My friends inspire most of my articles. Thanks, friends.
One friend works at a company that built it's IT infrastructure on Microsoft products and salesforce.com. They're adding SAP to the mix.
Friend in question is a she.
She was hired for a fairly high level position and a as you'd expect, a lot is being asked of her, but she's very smart and capable of working hard.
She keeps wonder what's she's supposed to do. This question is flawed -- there isn't some particular thing she needs to do. And even figuring out what to do isn't enough. Nor is going a step further beyond that and implementing some solution.
The problems are mostly social, even though it's easy to get hung up on the depth and severity of the technical problems.
What's needed is someone who is...
Arrogant enough scheme something up that throws out the mess that everyone is clinging to and replaces it with something else.
Manipulative enough to coerce other people into going along with a plan.
Subversive enough to ignore the official dictates from the people who created the mess in the first place.
Some jobs call for a dick, in the bad sense of the word.
You have to conduct yourself in the nerd equivalent of a football player or ape. It's you against them, and you're in charge, or you're going to try damn hard to be, unless they decide to help you, which they won't do willingly.
The mess was created by people selling simple solutions to complex problems. The primary benefit to doing this, besides people really this non-existent ideal, is that you can be nice about it. Java developers but a nice facade on the brutal practice of software development. Letting non-technical people attempt to create IT for data driven companies using Access or Excel is extremely nice -- it's completely hands off. Just give them the rope and let them do the hangin'. The Java people put a nice facade on through excessive professionalism and formality and ritual; Perl people do it through over friendliness and inappropriate levels of agreeablility. I'm not saying that if software development is treated like the brutal practice it is that success if assured, merely that failure courses aren't dealt with properly otherwise.
Oh well. That's all boring stuff.
A whole bunch of sales people want reports, often custom, on data that comes in through ftp, very un-fresh, and gets imported into salesforce.com and sometimes re-exported and run through Access to make reports. It's pretty manual and hard to customize. So they're adding SAP.