Tuesday, September 28, 2004

What went wrong with HP's SAP migration?

Computerworld has an interview with Gilles Bouchard, CIO and EVP of global operations at Hewlitt-Packard (H-P), regarding lessons learned from the problematic SAP consolidation at HP's enterprise servers and storage group. CEO Carly Fiorina blamed problems in the migration for a revenue shortfall in HP's performance.

In his interview, Bouchard points to several causes behind the migration problems, all of them internal to HP and not reflective on SAP as a vendor.
These problems are in three major categories. One we call "working across silos." The team that was driving this program had to work with other parts of the company. And working across these seams proved difficult. ...

Secondly, there were a lot of data-integrity [problems]. Orders fell out between the legacy front-end system and SAP on the back end, which required a lot of manual intervention. ...

The third element was increased demand. This migration had to do with our Intel-based server business. The demand really increased for those products, and it's still very high right now, which is good news. But it put even more pressure on the whole system. We should have had a contingency plan for four, five or six weeks
Computerworld has the story.

At the risk of oversimplifying what was, no doubt, a complex and difficult project, I think that Bouchard's last point is the most important. With any migration of this magnitude, there has to be a fall-back or contingency plan in the event that the migration does not go as smoothly as planned, so that the business is not adversely affected. It's one thing for the project to have a cost overrun. It's another thing altogether to impact the business itself.

Related posts
HP blames SAP migration for revenue shortfall

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