San Diego's SAP system has tripled workloads for some tasks, report says

SAP's software systems 'work exactly as designed,' a spokesman says

San Diego's US$50 million SAP system has ended up tripling employees' workloads for certain types of tasks, but the city has also failed to devote enough attention to training, according to a consultant's report released earlier this month.

Purchasing and contracting staffers are unable to easily generate reports from SAP that are crucial to the department's operations, and have become "overwhelmed by the exhaustive and mainly transactional workload, resulting in burnout and low morale," Huron Consulting Group's report said.

"Most P&C individuals interviewed are frustrated by the time consuming and 'click-intensive' requisition process in the SAP system," the report adds. "Interviewees indicate that barring any additional time caused by approval delays, it can take anywhere between 20 minutes to a few days to process a requisition depending on how many line items it contains, a direct result of the SAP system as implemented."

The SAP system was primarily implemented to help out the city's finance department, and it is working well in that regard, according to an official municipal document.

But for purchasing and contracting, the city only implemented SAP's materials management module, and not an SRM (supplier-relationship-management) module, which would have streamlined procurement and payment processes, the Huron report said.

As a result, "the majority of shopping and quoting activities are conducted outside of SAP," the report states.

San Diego recently implemented a system called PlanetBids, where vendors can register, but it isn't integrated with SAP.

Overall, purchasing and contracting department employees' workloads "increased as much as three times post-SAP implementation compared to the old system," the report states.

In addition, SAP was used to replicate the department's existing processes, rather than redesign them for more efficiency.

Some steps are being taken to remedy the situation, including a "deep-dive" training plan aimed at getting users more comfortable with the system, according to the report.

SAP spokesman Andy Kendzie declined to comment on the specifics of San Diego's situation. However, "SAP's goal is to make every customer a best-run operation," Kendzie said via email. "Our systems work exactly as designed and we want to help customers use them to their fullest potential."

San Diego clearly made some missteps, according to one observer.

"Change management and training are critical parts of any ERP implementation," said analyst Michael Krigsman, CEO of consulting firm Asuret. "Employees without sufficient training may avoid the new system because they cannot figure how to use it. Bypassing the new system is prescription for disaster because data may then reside in multiple systems, or software applications."

Also, the fact that San Diego "memorialized" inefficient processes into the SAP system rather than take the opportunity to refine them will require it to "repeat this core implementation step," Krigsman added.

San Diego began work on the SAP implementation in 2007. It was the biggest IT project ever undertaken by the city and is meant to provide a core IT architecture for 15 years, according to a municipal document.

Chris Kanaracus covers enterprise software and general technology breaking news for The IDG News Service. Chris' email address is Chris_Kanaracus@idg.com

Join the newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.
Rocket to Success - Your 10 Tips for Smarter ERP System Selection

Tags servicesapplicationsenterprise resource planningSAPCIO rolebest practicessoftwareIT management

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Chris Kanaracus

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Ben Ramsden

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

Brainstorming, innovation, problem solving, and negotiation have all become much more productive and valuable if people can easily collaborate in real time with minimal friction.

Sarah Ieroianni

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

The print quality also does not disappoint, it’s clear, bold, doesn’t smudge and the text is perfectly sized.

Ratchada Dunn

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The Huddle Board’s built in program; Sharp Touch Viewing software allows us to easily manipulate and edit our documents (jpegs and PDFs) all at the same time on the dashboard.

George Khoury

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The biggest perks for me would be that it comes with easy to use and comprehensive programs that make the collaboration process a whole lot more intuitive and organic

David Coyle

Brother PocketJet PJ-773 A4 Portable Thermal Printer

I rate the printer as a 5 out of 5 stars as it has been able to fit seamlessly into my busy and mobile lifestyle.

Kurt Hegetschweiler

Brother PocketJet PJ-773 A4 Portable Thermal Printer

It’s perfect for mobile workers. Just take it out — it’s small enough to sit anywhere — turn it on, load a sheet of paper, and start printing.

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?