They


Isn’t it awful, when some project of yours makes no headway because of roadblocks put in its way by some anonymous “they” ?

“Sorry, but THEY will never agree to this.”

The most enraging about all of this is that you never get to the bottom who “they” really are, and on what grounds exactly “they” object to your proposals.

A clear example was the availability of data, or rather the lack thereof, in our SAP systems. What we were told by the SAP Competency Centre (later to become the BICC or Business Intelligence Competency Centre) was that we were able to have access to selected data cubes, but not to the underlying data warehouse. Since each data cube us drawn up with specific reports in mind, this is an intolerable restriction to someone who wants to perform in-depth data exploration. So we asked the question “why aren’t we allowed access to the underlying data layer?” Because it’s company policy. “So who decided that this was company policy, and who can we talk to to discuss the matter?” And that’s where you hit the buffers. Either the person you spoke to was telling fibs, and are hiding behind company policy so they don’t have to justify themselves, or they’re unwilling to divulge who the real instigator behind the proclaimed company policy might be.

Whatever the case, you never get to the bottom of whatever bugs you, meaning that your project gets kicked into the long grass. A typical example was when our mainframe-based engineering system called TEMS was replaced by a SAP-based system called C1P. The system was fine for standard input and reporting, but severely restrictive when it came to using the new data for reports that were not part of the original brief.

In fact, we had to follow an unofficial extraction route using a homegrown VB app, and then migrated into bespoke Oracle tables using WebFocus. So in the end we ended up with something that worked and was useful, but would have been so much easier to maintain if it could have been developed as an officially supported system. But because it was not developed using authorised tools, and it accessed a data layer that officially wasn’t supposed to be accessed, “they” could not possibly condone it. So “they” just pretended it didn’t exist.

After so many years I can make a pretty good guess at who lurks behind the amorphous “they” label, but what’s the point ? If after so many years of struggling they have not budged from their initial position by one inch, why would they now ?

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