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SAP WAVED CHOPPER TO QUIT VPs  

2008-08-22 21:18:59|  分类: 默认分类 |  标签: |举报 |字号 订阅

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 The following is the translation of the blog from LIU Guohua, a famous reporter and blogger, part of the blog was also published in several Popular Chinese newspapers.

The orininal blog: http://it.people.com.cn/GB/42891/42895/7604667.html

 

Again, it's just a beginning...

The Olympic Games will come to a close soon; now it's the turn for SAP China Games...

 

******************************************************

The recent organizational change of management happened in SAP is not as simple as in the general practice on change of blood. SAP waved as a chopper, the practice of which indicates SAP strategic loss and low management as a global managing tycoon of the software. The Earthquake of the personnel adjustments has attracted eyes of the media in which journalists and reporters who have good understanding of SAP alliance with the industry. They are curious and shocked at what happened since SAP wins the best reputations as a pioneer of being mature, well-organized, professional, proactive and stable to guide and couch enterprises. They are also wondering in what directions SAP might drive and if it goes in a right way.

Let me set forth on the realities of the facts and redress some misunderstanding, error reporting or misinterpretations.

 

Three VPs Not Yet Quits

On July 18th, SAP released a written message to the media to have confirmed that Mr. Zhang Xue Feng, Mr. Cai Gan Ming and Mr. Wang Wen have quitted from the company. Meanwhile, this information was highlighted and expressed around by some other Medias as well. But the fact per my investigations and all informing resources from internal SAP, is that up to now the three vice presidents of SAP did not request or was requested to quit yet.

The story could draw back to“China SAP 3rd Seasonal Sales Kick-off Meeting”(Gu Hua Shan Zhuang Conference) on 8th July, in which over 200 SAP employees attended the meeting. Mr. Timothy Cheung, newly appointed China SAP GM /board member suddenly made new announcements to appoint four vice presidents, meanwhile adjusted the positions of Cai Gan Ming and Zhang Xue Feng. Timothy Cheung encouraged employees to give commons or feedback at the meeting, then high level management including Cai Gan Ming,Wang Wen and Zhang Xue Feng raised queries and made some comments on the new regulations. Mr.Wang Wen , VP pre-sales who was non-related with this adjustment, stood up to express his views. Employees from SAP released news to the media that Mr. Wang was too upset to hold his words at that moment and he would like to stand out for some commons.

I would like to say these commons from the three highly professional and fully experienced VPs were based on their good understanding for change of management to cope with democratic exchanges, internal open interactions, law practice and obey company regulations. The initiatives of their suggestions are in a very goodwill to add values on the contributions through proposals or suggestions to help the company better improve. Timothy Cheung was all of a sudden at a loss as their suggestions won applause and brought positive feedback and much support from SAP employees at the meeting.

From my point of view, it was actually not at all hard to handle for Timothy Cheung as a China GM with full knowledge and managing experience, however Zhang along with his management supportive team, was a pity to lead the matter getting worse. Zhang could be saying, for instance that he was quite new joining the company and let me hand it over, communicated with board of director Mr.G and up-level, feedback comes after worth.”

The disputes during the process of driven change management per to Zhang, should be dealt with properly rather than a disaster acting like a chopper due to his unprofessional qualifications and low career competencies. To people around, it was pity and ridiculous to make it happen within SAP which win the best fame as a global Master of Management.

 

STARED FACTS

The unexpected forthcoming actions taken by SAP China were so stared and very surprising.

As soon as Sales Kick-off meeting (Gu Hua Shan Zhuang Conference) finished on 8th July, all attendees back to BeiGng, Mr.Zhang, Mr.Cai and Mr.Wang, three VPs received a phone notice from Jennifer, SAP Asia-Pacific HR director to inform them not go back work to SAP office and she illustrated it was not at all the terminating notice to three of them. Three VPs requested Jennifer to notify formally in written and reached a mutual agreement on the delivery of the formal notices by Jennifer to Mr. Zhang Xue Feng as a representative early next morning.

