I Know SAP, Oracle, and the Names of Four Other Software Packages That Should Impress You!

I don’t know what it is lately, but I seem to keep getting assigned to client employees that want to share their qualifications with me.
“I used to work in BlahBlah for BigCorporation, Inc. on SAP,” they say.
Is it years of interviewing employees that make me want to say, “Oh, that’s great. Why DID you leave such a wonderful position?” Needless to say, though, I control myself better than that.
The interesting thing is that having worked with SAP seems to qualify as the one piece of experience that makes one a complete expert on anything else ERP. I should say here that I’ve never worked with SAP, and have no desire to. My expertise (and my client base) is in the mid-market, and I don’t play with the big boys.
What I do know is that there is significant difference between the Tier 1 packages (SAP, Oracle, JD Edwards, PeopleSoft in its day, etc.) and the mid-range. Those differences apply in both directions: Tier 1 folk generally don’t understand what they are buying in the mid-range, and mid-range folk who think they have Tier 1 in hand are often wrong. But I digress.
Here’s the thing: employees who know one software package don’t often automatically absorb the information for another software package. People–in general–like to live in their comfort zone. So if you take an employee that’s been working with SAP and give them Sage MAS 90/200, they’re going to hate it. It is missing too many features.
Never mind that SAP implementations have an extra zero or two in the cost.
The last client that shared her qualifications with me proceeded to rant about the reporting problems she had with their current mid-range solution. Finally, I asked for a specific example.
“Well,” she said, “I just spent two weeks re-keying 1,300 plus vendors because I needed them in Excel. There wasn’t a report to do it in the software.”
And she was right. There wasn’t a report. There was a little feature called “Export to Excel.” It was right there on the customer screen –> File –> Export. Five clicks later and a few keystrokes, I pulled the spreadsheet with the customers up in Excel.
“Is this what you wanted?” I asked as humbly and softly as I could.
“That’s more information than I wanted,” she snapped. I guess she didn’t know how to delete Excel columns. She–after all–knew SAP and Oracle…
Oh, by the way, I mentioned this to a colleague. She pulled up the Help text. Right there under “Export” were the detailed instructions.