While the global economic problems of 2009 probably forced some IT managers to stretch the shelf-life of their ERP systems longer than originally anticipated, the time may finally be right to start thinking about an upgrade. The reason? Most ERP vendors have been hit hard by the slumping economy, which will translate to better deals for buyers of ERP applications.
But leaving these monetary concerns aside, for IT managers that are actually going to upgrade, consolidate, expand their ERP systems or even embrace the technology for the first time, a handful of tips on how to avoid common mistakes in the implementation process might be useful.
Don’t stay the course
The ‘we’ve always done it that way’ approach is a foolish way of handling an ERP project – or really any project you’ll ever undertake in IT or life in general. A decision you made five years ago might not make sense today, so when you’re making an upgrade to a key IT system, the status quo isn’t going to be good enough.
“A lot of people don’t invest enough effort in identifying their future processes,” explains Ray Wang, a partner with research firm Altimeter Group. “If you’ve got this way of taking orders and you’ve done it this way for the last 20 years, chances are you’re probably going to automate that and not take the time to look at the business process and redesign it while you can.”
One of Wang’s unnamed clients recently decided to automate the way they take orders. The only problem was that the process was first developed in the early 1980s and have remained largely unchanged for over a quarter century.
“When they started enabling Web orders, they found that they ran out of paper,” he said. It turns out every Web order coming into the system was being printed out, entered by hand and faxed over to the warehouse.
This example might be an extreme one, but it makes a strong case for IT managers in the middle of an upgrade to their ERP landscape. “Figure out how to streamline what you have,” he believes. That means stepping back and really looking at how people are doing things differently in the workplace today, compared to processes during the initial ERP implementation.
Wang advises IT shops to hold design sessions where they actually ask employees how their systems can work more efficiently. While this may be a novel idea for some IT departments, it definitely shouldn’t be overlooked.
Take your time, do it right
“Everybody’s trying to do ERP on the cheap, but to be quite honest, you get what you pay for at the end of the day,” Wang explains. “This is especially true with implementations – you can’t substitute for upfront planning time.”
For Wang, his use of the word ‘cheap’ has nothing to do with the money you’re paying the vendor, system integrator, or consultant to help you with the project. The old adage that time is money is certainly something that many business leaders take to heart.
So, as an IT leader, you will have to avoid being cheap in this regard and instead really develop a clear focus on what you are trying to accomplish. This, of course, will take time. “The most important first step is to assess your own needs and limitations,” claims Warren Wilson, a research director with Ovum Summit. “Exactly what do you need this to do, what problem are you trying to solve and what resources do you have or can you hire?”
If you don’t have the problem you want to solve mapped out properly, you will not have any success targeting the solution. While this seems simple enough, Wilson is amased at how many companies tackle this step either at the end of the process or not at all.
Another often overlooked best practice, according to Albert Pang, a research director covering enterprise applications with IDC, is to make sure you avoid starting the project at the end of your fiscal year. “Close your books with the existing system and then get prepared at the start of the new fiscal year to make the purchase,” is his advice.
The modular model
While all the bells and whistles that are available from some ERP vendors can be appealing, sticking to the basics is probably the smartest move for any implementation or upgrade. While a plain vanilla ERP system implementation will probably not win you any, it will almost certainly not get you fired either.
“Implement your financial modules first, which is usually the core of your systems and, when that’s said and done, move onto other modules,” Pang says.
Paul Hammerman, a principal analyst with Forrester Research, agrees, saying that most ERP systems revolve around a core transactional hub. “Starting with that core and building out to add other applications in stages is the way to go.”
Implementing your system in one business unit as a pilot or proof-of-concept, then expanding on that implementation to other units, can be an effective way to ensure this happens. Instead of forcing you to buy the whole system, more vendors have been SOA-enabling their products to make them easier to adapt and more flexible to roll out.
So, for example, you can start with financials and then add supply chain, but the idea is to keep it focused and contained. Get it in, up, and running and see whatever else you might need as you go. Of course, you want to have an overall plan, but only a plan that covers the core functionality that you will need. All the bells and whistles can come later, but only if the opportunity presents itself.
While it would be really difficult to find a company that doesn’t test their ERP system before rolling it out to their users, many IT shops simply treat this step as an afterthought. “You just can’t do enough testing,” Pang says. “After testing, you should do more testing and then after that, continue testing again.”
