SAP Watch

Mar 27 2009   2:55PM GMT

Keeping the talent, and finding the time, for strategic SAP projects

CourtneyBjorlin Courtney Bjorlin Profile: CourtneyBjorlin

Amidst the rumors of the onslaught of layoffs at IBM, I am reminded of a theme that keeps resurfacing in my talks with analysts and customers — the importance of holding on to IT talent.

 Projects like ERP benefits realization demand a company’s most skilled IT professionals.   For instance, strategic projects like SOA have enormous potential for payback, AMR’s Derek Prior told me in a recent interview. They’re a big reason it’s important for companies to keep the clever Basis technical staff and the architects, in order to understand the broader complexities of NetWeaver and understand how the applications are configured.

Perhaps your own teams have been affected by layoffs, and some of your better people were in the mix. As a result, maybe your day-to-day tasks aren’t leaving you with a lot of time for these types of strategic projects that may be needed to really optimize the systems.

 Your issue now is freeing up, or finding, the time to work on these projects.

 Maximizing use of talent was a major concern expressed by those at the recent SAP Administration and Infrastructure Conference, according to Eric Robertson, director of product management for Tidal Software. I received an email a couple of weeks ago promoting a free hotel room for four nights for this event — a good reflection of just how busy and understaffed you are.

 He said he was hearing the same thing over and over again from SAP customers:

 “We have these expensive SAP resources, they’re domain expertise experts. Instead of working on architecture strategy, upgrades and strategic products, they’re really focused on day-to-day maintenance tasks,” Robertson said, pitching his products, which are used by large SAP customers such as Home Depot and McCormick. “It’s very difficult for them to work on the more strategic types of projects.”

 Tidal software automates day-to-day SAP administration tasks such as detecting, identifying and analyzing application and performance problems. Such tools are one avenue for freeing up time for talented people to work on more strategic projects.

Is time keeping you from pursuing more strategic SAP projects? How are you dealing with this?

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