SAP is a product bought with the intention of success, by companies which, given the costs of SAP, have done well in their own market. In every market, quality control and market knowledge is a key factor to a secure future, so why are there so many SAP consultants and consultancies working in the market today who, to put it simply, suck at their jobs?
At this point, I should point out that most SAP consultants and consultancies offer fantastic knowledge and value when deploying SAP – these people work hard to get the most from the SAP solution for the customers – these consultants, consultancies and end-customers suffer at the hands of the terrible consultants, as they have to manage them and work with them on a day to day basis, but the ultimate losers are the customers themselves.
Why are these consultants hired?
Time and time again we find them on SAP projects and wasting precious time of consultants who are busy working to timelines and budgets?
Simple reason – Money.
Money is frequently a factor in hiring these people, as some of them price their rates well below market standards, but still considerably higher than they are worth – some price themselves as higher to produce the appearance of “experts”, while offering no more than smoke and mirrors.
Budget is of vital importance within an SAP project.
But surely economy can not be claimed as a justification for taking a perfectly viable SAP product and corrupting it so much that it will become unstable and finally unusable – that is not economy.
Every customisation of SAP creates a variation from the SAP standard solution.
Which will need to be documented with an audit trail for faults and/or upgrades of the system. Patching error codes, which are not understood, is frequently not the solution as the error codes can not always have a patch applied and often require intelligent attention.
Information sharing is another main cause for this problem to exist, many of these ‘bad’ consultants have the ability and the intention of keeping on the move – as there is no way of creating any accountability in the market at present.
Due to the supply/demand of SAP consultants it is possible for a consultant to take a short term contract, working on site within a team and go unnoticed for a few weeks or more or alternatively working on a longer term contract in a large team, where they can successfully hide for longer periods of time as the rest of the team carry their workload. Even when they are discovered it makes no difference, they may, in extreme cases be fired, but more often they are given their notice and told to leave quietly in return for their wages, as no project manager wants to openly admit their mistake in hiring them in the first place.
Even if an SAP consultant commits gross negligence they still walk into their next contract as soon as they want to because nobody will ever know.
Consider this – you, personally have bought a Maserati GranCabrio, in order to buy this new car you must have worked hard over an extended period and done well – the car is one month old and needs its first check – do you take it to a specialist Maserati dealer or save money and take it to a supermarket and ask someone there to give it the service?
Now, a company implementing SAP, in order to buy this solution the company has worked hard over an extended period and done well – the solution needs to be implemented – do you contact professional SAP consultants and SAP consultancies or take the cheapest option, turning a blind eye to all the reasons not to and pay them to install SAP?
Many will choose the cheaper option
Oddly enough, though most people will treat their car with the respect it deserves in order to get the most from it. Many will select the cheap option for the company they work for and accept that the system will work, however with many bugs and wont deliver what it was bought for and will need maximum support costs until finally having to be used as a legacy system when SAP finally stop supporting the version they are on.
The result, if you are a business owner, is that someone else just took your brand new Maserati to the supermarket and handed your keys to anyone who would perform the service cheap enough – “but hey it was in budget”
When hiring an SAP consultant try to avoid hiring these bad consultants.
The SAP solution was bought with the intention of success, but the solution will need careful and experienced guidance to produce the results it was bought for and to allow for upgrades and additions.
One of the best solutions that I have seen to this, is a company with a tight budget, who have tried “cheap consulting houses and consultants” and have now opted to hire professional consultants for shorter periods of time to perform specific tasks within budget – the results are a progressively improving SAP solution with a fully functioning support centre.