Outsource! Outsource and use off the shelf software! All your troubles are gone! Yah don't need high priced IT people any more, just a couple operators can run your Fortune 500 company! So say a bunch of consultants waiting to pluck your company revenues and turn them into 'One Time Extraordinary Expenses.' Well, from what I see as a DBA in the ERP trenches it just substitutes one set of problems for another.
Much off the shelf software is installed by short term consultants trained to do a rip and run install. A big mess is left behind, a snake pit of scratch installs, unknown environment dependencies, a barely running mess that does not work when you reboot the machine.
Then come the interface consultants. Unfortunately 'Off the Shelf' warez don't usually run in a vacuum. Interfaces to other "Off the Shelf" warez have to be created and are done by another set of grab and go consultants. What happens? Custom interfaces without source code that are doing undocumented things to unknown data for unknown reasons on barely running "Off the Shelf" applications. A few weeks later the whole house of cards falls apart and you and your bargain basement staff tries to find more consultants to glue the mess back together. That is if your company still exists.
How do you manage these problems?
Have a system administration staff that are competent, have standards for installing software and have the authority not to kowtow to every rinkydink manager who brings in a rip and run consultant who wants to install a lowly application as root or NT admin users. These people are not cheap and have years of systems experience. Have project managers or consultants not connected to the grab and go interface consultant. They should insist on delivery standards such as source code, compile and install scripts, documented specifications and tests to the specs. And the authority to stop payment for not meeting the delivery standards. These people are not cheap and have years of development experience.
"Off the Shelf" applications are not 'Business Systems for Dummies'. If you are a dummy you have no business betting the company on them.
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