Even if you think a system is fairly stable, you just never know how the ERP system will react to the rest of your environment. Testing can especially come in handy for companies that are implementing a brand new version of ERP software that hasn’t matured yet.
Wilson puts it bluntly when he says that anybody that doesn’t test their systems at the scale they’ll ultimately need is being foolish. Pat Phelan, a research director at Gartner, adds that along with not having full-time team members dedicated to project management, lacklustre testing is one of the most common mistakes she encounters.
“In the places where I have seen testing be successful, they’ll do a bit of scenario or risk assessment upfront and spend more time testing the things that are either likely to break, highly complex or business-critical, and less time focusing on testing the more mundane areas,” she explains.
On the other hand, for some areas such as payroll, the risk-based approach to testing doesn’t work. “In that case, I’ve seen organisations be very successful if they create what I’ll call a ‘controlled test environment,’ where they don’t necessarily parallel test every employee or every transaction,” Phelan says.
While it’s important to never get complacent and stay the course, there’s something to be said about consistency as well.
For Wang, it’s important to go with a vendor that matches the technology you already have in play. You can’t literally start from scratch in your data centre, so if you’re a .NET shop, you might want to stay that way by going with a vendor that builds on Microsoft’s .NET technology, for example.
Pang said the last thing that any IT leader wants to do is rip and replace existing infrastructure to accommodate an ERP system. “If you’ve already invested in infrastructure on the Java side, then Oracle would be a good alternative versus a Microsoft product,” he believes.
Project management also plays into this issue, according to Phelan. “You need people who’ve actually been through a project like this before, understanding your business, understanding the technology and understanding the fundamentals of project management,” she says. As for other vendor selection tips, Phelan says that companies should not hesitate choosing a Tier 2 product, assuming the scope of the ERP project is limited.
“But you can’t stretch that product beyond what it’s capable of doing,” she says. If you choose not to heed that kind of advice, she adds, expect to have a system that poorly fits your needs and leaves you with a significant amount of future customisation work.
Find the right team
It’s important to remember that as soon as your company engages with an integrator or a consultant, the meter starts to run. For Wilson, a key piece to the ERP upgrade puzzle is making sure that you vet your implementation partners carefully.
“You have to make sure that they’re not only experienced in your vendor’s software, but also experienced in the particulars of your industry and its geography,” he says. Different industries have much different processes that ERP has to be configured to support, Wilson adds. “Pick somebody that’s done for somebody else exactly what you need to be done and, hopefully, more than once – probably closer to a dozen times…
If you can’t find a company that fits the bill, instead look for the closest match and spend a lot of time checking with references and learning from their customers’ mistakes.
According to Phelan, this step cannot be stressed enough. “You can have a mediocre product be successful if you get a systems integrator that is excellent in making do in a difficult spot. Likewise, you can have an excellent product fail miserably if your systems integrator is not on the ball.”
In addition to a strong systems integrator, you must ensure you have competent, full-time project team members in core roles. “Make sure you have a deep bench of IT skills to go with the implementation,” Pang emphasises.
While a reliable systems integrator or consulting firm is extremely important, at the end of the day ERP systems should be considered a core asset.
“You really don’t want to put it in the closet, lock the door and walk away from it,” Pang says. Developing an internal competency among IT staff should not be overlooked.
Six ERP vendors not named SAP or Oracle
Even if you’re a huge company with over a billion dollars of revenue, there are plenty of options out there, and many of them are viable ones.
Every one we speak to says the same thing: 2010 is year of the SMB for ERP implementations. That’s true whether you’re one of the giant players – Sergio Maccotta, MD of SAP MEA, says 40% of recent business comes from this sector – or one of the so-called Tier 2 players who, so far, have built good models based on either niche plays or divisional or SMB implementations.
That’s partly because the enterprise is largely saturated and a focus on that second will merely be cherry-picking - N Ramkumar, Director of Business Development and Consulting at IT Ware, an Infor partner, reckons that over 90% of potential corporate ERP sites in the region are already in place – and partly because full-blown implementations can be so costly. That means that medium-sized businesses or divisions of larger companies are now looking at more reasonable solutions. Which rather implies other players than the software equivalents of Scylla and Charybdis.
