SAP Protests USAF Oracle Award, Even As Its Own Implementations Take Fire
ERP stands for Enterprise Resource Planning software, though some have suggested that “Expensive, Risky Projects” would also be apropos. The goal is to create one system that can replace tens or even hundreds of legacy I.T. systems, giving large organizations complete views into a specified area’s data and transactions (HR, supply chain, accounting, et. al.) for the first time. More than one business has invested millions in ERP implementations that can take many years to implement fully, and ended up scrapping the whole thing. Some of those failed private sector projects have had price tags over $100 million.
Oracle and SAP are now engaged in something of a spat with the US Air Force over a recent $88.5 million contract to implement the U.S. Air Force Expeditionary Combat Support System (ECSS), which will retire some 500 legacy systems in favor of a single supply chain management application from Oracle. In response, German ERP vendor SAP has now filed a protest with the U.S. GAO (Government Accountability Office), on the grounds that SAP was the lowest risk offer. The darkly amusing aspect of all this is a September 2005 report [PDF format] from that same GAO, which slammed recent SAP implementations by the US Navy as “…failures, and $1 billion was largely wasted,” despite notes in the linked article that the US Navy was happy with some aspects of the project. DID will continue to watch this story with some interest, but we aren’t holding our breath waiting for an outpouring of sympathy from the GAO.