Several mentality of SAP project customers in private enterprises
I worked on a private enterprise SAP implementation project a few years ago, which is referred to as project B here. The total budget of project B is only a few millions CNY(RMB). The budget is very tight and the conditions are very harsh. During my work in project B, in the process of dealing with customers, I deeply experienced the hardships of SAP projects of private enterprises and the sour mentality of customers of private enterprises. After analysis and repeated speculation, I think the customers (key users, etc.) of private enterprises SAP projects generally have the following mentality.
- We spent a lot of money on your consultants!
In the SAP implementation projects of many private enterprises, SAP consultants may often hear customers say so. In the project solution design phrase, the business team often needs to meet with the consultant team to discuss some business processes and listen to the solutions designed by the consultant for their requirement. If the consultants say that it is troublesome and requires a large workload to implement a solution, the project manager of customer side may be angry and say, ‘we paid you to help’, or ‘we paid you a lot to help’. It means that because they spent a lot of money to invite consultants to implement the SAP project, how can consultants say that the workload of implementing the solution is heavy? Even if the workload is heavy, isn’t that what consultants should do?
In project B, I heard that the supply chain manager of party a complained the consultant colleagues of our project team several times. Before that project, I have worked for many years in a well-known consulting company among the top five in SAP consulting industry, and I have done many global big projects, projects with budgets of billions, billions or tens of millions. For me, project B is really an SAP project with a budget that can’t be smaller. So I was very upset to hear the customer talk to us like this. I thought you wanted to implement SAP with such few money, and kept saying that you paid a lot of money to invite us to do it. Do you think I haven’t seen money? Will we come if you don’t spend money?
- Your SAP Consultant is our supplier, so you should work overtime.
This is also what my key users on project B often say. After confirmed the blueprint, we found that there are many functions to be developed in the project. I have written thirty or forty function spec document for the modules I am responsible for alone. You know, if the project needs a lot of development, it naturally needs to work overtime to catch up with the project schedule and make sure there is no any delay. What’s annoying is that my key users see that we often work overtime. Instead of expressing polite thanks or pretending to show concern, they say solemnly: “you are suppliers, and it’s right to work overtime.” she is annoyed that she not only told me this, but also told the consultant colleagues of other modules several times.
She said such words, I still unforgettable, but also let me hate her! I have done many SAP projects. I can get along well with key users in each project, understand and learn from each other in the process of work, and become good friends with each other. Most of them can maintain close contact after the project is completed, except for the key users of project B. After the end of project B, I no longer contacted her. Although I let her be in my WeChat circle of friends, I never communicated or interacted with her, because I can’t let go of what she said so far.
It is the common mentality of customers in SAP projects of many private enterprises that they do not respect suppliers. In their opinion, they paid the supplier to come and help, and the supplier should do a good job. As for the heavy workload and short project duration, it is all the problem of suppliers. It is natural for suppliers to work overtime, and even work overtime to vomit blood. This is also the reason why I try my best to avoid doing private enterprise projects when selecting SAP projects. On the one hand, I am already a middle-aged man. I can’t be as energetic as the young people. I cannot stay up late and work overtime continuously. On the other hand, I have experience, foreign language ability and enough strength to choose good projects. Why do I have to be cheap and earn money with my health or even my life?
- Your SAP Consultant is really expensive. The cost of one man-day is equivalent to one month’s salary of our ordinary employees. That’s too much!
Before 2012 or earlier, before 2008, enterprises asked consulting companies to implement SAP system, and the cost of SAP consultant man-day was really high. That was the golden age of SAP consulting industry and the highlight of many SAP consultants. In those years, many central enterprises in Chinese mainland giants invested heavily in implementing the SAP system, and the head enterprises in various industries also tried to implement SAP system to enhance their own enterprises or brand image and grade. Chinese factories of many Multinational Enterprises also promoted the implementation of SAP system. At that time, SAP consultant was a rare species in the world and a highly paid career because of the small number of consultant and high career threshold. The quotation of consulting company to help these enterprises implement SAP projects is not cheap. It is not rare for senior consultants to exceed 1000 US dollars or tens of thousands of RMB per man-day.
However, since 2012, the sap consulting industry has basically been going downhill. More and more people and companies enter this industry, and the entry threshold is getting lower and lower. Many schools offer master’s degree courses in SAP consulting engineering, and various SAP consulting training courses emerge in endlessly. SAP consultants are everywhere, and people from all other fields want to change their careers to do SAP consulting. In order to grab the project, private consulting companies began to fight a price war, and the bottom line of consultants’ man-day quotation is getting lower and lower. Today, SAP consulting industry is no longer a sunrise industry, but a traditional industry or even a sunset industry, and the market of the whole consulting industry has gone from bad to worse. Even so, the man day quotation of SAP consulting company still cannot be accepted by many customers and employees of private enterprises.
In project B, the key users of the customer often say in front of the consultant that SAP Consultant days are too expensive. In my opinion, the implementation of SAP system is to improve the management level, work efficiency, corporate image and core competitiveness. It is a strategic investment and a wise and intelligent choice for the management. Enterprises should not only see the investment in the implementation of SAP system, but also see the benefits after the implementation of SAP system from a long-term perspective. The key users of the project do not understand the market of SAP consulting industry, but constantly complain that SAP consultants are too expensive. This is short-sighted behavior, ignorant behavior and the mentality of the weak. If they really want to complain, they can only complain about why the management team of their company is willing to invest in the implementation of SAP system; Complaining about this in front of SAP consultants will not do any good except affect the follow-up partnership.
Having experienced private enterprise SAP projects such as project B, I have seen the evil of human nature, improved my memory, and set myself the bottom line and principles for finding SAP projects in the future. When looking for SAP projects in the following years, I only looked for global projects, or projects that old customers invited me to help, and resolutely refused any SAP project opportunities of private enterprises without hesitation.
In my opinion, only by staying away from the SAP project of private enterprises can we avoid becoming the IT migrant workers at the bottom of society, obtain the minimum respect in work, and feel a little sense of honor of SAP consulting career.
Dear, do you agree with my opinion?