Sun is Saved!!!
No need for the lay off now.
SAP is paying Sun Microsystems to keep alive early versions of its NetWeaver middleware running Java past its expiration date. The world's largest provider of business applications will pay Sun to update and fix Java Standard Edition 1.4.2 for each and every customer running it with NetWeaver 2004 and 7.0. The fixes will apply …
No need for the lay off now.
It's not unusual for some companies to pay for support beyond the normal lifecycle.
In a similar vein, the end of service life boundary for Solaris 8 comes up at the end of March. From April 1st 2009, if you need support on Solaris 8, you'll need to sign up for a vintage support contract.
OK; I admit that I am biased. We started our implementation in 2007 and are already some 9 months past the original go live date . We are now supposed to be going live by the end of 1st qtr this year, but there are still so many issues unresolved that even this seems unlikely.
The support from SAP wasn't too bad to begin with, but over the last 2-3 months has been really quite poor and getting worse. Several issues reported before December have only just received a response in the third week of January (and they are still not fixed).
The consultants have generally been very poor - in some cases, it is questionable how much they actually know about the product. (I will say that we met a few that are a bit better and try to use them as much as possible.) We have had more than twice the number of days consultancy that was originally budgeted for and still need a lot more. The overall cost of the project is now heading for three times the original figure quoted and set to climb even higher still.
The documentation we have been given is awful and is some cases unusable for anything of real value. The training has been simply shocking; we ended up learning as much by just doing things on our own and making mistakes.
I also find the some of the people associated with SAP to be really arrogant - they make the flamewars between Windows / Mac / Linux fanbois seem really quite friendly by comparison. I worry that this seems to be something that rubs off on you; I found one of my staff talking to a user in a way that they would never have done 2 years ago.
Officially, we are not allowed to complain about anything; I received a fairly stern warning because I dared to (and I think that I was about 30 seconds from being given the boot) even though the issues I referred to are all fully documented.
I used to really enjoy my job and was looking forward to learning new skills associated with the project. Now, it just seems to be one long headache and my doctor is worried about my blood pressure.
I truly believe that with the skills we have within our team, we could have brought in a developer and done a better job of writing our own ERP package from scratch that would have been far better for us to use and would have cost a lot less money.
It's true that no-one in IT decides to buy SAP - that decision is always made by the board. If I ever get the chance, I guarantee I would never support the decision to buy the product.
Some of your criticisms of SAP are true. The documentation is often non-existent (in English anyway), the support can be terrible and many consultants couldn't find their arse with an altlas. If you started the implementation is 2007 you are only at the early stages. You probably have about another 2 years of pain to endure before you get to the level you were already at before you started implementing SAP.
After all the pain, stress, misery you will finally get an integrated system which has some really neat features. SAP certainly isn't perfect but as the experience of using it, configuring it and developing it grows you will eventually see some real benefits. Assuming you company is still in business by then.
I know what you mean, but I seriously doubt there will be only another 2 years of pain. For us it is a phased approach - there is a small site addition later this year, and another big one at the tail end of 2010 (hah! I'm betting 2012), with another smaller one shortly after that. They were also hoping that some partner organisations could also join in the fun. Consider that the consultants originally promised that we would all go live 3rd qtr 2008.
I did advise the directors of what I thought would happen (in writing), but they didn't want to accept my comments. Now they are beginning to understand the problems and they want IT to wave their magic wand to fix it all instead of paying through the nose constantly for yet more consultancy (but they don't want to pay for us to go on any training courses).
And I hate to say it, but we ain't going to have an integrated system; the consultants can't do it so we are going to have a butchered mess involving a number of systems.
Will we still be in business? - I think so despite all the pain. We have a damn good product and by and large, a pretty good service. People come back to our company, not because of the price, but the product. Will SAP be of any real value in making us more efficient? I would like to think so considering all the money and time invested, but I'm not so sure. The FD and I tried to do an ROI and you have to go to between 12 and 15 years to get any return.
And I doubt that I will still be working on it then as I hope to be behaving disgracefully on a tropical island with a woman half my age by 2016.
C'mon... I posted corrections. El Reg rewrites without my post...
Well, it was a tiny typo that someone else already spotted, but it's true the whole site would have collapsed without your sterling contribution. Consider yourself credited. A £50 Zavvi voucher is on its way to you by way of humble thanks - better be quick though!
I'll have to check whether or not we can name a bench after you in the square, but can I get back to you?