Yesterday I was up to my earlobes implementing a business intelligence/data warehouse system in a very large SOX-compliant enterprise :-).
For current requirements, this solution is excellent. It is third party software, installed on top of an existing ERP system, that enables the users to extract whatever data they need and build their own reports without submitting a ticket to IT. Everyone loves the prototypes and is dreaming about the possibilities.
So instead of beating up on enterprise life, let me just share a little bit of yesterday, one typical enterprise day:
- A 3rd party build just stopped at 98% complete with no error message.
- Another build crashed with error messages I had never seen, so I had to open another ticket with our vendor
- We ran out of disk space on a volume we didn’t know the software was using.
- I had to add additional data cleaning functions to remove heretofore unknown control characters in the enterprise data.
- I inadvertantly named 44 files with the vendor’s own naming convention, so now no one can tell whose files are whose. We had to reset our standards and rebuild.
- Although this vendor has hundreds of installs, oddly, none of them are SOX compliant. The controls, audits, and duplication of data needed will more than double the resource requirements. Worse, I’ll have to do an implementation that no one has ever done before with this software :-)
- Today we start writing our own tools to handle the SOX compliance and satisfy the auditors. Some fun.
I can go on and on. You get the idea. And I haven’t even touched upon the usual enterprise culprits: the meetings, the politics, and the lack of project management. It kinda sucks to have to do triple work to get the same thing done.
So whose fault is all of this? No one’s. That’s just the way it is. Every time I think of a better way to get things done in a large enterprise, someone has 5 good reasons why they are the way they are. It’s wasted energy fighting that.