Using Google's Fix-It-As-We-Go Beta Approach-For ERP
Arizona State Unversity's technology officer, Adrian Sannier, is at it again. First, he embraced Google e-mail and applications for students and staff on a massive scale. Now, the Wall Street Journal is reporting he tried a variation of Google's fix-as-we-go public beta approach to software with the university's ERP system, with sometimes painful results.
Arizona State Unversity's technology officer, Adrian Sannier, is at it again. First, he embraced Google e-mail and applications for students and staff on a massive scale. Now, the Wall Street Journal is reporting he tried a variation of Google's fix-as-we-go public beta approach to software with the university's ERP system, with sometimes painful results.The Journal article summarizes Sannier's approach this way:
Admit from the start that there will be mistakes; then work through the glitches with users' help. Most companies take their time and don't start using a new computer system until they are convinced almost everything works right; then they are caught off guard when mistakes inevitably happen. Often, the delays allow them to expand the project's scope, which adds cost and can further compound problems. The information-technology department at Arizona State decided it would be more effective to stick to rigid deadlines, releasing the software on schedule even if all the kinks hadn't been worked out -- and try to fix problems on the fly. .
That led to very serious problems, like some employees not getting paid. Sannier tells the Journal problems are going to happen with big IT projects, it's only a matter of how drawn out the pain will be. The Oracle project cost "$15 million to deploy the software and another $15 million to support it over the next five years," the Journal says, compared with $70 million the school's board expected.
Sannier is challenging some pretty fundamental assumptions about how IT is implemented and operated. With ERP, instead of trying to anticipate-test-and-solve all problems, he's accepting problems as inevitable and pushing ahead, even if business-unit colleagues feel the pain. The problems that caused were significant but so it appears were the savings. With his use of Google e-mail and apps, Sannier's pushing for a change in IT strategy that many companies couldn't stomach.
So is Sannier a prophet, or a crackpot? And if he were CIO at your company, would he still have a job?
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