Vinnie Mirchandani’s deal architect blog is one of my regular reads. Vinnie advises CIO’s how to beat up vendors on pricing, so it is in his business model to come down hard on vendors like SAP. That’s fine with me. I bat squarely in the SAP corner, so it is likely that we will have the occasional disagreement.
I believe his recent post (Instant Miso Soup) about upgrades has some inaccuracies. I’d like to try address them here.
1. firstly he comments.
Last year SAP (and Gartner) threw a hissy fit over an Oracle ad which claimed only 4% of SAP customers had upgraded to its latest version. Oracle withdrew its ads. Now SAP issues a press release basically confirming what Oracle said was true – 1,000 customers, out of its 30,000+ customers And calls it “record speed customer adoption.” You want to see speed in migration go to the Serengeti.
Vinnie mixes up the mySAP ERP 2004 and 2005 upgrade numbers. mySAP ERP 2005 only went into general availability from ramp up in May 2006, so to use these numbers to lend credibility to Oracle’s dubious advertising campaign of last year would require a time machine. 1000 customers have gone live with ERP 2005 in less than 8 months since its general availability, by any measure that is pretty damn good. BTW, according the report I received in December there are over 4000 live mySAP ERP customers. (slide below cut from Kagermann’s recent analyst presentation, and please see the ASUG study mentioned below)
(SAP naming conventions would be a worthwhile rant in itself– here Vinnie and I might actually agree)
2: Then he comments.
(upgrades) They are usually risky and they are usually low ROI. But instead of making migrations easy, most vendors are more jazzed about cool new developments, not upgrade tools and processes
The SAP’s investment in tools , methodologies and services to manage upgrade risk and reduce upgrade times and automate testing has been significant. Perhaps have a scan of the tools such as the new solution manager?
Talk to folks that use them?
Spend some time in the service marketplace?
Some customer examples that I dug out this lunchtime.
Upgrading in 45 Days
“Fischer Advanced Composites upgraded to mySAP ERP 2005
in 45 days.”
NOVA Chemicals: Moving Toward Continuous
Productivity and Innovation
“The upgrade [to mySAP ERP] is our first step in realizing the increased value of mySAP ERP to drive continuous business process productivity and innovation. The upgrade was accomplished easily, quickly, cost-effectively, and with minimal disruption to our business,” says John Wheeler, CIO, NOVA Chemicals.
Erdgas Zürich AG.
“The upgrade to mySAP ERP 2005 provides us with the flexibility we need to master future challenges in the gas industry,” says Bernhard Hegmann, project lead, IT and Organization, Erdgas Zürich AG. “The ramp-up program was completed on time and budget and runs reliably. The direct communication line to SAP via the ramp-up coach was a key success factor.”
The move to mySAP ERP 2005 provides us with the newest functionality,
which is closer to our business processes and [to the] primary process of grantor management,” says Derk Riesthuis, program manager at the Provincie Noord-Holland. “We completed our ERP upgrade on time and within budget, and are now up and running with a robust application and technology that helps
improve our business processes and enhance visibility for our managers. The new architecture of mySAP ERP allows us to collaborate more effectively and operate more flexibly at a lower overall cost.”
“With the upgrade from SAP R/3 [software] to mySAP ERP 2005, we built a robust technical platform to support our core business processes and enable us to cope with the challenges of our industry. After a very smooth upgrade, we are
now up and running with stable applications and technology.” Uwe Siller, CIO
I’d also suggest checking out the upgrade symposium running soon in Colorado. Talk to companies that have done the upgrade Maybe Air France? Gillette? Nasa, Canadian Broadcasting Company, Tyson Foods, Inc. These guys see a significant ROI, and so do lots of others.
Have a glance at the latest edition of SAP info and see how we are working with user groups around the world. And picking up on the user groups, herewith some User group commentary on upgrades.
This is what the German user group (DSAG) had to say recently.
DSAG can confirm the trend of the DSAG investment survey – conducted in March 2006 – that customers are performing upgrades more intensively from SAP R/3 to mySAP ERP 2005 this year and also in the forthcoming months. With this step, businesses are able to lay the foundation to leverage the next generation of ERP-software and an enterprise serviceoriented architecture (enterprise SOA). Early finalized mySAP ERP upgrade projects from enterprises organized in the DSAG CCC/Service & Support work council confirm that technical release upgrades are easy to handle and were completed smoothly.
In this regard, SAP upgrade offerings contributed significantly. “In the last few months, SAP has invested a great deal“, Andreas Oczko, DSAG board member and spokesman for the DSAG CCC/Service & Support work council was happy to report. Based on their current situation and needs, SAP customers are able to receive competent assistance from SAP with tailored knowledge transfer, tools, and service offerings. Focused specifically on the information needs of IT managers, the SAP Upgrade Information Center provides the best overview on upgrade information in preparation of an upgrade project. It also allows you to directly access the Solution Browser for mySAP ERP. Andreas Oczko, also representing arvato systems Technologies in the work council, speaks from experience when he states, “This is an ideal tool for SAP business users– it is really simple and intuitive to analyze and assess in detail new processes and functions provided with latest releases.”
According to a recent ASUG (America SAP user group) benchmarking study (May 2006), only 5% of upgrades were reported as significantly overbudget. 87% met or exceeded ROI expectations. 90% of respondents plan to upgrade (or are currently upgrading) in the next 24 months. The study goes on to document best practice for upgrades. (available to ASUG members at the ASUG website)
SAP isn’t by any means perfect on upgrades, but there is a large team of people dedicated to improving the process, and every release, we get better at it. We are working very closely with customers and user groups to continuously improve the upgrade process. We also actively support partner tools that further aid the process.
I’m not sure Oracle and the others are up to, but Vinnie, to comment that “But instead of making migrations easy, most vendors are more jazzed about cool new developments, not upgrade tools and processes.” smacks of vinniedictiveness. It flies directly in the face of the facts here at SAP, and at the 1000’s customers that have successfully upgraded.