One of the quirks of the Enterprise Resource Planning industry is there’s really only so many customers to go around. To maintain growth, ERP companies have to both continually pitch add-on services and find a way to sell software outside of ERP’s traditional customer base of Fortune 1000 companies.
And SAP (SAP) is looking well outside the Fortune 1000. In an announcement today at the European Police Congress in Berlin, the German ERP giant said it’s launching an “Investigative Case Management” module to “support police and other investigating authorities in their efforts to prevent, detect and investigate crime.”
Good idea. We’re not experts on software packages already open to law enforcement authorities, but SAP needs to keep looking for business anywhere it can find it.
The downside, of course, is a high-profile police software failure could tarnish SAP’s already shaky reputation. SAP software is notorious for time and cost overruns, and while SAP took a PR hit when jeweler Shane Co. recently blamed trouble with SAP in part for its bankruptcy, a similar statement from, say, the Justice Minister of Belgium, would be disastrous for the company. (Although we note SAP’s new “Business Suite 7” is supposed to make implemenations of the software easier.)
A failed SAP implementation at Scotland Yard isn’t so ludicrous to imagine: Residents of Oak Park, IL are up in arms after a failed $1.6 million implementation of ERP rival PeopleSoft (ORCL) ended in “nearly a total waste and failure,” upending the small town’s finances.