for some response. About a week after the post, I got a call from one of those companies, asking me to attend a second interview. This was to take the form of a presentation to their entire board of directors - so not too much pressure!

On the actual day of the presentation, I found out that in fact there were only two candidates - myself in the morning, and another guy in the afternoon. I'd put together a short presentation using PowerPoint, illustrating some of the key achievements and how I had managed the various projects at my current role. It could have been a poor start as their presentation equipment wasn't functioning - but I quickly worked out what was wrong and after that, it went very smoothly.

The actual presentation was about 20 minutes and was followed by a Q & A session that I'd been told would probably be just over an hour - in fact it went well over 2 hours. A lot of it was about the specific areas that each director had concerns over, but the biggest single session was about SAP. They have plans to implement this, and have had several meetings with an SI who gave them the SAP line, but it seems that they've all heard of the various failed projects, and wanted to hear from someone that had actually worked on a project to get an independent view.

I really got a buzz out of the meeting - I seemed to get on well with the people concerned and I got the feeling that we connected really well. Certainly, I felt strongly that I could easily have worked with them and would have been more than happy to do so. When I left, I was a bit drained, but really happy that I had put myself across well, and felt that I'd done a great job.

Anyway, a couple of days later I got a call - and the response was that they were going to offer the job to the other guy. However, it was made clear that they had found it a really tough choice - it appears that both of us had done well, and in the end, the other guy got it because he had been on two SAP projects to my one.

What was interesting was a comment made by the CEO. He highlighed that we had both been asked similar questions about SAP, and our answers were almost identical. We'd both highlighted the kinds of problems that could be faced and how they should go about addressing these. Specifically about controlling the SI and managing expectation of users, as well as things such as testing of data and following correct procedures.

So, I felt pretty good about the result altho' I didn't quite get the job. But then 2 hours after the call, the phone rang again. This time, it was from another company that I had spoken to almost 2 months before - and they wanted to offer me a job. The role is pretty much what I am currently doing in terms of managing an IT department in a manufacturing environment. It's a big company so there is a lot to do, but I'm confident that I can do a good job for them

What was interesting is that they have actually considered using SAP in the past, but did nothing about it - they still have an old ERP system that seems to have been around since Adam was a lad. I don't know if they will re-consider, but I get the feeling that part of the reason they want to get me on board is that they will have to look again at updating their systems, and want to get someone with experience of an SAP implementation within their staff.

There was a slight hold up on getting the details confirmed and some queries about travel - it appears that they want me to work away from what will be my home site for a while. It appears that they have some specific issues and want these to be addressed - I don't think that it will be possible to get it done in the time allowed, but I think that getting a good understanding is important.  Once that was all sorted, I told my current employer that I would be leaving.

Their response was not that positive - well I'm not that surprised. But instead of asking me to leave immediately which I fully expected, they wanted me to stay on for a couple of weeks. Altho' I've tried to ensure that I spread the knowledge around, there are a couple of areas where I have done more of the work, and they wanted to make sure that there would a smooth hand over.

Anyway, that is now in the past. I start my new role tomorrow and I must confess to be a tad nervous as well as quite excited. I have a weeks orientation in the manufacturing section of their second biggest site, plus they want me to visit a couple of overseas sites as well. I think I made need to get a second suitcase - drop one off, and pick the second up one before heading off again!

The family are also quite excited - and a bit pleased that we won't have to move straight away. It's possible that we may not move at all - I have the option to work from a place not too far away, and still look after all of the sites. Technology, it's what we do - and remote working means that we can be as effective from any given site as any other (or even from home).

So, for the moment that will probably be it. I had thought about adding a couple of extra posts to this blog, just to summarise some of the things that I had learned, but I'm not too sure yet if I will have the time. As you'll be aware, I've kept this blog anonymous as I wanted to make sure that I didn't put myself in the way of losing my job. Altho' I'm moving on. I'm going to keep it that way as I may be working on an SAP project in the future, and don't want to leave myself exposed.

I'm going to say a big thank you to all of you for following this blog over the last 3 years. It's been a roller coaster ride with lots of ups and downs at various times. The comments that many of you have made have been a big help - and I'm so greatful that you made the time to read it. I want to offer a big thank you to the SAP Mentor guys who showed that there are people out there that know and care what is happening. Another big thanks to Bill Wood - I appreciated the offer, even tho' I didn't take it up.

I want you all to know that it's been a great experience writing this blog, one that I would not have missed for the world. I wish you all the best in whatever career you follow and hope that you will all achieve the success that you work so hard for.

Very best wishes to you all.



  1. I'm not sure if you even know just how important your blog has been to the SAP community...for several years now a number of us have been avid readers, tweeters, and so on, sharing your work.

    Your posts were cautionary tales and reminders of troubling ERP project realities that should have gone away a long time ago but sadly are still with us.

    In the last year I've grown increasingly frustrated with the blog, not because of you, but simply because I wanted to see someone inside your company put their foot down and kick that consulting partner out, and so on.

    I'm glad you found your way to hopefully greener pastures. I would encourage you, if you haven't already, to talk to your new employer about being more openly involved in user groups, the SAP community network, and so on. I think you'd enjoy being less isolated. Or perhaps you've already made those connections but can't share them to preserve your anonymity.

    At any rate, by all means do share some overall lessons learned, and consider continuing to post from your role at your new company. Although if they allow you to blog publicly, you can consider a different blog perhaps. But while I am generally down on anonymity, I've been persuaded that it's good to have an anonymous SAP blogger out there telling the unvarnished truth from inside a project, so don't move on just yet. :)

    - Jon

  2. I can't thank you enough for having the courage to expose, yes expose, the crap that passes for systems consulting in our world. And believe me, it's not just a problem for companies doing SAP implementations. I too have been an avid reader and really appreciated all that you've contributed. Best of luck in your new position.

  3. I echo everything that Jon just said. Thank you, SAPmeSideways, for your unvarnished chronicles.

  4. Hi SAPmeSideways, its sad to see this series coming to an end. I must say that even in my far corner of the world, myself and others have been great fans of your blog series. I think the reason is that we collectively share something in common .... that we like to see things done right. And we have all in some shape or form experienced the type of SI issues you write about at some time in our careers. So we can relate, and empathise. It's the inner need for rightousness which we want to see, that makes us cheer you on.
    This reminds me of a tweet I saw recently that went like this ... " 'I just work here' will be humanity's last words". Its comforting to know there are people out there like yourself who care enough to try and make a difference.
    All the best.

  5. Thank you for the excellent series of posts!

    Wishing you the best in your new job.

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