Manufacturer sues IBM over SAP project 'disaster'

An IBM worker allegedly called the project the worst SAP implementation they'd ever seen

By , IDG News Service |  IT Management, ERP, IBM

"IBM, meanwhile, has already pocketed over $13 million in fees from Avantor for a systems implementation project it mismanaged and was unable to perform properly," it adds. "Incredibly, IBM is now seeking to profit from its misconduct by demanding millions of dollars in additional fees to redesign and rebuild the defective System it implemented."

IBM spokespeople didn't respond to calls and emails for comment on Friday.

Avantor's suit does state that IBM made efforts to right the project's course, albeit ultimately ineffective ones, following a June meeting with Avantor's then-CEO, Rajiv Gupta.

IBM "began to acknowledge the severity of the situation" and replaced many of the original consultants, according to the suit. These workers did extensive redesign and programming.

In July, "IBM told Avantor to cancel every pending order and reset the entire System in light of pervasive warehouse problems," it states. "IBM said this was necessary to discover the root cause of the problem. Ultimately, IBM acknowledged that it had to engage in extensive remedial efforts to redesign and rebuild the System that Avantor hired it to deliver."

"Numerous" IBM workers have told Avantor personnel that IBM failed to manage the project correctly and use SAP "best practices," according to the complaint.

IBM workers even called the project the worst SAP implementation they'd ever seen, it adds.

Avantor is seeking assorted damages in an amount to be determined at trial.

In many respects, the lawsuit reflects other high-profile litigation over SAP projects.

But Avantor broke from tradition by calling attention to its lawsuit via a press release, as companies suing systems integrators and ERP vendors rarely actively seek publicity.

One famous exception came several years ago when Waste Management sued SAP over an allegedly failed project. Waste Management won a sizable settlement from SAP after a public bout of ugly back-and-forth allegations.

It wasn't immediately clear Friday whether Avantor also plans to initiate legal action against SAP, or even has grounds to do so.

An SAP spokesman said Friday he hadn't been aware of Avantor's suit against IBM and declined comment.

Chris Kanaracus covers enterprise software and general technology breaking news for The IDG News Service. Chris' email address is Chris_Kanaracus@idg.com

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