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Have you ever heard anything like that?   Nope, I sure haven’t.   There is a first time for everything.   The official explanation, they are removing redundancy.  The totally not explanation – they have off-shored all SAP Development.  So I got the news last Thursday, 3/5.  I applied for unemployment yesterday.  Big shock here guys – ummmmm….  Unemployment not much after I think of how much I have “donated” to the unemployment pool. 

So what did I do?

Thursday:

Spent some time to wallow in my depression about losing a job for the first time ever.  I am the sole provider for my family.  My husband was in depression too.

Cried myself – yup a weakness of mine – I loved that job.   It was open to new technology, I got to play in config when needed, I worked from home, and it was a challenge.   A ton of work, I was working on an average of 60 – 70 hours a week.  But it didn’t feel like it because I loved what I did.

My son – oh boy he made me cry.   He offered to get a job.   Sell his truck.   I told him no to both.   His job is to get good grades in school.  The truck means a lot to him as he got it when his Grandfather passed away.

I got very nice e-mails and actual calls from people I worked with at the company.  So I had some references and letters of recommendation.

Talked with HR.  What did I need to do?

Friday:

No package from HR yet.

Watched TV.   I believe at this point I sent out a twitter.

Got a huge response from my SCN friends.   So very nice.   It was encouraging.

Saturday

Took the day off.  

My family was a great support system – I went out with my Mom, Dad, Sister, an niece.

Sunday

Brushed off my resume.  Added to it.  Had no idea resumes had changed in 3 years.

Applied for every online job that it looked like I would like to do.

Monday

Got some more nice e-mail and letters.

Finally got the HR package.

Worked on sending the laptop, paperwork, and monitors back.  Read everything before I signed.  Had my husband read everything.

E-mailed a recruiter from linkedin.   At some point updated with linked in status to looking for a job.

Tuesday

Phone interview with recruiter

Applied for even more jobs

Got the sad news that my resume was all wrong and showed me as a doer and not a achiever.  (This per a critic by beyond)

(I still need to fix that)

Wednesday

In person interview with a different recruiting firm.

Updated my Linkedin data so hopefully now I address pain points, and show as an achiever.

Replied to a couple discussions.

Started a discussion.

Thursday

That’s today.

Started the day with a thanks but no thanks from IBM.   I don’t remember what job I applied for with them.

Started work on this blog.

Next I’ll look at my 401K, and fix my resume so I’m an achiever.

Then….  I’ll look for more jobs and keep my recruiters in the loop.  

Now as you read this – if you’ve made it this far – you have to be wondering why on Earth would I write this blog?  I have two reasons.  The first you’ll find above.   I want people to know the mistakes I made, and if they don’t make them in their job search, that would be great.   Plus I’m going to try to update this with my journey so even more mistakes can be avoided.  I’m 100% sure I’ll make some.   The second – well read the rest of the blog.  and if you got this far, excellent.

OK the second and harder part of the blog to write.

I had friends at the off-shore company.  I helped them.   I lead them at times, and mentored them.   On Thursday – I really disliked them.  They stole my job after all.  Or at least that’s what I thought.  Oh boy I was wrong.  So very wrong.

Luckily by Friday I snapped out of it.  No they didn’t steal my job.   They didn’t have a choice to keep me.  It wasn’t their call.  It wasn’t even their company that did it.   It was MY company.  They had let me go because I was a redundancy.  

So it must have been me.   No not me.  I was working hard.  I knew I was delivering.   So it wasn’t me.

So then I’ll lay the blame on my old company.  They were the one’s to decide I was a redundancy.   This one was the hardest.  I had to let this one go too.   They were bean counting.   I was more expensive than X developers from off-shore.   They are trying to do the best they can.   I hope, they are trying to keep the employees they have.  They need to be successful.   So….   Was it there fault?  This one took me until about Wednesday or Thursday of this week.   No, it is not their fault.   It is a trend.  They are doing what they think is right.

