Time Becomes a Bigger Problem

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This from InformationWeek.(For Educational Purposes Only}

ERP Projects Dumped As Y2K Approaches -- Implementations Aimed At Date-Field Compliance Dropped As Deadline Nears Tom Stein

Enterprise resource planning software can replace a host of legacy systems that aren't year 2000 compliant. But with the millennium just around the corner, some companies are facing a crunch: Their ERP implementations can't be finished by Dec. 31.

Entex Information Services Inc., a $2.5 billion systems integration and outsourcing company, last month abandoned a large-scale implementation of SAP R/3, taking a $10.7 million write-off. CIO Spencer McIlmurray says Entex had continued to renovate its legacy systems in case the SAP implementation wasn't successful. The company will now spend about $7 million to update those homegrown systems.

"If this were 1995, we might have continued with SAP," he says. "But the closer it got to the year 2000 without being fully implemented, the more we jeopardized our ability to be safeguarded." An SAP spokeswoman says the project was canceled because Entex didn't have enough money to continue, not because of a Y2K deadline. Entex will look at several ERP products next year.

Trimble Navigation Ltd., a maker of global positioning systems in Sunnyvale, Calif., also hit the Y2K wall. Last year, it began implementing manufacturing, distribution, and financial software from Baan Co. The goal was to replace its noncompliant Manman application, from the MK Group, with 400 Baan user licenses by July. But the Baan software didn't mesh well with the way Trimble does business. Baan has its own way of doing things, and that made it difficult for Trimble to implement without major modifications, says CIO Bob Denis. The company would have been forced to drastically alter its manufacturing processes to effectively run the software, he says.

Because Trimble has a U.K. subsidiary, the company also would have had to do extra development work to make Baan meet its euro requirements. "Every modification adds more time," says Denis. Earlier this year, Trimble killed the Baan implementation and placed a Y2K patch on its Manman system; by year's end, it will upgrade to the newest release of that software, which is Y2K compliant. It will be easier to implement the latest Manman version, Denis says, because the company is familiar with the software."

Little Caesars Enterprises Inc., the Detroit pizza chain, also faced an imposing Y2K crunch. The company recently replaced an implementation of PeopleSoft's financial applications with Infinium Software Inc., according to Maria Burud, VP of North American operations at Infinium. Infinium's applications treat Little Caesars' many disparate enterprises, which include the National Hockey League champion Detroit Red Wings, as separate business units without requiring heavy customization. PeopleSoft says the problems at Little Caesars were due to a change in IT management. Little Caesars didn't return calls.

David Dobrin, an analyst with Benchmarking Partners, says too many companies select an ERP package that doesn't meet their needs. But knowing when to pull the plug, he says, "is a sign of maturity, [not] a case of cold feet."

-- Mike Lang (webflier@erols.com), March 07, 1999


This is the tip of the iceberg. I applaud these companies for having the courage to abandon efforts that can not make it by the deadline instead of sucking up to management and saying that they can finish when they know they can't. Too bad the government can't be as honest. How many companies have not even recognized that the new system is not compatible and too many patches will be required? The classic example is my local utility. They made a big announcement several months ago that they had developed a windowing system that would solve the billing problem. I thought it odd that embedded systems was not mentioned then or now. I see where the Public Services commission has recently said thay this utility is 25 per cent done and it is the State Capitol of one of the most populated states. The announcement about the solved problem did not even recognize the major unsolved problem. The local paper parrots what it is told and is clueless. How many other utilities and companies are in the same situation? It does not look good.

-- Tom (notstupid@aaa.com), March 07, 1999.

This is an important post. It foretells the coming problem that CEOs will face when they finally get the fact that their remediation efforts won't make it. If their attornies tell the CEO to keep this information covered up then it becomes fraud and they are all liable to time in the can. Yes, employees the same holds for employees who know and participate in the cover up. It will be a choice if "singing" (a criminal term for telling the truth) or going to Sing Sing.

-- Tomcat (tomcat62@aol.com), March 08, 1999.

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