The clues actually, are everywhere. You probably have seen them a couple of times, wondered, scratched your head, but you haven’t put them together. It’s, literally speaking, the Da SAPi Code, carved into program lines, readable only by those masterminds that we have not yet found among ourselves.
You certainly heard about the SAP founders’ addiction to sailing, seen the stylish sailing boat calendars, wondered about the ocean-blueish corporate colours? That’s not accidentally, that all goes through the whole organization. Let’s start: Remember R/1? R/2? No? Clueless? What about R/3?
Ah, here we go. That’s what we refer to as tankers. Tankers are not only those ships that spill from time to time environmentally sensitive nature, they are also difficult to handle and slow to stop. 10 miles until a full stop, enough time to fasten your seatbelt, brush your teeth and learn how to set up an OSS message, part 1. Try this in a shopping mall.
If 10 miles are not enough and two ships collide, we call this a disaster. Correspondingly, if two R/3 tankers collide, we call it a merger.
Enter the ship crew: first, the captain. Handsome with his white beard and not really talkative. Knows how to drink rum in one shot without coughing. Always ready to sacrifice the crew for the sake of the ship. And the last one to leave the ship, in case of accelerated downsizing. In SAP terms called the CIO. Grew a long beard from waiting for answer to his OSS messages. Knows how not to choke when he hears the implementation costs. And always ready to sacrifice his CEO when the system is down.
Then the drummer: beats the rhythm, does whatever he wants, with other words: the clandestine leader. Nothing goes without him. Has to be worshipped. We call him: the SAP administrator.
And then the rest of the crew, the simple and honest sailors. Doing what the captain says, running around foolishly, not understanding anything. But this with passionate sincerity. We call them: the programmers.
On their discoveries into unknown lands, they not only meet mammals like King Kong, but also cannibals. Eating up the crew and causing havoc to the ship. When this word is called, we normally experience the crew ripping off their hair in desperation, banging their heads at the planks and some choose the more bearable alternative: to jump into the surrounding, shark-infested waters. The synonym for this in SAP terminology is: the Support Package.
While we are at this, we come to the plague of the oceans: the pirates. One-eyed, with a hook instead of a hand and of course a couple of scars across their faces. The maneuver to come on board is called boarding party, and they tend not to leave the ship before they emptied the cargo. We sometimes call them SAP consultants. Instead of a hook, their hand is grown together with a cell phone and one of their ears. The other hand is full of scars from the sharp edges of the gold coins that they request.
That’s the world of captain SAP, and when sailors on a ship are not following orders, he lets them walk the plank. We call it, by the way, ramp up.
More anecdotes can be found in the Humour@SAP weblog series.
Now some advertising for those jokesters within my readers: Darüber lacht Wien (about this laughs Vienna) is not only a fantastically hilarious book (at least that’s the result from a survey that was made with me), it is also written by me.