Of course, it’s always best practice to seek out a vendor that is specialised in your field and meshes well with the environment you already have. Yes, many times SAP and Oracle can do this and we all know the old saying “you don’t get fired for buying SAP/Oracle” but it doesn’t hurt to try and dig deeper with other vendors.
There are probably about 20 ERP vendors in the industry that matter, although many are not active in this region. For the purposes of this article, we decided to arbitrarily narrow the list to six vendors.
In no particular order, here’s who made the cut:
Infor caught a lot of attention in the industry when it announced Infor Flex, a program which lets customers upgrade to its products for ‘minimal or zero’ license fees, no increase in maintenance costs and rapid implementation services. Additionally, for a small transaction fee, users can switch to any related Infor application they choose.
This type of no-hassle program is usually very attractive to users and might help tip the scales in Infor’s favour during a procurement debate, especially as many recent surveys list upgrading, updating and replacing legacy applications as a top priority for most enterprises.
Infor’s problem, as regional GM Paul Hammond, readily admits is a bit of an identity crisis. Its strength is also, ironically, its weakness – it’s the latest owner of the renowned Baan ERP business. People who know the Baan name respond very positively when they understand the connection – a recent series of roadshows in Saudi Arabia, for example, saw Infor “overwhelmed” by the response, but equally some are cautious because the Baan technology has gone through a series of purchases over the last decade. “Infor is committed to Baan,” says Hammond. “Our focus may be on bringing legacy Baan customers forward to Infor, but Baan stays with us.”
One real opportunity for Infor, Hammond believes, lies in helping customers of any ERP system to move forward, allowing the software model to match the changing business. “The package would need to be really out of shape for you to consider throwing out ERP, but there’s real value in being able to add components and improve what you have.”
So the company has a double strategy: continue to develop the Baan technology but also work to migrate customers to its flagship Infor ERP LN product, which has real strengths in verticals and processes. “We don’t believe in forcing customers to upgrade,” Hammond claims.
Across the region, Infor has 700 customers, around 100 of which are still Baan shops. The focus for 2010 will be Saudi, with an Infor office there in the medium-term. The company enjoys a 95% maintenance retention rate of its ERP customers. Hammond believes it has a key differentiator in the market: an average six to eight month implementation with no hidden costs. “We also have an application for every TLA you can think of,” he adds.
Infor has four key partners across the region, specialising by territory or market segmentation. Dubai-based IT Ware, for example, has identified 500 Free Zone based companies in the UAE as a potentially lucrative market for 2010 – “There’s great potential for us with companies that have perhaps one or two manufacturing sites and a $30-50 million turnover,” explains Ramkumar. “In many cases, we’re talking about a forklift upgrade for these people, shifting them from Excel to ERP! The new efficiency and accuracy of MIS will really deliver an ROI on their investment.”
Ramkumar believes in focusing on a potential customer’s key pain areas, deliberately not discussing technology until he’s able to demonstrate how Infor solutions can address those pain points. A successful policy has also been talking to parts of a business group that may, at corporate level, have gone Oracle or SAP but for whom a more focused solution is attractive.
The company has close to 5,000 customers across the global, with expertise in the manufacturing, distribution, health care, and service industries, partnered locally by E3 in Dubai and Accentia Middle East in Egypt.
Critical to its success is the positive feedback that comes from its customers, specifically cites in Gartner’s latest ERP magic quadrant – Lawson received top marks for its high level of accountability for project success and for its well-developed relationships with technology and service contractors. Getting vendor and customer to talk through experiences is critical to success.
Sage also suffers from a bit of an image problem, as the company has grown quietly from desktop accounting packages to full-blown ERP/CRM solutions. Although many of its solutions are not sold in this region, MD Vikram Suri claims an impressive 30-40% of the market in the UAE, Jordan, Qatar and Bahrain. Expansion, in his view, is perhaps only limited by the need to develop skills in the partner community. “We don’t just want to sell licenses,” he says, “but be able to fully support our customers.”
Globally, Sage has over 5,000 customers and retention is trong. Regionally, depending on how he defines clients in the ERP space, we’re looking at somewhere between 100 and 500. However, potential is huge. “A present we have around 4,000 SMB customers – each of them could be a target for some kind of ERP or CRM solution. Our challenge is to focus but, for an ERP sale, there’s a longer sales cycle so it perhaps makes more sense for us to look at extending existing ERP implementations.”
