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sexy SAP analytics

Just recently I read a comment from a fellow consultant on Twitter. He is mocking his client about their statement that the SAP LIS graphics are not sexy. “I suspect these managers should rather be focusing on the gruesomeness of their inventory levels, rather than “sexiness” of the SAP graphics!”, he continues his judgmental ranting.

Really?, I am asking. Is that your idea of using the world’s best operations management system? Doing analysis with graphics that look like Keith Richards would have used them in his early school years?

I am sorry, but I have to sympathize with the client. They are absolutely right to ask for a better tool and it is our (the consultants) responsibility to improve on the tools that our clients use. And yes: those tools should have some “sexiness” too! After all we are living in a new world (remember, the Mayan calendar has ended) and one of the important aptitudes of the new age is ‘design’! (see my blog about Daniel Pink’s Six Aptitudes). There are many better ways to analyze with standard SAP tools and beyond (I have written a number of blogs on the subject and will continue to do so).

In the end it comes down to what our job as a consultant is. It certainly is not to mock the client about wanting the best there is (I should note that the mocker himself ONLY knows the LIS from all the functions in SAP and therefore I understand his defense – but I do not support it). We consultants get around and we see many things. The good ones learn something new every day and aren’t afraid to share it widely. The bad ones stick with what they know and mock any progress and the slightest possibility that what was good yesterday might not be so good (for our clients) today. 

…and what’s wrong with some sexiness in our otherwise prude subject matter?

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  • Uwe, I am a big fan of everything you write, but would you agree it might be time to retire the use of word “sexy” in regards to the analytics, applications, etc.? The novelty has worn off around 2011 already and it’s getting tired. It’s just not “sexy” anymore. 🙂

    On the subject – yes, there is nothing wrong with wanting better presentation tools. I’ve heard business folks saying things along the lines of “we invested millions in this system [SAP] and this is the best it can do?”. And I can see their point. But in defense of the quoted consultant – perhaps he/she was just pointing out that the customer is paying more attention to the “trees in front of the forest”. When there is a fundamental issue that can hardly be covered up by prettier graphics, such request may seem rather ironic. Although, come to think of it, for a consultant it might be even better to refrain from such comments on their clients in social media.

    Anyway, I got a good chuckle from the Twitter quote and from the Keith Richard joke, so it’s a win-win overall. 🙂 Thanks for sharing!

    • Hi Jelena

      thanks for the comment and I wholeheartedly agree with you on leaving “sexy” out of the conversation. It has no place in there, it has worn off even long before 2011 and is not very funny (if it ever was meant to be). However, the term is not mine. I was quoting a fellow consultant’s post on Twitter and therefore I have to use the term as it was quoted… otherwise it wouldn’t be a quote, but it does not mean that I support or even like it 😀

      on the subject: I personally know that quoted consultant and know very well what he is after. It’s not the client’s best use of SAP. It’s his relentless pursuit of having his clients use the outdated LIS. The LIS is all he knows about SAP and he keeps on telling his prospects that without it, you can’t do inventory analysis. His only selling point is those ancient graphics that you can call up out of MC.9 or MC50. These were developed by SAP in the late 80s and when clients claim that there must be something better, he gets personally offended and tells them to “rather focus on your gruesome inventory levels”. His intention are clearly to get the clients buy into what he knows, rather than what’s best for them.

      i also agree with you that we should refrain from mocking our clients on social networks, even though they might not see “trees in front of the forest”. And most important, as consultants we have the obligation to find the best for our clients… that, sometimes means better designed and more pleasing to look at graphics and analytics…which helps to better understand them and therefore supports effective decision making. Please see my blog on Six Aptitudes from Daniel Pink…

      As you can probably tell, this issue (and the consultant) annoys and irritates me. I just had to get it out 🙂

      thanks again for your comment