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Wed Jan 9, 2013, 01:42 PM

Has Purchased Payroll software hit your workplace?

SYRACUSE, N.Y. -- A new $365 million computer system that was intended to simplify National Grid’s operations has created chaos instead, screwing up paychecks for thousands of utility employees and delaying payments to vendors.

Two unions have filed lawsuits on behalf of unpaid workers, and on Monday the Massachusetts attorney general fined the company $270,000 for failing to comply with wage laws. New York’s attorney general has subpoenaed company records to investigate.
....
For more than a year, National Grid worked to develop a new computer system to consolidate a patchwork of human resource, supply chain and finance programs it inherited from the handful of U.S. utilities it has acquired. The new system, based on software from SAP AG, of Germany, cost an estimated $365 million, according to National Grid rate filings.

http://www.syracuse.com/news/index.ssf/2013/01/national_grid_syracuse_payroll.html


My health insurance has been screwed up ever since my employer went live with SAP!

Editted - sounds like it's the fault of the companies buying SAP, not SAP itself!

43 replies, 3364 views

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Arrow 43 replies Author Time Post
Reply Has Purchased Payroll software hit your workplace? (Original post)
hedgehog Jan 2013 OP
Scuba Jan 2013 #1
Liberal_in_LA Jan 2013 #3
Scuba Jan 2013 #9
Liberal_in_LA Jan 2013 #2
bullwinkle428 Jan 2013 #4
Liberal_in_LA Jan 2013 #5
benld74 Jan 2013 #6
IdaBriggs Jan 2013 #10
Scuba Jan 2013 #15
FarCenter Jan 2013 #19
Scuba Jan 2013 #21
FarCenter Jan 2013 #24
Scuba Jan 2013 #26
IdaBriggs Jan 2013 #23
Scuba Jan 2013 #27
IdaBriggs Jan 2013 #28
Scuba Jan 2013 #32
IdaBriggs Jan 2013 #34
Egalitarian Thug Jan 2013 #11
IdaBriggs Jan 2013 #29
KamaAina Jan 2013 #7
Scuba Jan 2013 #12
KamaAina Jan 2013 #17
Scuba Jan 2013 #20
IdaBriggs Jan 2013 #8
Scuba Jan 2013 #14
hedgehog Jan 2013 #16
IdaBriggs Jan 2013 #25
FarCenter Jan 2013 #13
sinkingfeeling Jan 2013 #18
ieoeja Jan 2013 #22
hedgehog Jan 2013 #30
sinkingfeeling Jan 2013 #31
IdaBriggs Jan 2013 #35
SharonAnn Jan 2013 #33
FarCenter Jan 2013 #36
hedgehog Jan 2013 #38
sinkingfeeling Jan 2013 #39
ieoeja Jan 2013 #40
KoKo Jan 2013 #37
jmowreader Jan 2013 #41
yewberry Jan 2013 #42
Name removed Dec 2013 #43

Response to hedgehog (Original post)

Wed Jan 9, 2013, 01:45 PM

1. SAP has been successfully installed in thousands of client businesses. There have also been ...

... those who were unable to successfully implement SAP, and alternative systems. Look at who did the implementation and at the business where it was implemented and you'll likely find the problem.

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Response to Scuba (Reply #1)

Wed Jan 9, 2013, 01:48 PM

3. SAP will hire away the employees that are competent with the system, leaving the customer

doubly screwed.

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Response to Liberal_in_LA (Reply #3)

Wed Jan 9, 2013, 01:53 PM

9. In my experience (lots) there are "no hire" clauses in contracts between software vendors/clients...

That said, I'm not conversant with SAP's standard contract.

Any client that signs a contract without negotiating a "no hire" clause was poorly represented in the negotiation.

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Response to hedgehog (Original post)

Wed Jan 9, 2013, 01:47 PM

2. a prior workplace - SAP brought it to its knees. Screwed up paychecks, hard to work with system

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Response to hedgehog (Original post)

Wed Jan 9, 2013, 01:48 PM

4. I'm posting from work at the moment...so..."no comment".

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Response to bullwinkle428 (Reply #4)

Wed Jan 9, 2013, 01:48 PM

5. lol

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Response to hedgehog (Original post)

Wed Jan 9, 2013, 01:48 PM

6. Of course NONE of these problems were found during the testing BEFORE it went LIVE!!!

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Response to benld74 (Reply #6)

Wed Jan 9, 2013, 01:53 PM

10. ROFL! Next you will be talking about providing SPECS!

You are TOO funny! Testing and implementation plans? Back-up contingencies? Running systems in parallel?