Mr. Zhang Xue Feng received the written notice, on 9th July. We got the information from internal SAP employees that the informing notice from HR was handed over to Mr.Zhang outside of the office. Contents of the notice were very coping with the phone message from Jennifer the day before. Mr. Zhang expressed he would consult with his lawyer, then feedback to the decision of the company.

Three VPs who served in SAP at least from 5 to 11 years went to consult with BeiGng Law Company along with the notice. Lawyer suggested them go back to the office to work as the notice lack of reasonable law basis upon his professional investigations and real information understanding. At 2:00pm the same day to consult with the lawyer, Mr. Zhang, Mr. Cai and Mr. Wang respectively came back to the office. Mr. Cai came to the office first. As soon as he arrived at the gate of the office, the atmosphere was very in tense by three security safeguards stood by. Mr. Cai requested to get into the office for work but refused by safeguards and HR staff. This dispute led SAP inform China police to deal with the crisis, while another two presidents Mr. Zhang Xue Feng and Mr. Wang Wen respectively arrived at the gate and got into the office area. The policemen expressed their non-interfere attitudes for they took it as SAP HR internal disputes rather than social security. They suggested it should be solved through consulting or communications between the employees and the company. Three VPs regained their work in the office again but merely 10 minutes around (from 3:30pm to 4:00pm), three VPs were formally notified that they have been terminated by the company.

Jennifer spoke to Mr. Cai she represented Mark Gibbs, SAP North Asia Board of Director/CEO to notify him being fired and the reason was because they all broke up the company’s notice regulation on disallowing them back to the office. Mr. Zhang, Mr. Cai and Mr. Wang immediately consulted with their lawyers through phone call soon after being fired notifications and left office by adoption of the advice from the lawyers. On 10th July SAP China released the news to the medias including to“21 Economic century”on newly appointment of the four VPs, however the company did not mention any rearrangements or how to arrange on Mr. Zhang, Cai and Wang, the three previous VPs. In addition, SAP China sent a written message to media claiming that Mr. Zhang Xue Feng, Mr. Cai Gan Ming and Mr. Wang Wen quitted from the company.

This is the realities coming from SAP which was so called as a sort of Change of Blood like a chopper to high managements and to those contributive experienced employees of the company. It is very frustrated and let people upset for such an open, communicative cultural attitudes, all of a sudden converse as a quick-hand retaliating, emotional and unprofessional behaviors, acting against different voices of the management.

No open communications or interactive exchanges when four new Vice presidents were announced at Sales Kick-off meeting (Gu Hua Shan Zhuang Conference). It is told that Mr. Zhang Xue Feng received the changing information on 5th of July and merely within his accountability. However in Klaus’ management, Like Mr. Zhang such a senior and well-experienced VP would have been invited to join the whole strategic change of management in China and reached internal commons before news released to the public.

 

Rash and Crude Personnel Regulating Actions

It is obvious the organizational change of management in SAP, furthermore HR handling terminations towards Mr.Zhang, Mr.Cai and Mr.Wang in China were so rash, crude, emotional and in quite unprofessional ways. It is highlight in an negative, astonished way to make people so surprised such a “Tycoon of Global management”as one of the most successful practice and learning examples nowadays themselves was loss of reasons and blind actions beyond the local law. Furthermore, as an experienced and a professional manager, Mr. Mark Gibbs and Mr. Timothy Cheung should avoid from such immature human decisions or emotional behaviors to spoil the reputations of the company.

China law seems being neglected by SAP due to the lack of knowledge on law basis and unwilling to adopt practice in a proper way. Employees of the company should reserve their working rights before quitting or being terminated, which have been clarified in the constitution of the Peoples Republic of China, and for which to ensure the employees working authorities also illustrates in detail in China Labor Law. Even though the queries or commons from the three VPs on changing organization or personnel regulations did rise unsatisfactory to the up level management at the conference, SAP ought to communicate with them in the office rather than refusing them back to the job like a reasonless patriarch, more after to have invited public security forces to hold back or interfere under no risk conditions.

