Moose-sized SAP project mothballed in Alaska

mooseAlaskan natives are a little restless about a huge SAP project which is supposed to have been running since 2011.

The project, which said enterprise resource planning (ERP) software implementation, when they bought it was supposed to be state of the art. While it is unlikely that anyone really knew what the software did, they did know that it cost a lot of moose antlers to buy.

Now the City of Anchorage, Alaska has put the project on hold again and this time, its future is far from certain.

The project is tens of millions of dollars over budget and years behind schedule and the local council is not happy about putting more money into it.

At the time of its launch, the project was intended to replace Anchorage’s legacy

PeopleSoft system with ERP software from SAP. It was originally planned to cost $9.8 million and to go live at the start of 2013.

However toward the end of last year officials began an independent review of the project, after it missed its second “go-live” date. It has spent $35 million so far and budgeted another $11 million for the project, but a further $20 million to $30 million is expected to be required to complete it.

The council is looking at proceeding with a scaled-down version, or scrapping the lot.

SAP software is used successfully by tens of thousands of government agencies, including the U.S. Department of Agriculture, financial departments in the states of Florida, Pennsylvania, and South Carolina, and counties such as Howard County, Maryland, SAP said.

No one is sure quite how the project got to a 600 percent overrun, but it appears that the Alaskans did not have anyone who really understood the project or how it all worked.  But then they did buy SAP and anyone who knows what its business software does is worth their weight in HP printer ink and is as rare as a left wing politician in the US.