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What can a Piano Tuner teach you about SAP optimisation?

By Stuart Browne
 

It started when I was as a teenager with a need to impress my Dad.

“Learn the theme from Hillstreet Blues” he’d nonchalantly said.

At least that’s how I remember it aged 13.  He’d probably just said that he liked the tune. But I'd interpreted his throwaway comment as “Take piano lessons and learn the song - note perfect.”

So I did.  And I did.

A few months later and the screams were echoing upstairs to turn down my electric keyboard and “Bloody play something else!!!”

A brief flirtation with Alex F - the theme tune from Beverly Hills Cop and Eye of the Tiger (note the theme tune pattern here) and I was done with  keyboard lessons.

Partly because my family now hated Hill Street Blues and partly because I’d hit my limit. I’d reached my crossover point of desire vs. reward.  So, with a few drunken hotel bar Piano tricks at the end of my sleeves, I quit.

Wind forward 20 years and I’m hooked on the guitar as is my son who is streets ahead of me. But my 15 year-old daughter is cruising through her piano grades and is currently pushing for grade 6.

Watching her play is mesmerising. I literally can’t connect the movement of her hands with the sounds coming from the instrument.  

It’s witchcraft.

So, when the lady I bought my house from informed me that she’d be leaving behind her piano - as it was uneconomical to move - secretly, inside I was bouncing like Tigger.  

It’d be awesome when my daughter stays over - she can practice her grades and we can get a couple of guitars out and jam along as though Jools Holland is putting the kettle on in the kitchen.

My dreams though were shattered when on her first attempt we realised the Piano was woefully out of tune.  It sounded like a clown’s piano.

I left it sat in the lounge for 11 months - the world’s biggest cactus stand - before eventually getting round to booking a tuner to take a look.

Dave arrived from Cheshire Pianos with a little kit bag and a branded fleece. We chatted as he set about his work, lifting the cover on the piano and life in general.

Tuning SAP like a Piano

Our Piano was made in around 1920 and was showing many signs of late-life. Built by a craftsman 100 years ago and tuned by a down to earth expert with a fleece and a Volvo.

Dave pointed out a small glass of water in the base of the Piano.  Old pianos were made when houses were cold and damp.  Central heating dries them out and causes warping which leads to tuning issues.  Leaving a small glass of water in the base helps to alleviate this. 

Who knew?

Dave had put the glass there 2 years ago when he last tuned this piano.

In the hour Dave was there I learned a lot about Piano tuning. I learned of the process and the tools you use.  I learned that each key has multiple strings which need to be damped in sequence with a wedge like instrument as you tune. I learned that you can’t achieve ‘concert tuning’ in a single tune with an old instrument - it takes sequential and gradual effort.

Eventually I drifted off as Dave told me about the many pianos of famous people across Cheshire on his books. I didn’t sign an NDA but I’ll protect his confidentiality here.  

The last thing I want is a Take That letter from his solicitor.

Eventually I drifted away from the conversation as David was finishing up and I started to check a couple of emails.

As my mind drifted back to work, I realised that most of our clients hired craftsmen to build their SAP systems for them back in the day. And when they walked away proudly, they left their customers to play their systems.  

Clumsily at first.  

Before eventually getting the feel for things and hearing the right sounds starting to come out.

Over time however, they failed to notice as things slowly got out of tune.

The workarounds, issues, performance problems, technical headaches, organsational misalignments, resourcing challenges.  

Leading to a general waning of desire vs. reward with their original grand plans..

Resulting is Dave the Piano Tuner.

Our clients names are as big and famous as his.

And our secret sauce is like that little glass of water - simple consultancy advice that makes a huge difference to performance.

If you think we can help you with your SAP investment, get in touch.

Or read our Research based SAP Success Report.

Get The SAP Success Report 2018 


by Stuart Browne

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