Pshaw!

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Response to IdaBriggs (Reply #10)

Wed Jan 9, 2013, 02:00 PM

15. Specs are just a hindrance to getting every imaginable feature. Whining about ...

... scope creep is for sissies.

"You didn't say it WOULDN'T do that!"

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Response to Scuba (Reply #15)

Wed Jan 9, 2013, 02:20 PM

19. It's unusual to have specs for what the system being replaced actually does

Since it may be dozens of applications, built and bought, modified over decades on the basis of sometimes whimsical feature requests from various types of managers.

So of course there will be objections that the new system "doesn't do this", despite no one quite knowing why the old system "did this".

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Response to FarCenter (Reply #19)

Wed Jan 9, 2013, 02:33 PM

21. You're making me nostalgic. I specialized in taking over "train wreck" healthcare IT departments ..

... many did not even have an inventory of their applications, equipment, vendors, etc. A few key employees held all such information in their heads. Planning had only been considered in the heat of the moment when everything was going to hell.

I loved turning those babies around.

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Response to Scuba (Reply #21)

Wed Jan 9, 2013, 02:43 PM

24. I thought "IT Architecture" was so limited a view; it was more like "IT Urban Redevelopment"

Applications like buildings, networking like roads and bridges, data center ops like utility companies, LOB managers like the city council, operating managers like building owners, users like tenants, software vendors like real estate developers, consulting firms like construction companies, corporate finance like state and city budget committees, CIO like the mayor, etc.

Try satisfying all those folks!

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Response to FarCenter (Reply #24)

Wed Jan 9, 2013, 02:48 PM

26. Ha! Great analogy. Now just add "doctors like gods" and see what you've got.

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Response to Scuba (Reply #15)

Wed Jan 9, 2013, 02:43 PM

23. Don't you have "psychic specficiations" provided for YOUR projects?

Worked with a couple of customers who believed in them as SOP!

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Response to IdaBriggs (Reply #23)

Wed Jan 9, 2013, 02:49 PM

27. By now I'm compulsive about writing "in scope/out of scope" statements...

... and "out of scope" always includes "anything else not specifically listed as in scope".

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Response to Scuba (Reply #27)

Wed Jan 9, 2013, 02:54 PM

28. You sound like you know what you are doing.



Gathering requirements (and understanding what the client does/does not need to know) is probably one of the most important parts of the whole process (as far as I am concerned). Some of the stuff they think is "standard" (especially when it is the only system they are familiar with) boggles the brain.

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Response to IdaBriggs (Reply #28)

Wed Jan 9, 2013, 04:37 PM

32. Sounds like you've been in the trenches too.

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Response to Scuba (Reply #32)

Wed Jan 9, 2013, 07:59 PM

34. Been selling my IT soul to the highest bidder

For over 25 years - eeep! I am a developer by preference (start to finish, front and back is my preference, although my ability to unravel other people's messes has been both fun and profitable).

Code changes, but the concepts don't. I have been blessed with the ability to translate customer requirements into IT speak, while simultaneously holding database relationships in my head. I am very good at what I do.

It is always fun to find someone else who gets it. Hello!

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Response to benld74 (Reply #6)

Wed Jan 9, 2013, 01:56 PM

11. What is this 'testing' you speak of?

 

SAP is a good idea almost always badly implemented. The company, SAP AG, is a terrific example of everything that's wrong with the adopted model of software companies today and since it was adopted in the mid-90s.

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Response to Egalitarian Thug (Reply #11)

Wed Jan 9, 2013, 02:58 PM

29. I once pissed off a "dotted line" boss --

By throwing a complete conniption fit demanding a new (SAP) system be run in parrallel for at least one month, while begging for two.

I wasn't in charge of that implementation; they ended up six months late, and "lost" data.

When I did the HR portion, not only did we come in on-time and on-budget, we "caught" major issues (like out-of-date modules) *before* they completely screwed up our systems. The letter of recommendation my management team wrote was Very Pretty.

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Response to hedgehog (Original post)

Wed Jan 9, 2013, 01:50 PM

7. Don't look now, but they're coming to healthcare

under the brand name EPIC.

