SAP and Y2K? : LUSENET : TimeBomb 2000 (Y2000) : One Thread

Since many companies are using SAP to try and do an end-run around Y2K, I was wondering if any of you out there who are involved now, or have been involved, or have information on the status of SAP projects, can give us an update on how things are going, or not going, or what the fallout-if any-from a completed implementation was.


-- Jeremiah Jetson (laterthan@uthink.y2k), September 16, 1999


I haven't been using SAP, but being a computer geek, I glance at articles on SAP from time to time. In general, the SAP replacements seem to be go slower than initially hoped.

Of the products in its class (ERP products), SAP is the most difficult to configure. So goes the "conventional wisdom", anyway. The hard part, is that a business must change its business practices to use SAP. Compare this with "old fashioned" software which must conform to the business processes.

-- Anonymous99 (, September 16, 1999.

I haven't been involved with anything SAP-like for several years but that has never stopped me from issuing an opinion. SAP is, generally speaking, a superb product set from a superb company. However, they require the client to "think like SAP" and re-engineer many of their existing business processes to fit SAP models. It's SAP's way or the highway.

Almost invariably, it takes far longer to map the business to SAP than appears when the project is first spec-ed ('course, as my salesmen used to say when I was managing a UNIX division, "we never confuse selling with installing, that's your problem."). While this is true historically of software anyway, it's worse with SAP by a significant margin.

When there are problems, it is usually because the client discovers that they don't want to be thoroughly SAP-ized but find the costs of maintaining their custom "interfaced-to-SAP" stuff to be nightmarish. Then, the finger pointing begins.

Also, the extra time needed to make SAP work can make tempers boil and wreck careers.

NEVERTHELESS. For the mature, professional organization, I consider SAP an excellent choice for companies that need to dump their old systems anyway for Y2K. The single issue is, "did they leave themselves enough time"? For a large enterprise, that would have meant beginning in mid-97. If they did, they're probably just now ready to go safely live throughout with SAP.

Anyone who thinks they can begin a major SAP implementation in 1999 is nuts.

-- BigDog (, September 16, 1999.

I'm a recruiter. The last SAP project I was asked to help staff took many months to even get started due to the difficulties of finding the people with the proper qualifications who would work for the salaries the company was willing to pay.

A big stumbling block was that the company insisted on permanent hire employees. The vast majority of the candidates with the requisite skill sets were working as contractors "making the big bucks".

I guess that if they could not show the needed flexiblity in that area, the chances of a successful SAP implementation were probably less than they would have liked to admit.

-- Jon Williamson (, September 16, 1999.

Naturally the contractors want big bucks, because once the implementation is complete they are out on the streets again, with no guarentee of future SAP work.

-- Amy Leone (, September 16, 1999.

We hired a shipping kid (22 yrs old or something) @~8.00/hr.

He got proficient in the MM module of SAP, became a 25k guy within a year.

Got hired by SAP for tech support @40K.

We hired him back at 55K.

Time elapsed from 8.00/hr --> 55K: Year and a half.

Overall, SAP has probably better served IT employees more than the actual business that implemented it, IMO.

-- lisa (, September 16, 1999.

To paraphrase the old joke:

This is not Burgerking.
You don't get it your way.
You take it SAP's way, or you don't get it at all.


-- Jerry B (, September 16, 1999.

My former employers implemented SAP in the second quarter of 1997. Now, in the third quarter of 1999, they are just returning to the same levels of business and market share they enjoyed just before SAP was cut-over. And they may never regain the levels of experience and "product life-history" technical knowledge that was driven out of the company during the hectic and frustrating period of "adjustment of processes" to SAP.

Converting from application-driven to an application-driving software product is an awfully painful process for software users who are used to specifying what their software should do and not having what to do dictated to them by the software.


-- Wildweasel (, September 16, 1999.

I can't help noting the irony in that while U.S. Companies are extolling non-authoritarian management schemes, they submit their enterprises to this extremely authoritarian (and dare I say, Teutonic?) software. I agree that it seems foolhardy to have recently embarked on implementation of SAP to save a firm from any ill effects of Y2K just to end up with the sad situation where the "operation" will have been considered a success, but the patient died.


-- Jeremiah Jetson (laterthan@uthink.y2k), September 16, 1999.

This is what startrd the custom software trend decades ago. One size doesn't fit all. Sometimes, it's not even close. SAP may be very flexible, with effort, but it still can't "do everything."

And I don't know jack about SAP. Just software.

I wonder why our SAP expert, Hoff, hasn't commented here?

Tick... Tock... <:00=

-- Sysman (, September 16, 1999.

Ask Bang & Olufsen... ;)

-- Andy (, September 16, 1999.

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