You find SAP in the most unlikely places.

I spend a good portion of my time talking with large hairy and scary global companies about global systems. Often they employ 100,000’s of employees and make billions. The projects are complex and highly political, what with IT departments, users, executives,  consultants all with hidden and not-so-hidden agendas.

Projects often take on a political dimension that reminds me of Yes Minister.

Sir Humphrey: It is characteristic of all committee discussions and decisions that every member has a vivid recollection of them and that every member’s recollection of them differs violently from every other member’s recollection. Consequently, we accept the convention that the official decisions are those and only those which have been officially recorded in the minutes by the officials, from which it emerges with an elegant inevitability that any decision which has been officially reached will have been officially recorded in the minutes by the officials and any decision which is not recorded in the minutes has not been officially reached even if one or more members believe they can recollect it, so in this particular case, if the decision had been officially reached it would have been officially recorded in the minutes by the officials. And it isn’t so it wasn’t.

Somehow they manage to get implemented but the software is the pawn in the corporate chess game..

I often search on Google for SAP related stuff,  and I found a gem this morning.   It made me think about a different type of global company. The small global company.  How do you make a global supply chain work, how do you handle multiple tax and currencies… Not easy when you are big, but a real challenge when you are small.

Next time someone says SAP ERP  can’t support small, innovative companies,  I’ll point them to the Lonely Planet.  While lurking in Google looking for examples of big global titans, I found this presentation from the SAP Australia User Group meeting.  I’m simply blown away by what they have achieved, in terms of ambition, scope, resourcing and speed. Awesome.  I’ll be showing this to the big guys next time.

The success factors are the same whether you have 100 or 100,000 employees. Lonely Planet stated:

    We over invested in ensuring that we had clearly defined roles and responsibilities for everyone involved in the project, including our partners

• We changed peoples personal goals to reflect their responsibilities

• All subject matter experts (SME’s) are full time on the project and have had their day job backfilled

• We appointed process owners and empowered them as a group of decision makers through the whole program

• The project team sits together (and celebrates regularly)

• The project sponsors are very actively engaged in all aspects of the projects

• We have invested in formal change management including technical writers, trainers, communication managers

If only every project did this. Lonely Planet rocks. 

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2 thoughts on “You find SAP in the most unlikely places.

  1. Thomas – this is not a small business in my book. SAP does however have some really small businesses on BusinessOne. And they have enjoyed great success.

    Tell us more about THOSE cases so that we can better believe the company and support its efforts in a constructive manner. We all want to. Honest.

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