It could be a learning experience how SAP deal with the case. Disputes even the arguments at the meeting were actually not so hard to be handled within the internal, however the contradictory was up-graded by “inviting securities” and “bring in Policemen” to interfere under the conditions away from the law practice. These attitudes and behaviors not only hurt the employees of the company by showing no respects of the dignity, of the law and of the trust, but also severely spoiled SAP reputations. It was pity the facts to deal with this change shows all are losing partners. Side-effects have extended to the employees in SAP who are fully supportive to the three VPs and expressed their much worries and very concern on the company actions against law and loss of trust attitudes.

Such a rash and crude action towards the three VPs also indicated that SAP is not at all care or wished to take responsibilities of the clients in China. Mr. Cai Gan Ming, VP for Oil, Natural Gas, mineral and chemicals were persistent winners of the Winner Circle. He leaded his team to take One-third portion of the whole sales in China during four years and just before being terminated, he accomplished one big deal on ERP projects valued 0.14 billion RMB which is the biggest sales agreement in China ever since. The unbelievable terminations so called in China “breaking the bridge soon after across” not only hurt SAP employees but also bring doubts for SAP integrity in face of the challenge on its professional attitudes and value prospective. People believe that“Big Wash” might be suspected among employees in SAP and side impact expressed rapid around to bring side-effects to the start and enforcement of ERP projects to China Petrol Company. It is ridiculous and very emotional to terminate Mr Wang, Pre-sales VP of the senior SAP specialist and financial advisor merely because of some supportive faring words at the meeting.  

Mr.Zhang Xue Feng (Bruce) took the position of GM in Eastern Region eight years ago and later promoted as Senior VP. Since early this year, Mr. Zhang was twice demoted to VP for steel, chemicals and minerals. Mr. Zhang made great contributions to SAP during 8 years, which was commonly appreciated both in IT industry and among SAP employees.

 

Hidden Strategic Errors behind “Big Wash”

As a matter of fact, HR earthquake is not the merely sudden incident to be happened in SAP. It could be tracked back to the end of last year. Over half year, many up-level managing staff left SAP (Klaus quitted, Huang Xiao Gan quitted, Mark Gibbs flying down, Li Wen Li quitted, Timothy Cheung flying down, Zhang Xue Feng and Wang Wen and Cai Gan Ming all terminated etc.) “Big Wash” rose to the top of the peak due to some queries and some commons at the meeting. Many employees from SAP show strong concerns on what happened and per our point of view, the key roots of the shaken is because of the main disputes on SAP strategic objectives of development in China.

The Story could be back to Klaus’ quit from SAP. Mr Klaus as CEO in China was very outstanding and contributive too, who later promoted as Board of Director North Asia Region for 11 years, during which China market was booming and fast driven. As a journalist, I interviewed, communicated with him many times and know he speaks fluent Chinese, very much understands China, China situations, market and the local customers. During his leadership, he not only created China stable and cohesive cultural environment through buying in experiences from German headquarters SAP, but also won high respects and good appreciations from Mr. Hasso Plattner, SAP global CEO, Mr. Kong Han Lin along with high managing levels, employees and clients in China so as the media.

People guess a lot and read from the media to know that Klaus quit was due to his further requests in order to keep up self-values achievements for higher positions which was out of the reality in SAP. But the fact from SAP internal resource is that the real reason Klaus left the company was because he had great disputes on China developing strategies with up-level management. Klaus held the views the increment of China market for soft-ware management especially high-tech markets still took time, and not so rapid growth as booming expectations proven by some up-level from headquarters or Asia-pacific. Klaus suggested the growing strategy in China Region should be driven in a stable and reasonable increment while others held different views. The disputing partners insisted China is a new market highly potentials to keep up rapidest in the world and should be driven faster as SAP is the global tycoon for software management. As for the big gap in between on strategy, Klaus had to be forced quit from the post which indicated that Klaus’ China strategy had been surrendered to be changed. Mark Gibbs from ORACLE succeeded Klaus as Board of Director, North Asia, radical to drive for renovations. One month after G was appointed as CEO in China to cover all markets of great China, Japan and Korea. The same day G was on boarding as CEO in China, Li Wen Li, the previous CEO great China who served 18 years in SAP left the company. Li’s old friend released the secrets why the man who had deep feelings to SAP left the company. Li did not recognize “Big Jump” strategic business initiatives and he himself failed to accept G’s managing style and attitudes. Before joining SAP in Nov. 2007, G had been working in ORACLE for16 years, 12 of which not in China but in Asia-pacific. The two people G with 16 years of ORACLE and Klaus with 11 years of SAP, two of whom had strong individual backgrounds and different experiences of their own and big gap in management style, mentality, behavior and attitudes. Seven years ago, the writer indicated ORACLE and SAP would have strong competitions between technical advance and experienced manager. The two competitors are sworn enemy on different views of strategic development, behavior and attitude too. Larry Errison led ORACLE team in a smart and show-off way while Hasso Plattner along with Henning Kagermann led SAP team in a stable and mature style focus on long-term values and strategic development. I feel pity that the replacement of Klaus by G might be SAP a strategic error due to giving up strengths of its own instead buying in weakness of the competitor and in different culture.

