"The Best-Run Businesses Run SAP"



  • Hi,

    Following the "Access perfection" thread where an off-topic discussion about SAP occured, I just wanted to know how you people feel about this ERP, because I barely know anything about it but I've heard a bunch of "SAP horror stories", for example, I wonder :

     - Why do I hear so many people complain about SAP in my job, and find so few critics on it on the web. I mean, I have collected a few stories that could make decent WTFs.

     - Are the problems I hear about, caused by SAP itself or its implementation by incompetent greedy consultants ? I mean, maybe SAP is just too magnificent in its complexity for average people to appreciate it.

     - Will I get sued for asking those questions ? Is that the reason why the discussion about it was halted, or just because it was off-topic ?

     



  • [quote user="blah"]Hi,

    Following the "Access perfection" thread where an off-topic discussion about SAP occured, I just wanted to know how you people feel about this ERP, because I barely know anything about it but I've heard a bunch of "SAP horror stories", for example, I wonder :

     - Why do I hear so many people complain about SAP in my job, and find so few critics on it on the web. I mean, I have collected a few stories that could make decent WTFs.

     - Are the problems I hear about, caused by SAP itself or its implementation by incompetent greedy consultants ? I mean, maybe SAP is just too magnificent in its complexity for average people to appreciate it.

     - Will I get sued for asking those questions ? Is that the reason why the discussion about it was halted, or just because it was off-topic ?[/quote]

    Well, the many headaches you hear about are probably the same every time some big solution comes along and you try to cram your business model into and adapt the program to fit your needs and vice versa.. Sometimes it's a fit, but alot of times it's probably like fitting a square peg in a round hole. And since this is enterprisey, I bet you get alot of headaches from trying to squeeze that square peg into that hole throughout your entire organization. What fun this must be, with tons of upper management, project managers, consultants from hell and unrealistic solutions being dreamed up.

    But I'm only guessing here, maybe someone has some stories to share? :)

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/SAP_AG - founded in 1972 by five former IBM engineers.

    Well, erhm, enterpriseyness assured ouch



  • SAP is big and complex. Installing it needs a lot of customizing, which is like individual programming, only 5x more expensive (probably because it has to be done in a godawful "language" called ABAP). And still, it's more like you are customizing your business to fit SAP than the other way round.

    On the other hand, SAP helps you solve the problems you never knew you had.



  • Most ERP systems are big and complex due to the integrated nature of all the modules.  A simple change in the inventory management system can have huge impact on financials (ie how perpetual inventory is valued).  Therefore you need to have a whole team of SAP "experts" setup and configure your system to make one module work the way you want it to without adversely affecting other modules.  Sometimes the "experts" are knowledgeable, sometimes not, but that really isn't SAP's fault (unless you contract them directly from SAP).  SAP isn't alone in the integration vs ease of implementation continuum.

    SAP does have a horrible interface.  I'd rank it slightly better than Lotus Notes.  It is ugly and non-intuitive.  I was really hoping Microsoft would buy them out and make the interface somewhat usable. 

    Its development language ABAP is also horrible - it looks like some bastardized version of COBOL.  I was looking at some program last week that drops a 25 line text file out for barcoded production labels.  About 500 characters total output and maybe 20 fields - the program was no less than 1400 lines of code.  Something I could do in .Net in 50 lines max.

    As far as customizing your business to fit SAP, sometimes that is the smartest thing to do.  The absolutely worst thing you can do is customize SAP.  If your business process and SAP don't mesh, do not under any circumstance change core SAP code.  Write an external system that interfaces with SAP via standard import processes, EDI or some other service.  Customizing core code will just cause problems with patches / upgrades.

    The big advantage of SAP and other ERP systems is that they are integrated.  If you setup and configure the modules correctly, you don't have to worry about consolidating data from disparate systems into Excel to do financial reporting, sales forecasting, etc.  It just takes a lot of time and money to get there and most companies don't consider all the costs associated with implementing an ERP system.

     


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