Waste Management’s $100m Waste Problem

I saw on CNet that Waste management is suing SAP for what it deems a $100m “complete failure” of a CRM/ERP deployment.

This is scary in a lot of ways.

First, a successful CRM initiative is not 100% about technology, and the vendor and customer need to work together to make the initiative a success. Of course, having more flexible and open CRM solutions does help the cause. But adoption is tough.  In this case, the product was deemed “defective” by Waste Management – not sure without looking closely how true of a claim this is.

Secondly, proprietary software lends itself to this kind of situation. SAP has done of good job of rolling out vertical versions – there are about 26 or so nowadays – but still, that isn’t enough. Companies may have a lot of vertical affinities, but ultimately many processes  – some highly mission critical – tend to be unique to a single business. Proprietary models cannot meet this type of need in a simple or cost effective manner.

I think companies like SAP, Microsoft etc. are looking to change this and become more like open source providers. But the change is slow, and other concepts like SaaS are taking up their resources and messaging as well. It will be interesting to see how well they catch up to what commercial open source vendors have learned already…

…a candid view from the Waste Management CIO’s office…