Commons or evaluations on Klaus and G are flexible and in any way around. Lots of information released from senior IT specialists or subordinated employees, in which it is said that Mark Gibbs fails in good reputation and his sales achievements average. Many employees from SAP complaint of G being so crude to colleagues and cool to the clients, always discontent to old employees in SAP and know little about China. An interesting story might help understand more. At first period when G joined SAP, quite a lot SAP high managements were worried about his employees from ORACLE stepping into SAP. However they turned into happy when they knew many employees from ORACLE were not willing to follow him up. No matter commons from all sources are uncertain or negative, one fact should be confirmed that G is no doubt to insist on his radical promotions so called “BIG JUMP”by SAP up-level management. SAP China earned over 0.5 billion RMB sales amounts in 2007 and two times of increment has been request to be reached for the new target (1 billion RMB) in 2008, which has been appreciated as the most radical, greatest and the most aggressive strategic development.

Based on the statistics from CCW Research, the whole scope of China managing software markets was 24.85 billion RMB in 2007, 20.2% increment compared with 20.675 billion RMB in 2006. CCW researching information showed the speed of the increment in software markets will slow down in recent years despite high-tech or low-tech markets seemed to be rapid growth. It should be proved that the key motive force (impetus) coming from the rising occupied market ratio from Ufida, KingDee. Ufida achieved revenue of over 1.3 billion RMB last year while KingDee around 0.8 billion RMB. Business performance in ORACLE China is on average whose revenue was only 0.2 billion RMB.

Suppose Wang Wen Jing and Xue Shao Chun made little progress on high-tech markets many years, vise verse SAP failed to create business within mid and small enterprises in China. The current competitive scopes of China software markets are that Ufida and KingDee key focus on mid and small enterprises and drive to get into high-tech markets which have been better improved in two years, especially by more proactive team led by Wang Wen Jing. SAP would have tried to buy Israeli software company in order to go outside sea by borrowing boats, but finally he discovered impossible, then conversed to research and develop its own software, waste of time and failed to succeed in mid and small markets. As a matter of fact, the strength of SAP are not competitive with Ufida. SAP expects to jump up for the increasing market shares as G aspirates to ensure the best way is to promote through radical enforcement of the strategy. However, applied high-tech markets and the requests form the customers or the delivery running circle are the market which is called “Haste makes waste”. Huge enterprises also face the due executive and implementing periods, hardship to promote change of management and time gain for the customers’improvement. SAP needs to cope with the process and provide immediate service upon renovations of the clients, special to those key account clients of SAP. It is true China economy goes rapid these years and it shows China is the rapidest and potential markets in the world. Thus we would like to indicate the fastest and obvious increments were actually within the real estate such as housing or lands etc. ERP is no more required in real estate industry. China software market especially to the increasing ERP market should be keen on manufacturing industries. If manufacturing goes with lower pace, software markets will have to cope with the lower step. Current China economy and the tendency of the software development in IT industry are very obvious and easy to be proved in that way. Why does it come some expected higher increasing statistics to show rapid growth tendencies in China software investigations? It is not because of the real high demands from customers at high-tech markets but because of the up-going of Ufida、KingDee and persistent taking SAP clients away from mid or high tech markets. Nowadays mid and high-tech markets become more and more indistinct and the efforts from team of Ufida are very effective to help rewrite and re-definite the boundary of “mid or high-tech applications”according to their market statistics. It is obvious for us to see from the analysis of comparisons on two business performances between Ufida and SAP. High jump increasing strategy which was initiated on the basis of the idea of China high economic growth is no doubt an error to misunderstand China and China markets.