Sage’s strength comes, Suri believes, from the large range of flexible packages that add functionality to ERP solutions. “A customer can have a core Oracle system, but we can still add value,” he says. 2010 is, he believes, a good time to invest in the technology – “as we move into a new business climate, ERP will deliver a nimbleness and a greater planning ability to companies. Whenever market recovery comes, there’s bound to be a timelag before a wider realisation in the market. Being ready to move forward with fewer resources, tighter margins, more SLAs and more demanding customers means you really have to be in control of your business. And that’s an opportunity to sell ERP solutions.”
Together with an eco-system of 25 partners, Sage offers a wide variety of SDIs (vertical sector and niche market solutions). “That could be something as simple as a module for handling post-dated cheques,” Suri explains, “or a whole service management capability.”
It looks like being a busy year for Sage.
The company boasts it has 20,000 customers in more than 140 countries and its latest product, Epicor 9, is often recommended on vendor short lists for mid-market enterprises and divisions of larger enterprises.
While Epicor – which leverages Microsoft’s .NET technology – has been acquisition intensive, its latest product is seen by many industry watchers as perfect for midmarket customers who don’t want to be force-fit with a large enterprise solution. It also scores highly for the product’s usability and user interface, sometimes being called “Facebook-like”.
Its Dynamics ERP offerings are very strong role-based ERP design, tightly integrated with Office and Sharepoint. Companies in the manufacturing, auto and pharmaceutical industries have been specifically successful with Dynamics, especially if they were already a .NET shop.
2010 looks to be a busy year ahead for the ERP market, according to Tamer Elthamy, Business Solutions Manager at Microsoft Gulf. “Market intelligence from both IDC and ourselves suggests an 8-9% growth in total ERP sales. That growth is going to be mainly in the SMB space, I think mainly because some large corporations are clearly strugglin to pay maintenance for larger ERP implementations. Our approach is to reduce the total cost for customers.”
With Dynamics, Microsoft Gulf claims already to be market leader for SMBs. “In the whole of the Gulf, less Saudi, we sold 220 new ERP systems last year – I don’t think anyone else came close to that,” says Elthamy. The ‘sweet spot’ in his view is the 20-5 concurrent user company, which represents about half of the Dynamics business in the region.
“We’ve been particularly successful with department sales,” Elthamy explains. “The Emirates Group, for example, is Oracle but we’ve won business within the group such as flydubai and MMI. We also pick up business when customers are stuggling with large implementations – the Qatar Building Company, for instance, came to us from Oracle.”
But why are companies choosing now to invest in ERP? “Simply because none of us can continue to do business in the same old ways,” Elthamy believes. “We need more integrtaion, more cost-effectiveness, more business visibility, more agility and so on. All of these have good dollar value and we demonstrate payback within one year, typically. Implementations? Anywhere from three months to 12, but change management is often the hardest part. ERP implies a culture change.”
Microsoft has been particularly successful in the retail sector, with high profile customers like IKEA, THE one, Gallerie Lafayette and Saks Fifth avenue. Manufacturing (Emirates National Plastic in Sharjah, for example) is also strong.
One problem Elthamy does face at times though is perhaps surprising. “To be honest with you, sometiomes ther name of Microsoft itself hurts. But the Dynamics name is now so big that we’re better positioned,” he says. “Anyway, visibility is never a problem for us.”
One area to particularly keep an eye on perhaps is Microsoft’s foray into the cloud. It recently launched a set of on-line services for Dynamics ERP customers who want to move select apps (such as expense report processing) into the cloud.
Ramco OnDemand ERP is a powerful growth enabler available on a subscription basis, claimed to be easy to deploy and aimed at the SMB sector. The key benefits, Ramco claims, are low initial investment and reduced overhead and maintenance.
Effectively, the solution outsources your ERP, allowing you to leverage best practices from over 1,000 companies who use the service. According to PR Venketrama Raja, MD of Ramco Systems, “During these challenging times, it’s no surprise that companies are leveraging IT and looking at innovative ways to sustain and grow their business. It’s today’s reality that software vendors like us need to tune in and give the best fit solutions to our customers. Ramco, a pioneer in ERP, took the cue and has released its first-ever full-fledged ERP on a SaaS model.”
But why not?/>
Of course, many CIOs will not look past the two giant gorillas of the ERP space: Oracle and SAP. The high-profile slug-fest between the two companies has certainly made ERP one of the most watched sectors of the ICT market and, through acquisition and growth, both companies are certainly big.