So – who can I blame.  Not my friends that are off-shore.  That was a pretty quick decision.   The off-shore company, no but a harder decision.   Me, even now I struggle with that one.  But I know I did my best.  I also know how much I was achieving my goals and helping the company.  So no not me.   My old company….   This one is the hardest, but I have to let it go.   They are bean counting, and I and some others had to go.   Redundancy.  So no not them either.  That leave me with no one to blame.    That’s a good thing.  Now I look forward to the future.   And learn yet another lesson – that is always true – companies come and go, but it is your family that stays with you.

I’m going to try to blog on my journey to find a good job that I will love.   At times, I won’t write for awhile.   I’m human, and I get sad like you.  But for today, I am positive.   I know SAP.  I have been a PM.  I know configuration in several areas.  I know a lot of third party software.  And finally I have technical development skills. Ra! Ra! Go me!  

These are the times I’ll try to update my blog.   More positive and filled with the mistakes I hope you can avoid.

So – to you – if you’ve now made it to the end.   What are some of the tips and tricks about finding a new job?  I’m sure I’m not the only one who would love to hear them.

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34 Comments

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  1. Jelena Perfiljeva

    So sorry to hear about that, Michelle. 🙁 Although I’m glad you decided to post a blog on this. I lost a job as a consultant in October 2001. At the time I worked at a large travel agency and, as we know, the travel industry didn’t do well after 9/11. There wasn’t really anyone to blame except for the terrorists (and Bin Laden is now dead – talk about Schadenfreude!) but it was very depressing nevertheless.

    However, that caused me to accept a job at another company that eventually lead me to SAP and where I am now. Many times I think how my life could’ve been completely different otherwise. But while it’s happening we usually don’t realize it’s a “blue pill / red pill” moment. This might sound like some cheap inspirational self-help book but I strongly believe that you’ll get through this and there will be a silver lining at the end.

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    1. Michelle Crapo Post author

      Thank you so much!   I hope people read and learn from some of my mistakes too!   Besides it helps me to work through things when I write them down.  😉

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  2. Susan Keohan

    Hi Michelle,

    I saw your tweet and just didn’t know what to say, so I’m glad you’re blogging here.  This  surely is a painful journey you are on – but you are smart and I am sure this will be a brief interruption in your career.  I like the fact that you have admitted to the ‘Who can I blame’ feelings and come to terms with them.     We can all learn from this!

    If I had any tips or tricks for finding a new job, I would certainly share them.  But I will wish you the best of luck, and look forward to the next installment.

    Hang in there!
    Sue

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    1. Michelle Crapo Post author

      Wow!   I didn’t write this for encouragement – but I sure am already feeling better!

      Thank you so much,

      Michelle

      Yes I’ll hang in there…….   There will be another job.  

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  3. Pablo Casamayor

    Hi Michelle,

    i wish i had the words to comfort you in a situation like this.

    You´re a great developer and everybody with a minimum knowledge of SCN will reckon this.

    You´d be a great asset to any company and i´d love to see you soon starting again at a a new company.

    Unless someone´s undergone a situation like this it´s very hard to understand all the feelings involved and believe me it´s a very tough situation.

    Finally i just want to tell you that no matter what happens in your professional life you´ll always be a great developer and what´s more important: a good person.

    Best regards.

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    1. Michelle Crapo Post author

      Hi Pablo,

      Again – what can I say?   I love it here on SCN.   Everyone is so very supportive.   I honestly didn’t write for this.   But all I can say is thank you very much!

      I’ve been gone for so long because of my job.   I was working a ton of hours.  I honestly don’t know what to do with myself right now.  I’m so used to working long hours.

      Thank you for the kind comments!

      Michelle

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      1. Jelena Perfiljeva

        May I suggest more blogging? We need more posts on proper ABAP techniques instead of “Top 10 Crimes”. And clearly there are not enough blogs about Millennials, cough-cough. 😉

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        1. Tammy Powlas

          Agreed – and so many Millenials could learn from Michelle (and add me) – this blog is a friendly reminder to not play the blame game; it never works.

          I wish Michelle all the best in her search; I wish I had some tips.  One interview tip given to me many moons ago is to always ask this on a job interview, as a last question – “is there anything about me or my background that wouldn’t make me a good fit for this job?” – on every interview except one I received an offer 🙂

          Good luck to Michelle.

