A view from the other side

IS Guerrilla

Got an e-mail recently from a good friend in France – she’s a telecommunications- and engineer-type from Alberta, who is currently working on a major Oracle conversion. What she had to say about her job was very enlightening. Here’s what she wrote:

Dear Kenneth:

Care to hear my thoughts on the business you’re in, from the perspective of a non-IT person working on an IT project? In France?

Traffic circles, weird washrooms and strange hours of operation for pubs, cigarette vendors and all the other important stuff – sometimes I find myself clicking the heels of my red bowling shoes (all the rage over here) and wishing for a good Alberta steak.

But these are just the obvious differences. What comes after that are the more subtle differences, subtle being a relative term. I was witness to the results of plugging a North American PC into a European wall socket. The results? Not subtle.

Here’s an IT conclusion from a non-IT person: moving from SAP to Oracle ain’t a straightforward affair. Much less straightforward when you’re surrounded by French employees, when every last bit of documentation by the company is in English.

SAP is, apparently, multilingual. Oracle? Not so much.

To its credit, Oracle does try e.g. a typical error message in English (“The field you’ve just entered is covered in mines, your MRP will not run, and your souffl