This has the potential to become a truly EPIC FAIL.

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Response to KamaAina (Reply #7)

Wed Jan 9, 2013, 01:57 PM

12. EPIC is not associated with SAP. Privately-owned EPIC has been successfully installed ...

... in over 1,000 hospitals and is considered the current market leader. Any facility that cannot successfully install EPIC has other problems.

Let me know if you want to know more. I have 36 years experience in healthcare IT.

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Response to Scuba (Reply #12)

Wed Jan 9, 2013, 02:09 PM

17. Well, all right. Why, when I went to an Epic demo a couple of months ago,

was there a suit handing out business cards from SAP?

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Response to KamaAina (Reply #17)

Wed Jan 9, 2013, 02:26 PM

20. Probably because EPIC and SAP have been interfaced. There may have been a Lawson or ...

PeopleSoft rep there also. They are competitors of SAP. Each has been interfaced to EPIC (and other health information systems) countless times.

If EPIC and SAP have any shared ownership it's news to me. A search for "SAP" on the Epic site got zero hits.

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Response to hedgehog (Original post)

Wed Jan 9, 2013, 01:51 PM

8. The implementation team is to blame.

It is a very challenging system to implement, and if you don't have a good team, you are screwed.

It is NOT a "plug and play" system. If you don't have a COMPETENT IT support team, as well as people who understand that implementing a new ERP system is one of the biggest challenges a company can go through, you will be Screwed.

I am available to clean up the mess. I charge very reasonable rates.

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Response to IdaBriggs (Reply #8)

Wed Jan 9, 2013, 01:58 PM

14. Bingo.

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Response to IdaBriggs (Reply #8)

Wed Jan 9, 2013, 02:08 PM

16. You don't mean to say someone tried to get by on the cheap! That always saves money!

"Stella, the company spokesman, said National Grid has assigned “hundreds” of employees, including outside contractors, to deal with problems spawned by the new system. Many of them are packed into the company’s Syracuse offices at 300 Erie Blvd. W. Others are dispersed to work at “payroll clinics,” helping employees in crew barns or other remote locations."

http://www.syracuse.com/news/index.ssf/2013/01/national_grid_syracuse_payroll.html

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Response to hedgehog (Reply #16)

Wed Jan 9, 2013, 02:45 PM

25. And they should *totally* cut the training budget - that

*always* help make the implementation of a new system absolutely seamless!

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Response to hedgehog (Original post)

Wed Jan 9, 2013, 01:57 PM

13. SAP is the world's largest seller of business software

Bigger than IBM, Microsoft, or Oracle, etc.

SAP software sales top forecast as wins market share

http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/10/24/us-sap-results-idUSBRE89N0CA20121024

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Response to hedgehog (Original post)

Wed Jan 9, 2013, 02:11 PM

18. SAP is an extraneous layer of poorly written software that had an excellent

ad agency.

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Response to hedgehog (Original post)

Wed Jan 9, 2013, 02:43 PM

22. SAP is supposed to be a "black box" installation.


Customer have a problem? Don't call SAP. Call an SAP approved consultant. SAP will not talk directly to customers about any issues.

SAP must be given 24x7 access to the customers system and database.

SAP may alter database tables at any given moment. Of course, their software will be altered to match. If, however, the customer was so foolish as to write, say, a data extract that stops working because SAP changed the layout with no prior announcement ... they do sell it as a "black box" installation. You aren't even supposed to know the SAP data layout in the first place. So it is no concern of theirs if you violated the "no look" clause.

Essentially, you surrender all control of your systems with an SAP installation. In-house IT is still held accountable for it, of course. They just have no control.

Personally, I can't imagine why anyone would buy software with the above requirements.


Also, SAP ABAB development is the highest cost IT skill in the industry. And they make COBOL** programmers look cutting edge. Let's say you have:

Table1: (ColA, ColB, ColC)
1, George, M
2, Lisa, F
3, Sam, M

Table2: (ColA, ColD)
1, 212-555-1212
1, 212-555-9874
2, 212-555-4555
3, 212-555-1465
3, 212-555-1894

You want to create Table3: (ColA, ColB, ColD)
1, George, 212-555-1212
1, George, 212-555-9874
2, Lisa, 212-555-4555
3, Sam, 212-555-1465
3, Sam, 212-555-1894

Method 1:
FROM Table1 and Table2 WHERE Table1.ColA = Table2.ColA

ABAB programmer (and this is how SAP demands you program it):
Copy Table1 to Temp1
Copy Table2 to Temp2
While not EOF Temp1
While Temp1.ColA = Temp2.ColB
Write Temp3 table from rows
Get next Temp2
End While
Get next Temp1
End While
Load Table3 from Temp3

This is SLOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOW compared to the 1st method. I've seen programs take two hours to run using the 2nd method that now take 5 to 10 minutes to run after I rewrote it via the 1st method.

