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Army's Huge SAP Project 'At High Risk' 166

Posted by timothy
from the new-old-meaning-for-spend-a-penny dept.
itwbennett writes "The Army's $2.4 billion SAP project is delayed, over budget, and, once implemented may not even meet its original objectives, according to a recent auditors' report. For its part, the Army is less concerned with the auditors' findings about the project that will manage a $140 billion annual budget and serve nearly 80,000 users once it is complete: 'The Army believes the risks identified in this report are manageable and do not materially impact the [project's] cost and schedule,' said an official with the Assistant Secretary of the Army (Acquisition, Logistics, and Technology)."
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Army's Huge SAP Project 'At High Risk'

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  • by sortius_nod (1080919) on Saturday July 09, 2011 @08:31AM (#36703698) Homepage

    When you go with SAP.

  • by spaceplanesfan (2120596) on Saturday July 09, 2011 @08:39AM (#36703732)

    Why that isn't cancelled, but Webbs telescope is? Ah, its thats the Army....
    RIP US space program

  • by Joce640k (829181) on Saturday July 09, 2011 @08:53AM (#36703784) Homepage

    Because:

    a) They always employ people with the right connections instead of the right competence

    b) Because the consultants they hire know the real money comes from doing it wrong? Why make an effort to deliver on schedule and under budget when you can take your time over it and earn twice as much money in the process?

    You might think I'm joking but I've sat in some of the meetings. When I arrived I was under the delusion that I was there to do some work but I was completely wrong, we were only there to kill time before going off to a nice little French restaurant somebody had discovered. My bad.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday July 09, 2011 @08:55AM (#36703808)

    Horseshit. That's what you get when you don't clearly define what you want, when you change requirements all the time, and when you delude yourself into thinking that SAP will work for you "out of the box."

  • by PhunkySchtuff (208108) <.kai. .at. .automatica.com.au.> on Saturday July 09, 2011 @09:17AM (#36703910) Homepage

    Exactly, the thing with a SAP rollout (or anything else of this magnitude) is that you pass the point of no return quite early into the project and then the consultants have you exactly where they want you - you can't go back now to your old system, but the new system doesn't really do what you expected it to either so as expensive as it seems, it's cheaper to keep paying more to fix the new system than it would be to migrate everything back to the old system...

    Once it's all in place and working as it should, SAP can be a fantastic thing to have but getting there is _never_ as straightforward as one would be lead to believe initially.

  • by Nicolas MONNET (4727) <nicoaltiva@gmaOPENBSDil.com minus bsd> on Saturday July 09, 2011 @09:33AM (#36703974) Journal

    It fails just as often in the private sector, the difference being that there, the client usually goes bankrupt before you hear about it.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday July 09, 2011 @09:56AM (#36704064)

    "The Army's $2.4 billion SAP project is delayed, over budget, and, once implemented may not even meet its original objectives"

    Surely "The Army's $2.4 billion SAP project is a SAP project" would have been sufficient, guys. ;)

  • by cyber-vandal (148830) on Saturday July 09, 2011 @10:02AM (#36704098) Homepage

    It doesn't happen in the competitive private sector.

    Yes it does. You just don't get to hear about it either because it's confidential or because private sector waste isn't a good story.

    People do a project because it makes/saves money, and then make it work.

    I have worked on many projects in the private sector and heard about plenty more where the IT director has believed what a salesman told them and ended up with an absolute disaster. What you say might be true for SMBs but big organisations are not too different to the public sector.

  • by HungryHobo (1314109) on Saturday July 09, 2011 @04:24PM (#36707050)

    Story I heard second hand where jeff is a friend of a family member:

    There was once a small startup where the founders noticed that most of the software for handling a particular task was needlessly complex and stupidly hard to use.

    So they created their own version which was apparently good and very easy to use. the few customers they did pull in were very happy with it but they couldn't seem to break into the big leagues.

    They discovered that some such attempts to sell their software to big corps had been shot down by the local consultants.

    They tried contacting the big consulting firms to try to find out what they considered to be wrong with their software so that they could fix whatever problem was putting off the consultants but got back useless boilerplate replies just stating that they didn't think it was suitable.

    Then one night in the bar at an exhibition one of the founders (lets call him jeff) got chatting candidly to someone from one of the big consulting firms(lets call him carl).

    So jeff asked carl if he'd seen their software and what he thought of it.
    carl said that it was quite excellent.
    jeff asked why then did carls firm recommend against their clients using it.
    Carls reply was that it was simply too easy to use and too easy to set up.
    If Carls company recommended a worse piece of software that was hellish to set up then they were guaranteed many many billable hours as the client would be almost guaranteed to need consulting services.

    So jeff went home and his startup set to work adding a myriad of essentially useless options and made the software vastly harder to configure.

    it was still the same software once it was running but now the manual was a tome rather than a pamphlet and the setup took an expert rather than an amateur.

    Like magic sales went up as consultants were suddenly willing to recommend it to their clients.

Programmers do it bit by bit.

Working...