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  4. Gretchen Lindquist

    Michelle,

    I am really sorry that this happened to you; it has happened to me, too, and I know how disorienting it can be to have the rug pulled out from under you like that. All that stuff you believe about working hard, making yourself valued by becoming an expert and doing the hard jobs no one else is willing to do- fuhgeddaboudit, the bean counters making the decisions don’t know and don’t care.

    I encourage you to reach out to everyone and network like mad. You never know who will be the person to connect you to your next opportunity. I am siding with Jelena: eventually, you will land a better opportunity with an organization that appreciates what you can do for them. 

    I look forward to more posts from your journey. Best of luck,

    Gretchen

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    1. Michelle Crapo Post author

      Thank you Gretchen!

      You have already helped more than you know.   What a nice person.   Yup, I am networking.  Linkedin helps.   An old co-worker pointed me to a job I applied for.

      Thank you for the extra advice.   I’m sure I’m not the only one who needs a reminder that they have friends out there.

      Michelle

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  5. Matt Fraser

    Michelle, I’m so sorry about this news, but I second everything that Jelena and Sue have said. It can be quite a shock to go from being the “star” to “redundant,” and I think you’re right that you have to come to terms with the idea that it isn’t personal and isn’t a reflection on your contributions or value provided.

    And I shudder to think about redesigning my resume at this point. It has been a while…

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    1. Michelle Crapo Post author

      Thank you Matt,

      Yes, I’m trying to be positive.   It’s hard at times.  And I love networking.  My friends out in cyberspace have made me feel so much better.

      I thought I had a great resume!   A bit long, but a good one.  It was quite a shock to find out I had listed all my projects way wrong.  The emphasis was on what I did to solve the problem.   It wasn’t on the “pain” point that was fixed.   So I’m in process of flipping everything.  Resume and linkedin.  AND It’s only been three years.

      (Bet you can’t tell that I’m normally a bit wordy.)

      Michelle

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  6. Caroleigh Deneen

    I’m really sorry to read your story, and wish you well in your job search. When I had a similar experience I cried too. And since I have a very internal source of blame, I blamed myself and I wondered what I had done wrong. Maybe there are common stages of grief after becoming redundant. Mine went something like sadness… anger… doubt… worry… and ultimately determination. As you said, I think it is the reality of today’s way of doing business. So maybe it’s Wall Street’s fault, but there is no good in dwelling there. Believe in yourself and don’t let the anxiety about being out of work influence you to take the wrong job. Be patient and trust in your abilities, and let them guide you to the right fit. Glad you have family support! Spend your extra time with them:)

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  7. Tom Cenens

    Hi Michelle

    Sorry to read this. Sad enough it’s something that can happen to any of us in today’s economy.

    Keep up the faith and keep going strong!

    I usually rewrite my resumé (I do it often enough for consulting) to be as relevant to the job offer as possible.

    Kr,

    Tom

    PS: I took a Seth Godin book (Purple Cow) out of the book store shelf when I felt stuck some years ago and I changed my perspective of things which led to whole lot of change in my life for which I’m grateful so if you seek inspiration, it might be worth a shot.

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  8. Julius von dem Bussche

    Hi Michelle,

    Reading your blog I also can recommend that contacting recruiters for everything that looks do-able is not a good idea. They are a bunch of scaliwags and you don’t want to go that way.

    I also fell for the bait of wondering why helping offshore colleagues makes sense (almost 1:1 that can be applied to SCN as well if you pay the bills via SCN points…) but as you also concluded in the end, they are not the guilty ones. Otherwise you would not contribute to SCN either (discussions which are not “do my job” leachers(.

    Managers with KPIs will make decisions, in the same way that anyone with an incentive to change their behaviour will react to it. That you did a good job often does not matter.

    Perhaps the policy is to reduce head count and your manager is also waiting for the HR package to be sorted out and will bring you back as an external (do that without recruiters fees between!). Or sit it out until the managers realize that it works better with you than without you, and then you are in a better bargaining position.

    My recommendation however would be to go freelancing if you are good at what you do. If you find one customer, you are effectively employed again from the risk perspective.

