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With Michael Doane’s permission I’m re-posting part 2 of his critique on SAP implementation projects.  For the first part you can see it here, SAP Implementation Projects: Still Crazy After All These Years.


Project Guidance

In a previous post, I pointed out my discovery of an anonymous blogger who is providing a blow-by-blow of his firm’s painful SAP implementation. (SAP: Loathe It or Ignore It, You Can’t Like It http://sapmesideways.blogspot.com/. )

Since that post, I have had some e-mail contact with the writer, who has agreed to my re-use of our correspondence.

The most striking comment of his was this:

“I don’t know if the SAP project methodology is being used as I have nothing to gauge our experiences against; however, over the past 2 years, I have read a number of items by experienced SAP consultants, and I suspect that they are not applying it correctly, if at all.”

My reply:

“…if they were using a methodology, you would definitely know it. Outside of IBM and Accenture, all certified partners MUST adhere to SAP’s ASAP methodology, sometimes referred to (recently) as Focus ASAP. Most of these partners add some of their secret sauce to the core SAP methodology. I am willing to bet that if you look at this firm’s proposal of services to you that they make a big deal about their methodology.”

The blog was started in January of 2009, so over an eight month period our correspondent is not sure whether or not a methodology is being followed. While this may seem “crazy”, it is unfortunately a more widespread (mal)practice than the systems integrators will admit.

When clients search for SAP consulting help, they are looking for:

a) specific expertise (business process design, configuration, and technical) and

b) a proven project method or methodology by which all necessary project activities are navigated.

My research since 2001, both in the field and through extensive survey work, reveals that the leading SAP systems integration firms routinely fail to adhere to their own methodologies.

They claim to have best practices repositories that are referenced in the course of business blueprint but clients report a high incidence of white-boarding.  They claim to that their proven methodologies result in on-time, on-budget implementations and yet SAP implementations are still routinely late and over-budget. (I actually blame this aspect on clients who just as routinely establish wildly optimistic budgets and time-frames).

Failures to actually leverage promised assets are not limited to the usual suspects. Our anonymous correspondent had this to say about his firm’s SI partner:

“My main beef is with the consultants (what you would call the system integrators I think) – they are a mid sized company and it appears they have not previously implemented in the specific sector which my company operates in. They are an SAP gold partner, but I’m not sure what value that has – in my opinion they do nothing to enhance the reputation of SAP, the company or the product.

Although we had one person for a few months that was very experienced in SAP implementation (some 15+ years), most of the people seem to be very new to the role, less than 2 years. We have had so many different consultants, that I have actually lost track of the number (almost 60, I now believe, where they originally proposed just 4). They have failed to meet a single target on the deadline, or on the budget and in many areas have not met all of the requirements of the business. “

Individually, clients should do a better job of holding their systems integrators’ feet to the fire. Collectively, only SAP itself can directly address these failures and they can do so through the leverage of third-party project quality assurance as well as by leveraging more pressure on all systems integration partners, be they gold, silver, or bronze.

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The original article can be seen at: http://sapsearchlight.blogspot.com/2009/08/sap-implementation-projects-still-crazy.html

Visit Author Michael Doane’s web site for more insightful articles on SAP projects at http://sapsearchlight.blogspot.com

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Contact me today through our site contact form ( http://www.r3now.com/contact ), phone, or e-mail.

Bill Wood
+1 (704) 905 – 5175
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