SearchSAP.com reader Prafull Thakkar, HR Manager at Jet Airways in India, sent in this straggler comment on the SAP vs. Oracle debate:
"While I read the SAP vs Oracle face-off, an interesting thought came to mind. The comparison made between these two giants was obviously focusing on the technology, implementation challenges, roadmap and extensibility. However, one important point was missed and that was client acceptance.
Obviously, there will always be resistance against changing any current system.
In many cases, once a proposal is accepted by any client, the implementation is done in haste by people who may not fully understand the client's need. The client is provided with the standard output from the system which may increase the workload for the users by using alternative software. It is also expected the users will bring out the issues / problems to the implementation consultants which typically does not happen. It is very wrong to assume that the users have understood the technical aspects of the system during the implementation phase itself. We need to understand that the end users are mostly nontechnical people. Their knowledge about the system increases over a period of time.
It is very much required to provide after-sales service to the existing clients and extend the consultation services with no extra charge as and when required by the clients. In today's competitive world, people change their employment frequently. This has a positive aspect as well as negative. People who have experienced bad services in their earlier employment, will never propose or will oppose implementing the same system.
On a side note, I think Oracle and SAP should have a customer satisfaction as well as quality survey done for each and every client where their system is implemented and check whether their business partners/franchisees have done a good job or not. There should be periodic feedback taken from the clienteles. This will certainly decide who will sustain the competition….Oracle or SAP?"
There are some interesting thoughts here. I still recoil when I hear the words "Lotus 1-2-3" … In no small part thanks to a very rushed and very botched implementation I had to endure at my first job back in the stone age. We had this elaborate sales support thing with complex macros, automatic fax capability and whatnot, but of course it wouldn't work. It took a while before we figured out that it was the software and not just us being stupid. When my boss asked the consultants to come back and make it work, she got the perky answer that no issues had been raised during the stipulated post-implementation time frame, so now she'd have to pay the exorbitant hourly rate. We ended up doing work by hand for months.
While I certainly agree on the long-term business advantage of providing good implementation support, what about Thakkar's statement that after-sales services should be extended free of charge? As a customer, I certainly wouldn't complain about having perpetual support. But as a consultant or vendor, there's a limit to the generosity. SLAs and contracts aside, what should be reasonable to expect? And for how long?