MillerCoors is suing HCL for a botched SAP project. As usual there will be plenty of finger pointing and analysts saying everyone is to blame – the customer, SAP and the SI. Probably true but as in an auto accident we should be able to apportion a reasonably precise amount of blame across each of the parties.
In SAP Nation, I dedicated a whole chapter to such major failures starting in 1997. You see respected brands like Hershey, ICI, Nike and countless others mentioned in that chapter. I commented “Two decades of SAP implementation experiences would suggest that problematic projects such as those above should be slowing down, not spiking.”
What was interesting was few of those high-profile failures went to court. I found them in quarterly earnings reports, in news reports, through my work with SAP customers.
Not that I particularly want to enrich attorneys, but I wish each of these projects had been dedicated a detailed, and public, post-mortem.
We have to quit making excuses for such failures – year after year. As an industry we have to get better, much better
What scares the heck out of me is most of these relate to failed projects. There are X times more customers which did “go live” but have other “failures” – over priced application management, hosting and MPLS contracts, limited service levels, botched upgrades etc. You hardly hear about those.
For the book, I built several models of the SAP economy. I went with a $ 204 billion a year number. That was scary enough – puts the economy in the Global Top 50 GDP range of countries like Ireland and Portugal.
I did mention “I did not add amortization/write-offs to my model, with the assumption that the expense from previous years would roughly be offset by current year capitalizations. In Chapter 7, we will see a spike in public stories about SAP failures in late 2013; if that indicates a trend of increased write-offs, my model also understates that expense.”
That’s the honest truth. For a smart industry we have been fxxking up year after year, and instead of loud, public trials we have been making excuses for each other.