Part Five: Disgusted and puzzled, a highly paid consultant walks away
During the first six months of 2008, Ken Forrest, an independent consultant and the principal of the LDRShipSolutions firm, was employed as a top-level Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) project advisor to the Clark County School District.
Earlier, he’d been contacted by then-CFO Jeff Weiler, who’d called, saying, “I really need your help.”
Not only was Phase One of the project quickly burning money, it had also missed multiple go-live dates.
One of the first things Forrest and an associate did was to save CCSD substantial coin.
He says it became apparent to both of them “that SAP had all these consultants on site, but we couldn’t tie what they were doing to any significant work product.
“So we started tracking that and then went to Mr. Weiler and said, ‘We think we can get rid of a lot of these consultants and you won’t even notice.’ Which we did. As I recall, we got rid of about 13 of them. No one noticed that they were gone. They weren’t doing anything.”
Next was dealing with some difficulties the district was having getting the SAP Finance module “up and running and balanced.”
While CCSD had some good people working on the problem, in Forrest’s opinion, “some of the SAP consultants were less than effective, even at $367 an hour, which is, I believe, what they were charging…
“So we brought in Plante Moran, a national accounting firm. They’re big; you can Google them. They’re the guys the government brought in to fix everything after the Enron failure. I had worked with Plante Moran in Detroit. They’d been fantastic in helping me turn around what had been a qualified [accountants’] opinion to get” the Government Finance Officers’ Association Certificate of Excellence, among other awards.
“Anyway, we brought Plante Moran in, they assisted the district, and with the district’s significant contribution and help, they got that system balanced in six weeks, and up and ready to go.”
On other fronts, however — Payroll and Purchasing — Forrest says he saw significant roadblocks.