I am sure that most of us have taken a trip down to the hardware store or the garden center and bought something rather bulky, heavy or odd shaped, that we tried to fit into our car.
In fact just buying a microwave oven, a big screen TV, a bag of cement or a few paving stones can represent a challenge in getting that object home with a conventional car. For the most part we don’t think twice about shoe-horning the object into the luggage compartment, onto the back seat or onto the roof carrier if we can. I know that I for one, have the luxury of a station wagon and frequently carry fence posts, guttering and even sometimes drywalling because I either want to complete my project immediately or I want to avoid the cost of transportation by a third party.
We would never dream of doing this on a regular basis though, we certainly would not make a habit of transporting drywall for example on a simple roof rack or carrying tonnes of bricks in the back of our car daily. Apart from the logistics problem, there is the element of safety, securing the load and then the unseen issue of vehicle structural damage. A car’s suspension system is not designed for inordinately heavy luggage compartment loads such as those presented by tonnes of bricks. If the suspension doesn’t directly fail, the transmission at very least is affected. The same applies to towing trailers, caravans and boats; anyone can install a tow hitch on their vehicle but at the end of the day, is it the right thing to do? Regular use, drives us to either a third party carrier or investment/rental of appropriate transport.
These thoughts came to me as I considered the recurring problem of SAP customers using the wrong tools to achieve a specific business mass load objective. Of particular concern in my mind is the continued use of BDC recordings, LSMW and testing tools like eCATT for mass data loading. While it is possible to use these tools do this, you have to ask yourself whether what you are creating is a good solution to the business problem?
None of these tools are designed for regular use by business users for business transactions and subjecting business to to such tools does nothing for the reputation of IT or your SAP solution. Users start to see SAP applications as synonymous with “difficult to use”, cumbersome and downright unfriendly. The user interfaces of these tools are not really the problem though, the problem is the applicability to the business use case.
Consider your mass data loading application choices carefully, consider the long term maintainability of the solution and whether you are developing the solution in an appropriately usable and robust way.
Do your business customer the favour of using the right equipment (tool) for the job.