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SAP-IBM payroll system woes fouled up nurses' pay

By Chris Kanaracus
July 14, 2011 01:58 PM ET

The VON project conducted unit tests, user acceptance tests and parallel tests, according to a spokeswoman for the organization.

The project's problems may stem from the use of junior IBM consultants on the job, Pazahanick said.

In fact, all SAP payroll project failures have the same characteristics, he said. "The common thread is junior consultants and weak testing."

Customers are sometimes to blame for difficulties with an ERP project, such as by failing to provide adequate business requirements. "But being a consultant, I put a lot of the blame on the consulting group," Pazahanick said. "With the money SAP consultants make, they should be guiding the business as to what they need to do."

An IBM spokeswoman declined to comment on the issues at VON.

"SAP is dedicated to helping businesses run better. We stand behind our software and the more than 1,200 customers across Canada and more than 170,000 globally," the company said in a statement. "We continue to enjoy a strong business relationship with the Victorian Order of Nurses. Together with the Victorian Order of Nurses' implementation partner, SAP is committed to the success of this innovative project that will ultimately help provide improved services to the Victorian Order of Nurses' employees."

Despite the system's problems, VON's experience seems far less grave than that of New York City, where a disastrous custom payroll software project called CityTime has run up more than $600 million in costs and sparked a widespread criminal probe.

In addition, tensions over the VON project don't seem to have reached the level seen in 2007, when Arizona State University had major problems with an Oracle payroll system. Armed guards were posted at the school's human resources department at one point, according to a Wall Street Journal report at the time.

Chris Kanaracus covers enterprise software and general technology breaking news for The IDG News Service. Chris's e-mail address is

Reprinted with permission from Story copyright 2014 International Data Group. All rights reserved.
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