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Business Objects/SAP bungle leaves users in lurch

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Business Objects users have been left confused and angry after a bungled attempt to merge their product support with a system serving SAP customers.

Some Business Objects users have had to wait for full product support almost three weeks following an attempt to merge them into SAP's main support system, in the wake of its $6.78bn (£3.3bn) acquisition last October.

The combined companies said they were changing support from July 7 and would send Business Objects' users access information (S number) shortly afterwards. But many users have had to wait for their access codes and are far from happy with the new "self service" support.

And, in addition to difficulties accessing online support, users have found only open cases have been migrated to the new SAP system.

The business applications giant had pledged to move closed cases later but, in the meantime, users have had to rely on their own records. "All my previous cases with OCS are now gone. Good thing I have archived all the case information myself," one user on the unofficial Business Objects Board (BOB) forum wrote.

Another user noted: "I just spoke with them again. The SAP support informed me that the migration is not completed and we are not in their system. I have no way to obtain a S-number or my customer number. Even my sales person is blowing me off. This was a horrible day to have a production system issue."

Another commented: "It's absurdly difficult to use and completely unintuitive. I had thought when BO transitioned their support over to their Peoplesoft site after the Crystal merger, that it went from so-so to bad. But this SAP support site sinks to a new low."

Cindi Howson, founder of business intelligence product review site BIScorecard and a Datawarehousing Institute teacher, called the whole affair a blunder, that: "Smacks of both poor planning and inadequate test." Cindi should know: she's got more than 15-years' experience implementing and evaluating BI.

As the situation began to settle towards the end of last week Howson noted there were two main issues behind the problems. First, Business Objects had underestimated the number of logons that would not be needed to synchronize between two separate SAP security systems. Also, Business Objects had attempted several migrations to SAP's infrastructure at the same time.

With that in mind, Howson urged customers to evaluate the support system. She added: "I'll be curious how Business Objects makes amends to customers for this support misstep and if indeed they can execute on their vision in this area."

Scott Bajtos, Business Objects executive vice president of customer assurance, in a written statement to The Register said that Business Objects was working around the clock to ensure that all users have access to the information as well as to the engineers they need for support. He expected "complete resolution" by the end of last week.®

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