But if you use the 1st method, you have violated the terms of service with SAP.



**Imagine all PC applications today still being written to DOS compatibility. Every fellow mainframe COBOL programmer I met in my career did just that. They were handed a set of programming standards as they came in the door. But those standards were written when mainframes were running DOS. DOS bit the dust decades earlier, but the standards never died. So you have this huge mainframe with memory to spare continually swapping code and data while 99.999999% of the memory never gets used because all of the applications had hooks in them telling the OS to do so.

1st time I was asked to modify a program at my 2nd job, the end user called back saying it did not work. After failing to find any errors in the output, I asked them to show me where the problem was. They said they never even looked. The program always took hours to run, so when it quit after a couple minutes they assumed something was wrong. And the only thing I did (other than the requested change) was delete every COBOL "SECTION" command in the application. That's all it took.

Okay, that can be difficult if the program used fall-through programming. Fortunately, my predecessors never made that programming mistake.

COBOL didn't die a natural death. It was murdered by COBOL programmers.

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Response to ieoeja (Reply #22)

Wed Jan 9, 2013, 03:17 PM

30. i feel your pain!

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Response to ieoeja (Reply #22)

Wed Jan 9, 2013, 03:37 PM

31. +1000 and I've wondered for years why IT shops bought it.

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Response to sinkingfeeling (Reply #31)

Wed Jan 9, 2013, 08:01 PM

35. Because management got snowed by pretty presentations

With no clue that the customization was going to be "extra"?

Just a theory.... Snerk!

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Response to ieoeja (Reply #22)

Wed Jan 9, 2013, 05:33 PM

33. "Mainframes were running DOS"?????

"They were handed a set of programming standards as they came in the door. But those standards were written when mainframes were running DOS. "

When did mainframes run DOS? 45 years in the IT business and I guess I missed that one!

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Response to SharonAnn (Reply #33)

Wed Jan 9, 2013, 10:37 PM

36. Beginning in 1966.

Disk Operating System/360, also DOS/360, or simply DOS, was an operating system for IBM mainframes. It was announced by IBM on the last day of 1964, and it was first delivered in June 1966. In its time DOS was the most widely used operating system in the world.


http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/DOS/360_and_successors

Most every mainframe had a DOS, which replaced loading executables from mag tape, which replaced loading executables from punched cards. They were as primitive as just a batch-oriented job control language interpreter, a relocating loader for the executables, and some handling of I/O files, print streams and console output.

Minicomputers and personal computer systems each sort of recapitulated the evolution of operating systems as hardware capabilities evolved from mainframe ECL to TTL to CMOS.

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Response to FarCenter (Reply #36)

Wed Jan 9, 2013, 11:24 PM

38. My first job was punching cards and hauling decks and tapes down

to the computer room, then hauling output back upstairs!

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Response to SharonAnn (Reply #33)

Thu Jan 10, 2013, 09:48 AM

39. Dos/360 was announced in 1964. Forefunner of VSE.

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Response to SharonAnn (Reply #33)


Response to hedgehog (Original post)

Wed Jan 9, 2013, 11:13 PM

37. Thanks for Alert...our small business is going through enough hell..more

coming with these Software Programs with Glitches that take valuable time to work out...I guess. Sigh...

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Response to hedgehog (Original post)

Fri Jan 11, 2013, 02:00 AM

41. You're kidding, right?

I really believe my company does payroll on an abacus - we may have upgraded all the way to hand-cranked adding machines, but that would only have been since I've been here. If something works, we do NOT replace it.

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Response to hedgehog (Original post)

Fri Jan 11, 2013, 02:07 AM

42. Ugh, my agency has a SAP GUI HR/Payroll system.

It's bad enough that we actually have a shadow system and do the payroll (for about 2000 people) by hand.

Awesome. At least the system maintains employee addresses adequately.


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