Interesting press release in the world of Enterprise Software. The Shane Company is going bankrupt and who's to blame? SAP (at least in part) for messing up a $36 million inventory management system.

Not only did Shane say that the software took too long to install (3 years instead of 1) and had cost overruns (originally a $10 million budget) but they blamed SAP for lost sales due to worse inventory management than pre-SAP. And Shane now has to employ 8 contractors to modify the SAP system and “bring it to full functionality,” it said.

Ouch! The sad thing is it's credible and it happens every day. It's a cautionary tale about how big, bloated enterprise software installations not only take longer, cost more and require new job reqs to be opened but can literally help destroy a business.

I'm happy to say this is something no Tableau Software client will ever have to worry about. Typically our stuff spreads with free downloads as people see how their colleagues are solving problems, so the implementation grows organically. Most important, it only grows if it keeps providing value - in contrast to a multi-million-dollar top-down behemoth.

Truly a sad situation for Shane and its employees. Shane management, maybe Tableau can help?


Here's an update: Shane Company issued a statement that says that their original bankruptcy filing unfairly characterized SAP as the cause of their filing. Below is the text of that message.

"Press coverage resulting from the Shane Company Chapter 11 bankruptcy filing has unfairly characterized SAP as the cause of Shane Company’s cost overruns based on the software applications licensed from SAP in 2005. Project implementation cost overruns were caused by a failed implementation process utilizing multiple third-party industry experts. After not meeting expectations, the Shane Company contracted SAP Services to restart the project which they played a key role in implementing, stabilizing, and further enhancing the system. In fact, we have a strong business relationship with SAP and will continue working with them as we emerge from our Chapter 11 bankruptcy filing."

I have had this issue in the past when I was in the golf business and we were looking at integrating ecommerce, inventory and accounting. Big expensive enterprise software solutions are often very scary for medium size businesses to digest.

We scaled the internet operations from $1.2mm to over $9mm in sales in less than two years. I wish back in 1998 I had Tableau Software's solutions to present sales and marketing data to our CEO.

PS - It is nice to see a Venture All Star company like Tableau Software making money during the recession.

Cheers, Tim Reha

Tim Reha
Venture All Stars

Now the ugly truth about SAP is finally being reveled