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SAP Rapid Marts Rescue from WCI Consulting

“Your team did an awesome job. I don’t know how you had the patience to do it all, but your technical team just stuck in there and I commend your work. You don’t know how much help you did.” – Lance Hammond, The City of Edmonton

Situation

The City of Edmonton, an organization that governs the city’s government and transportation, came to WCI in need of help for implementing SAP Rapid Marts. They had purchased 3 Rapid Marts (Accounts Payable, Purchasing and Inventory) 6 months prior and despite the “rapid” promise, they were proving to be anything but. Lance Hammond, the Project Manager, even noted that “I was just tearing my hair out on this Rapid Marts project”.

Hammond and his team needed someone who could help them solve the Rapid Mart installation problems as well as the data load complications they were running into. Also, the team didn’t have training on the Rapid Marts solution and there were no training courses offered by the seller that they could participate in to get up to speed.

They were stuck and were almost ready to call the project a failure until an internet search led them to exactly who they were looking for:
WCI Consulting – a data management and business intelligence services company with over 16 years of experience in the industry.

“We hired you because we felt that you were talking the talk since you guys understood these Rapid Marts and were speaking to them from a very practical point of view and not theoretical. We believed that you could get us unstuck” – Lance Hammond, City of Edmonton

Solution

Lance Hammond chose WCI’s experienced consultants to work on the Rapid Marts project because of their previous experience and knowledge with the solution. He decided that if this project was going to be saved, it should be in the hands of the guys that didn’t just talk the talk, but walked the walk and understood the complexities of the product.

Project Completion
The project became much more complicated than Hammond had initially thought when the Rapid Marts were purchased and was ready to call it quits. “With your help we rescued the project and I know that if we were stuck for another month I would’ve thrown in the towel. We would have lost all the money we invested in it and it would have been an absolute, complete, hands down failure” announced Hammond.

To tackle the Rapid Marts mess, WCI took a 3 step approach to finding a solution: they listened, they investigated and they solved the problem. When things weren’t running as they were supposed to, the problem was examined thoroughly until a fix could be found. Hammond noted that, “we were totally stumped, but WCI created smaller temporary jobs and kept playing around with customized jobs till the problem was resolved. The best part was that they had it running in 15 minutes as opposed to several days like we were.”

The result was that the Rapid Marts once again became a viable solution to departmental data analysis and the success of the project became a reality.

Long Term Strategy
The Rapid Marts solution, when installed correctly, gives the City of Edmonton a chance to create better reports and leverage their data. Hammond stated that “with a successful load of these Rapid Marts we’ve given the people what they want and now they can create the reports needed for analysis.”

Overcoming Obstacles
The one thing that was a constant throughout the project was the struggle with the product. Through previous experience WCI was familiar with the complications involved and was able to circumvent them to reach a reliable solution. Hammond was extremely frustrated with the solution and exclaimed that “the Rapid Marts product is lacking, it doesn’t feel like a mature and reliable product. It should have been easier, but what WCI did was awesome.”

Training
Another thing that was on the list of Hammond’s desirables was to find a partner that could not only implement the Rapid Mart solution but train his team so that they could solve problems as they arose in the future. WCI provided proper documentation and spent time with the team to make sure they understood how it worked. Hammond noted that “our staff now has sufficient knowledge transfer and can do it on their own when it comes to Rapid Mart installs and data transportation. From what we’ve seen there are no classroom courses and doing it in the trenches really helped us learn from the experts.”

Steering Committee
The City of Edmonton has a formal body that guides projects and meets every few months to guide the project manager. WCI was invited to join to help with the long term strategy. Hammond stated, “there’s a lot of added value that WCI put in that they didn’t have to, but they did anyways.”

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