Y2K and SAP: It’s another fad

I remember the first time I heard about SAP. I asked myself: “What do the initials actually stand for?” This, of course, was because our customers were really talking about the company and products for the Y2K buzz of the late ’90s.

Most of the information was coming from executives

of large, global companies that suspected or knew they had exposure to the Y2K issues.

Many of these organizations had legacy accounting systems and programs that already went back to the mid-’80s. They were now approaching the critical upgrade timelines, even if their business needs weren’t really there.

Of all the companies that used Y2K as a basis for striving to grow their businesses, SAP was possibly the most successful. Its program must be solid in comparison to its competitors — some, of which, I understand, couldn’t guarantee Y2K compatibility until much later in the ’90s. SAP had great support from the contractor community, and customers were assured that all those 1999 entries would roll over to 2000 properly.

Once some of the largest firms in the world started working with their new SAP partners, were their problems really solved, or were they just different? Of course SAP was smiling all the way to the bank.

I understand SAP is now looking at working its way into the SME market in Canada. Because of the nature of our marketplace, the company is actively recruiting new resellers and consulting partners to help identify and implement new customers for their products.

They may have a tough road ahead as the Canadian marketplace is not just an extension of the U.S. and must be treated differently.

I have since asked numerous SAP programmers: “What does SAP stand for?” I have received at least three different answers that just reinforced the idea that “in confusion there is opportunity.” But one thing is for sure: SAP still means cha-ching at the cash register to many people.

Frank Abate is the president and founder of Mississauga, Ont.-based Infinity Technologies Inc., one of the top VARs in Canada.

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