Show you example, SAP sales amount are divided according to the model of how many clients and no basic general analysis of the customers at all sides including maturity, circumstances or potential risk and capacities. I have been working with SAP over 10 years and it is my first time to learn the driven change of management in such a way of WORK BEHIND CLOSED DOORS. That’s why many SAP employees described Mark Gibbs as German military advisor Li De who failed to understand China but insisted on taking risks to attack a war.

Perhaps above commons are a little bit extreme, I guess there might be some truth inside there. From my point of view, at least SAP high jumping strategy on business development in China made in wrong time, wrong place and in a wrong way. It berried a seed and took a potential risk just from the day Klaus’ quit from SAP. An impressive description from Klaus is very popular within SAP. He used to question the SAP radicals: “Now do we have more milk or milker? Or all of us are not so good at milking?” This saying came out in 1996, who quite understood China and became the unavoidable issues G and his followers have to face and pond today.

 

Unprecedented China Dire Straits

It should be said SAP China achieved huge success during Klaus’ management. At that time, SAP stressed on adoptive “The Best Practice”model of German style in genius thinking of management, professional knowledge and culture exposures, and further more the practical and cohesive applications with China strategic marketing development.

Klaus’ success indicated the meaningful success of SAP China developing strategies. Klaus planted and helped grow China markets by investing Germen culture and skillfully extended to China customers to build up very attractive SAP culture. Many employees up from CEO down from the ordinary employees from SAP are interviewed by the media and I quite felt that SAP during at that time was practical, professional, cohesive, positive, work-driven and no company politics. SAP attracted and cultivated thousands of ERP specialists and professional managers who have already become one of the important professional force team at China software markets.

The problem is that SAP senior specialists, good business promoters, senior advisors or high-level mangers who were all at important positions during Klaus’ period have been wash up by Mark Gibbs, CEO North Asia region. The merely reason for wash up is to drive reach “high increment” strategic objectives in China. Name of wash up could be at times as a cause to make organizational restructuring through organizational adjustments. The methodologies or ways of wash-up have been included protocol advising quits, direct terminations, even refuse back to the office or force to fire etc.

SAP North Asia headquarter during Klaus’ period was not at all core management centre. Soon after G was on power, he recruited many high level managers directly interfere China business while the previous China regional high level managers still there, many of whom quickly exchanged or regulated by wash-up through so called organizational change of management. G’s initial practice is actually not lower but increasing the layers of level management. It is sarcastic that the increment of layers was quite opposite to the tendency of the global plain structuring organizations, also conflicts with SAP basic principles of improving management philosophy which SAP promote to its customers. G wishes to centralize high authorities and builds up power mechanism in North-Asia headquarter to realize his “BIG JUMP”strategy. This strengthened mechanism resulted in a series of WAS-UP in front or back door terminating actions. Based on the investigations on the moral of China, SAP employees are low in moral and lack of stability and safety too. Some employees encourage me to speak out of the facts. Some expressed wherever Zhang Xue Feng goes, they would immediate follow up! Some imitated in typical and famous Song Dan Dan’s accent at China Spring Festival by saying that we all very much miss Klaus. Also I learned and understand that Zhang, Cai and Wang, the three VPs are very confidence to win fare at the court under the guidance from professional and highly experienced lawyer in China. SAP as such a global managing tycoon, an attractive MBA inclined company, a previous advanced strength holder at software market in China and a once in a while being respected by the media is now falling into straits and it is pity no ways to help hold down the rashness. Within the circle of IT industry, people took the topic of “Infernal Affairs” and “SAP Wash UP” like a chopper at the table and it has already attracted eyes of the concerned and worried group. The philosophy and queries from the people is why do G and his supporters bent on having their own ways and who can absolutely confirm G is not the undercover of Larry Errison?

 

 

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