Sandbagging ERP implementations


ˈsan(d)baɡ’ / verb: deliberately underperform in a race or competition to gain an unfair advantage

“You have the solution to this issue? So you were sandbagging us?”, the ERP manager said with a dark face while accusing me. “If you are open to an explanation, I can explain”, I offered, but sadly at that time he was not. And in hindsight I now know why…

Ability to execute

A few projects ago I was part of a large team of consultants and after a successful implementation of the finance module of Microsoft Dynamics AX2012 we then were charged with implementing the warehouse and logistic modules. However, we got stuck with a logistic procedure we didn’t know how to implement.

The solution was regarding the catch weight principle. However, at that time AX2012 was new and not one consultant had implemented nor was familiar with that concept. Which resulted in long meetings about a concept with a lot of Dynamics AX experts and logistic experts from the customer. Being in the meeting reminded me of a comedy named “See no evil, hear no evil”; the blind one and the deaf one trying to explain each other how the world works. So yes, with 15 years of Dynamics AX implementation experience, I didn’t know what Catch Weight functionality did in AX nor was I or the other consultants familiar with the principle. And yes time was wasted on architecting a solution that was not needed since there was standard functionality available.

Gartner did an analysis about ERP for product-centric midmarket companies in which Microsoft Dynamics AX was positioned as a visionary, but not a leader purely because nor Microsoft nor the partners have the ability to execute: “The growth of the market for the product goes faster than the creation of enough capacity of high-skilled business and functional people to serve customers globally. And as a partner we know this is true. Microsoft is leaving recruitment and education to the partners.  Partners are reluctant to invest since there is this looming ‘certainty’ that your employees will be contacted at least twice a year by a recruiter.

Form your own project team

To bring both stories together: there is a lack of Dynamics AX resources and those resources are scattered throughout the market. A few facts

* Most large Microsoft Partners have senior and junior consultants. Most likely in a 1:6 ratio

* The majotity of boutique partners do have very good senior consultants. Most likely in a 1:2 ratio

* ‘Good’ partners have ‘bad’ consultants and ‘bad’ partners have ‘good’ consultants.

* Most freelancers are medior or senior consultants, otherwise they wouldn’t freelance themselves.

* Some freelancers only have one loyalty: Money.

* Employees you are grooming will get poached, eventually.

* And consultants with >15 years of Dynamics AX experience don’t necessarily need to be aware of all the functionalities Microsoft is introducing.

So take all this as granted; if you want the right resources in your project team you have to select them yourselves. You do this when you hire them in your company, so why not do this when forming a project group. Especially if this project group is going to work on automating your business processes.

In my opinion it is quite ok to request resumes and tell the partner you don’t want certain individuals on certain positions. In my opinion it is also quite ok to tell partners that you want contractors or other consultants from other partners on your projects since they simply have better industry or functional knowledge or simply more experience.

Kaya Consulting, independent experienced consultants

Hiring Kaya Consulting consultants is of course another good way of securing the right consultants on your projects. And if we can’t deliver the right consultant we will tell you so.

But it is true; if you call tomorrow we probably cannot help you, since we are busy on other projects. And once we accepted a project we will never abandon it until successfully delivered. Because of this attitude we can proudly say that we have never been part of a failed project.


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