But how big? Oracle currently has over 80,000 employees worldwide and SAP just under 50,000. The interesting question, however, is at what point do vendors of this magnitude, with their various lines of businesses, traditional product portfolios, competing in-house personalities with vested interests of their own and inherent aversion to real change, start interfering with the overall efforts of trying to serve current and future customers?
In other words, have SAP and Oracle become too big to compete in this new decade of constant change, next-generation app pipelines, pricing upheavals and innovation-first business strategies? Certainly, market complexity does not make it easy for corporations of this size to move nimbly and speed decision making. The question many are asking, however, is this: are the two companies now too big to manage?
A recent article by Julian Birkinshaw and Suzanne Heywood in the MIT Sloan Management Review discusses complexity inside large organisations. The authors point to a number of manifestations: disfunctional management, risk-management blunders, burdensome regulations, bureaucratic hurdles and an inability to quickly respond to changing market demands. In other words, “Some companies are simply too complex to be run effectively.”
Now, we’re not suggesting that either Oracle or SAP are run by disfunctional executives or that they are flawed IT partners for any organisation, but the reality remains that today’s large and global high-tech companies are complex, sometimes unruly beasts. Take Oracle as an example: a constant acquisition strategy means that the company is perpetually adding major layers of complexity to its eco-system. What is the impact of constantly adding new businesses, new products, new employees and new strategies at precisely the time the company is creating major responses to SaaS and the cloud?
In SAP’s case, we can point to the problems it has faced with its on-demand software suite, Business By design – overpromised and underdelivered to an eager customer base. Exactly the same issues faced by Oracle in its roll-out of the Fusion Applications Suite of next-gen business apps.
Birkinshaw and Heywood rightly point out, however, that complexity isn’t always a bad thing. “There is often value in having multiple business units and operating on a global scale,” they write. “Complex management structures can help mergers and acquisitions succeed. Complexity can also be part of a successful business plan. But other kinds of complexity are dysfunctional and lead to huge operational problems.”
The The problem CIOs face is that, in the case of a business changing implementation of ERP, they need to have certainty about where their partners are heading. And that’s one reason, perhaps, why the second-tier ERP players in the region see a real opportunity for their businesses this year: sometimes speed to market and relative simplicityb make more sense than cutting-edge bells and whistles.
Why is it so hard?
Many IT executives know pain and suffering – they’ve been through a traditional enterprise resource planning (ERP) deployment, from vendor selection and licensing negotiations, to implementation and change management, followed by upgrades and integration.
The ‘before’ picture: a mélange of disparate systems that didn’t talk to each other and a good deal of paper pushing between the systems, without a centrally managed technology environment reducing complexity. />
The solution? A unified ERP system, customised to meet existing business practices. Then you hit the first real problem: on the next upgrade, all those customisations done to the roll-out need upgrading to. And you realise that it’s going to be easier to change your users’ habits and your business practices, reverting to the the out-of-the-box ERP system, than to face an endless future cycle of customisation upgrades.
Welcome to the blessing and curse of ERP – vendor promises of ‘flexibility’.
And then, as you view the promised sunlit uplands of future efficient systems enabling new business opportunities, you get bogged down in the marshes of upgrading – testing, retraining, necessary customisations and on and on.
What is scary, of course, is that the horror tales of ERP implementation stay with us year after year. The reality is that ERP projects have only a 7% chance of coming in on time, most certainly will cost more than estimated, many may deliver unsatisfying results and about half your users won’t want to use the new apps anyway. ERP ‘success’ is a very subjective metric.
And it can be hideously expensive. Total cost for an average SAP installation runs to nearly $17 million, Oracle at $12.6 million, Microsoft a relative bargain at $2.6 million and Tier II ERP providers averaging in at $3.5 million. Let’s not even mention the licensing, implementation, customisation, annual maintenance and upgrade costs…
Yet ERP has consistently remained among the top IT spending priorities in large corporations, growing at the rate of 6.9% each year and set to top the $50 billion mark globally in 2012, according to Forrester Research data
We’ve certainly come a long way since, back in 1972, SAP laid out a vision of a computerised mechanism to connect finance, operations, supply chain, HR and sales information. Sounds great, right? The problem is, however, that businesses change at a pace at which ERP systems have trouble – they grow and change, they acquire new business lines and divest themselves of others, they open new facilities or consolidate operations, add partners or out-source functions, centralise or decentralise the back office, reporting requirements increase, companies expand across borders and so on. Businesses change and management’s information needs change, but changes to ERP application take time and money.
