UK banks hit by SAP roll-out delays

Three UK banks have been left without a planned SAP management software platform after a major roll-out at their Australian...

Three UK banks have been left without a planned SAP management software platform after a major roll-out at their Australian parent company hit problems.

National Australia Bank, which owns Yorkshire Bank, Clydesdale Bank, and Northern Bank in the UK, started a £148m global SAP enterprise resource planning (ERP) project two years ago.

The implementation should, by now, have been completed across the whole group, including National Australia's UK wholesale banking business.

The planned roll-out was to have included group finance, human resources, project management and planning suites.

However, few of the ERP modules are running and, in the UK, only the procurement module has been tested - as a pilot

The project is not only behind schedule but is reported by Australian financial papers to be up to £74m over budget.

National Australia initially appointed Deloitte Consulting to implement the roll-out, but the arrangement has now been terminated and the bank will now do its own installation.

The bank's project head left the bank soon after the SAP implementation was launched and the bank's chief information officer has also left the company since the deal was first signed.

A National Australia spokesman in Australia told "The project is expected to be rolled out over several years and in stages; beyond this general comment we do not have anything to add."

Deloitte also refused to comment on the situation. However, the consultant's web site shows that in January Deloitte and SAP announced that they had formed a stronger alliance, and that Deloitte had been awarded a higher level of competence for installing SAP products.

Lauren Lachal, senior analyst at Ovum, said: "An implementation of this size needs to be closely monitored."

Lachal added: "Political in-fighting is the number one reason for failure when it comes to this type of project, because it is already a complicated project without it."

SAP, which has more than 600 customers for its Financial Services Solutions and has provided software to banks around the world, refused to comment on the National Australia deployment.

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