I read an article recently on a local IT news site that had me chuckling. It seems that forest products company Carter Holt Harvey is in litigation with a couple of companies who built an industrial plant at one of its factories. Nothing too exciting in that you say… but this is where it gets interesting. In order to make their claim, CHH have to produce copies of the disputed invoices – ha you say, that’s easy, we know that CHH uses SAP, finding the invoices should be a simple process.

Not so – you see it seems that around the end of 2004, CHH changed suppliers of invoice scanning and storage services from Datacap to Datamail (not overly imaginative names it must be said). Unfortunately, and according to CHH themselves;

As part of this transfer CHH received copies from Datacap of the electronic invoices stored on Datacap’s system. However, it has since been determined that the records received from Datacap were incomplete and a number of invoices, including some relevant to this brief, are missing, despite significant correspondence with Datacap we have been unable to resolve this issue.

Stunningly around NZD 2million worth of invoices are missing and irretrievably lost in the ether – and remember, this is using a “robust” traditional ERP system and traditional physical storage solutions.

Remind me again where the risks lie with cloud computing? I reckon Shoeboxed would be interested in pitching for the CHH contract! Obviously this isn’t an issue with SAP per se – but it does second guess those who dismiss the cloud and SaaS because of perceived risks… like I’ve said before, bad stuff happens with on-premises as well.

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Ben Kepes

Ben Kepes is a technology evangelist, an investor, a commentator and a business adviser. Ben covers the convergence of technology, mobile, ubiquity and agility, all enabled by the Cloud. His areas of interest extend to enterprise software, software integration, financial/accounting software, platforms and infrastructure as well as articulating technology simply for everyday users.

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