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Manufacturer sues IBM over SAP project 'disaster'

Chris Kanaracus | Nov. 12, 2012
IBM has been slapped with a multimillion dollar lawsuit by chemical products manufacturer Avantor Performance Materials, which alleges that IBM lied about the suitability of a SAP-based software package it sells in order to win Avantor's business.

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.

 

 

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