Skip to content
Independent SAP programme advice
Stuart Browne13-Oct-2022 16:39:253 min read

Roll up, Roll up... meet the bearded lady of the SAP world.

I had my first beard trim recently.

I mean, I have been shaving.

But this was the first time I’d ever had a professional beard trim.

The beard is a recent thing - last 3 years I guess. Partly because shaving drives me mad and partly because it a neat way to hide a double chin.

I trim it myself with various implements that I've acquired. But I needed a bit of direction - somebody to show me what good looks like.

So I booked in to the aptly named Billy Goat Barber via their cool online booking service which presumably saves distracting barbers from their important cut-throat work and means customers like me can book a trim at 11 PM.

Technology with benefits - who knew?

As I parked up and made the 100m walk to Billy Goats, I was hit by a pang of anxiety.

What do I ask for?

It’s bad enough when they ask what you want on haircut days - but this was another level.

I was going to an event and wanted the beard tidier. But beyond that, I didn’t know what I actually wanted.  I really hadn’t thought this through.

Should I abort?

No. Because I ticked the little box to say I’d pay £7.95 even if I didn’t turn up. 

Coyly, I walked in to Billy Goat's to the chime of the door syncopating with the opening bars of a Stone Roses song on the radio. It was a cool place with a cool vibe.

Oh no - a Hipster barber with a vast bushy beard. What if he laughs at me and my pathetic growth?

I sat squirming for 3 minutes that felt like 30 before being called up to the huge chrome and red leather throne by the window.

What’s the plan buddy?

Said the Hipster.

Erm, I don’t know really. I started a beard and didn’t really think it through, but it’s got too big now and I don’t know what to do next. Can you please just fix it for me?

I felt like a little boy buying his first bag of sweets. 

A teenager asking for condoms. 

I was totally at his mercy. He could have done whatever he wanted to me - Victorian mutton chops, Goatee, Double Fork, Billy Connolly colour splash. 

Literally, anything.

In the end I left looking a little less like Hagrid and a little more like an amateur magician. 

But it was over.

As I walked back to the car I reflected on how I was totally at the barbers mercy.

I’d surrendered to his expertise and gone into a transaction without thinking about it.

Luckily it was fixed price. Imagine if it’d have been time and materials - he could have really rinsed me. He could have made me look stupid and charged me £100 or something.

That’s the problem when you enter into a transaction with an expert without clear knowledge of what you want. 

In hindsight, it would have been better to have had some knowledge on the subject and a rough idea of the outcome I wanted.

But a beard is a trivial thing, right?

Not like a big, complex SAP project.

I mean, imagine having no knowledge, an unclear strategy and no initial design principles when you engage a systems integrator to shave you with a cut throat razor.

But that's what happens.

And, around 52% of SAP customers don’t achieve the business outcome they expected. Fewer than 30% deliver to their agreed budget. And, only 36% keep to their original plan.

The factors that drive these shocking stats include a lack of solution knowledge and a failure to standardise.

For example, 62% of SAP customers felt that their architecture team were not in complete control of the SAP solution during their programme and failed to manage design changes in a structured way.


Luckily, you can do our SAP Preflight Check if you don't want to be in the 48% of SAP customers who fail.

It's a simple survey that you and your colleagues can do in 20 minutes.

It cross checks whether you're making any of the 77 mistakes that our research identified as conspiring to undermine SAP projects.

Alternatively, download our SAP Success Research Report and learn more about these stats.

I also now advise on beards.

But I charge for that.


Stuart Browne

Stuart has held leadership roles in the SAP ecosystem over an 25 year period, spanning consultancy, delivery management, practice development, sales, marketing and analyst relations. He writes regularly on Linkedin and for ERP Today magazine. With an eclectic mix of skills and one of the largest SAP networks in the UK, Stuart has established a formidable reputation that has enabled Resulting to guide SAP customers through complex challenges.