    If you have a small base of 3 customers then you have already spread the risk and are better of from that perspective alone than what you are as an employee, even if they only have adhoc work… but they will depend on you for important things (QA of the offshore work?).

    You can then partner a bit with other complementary freelancers or consulting companies to rope them in when needed and they bring you in to their customers. You have the freedom to partner with those whom it works with and choose which customer and type of project you want to work on.

    I did that in 2008 and never looked back, although it was tough in the beginning and I had to travel a lot to get the ball rolling. Now I travel when it makes sense and the customer project makes sense, otherwise I do not take on the work.

    Infact I charge the customer to explain why I do not want to do the work for them if they really want to know why (it is quite easy to find sponsors for that at management level).

    Conclusion: It is also quite profitable to not do work and spread your risks until customers remember you for what you know what you were talking about and you can choose what work you do and enjoy it. That is the same as being an employee, but you spread your risks and have freedom.

    Go for it Michelle!

    Cheers,

    Julius

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  9. Fabio Pagoti

    Hi Michelle!

    I cannot say that I’m sad because the moment you are passing now might be the best opportunity you will have on your work career: time to reflect what you want next.

    6 months ago I left the consulting company I was working for. Then I started the whole process you are doing now. After realising many other companies were almost the same software-wise (price will always come first quality) I decided to swift my career a bit. Maybe you should try that too.

    If you were helpful for the off shore guys I’m sure you can also be helpful for other people seeking technical expertise. Why don’t you invest on being an instructor/teacher/mentor of people who are starting on their career?

    It’s just an idea.

    The world is huge and opportunities are there for those who are willing to see them.

    Good luck!

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  10. Paul Hardy

    Dear Michelle,

    Stories like this are horrifying, because everyone loses out.

    You lose out not only because of the loss of your job but because human nature makes you think you are at fault when naturally you are not.

    The offshore people are victims as well, from my experience they get no training, just get pulled out of the bus queue and offered a job and then have to support an SAP system with no training, no knowledge, and get paid a pittance even in terms of their local currency. This is why you keep seeing posts on the internet even to this day like “hello gurus, I have just been appointed head of a project to install SAP at a multi-national company, what is this IMG thing that I hear about?”

    The main loser of course is your old company. I would just like to quote an IT manager from British American Tobacco here in Australia who once said to be “ever since we outsourced our development we have had a terrible quality problem”. Well, who would have thought? In the UK the term is “penny wise, pounds foolish” – probably the more global term is that often outsourcing is a false economy, the production problems that occur due to rubbish code / configuration cost a company far more than saving 95% on the salaries of internal IT people.

    I dealt with an American company who decided to outsource 19 of the twenty internal IT jobs to a low cost country, thinking that the one remaining person could tell the 19 lost cost people anything they needed to know (because naturally they had no training). However the one remaining American left as well, so when I came along I had to deal with twenty people who were utterly ignorant about the system they were supposed to be supporting (as I said, not their fault). Thank goodness, that company then got acquired by a German company, Germans like “insourcing” i.e. bringing back everything in-house because a cornerstone of German culture is that “excellence comes as standard” and the truth is that if you want excellence in ANYTHING you have to pay for it. Would you buy a car for five dollars and expect it to be in perfect working condition?

    Going back to your personal situation, there is something I am burning to know.

    Anyone who looks at SCN regularly will know your name as one of the regular contributors ( “SCN Rock Stars” as an American I met in Bonn referred to such people).

    When you go for an interview presumably you mention your involvement in SCN? I want to know if the managers (or HR people) who are doing the interview have even heard of SCN, and if not, why not? If they follow SCN then why in the world would you not get the job?

    This is quite an important point for all of us like yourself who blog regularly on SCN  – is this taken seriously by the employers of the world? Do managers even visit the site or is it just us “doers”?

    I would love (a) to hear when (not if) you get a new job and (b) whether the various people that interview had even heard of SCN and if so what weight (if any) they put upon it….

    Cheersy Cheers

    Paul

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    1. Jelena Perfiljeva

      Paul – great question and I hope Michelle will keep us posted on her journey.

