Dr. Michael Hammer was a rock star in the 90s with his reengineering books and his booming voice and entertaining speaking style.
While at Gartner, Deloitte invited me to a workshop at Hammer’s consulting firm. I gladly accepted, then could not believe what I was hearing. Here is the guy who had heroically shouted “Don’t automate, obliterate” was now saying in effect “Don’t obliterate, automate with SAP”
During a break I had a one on one with Dr. Hammer and I told him Gartner research was showing R/3 was inconsistent across the enterprise. It needed lots of functional improvements, was not yet “best in class” to become a platform to reengineer many processes around. He said “Oh, well it’s good enough”. I asked a Deloitte partner how a manufacturing oriented ERP would be a reengineering platform for an insurance company or a utility. “We are developing IndustryPrints, and identifying add-ons to SAP R/3”
I remember going back to my colleagues and asking them to accelerate our caution around the holes in SAP, and also focus on the growing systems integration ecosystem around SAP (and other ERP solutions) which was masking those holes with their IndustryPrints and other materials.
I was part of the Gartner team which took on scrutiny of the SIs. Integration Management magazine (now defunct) wrote a multi-page report on our work. Ironically, they put a Deloitte partner on the cover with the title “The Hot Seat”. Poor guy became a proxy for all excesses of Andersen (Accenture), PwC, IBM and many others.
But in the heat of the rush to become Y2K compliant and lulled by the parties Deloitte and others hosted (I remember one where Three Dog Night played – a good time was had by all and we all went Ah, ooh, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah to their hit, Shambala), our voices were lost. SAP promised and gradually rolled out its own version of IS, industry solutions. While waiting for that, most customers had only implemented the cross-industry financials and materials management capabilities. They spent way too much on the implementation of even that basic functionality and many had catastrophic write-offs I have documented in SAP Nation.
Fast forward another decade, and today most industries are far, far different, most companies are into cloud implementations and they are looking at digital transformations.
Time for Deloitte to dust off the old formula. Dr. Hammer has passed on, so the new partner is Amazon Web Services. R/3 is legacy, so now the focus is S/4HANA.
“Deloitte today announced a collaboration with Amazon Web Services (AWS) to help clients accelerate their ability to achieve digital transformation and powerful insights-based outcomes with SAP S/4HANA, SAP BW/4HANA®, and the SAP HANA® platform. As part of the joint effort, Deloitte is expanding its cloud capabilities by forming an AWS cloud practice with 2,500 practitioners globally.” and “The new relationship will help businesses achieve the agility benefits of the AWS Cloud, guided by Deloitte’s deep knowledge spanning more than 20 industries.”
Why do I get the déjà vu feeling again?
– S/4HANA is hardly complete in core functionality, forget that for 20 industries. It is not mature – barely live in most early adopters. So, it will be interesting to see what Deloitte is going to surround the S/4 software with. Associated question – what “indirect access” type time bomb is Deloitte going to protect its clients against?
– AWS will allow clients to lower some of their compute and storage costs but not save much on on-going upgrades and application management costs. Will Deloitte price those just as competitively? And what happens when SAP’s own public cloud matures? SAP has a new exec, Darren Roos with ambitious roll out plans for their public cloud this year. What migration costs will that require to move from Deloitte’s AWS configuration?
– 2,500 consultants? The comments on Register are pretty telling
“Let’s call it alternative facts, shall we?”
“But, have no fear, a consultant that has read about how to crank up a virtual machine is at the ready to help you with it all….”
“…monkeys might fly out of my butt. Having worked with a number of these “consultants”, they are often only 1 or 2 steps ahead of the technical staff at their clients; and as such, will often create as many problems as they fix.”
– Reengineering is a dirty word after the failures of the 90s. Transformation is in. Deloitte’s all over that.
Not just Deloitte. Lots of SIs have similar plans. And this time around the Indian firms are just as active.
So, is Gartner going to jump in with a similar impactful set of reports. And will customers listen this time around?
Ponder all that as you listen to the great philosophers from Three Dog Night
“You git the truth
Ya git a lie
‘nough to make a grown man cry”
Sorry, not a lie, make that as the Register comment says “alternative fact” 🙂
(Cross-posted @ Deal Architect)