The big SAP buzz on the web this week is the claim by Shane and Co. that a failed SAP ERP implementation was a catalyst for the jewelry company’s descent into bankruptcy.
Reporters often joke that anything that happens three times signals a trend. So when you consider Select Comfort’s announcement last month that it was halting its SAP ERP implementation as part of a cost cutting measure, it would seem SAP is one step away from being blamed for business failures in this economy.
But what’s the real story?
Josh Greenbaum points out in his recent blog, basically, that it’s not the software’s fault that you didn’t put it in right. He argues that blame for Shane and Co.’s failings lies more squarely with the management team and the system integrator.
The same theme runs through Michael Krigsman’s chronicles of Miami-Dade School District’s SAP implementation, which is over-schedule and over-budget. Krigsman has been focusing a lot of his ink on the systems integrators’ role, plus management’s mismanagement of the project.
As it turns out, it seems a lot more companies aren’t too happy with their system integrators.
According to survey conducted by Forrester Research, a quarter of 1,002 technology decision-makers interviewed were downright dissatisfied with the work, and only 18% are very happy with it, according to research from Forrester Research’s Liz Herbert.
So how do they get better results?
Predictably, one of the ways to ensure success is by management taking a stronger role in the project. One of the biggest mistakes that companies make, Herbert said, is not changing course or correcting problems when they’re detected and just assuming they’ll correct themselves. Missing or forgoing regular check-ins can contribute to this.
So it would seem that in this economy, stronger project management will be even more important, as the margin for error is slim.
“It’s those consensus-driven companies that really cause projects to fail and to take forever because you can never move forward,” said SAP retail vice president Isaac Krakovsky. “It really does come from the top down.”