      Few years ago I was searching for a job myself to move to another state. At that time I wasn’t a Mentor or MOM, but still had quite significant presence online. Especially with unusual name like mine it wouldn’t be difficult to look it up. But I found that neither HR nor IT people involved in hiring ever did that. Which is rather strange because I’d guess it would be HR job at least to google a candidate. So I actually ended up answering ABAP syntax questions during some interviews, like TRY.., CATCH stuff.

      However, when interviewing for a job before that I’ve actually provided a link to my non-SCN blog and encouraged to look at my SCN posts. It was one of the best jobs in my life with great people with constant flow of knowledge exchange, so it worked out perfectly.

      I think we had a discussion on this in Coffee Corner a while ago and many active members pointed out that they don’t really “advertise” their SCN presence since it can be perceived differently by the management. The consulting word is a bit different though.

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    2. Martin English

      Paul,

      My experience in Australia is that most HR and SAP management types haven’t heard of SCN let alone SAP mentors.

      Michelle,

      Sorry to hear the news – I’ve sent a DM with something that may be usefull

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  11. Christopher Solomon

    Really sorry to hear this….but I try to look at it as a positive….you got pushed out of the nest (comfort zone) to go out and do bigger and better things….”one door closes, another door opens” yada yada yada. I know a bit about you (from time here and such) and know you will land on your feet. You don’t mind hard work…and more importantly from what I think everyone can read between the lines here….YOU CARE! You will be an asset to any company you end up working with VERY soon. Keep the blog going. I think it is very good for other to see/read.

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  12. Willi Eimler

    We are the guys, helping the low paid people of an outsourcer with no skills to run sap systems. Often I see threads like…

     

    Hey yesterday I was a frontend desk face to face manager at McDonalds (giving burgers to customers), but at my new job I have to administrate SAP systems. Now I have a problem, can s.o. please help?

    We see the thread of a guy having no clue of what SAP is. And we all help him to solve his problems. Our helping mood is responsible for the situation of Michele!

    Sorry Michele, please don’t give up!!!!!

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    1. Julius von dem Bussche

      Congrats Michelle, all the best for your new job, collaboration with new colleagues and a nice work environment to be in!

      If you could update your profile then it would be a useful insider tip for buying shares in the company… 😉

      Cheers,

      Julius

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      1. Matthew Billingham

        A bit slow here… nonetheless:

        “I was more expensive than X developers from off-shore.”


        Probably not, since you can do in one day what they can do in ten, and your rate isn’t 10x theirs. And you’ll get it right first time. One of the problems with outsourcing, even to really competent effective developers, is what I call the knowledge gap. Every time information moves from on-shore to off-shore, some of it falls into this gap. And that can cost a great deal of money. That’s why I say:


        “If you have to outsource, the cheapest way is to pay the outsourcer the retainer, but do the work in house”.


        Congratulations on your new job!  btw. I already sold my shares in your previous company, as they’re obviously about to crash.


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        1. Joao Sousa

          The problem is a bit more serious then that. The problem is that consulting firms have been spreading some very stupid theories over the years, and one of them is the holy quantitive KPI approach to IT and specially purchasing.

          I’ve been faced with situations where the customers want to buy a project (not Time & Material, a full solution project) based on estimated hours and fixed rates for consultant types (senior, junior, etc).

          If you want to put in the project your best guy who can do the project in half the time as a team of 10 you can’t, because then you can’t charge your customer for the project. You have to use your crap team that takes a long time to do stuff so you can charge the true value of the solution. Purchasing isn’t buying the best value for the company they are buying in a way that improves their KPIs. And consultants have convinced CEOs that this is the right way.

          The same with internal IT when quantitive KPIs take charge and quality takes second place. Quality is subjective and hard to evaluate, it takes time. Cutting costs is easy, and if your costs increase it’s easier to explain it by saying there was more work to be done.

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          1. Paul Hardy

            You have probably heard of the story of the blind men and the elephant when one of them touches the tail and concludes the elephant is just like a snake.

            In the same way a lot of senior executives still honestly believe that IT is just a cost centre, a huge albatross around the neck of companies, just something you have to have like payroll or window cleaners.

