Proving that truth can be stranger than fiction, Oracle has published a customer case study proclaiming the wonders of its implementation at Arizona State University (ASU). The document conveniently omits the part where thousands of incorrect payroll checks were issued, morale plummeted, and armed police were called to guard the HR office.
The university’s massive enterprise resource planning (ERP) project called OASIS—Online Administrative & Student Information System—replaced legacy systems with the new integrated Oracle system in just 18 months. ASU did this while increasing its enrollment during by 2,500. While early externally-produced studies had predicted a 5- to 10-year timeframe at a cost of US$100 million for the ERP replacement, ASU and its partners delivered it in 18 months for a cost of US$15 million dollars.
Yes, the implementation was fast and cheap, which is great. However, things get dicey when the case study describes the implementation itself:
ASU’s ERP project is more aggressive than most projects of this type, both in terms of complexity and the compressed implementation timeframe. Despite the unique challenges, the results achieved are remarkable.
Hmmmm. These guys treated users as guinea pigs, created a situation where thousands of people had incorrect paychecks, and then had to bring in armed guards to protect HR! Which part of this "achievement" was "remarkable"?
Blogger Scott Wilson was surprised about my less-than-sympathetic reaction to this implementation "experiment." The reason for my impatience is simple: it was wrong for Arizona State to take risks with employee paychecks. While I usually applaud efforts to reduce implementation time and cost, the execution was unacceptably poor in this case.
Now, regarding Oracle. I can't believe this company's arrogance in presenting such a self-serving, one-sided view of the situation. Call me old-fashioned, but I continue to believe that integrity matters.