A typical enterprise spends an average of $1.2 million each year to maintain, modify and update its ERP system.
The reason? Oracle, for instance, will heavily discount license pricing upfront but makes that up on the backend from its 22% maintenance and support fees, on which it does not negotiate. Oracle President Safra Catz has said that maintenance is “a very profitable part of our business and, as the number gets bigger and bigger, it’s really impossible for us to actually spend our way through it. So, in general, that’s the sort of overriding thing that guides our margins.” Closing its most recent fiscal year, Oracle achieved nearly 90% profit margins.
Just what can go wrong?
The world of enterprise applications (ERP, CRM, BI and SCM) may seem boring to those caught up in the hysteria over Twitter and iPhone apps, but there’s plenty of drama to be found: troubled multimillion-dollar software deals that produce spectacular failures and huge spending nightmares; vendor marketing bravado that breeds cut-throat competition and contempt; and embarrassing and costly lawsuits over botched imple-mentations and intellectual property breaches.
It’s no wonder ERP has such a bad reputation among executives. All of this drama is, in fact, creating a nasty and very real ERP backlash.
Consider these ten ERP scandals:
- Just desserts? Could a failed technology implementation (in this case SAP’s R/3 ERP software) take down a Fortune 500 company (in this case Hershey Foods)? During the Halloween season in 1999, Hershey’s problems with its supply chain applications prevented it from delivering $100 million worth of product and caused the stock to dip 8%.
- Just fix it! What did a $400 million upgrade to Nike’s supply chain and ERP systems back in 2000 get the company? Well, for starters, $100 million in lost sales, a 20% stock dip and a collection of class-ac-tion lawsuits.
- Just the perfect storm. The epic tale of HP’s centralisation of its disparate North American ERP systems onto one SAP system proves that one can never be too pessimistic when it comes to ERP proj-ect management. In 2004, HP’s project managers knew all of the things that could go wrong with their ERP rollout, but they just didn’t plan for so many of them to happen at once. The project eventually cost HP $160 million in order back-logs and lost revenue – more than five times the project’s es-timated cost!
- Just typical students. Back in 2004, more than 27,000 students at the University of Massachusetts, as well as at Stanford University and Indiana University, were forced to do battle with buggy portals and ERP applications that left them at best unable to find their classes and at worst unable to collect their financial aid cheques.
- Just chuck it! US garbage disposal giant Waste Management is still embroiled in an acrimonious $100 million legal battle with SAP over an 18-month installation of its ERP software, dating back to a 2005 deal.
- Just where is it? Back in January 2006, Oracle boasted that it was halfway through the Fusion Applications development process – a killer enterprise application suite that combines the best features and function-alities taken from Oracle’s expansive E-Business Suite, J.D. Edwards, PeopleSoft and Siebel product lines. We’re still waiting.
- Just not today. If enterprise software maintenance wasn’t so boring, this one could be a movie! In 2005, SAP bought TomorrowNow, a small company that provides ERP software maintenance and services for Oracle’s ERP products – at 50% off Oracle’s prices. Oracle alleges that SAP (via TN) “has compiled an illegal library of Oracle’s copyrighted software code and other materials”. Nasty lawsuit unfolds and SAP shuts down TN in 2008. Meanwhile, TN cofounder Seth Ravin forms Rimini Street to scoop up all the former TN business, adding SAP maintenance to the mix.
- Just hold on. Shareholder pressure on bedding-maker Select Comfort saw a $20 million SAP project put on hold, amidst charges of “extremely poor judgment by management”.
- Just leave it with us. Despite SaaS being the logical next step for ERP, the vast majority of CIOs remain committed to on-premise, traditional ERP systems, despite aggravating integration and high-cost headaches.
- Just keep your pants on! Both high profile sailors, SAP’s Hasso Plattner and Oracle’s Larry Ellison clashed during the 1996 Kenwood Cup. Legend has it that Ellison’s crew ignored Plattner’s wounded yacht and Plattner has since admitted to mooning Ellison’s crew for not helping. Ellison may not have been aboard but the high-seas battle has raged ever since.