            The CIO of a major company once said to the IT staff that reported to them “IT has never increased sales of any company by even one euro”.

            The point is, if the powers that be actually believe this then the logical next step is to reduce the cost of this useless thing as much as they can, and it just seems so obvious to them to outsource this to a country where it looks like you only pay 10% of the cost. After all, it is not as if IT actually contributes anything, so what does it matter if the quality is “a bit” lower?

            The funny thing is, how many of those top dog executive types use the public health service as opposed to having private health insurance? By their own argument it should not matter, what do they care if the level of health care they get is perceived as not as good? Why not buy food that is past it’s sell by date – that is cheaper as well. As it turns out they care a great deal because this time they can see that it affects them directly.

            The irony is that in this day and age outsourcing can hurt them directly as well. It looks like it’s cheaper but it’s not, back of the envelope calculations suggest that eventually it is somewhere between three times as expensive to bankrupting the company.

            Now some would say it’s pointless me saying this because (a) I am a programmer so of course that would be my point of view from a self-interest perspective and (b) how many executives are going to be reading SCN blogs?

            It is rather like on many projects I have been on where I see managers about to make the same mistake I have seen time and time again and I say “do not crash this unsinkable cruise ship into that big white icy thing – every time I have seen an unsinkable cruise ship hit a big white icy thing nothing but trouble has followed”

            Nonetheless each time the manager says “this time it will be different” or “the business case demands we crash the ship into that white thing” or “the specification involves crashing the ship into the white icy thing, and the business have signed off on this”.

            So, it’s not going to stop until many, many ships have sunk. History will look back on this with the usual 20-20 hindsight and wonder how so many people could have been utter fools. Rather like the adverts from the fifties you see which say “most doctors smoke XYZ brand of cigarettes”.

            Anyway, got to go now, a bloke down the pub said he could sell me a new house using something called a “sub prime mortgage”. It seems these are much cheaper than normal mortgages so nothing could possibly go wrong.

            Cheersy Cheers

            Paul

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            1. Matthew Billingham

              History will look back on this with the usual 20-20 hindsight ” You mean in five years time sanity will prevail?

              One point executives fail to recognise is that the intelligence of their business is encoded in the programs that make up their IT systems. There’s hugely valuable information about business processes and procedures in there. Yet they hand it over to a third party as though it’s utterly unimportant. It’s rather like having a full frontal lobotomy, and giving power of attorney to your favourite supermarket.

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              1. Joao Sousa

                Well in that regard I will blame BW. SAP has failed in my option to provide flexible business inteligence to its customers.

                BW is god awful, and most customer don’t have Business Objects (which I don’t like either but at least it’s better). BW projects cost too much, are too inflexible, which means the senior executives don’t get to see the power of information.

                I know there are exceptions, are a few pro BI consultants will provide real value to your company, but in general I believe BI is very poor in SAP. Maybe things will change, it’s very easy to create dashboards with HANA and SAPUI5.

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            2. Jelena Perfiljeva

              As it turns out they care a great deal because this time they can see that it affects them directly.

              That’s one of the key ingredients here. Come to think of it, we’re just witnessing the incompetence spreading like invasive species – it affects the ranks of IT and executives alike (although with slightly different results). CIO not caring about what goes on in their ERP system is roughly the equivalent of an ABAPer using FAE for no reason. It’s all part of the same problem…

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        2. Martin English

          Hi Matthew,

          I had a customer who was happy that his SAP work was outsourced, because he was one of my then employers anchor clients, he was one of our reference sites, and our “official” offices were approximately 5km from his offices. I say “official” because many of our staff that were assigned to this customer actually worked out of their offices.

          He was also adamant that any of our people who were responsible for his systems were local employees. By that, I don’t mean on-shore v off-shore, I mean local v another city in the same state. He was of the view that the further removed we were from daily, if not hourly, contact with him and the business units he had to support, the less value we were.

          To his mind, the “Knowledge Gap” you refer to was the difference between reading what the business did and wanted from a document written 6 months ago by someone who spent 5 minutes interviewing the business units, and knowing what the business actually did, how it it did it, and what it wanted and needed (and the difference) RIGHT NOW.

          hth

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